Brazil: Storage

Installation and Management of Temperature and Humidity Controlled Facilities for AV Collections

By Alexandre Pimenta Marques, Audiovisual Conservator, Collection Head Manager at CRAV – Centro de Referência Audiovisual, Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Article Index

Installation and Management of Temperature and Humidity Controlled Facilities for AV Collections


Collection Storage

Challenges & Strategies

Continuing Challenges

All Pages


CHALLENGE: Adapting a historic house to store environmentally sensitive audiovisual collections of a city archive, and creating a collection management system that ensures safe and increased usage of collections.

STRATEGIES: Tapping into an existing pool of knowledge in the country by establishing contacts with national universities and centres for science and technology, making best use of the existing resources by training the staff, and by recognizing the fact that preservation management is an ongoing process and requires periodic self-assessment.

Film cores at CRAV




This is an overview of the priorities towards change and new management at CRAV – Centro de Referência Audio Visual (Audio Visual Reference Center) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. CRAV is the only organization in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, dedicated to the preservation of film and other media.

Like other cultural institutions, CRAV undertakes projects to better care for the various collections it houses. CRAV has recently moved into a historical heritage building and adapted it for storage of film and video. CRAV’s temperature and humidity-controlled facilities were inaugurated in 2008. Located in downtown Belo Horizonte, at Avenida Álvares Cabral, 560, the facility now has climate-controlled deposits for audiovisual collections, which previously did not exist in the city, and provide an example to the rest of the country. The building has been adapted for proper temperature and humidity control for collections of 35mm and 16mm films, super 8, and VHS in addition to a collection of equipment of media ranging from film projectors to DVD players. The move also allowed for the construction of an exhibition hall in the annex building. The adaptation of the building – a local historical treasure, listed as a city heritage building and now property of the city government – fits the building’s historical and architectonic features, and will guarantee its preservation as well as offer successful storage of CRAV’s collection. The building also offers accessibility by means of an ideal location in relation to urban infrastructure. Its new use as a Center for conservation and restoration of moving images as well as the preservation of audiovisual memory is being realized by fully developing the facilities for the management of programs, services and equipment.

Therefore, now the current challenges are:

  • Guaranteeing the gains from the change of facilities,
  • Collecting funds for the immediate and necessary remodeling of some of the facilities,
  • Maintaining the new equipment,
  • Guaranteeing proper handling by specialized technicians,
  • Bringing harmony to the new institutional challenges with a well-tuned administration and technical team.

INSTITUTION: CRAV – Centro de Referência Audiovisual, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The author in front of the new CRAV facilities

The Audiovisual Reference Center (CRAV) is under the administration of the city of Belo Horizonte and is responsible for collections of moving images statewide. Its primary aims are preserving the audiovisual memory of the State of Minas Gerais, encouraging productions, and promoting the discussion and development of the audiovisual sector. CRAV was founded in 1995, and has received collections since 1997. The current configuration of the collection has been in existence since 2002, when a collection of 20,000 film reels was received.

CRAV is a renowned institution of the city and provides access to both government and private collections. It has aroused the interest of researchers and the support of the press. The future goal of the institute is to become a center of excellence with ideal temperature and humidity controlled facilities, organized under up-to-date concepts and conditions, with an emphasis on identification, treatment, and restoration of films in order to ensure access to collections it houses. CRAV also aims to develop partnership projects with governmental and private institutions (e.g. universities, research centers) to offer diagnoses and research, as well as to develop joint programs, assess conservation collections, and perform restoration or cataloging in partnership with those institutions.

Film (3 sources: Prêmio Resgate, Globo Minas 35mm, Tony Vieira) 70% 387
Other Film 10% 19,613
Video (source: Oral History Program) 8% 305
Other Video 2% 5,695
Photos and Posters 9.8% 4,000
Phonographic Records 0.199% 1,000
Hardware 0.001% 100
Totals 100% 1,100

Table 1. Breakdown of CRAV collection by number of items and value of sub-collection


CRAV Film storage

Inaugurated in early 2001, CRAV´s Collection Management Department is responsible for keeping, preserving, cataloguing and providing access to the collections in addition to receiving and guiding outside research projects which are requested by students, teachers, researchers and entrepreneurs on a daily basis. The Collections Management Department is housed in the basement level of the new facility, which provides expanded storage and audiovisual processing areas. All of the institution’s collections are kept in temperature and humidity controlled storage facilities, in accordance with the specific characteristics of the media.

The arrangement of the new Collection Management Department facility is as follows:

  • Four rooms for the storage of the film collection – Two of these rooms will house the healthy collections of color and black and white 35mm films, color and black and white 16mm, color and black and white 8mm and Super 8mm, as well as photographs and microfilms. The other two rooms are specifically for housing deteriorating film.
  • Magnetic and electronic collection storage room – The room has adequate temperature and humidity conditions for specific carriers and houses the magnetic collections (VHS,S-VHSBetacamHi-8U-MaticMini-DV, DVD, audiocassettes, ¼ inch open reel audio tapes, CD and CD-ROM).
  • LP Storage Room – A small room for housing LP discs.
  • Antechamber for acclimatizing films – The items will remain in the room for 24 hours on their way in or out of the storage room and maintained at an intermediate temperature, which is between that of the storeroom and the outside.
  • Room for Processing – The room houses services such as screening of all items received including initial treatment, cataloguing with content analysis, entry into the database, and preparation for digitization. The room also houses the archive of paper items such as film posters and photos.
  • Film physical analysis Laboratory – All film collections must go through periodical evaluation of physical conditions for preventive diagnosis as well as monitoring deterioration due to aging.
  • Storeroom – Partially climate-controlled storage room for image and sound equipment as well as specific regular use materials. The collection of equipment and machinery includes important items in the process of filmmaking such as 35mm and 16 mm film cameras and projectors, super 8 film editing tables, several models of super 8 film cameras, projectors and assembling tables for film visualization.

