The research viewing service is available to students and non-commercial researchers wanting to view research-related material from the BFI National Archives moving image collections.

If a title is not available commercially (for example, DVD, Blu-ray or VOD platforms), or available to view in BFI Player, the BFI Reuben LibraryBFI Mediatheques or through archive resources online and you wish to view it for study, please contact our research viewing service.

Use the online search facility to find the titles for your research. In the online catalogue, film or video materials that are accessible are identified with a status of Viewing – and could be requested for digitisation and viewing onsite at BFI Southbank Mediatheque, subject to an inspection of the physical condition of the materials.

Viewings are by appointment only.

Using the contact form, please provide full details of your intended research and include item reference numbers of the viewing material that you wish to watch.

Note: digitisation of national collection materials requires a minimum of 3 weeks, and we will confirm once the digitisation is complete and the file is available for viewing to complete your booking. Payment will be taken in advance upon confirming a request to access the collections.

We are not able to supply copies (DVD or digital) of titles in the collection, due to possible copyright restrictions and high volume aggregate costs.

The viewing session would take place at the Mediatheque, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XT. See the Mediatheque page for current opening hours.

In certain circumstances we may be able to arrange research viewings at some of the UK’s regional film archives.

Viewing fees are based on running time (the actual duration of the material requested and not the time spent viewing) and on the source material (film or video) to be digitised. They are charged at the following rates:

Up to 60 minutes duration:

  • Film – £16 (UK students and concessions £10) plus VAT
  • Video – £11 (UK students and concessions £7) plus VAT

Over 60 minutes duration, per additional 30 minutes:

  • Film – £8 (UK students and concessions £5) plus VAT
  • Video – £5.50 (UK students and concessions £3.50) plus VAT

Note: as space is limited, you may be allocated a fixed time slot for your viewing. The service we offer is under review and could be subject to change.

Contact form