A second stage of the project will contemplate the building of an annex, which will improve the facilities and offer conditions for CRAV to continue promoting the keeping and preservation of the cinematic memory and audiovisual productions of Belo Horizonte and the state of Minas Gerais.


CRAV Video Library

Initial challenges of the institution could be grouped as follows:

Managerial –

  • Creating training and budget management programs aimed at administrative modernization;
  • The management of programs, services and equipment;
  • Defining management goals for institutional growth and providing wider access to research institutions and the public in general.

Structural –

  • Full completion of the remodeling of the collection storerooms,
  • Insulation of doors, sealing of machine compartments,
  • Overall improvement of the storage conditions of the collections.

Physical –

  • Efficient monitoring of temperature and humidity conditions and improving other technical resources for collection storage.


CRAV’s strategy to face the challenges began with the development of cooperative partnerships with universities such as the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Escola de Belas Artes, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG/EBA), government as well as private television networks such as Rede Globo and Rede Minas, and sister institutions such as Public Archive of Minas Gerais at the State Department for Culture, the Brazilian System of Audiovisual Information (Sistema Brasileiro de Informação Audiovisual – SIBIA), Cinemateca Brasileira (the Brazilian Cinematheque, part of the Audiovisual Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture), and FAPEMIG, a grant agency in Minas Gerais state.

The need to encourage the exchange of information among professionals from all institutions remains. This should include holding conferences on collection management, fundraising and fund management, and technical expertise, all of which will assist in the development of projects that will enable the preservation, cataloguing, as well as availability and access to CRAV collections, including paper documentation from cinema rooms.

CRAV collections now are housed in seven climate-controlled storerooms. The temperature and humidity of the area is controlled by the following machinery:


1 Water Cooling Unit Chiller Trane CGAA 10 TR
2 Air Conditioning Unit Fan Coil Trane WD02 2.75 TR
1 Air Conditioning Unit Fan Coil Trane WD02 2.15 TR
2 Air Conditioning Unit Split LG HSS-H1227R70 12,000 BTU
2 Ventilation Cabinet Prokelmee
4 Electrical Boards
2 Centrifugal Pumps EH

Table 2. Equipment for climate controlled storage areas

A Temperature Control System called CLIMUS1, which was developed at the Federal University of Santa Catarina by Professor Saulo Gutz, is used to monitor the rooms.

The CLIMUS-REAQUIS program is responsible for the control of signs from various sensors which form the monitoring and technical control system of the rooms. The architecture / platform of computer programs and systems are compatible with the systems adopted by the city government.

The structure that is currently installed has been designed to receive the environmental monitoring and management system for the preservation of the collections. It includes an adjustable metal wrapper over the insulation of the compact air conditioning units (window unit and split type) that are installed in the basement of the building in the Collections Management Department and temperature and humidity controlled collection storage facilities.


Ventilation duct

The following procedures are necessary in order to tune up the system and increase the permanence of the film, video, and audio collections:Now that the renovation and installation of new equipment is complete, a maintenance routine is needed. This must attend to manufacturer’s requirements and regulations as well as those of the Brazilian Standards Association (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas – ABNT) national building code, together with the demands of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – ANVISA). The routine must include a monthly visit for basic services of preventive maintenance and also a yearly inspection of equipment.

1. Sealing and insulation of the Fan Coil air conditioner cabinet doors.

  • Justification: Air or heat leaking in will result in additional energy costs and system overcharge.

2. Inversion of the position of the door to Film Room 3.

  • Justification: This room houses films that have a strong emission of acetic acid (vinegar syndrome) and require continuous exhaustion. The inversion of the position of the door will allow it to be half open (2cm gap) thus allowing a more homogeneous flow in the preceding room.

3. Installation of automatic closing device (metal spring system) in the main door.

  • Justification: Same as item 1.

4. Climate control of the entrance hall.

  • Justification: The installation of a conventional air conditioning unit (split type, for example) at the entrance hall will minimize the hot and humid air coming in when the door is being used for staff going in and out.

5. CLIMUS computer unit upgrade.

  • Justification: The unit that is currently being used does not have a USB or an Internet connection, which makes it difficult to install and maintain software’s of acquisition and treatment of data.

6. Separation of the flow of air in the Fan Coils.

  • Justification: As Film Room 2 is being used to store films with acid exhalation it is recommended that the flows of Fan Coils air conditioning units that serve Room 1 and Room 2 respectively should be separated.


1. CLIMUS is a hardware/software product based on the Image Permanance Institute’s (IPI) preservation environment monitor/software. It was developed by Prof. Saulo Guths from the Porous Media and Thermophysical Properties Lab of the Federal University of Santa Catarina.  It allows monitoring of indoor climate and uses algorithms to measure the effects of the storage environment on collections.

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