Research viewing services

If you wish to view a title for research, we may be able to help.

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.

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: we are unable to offer remote access to materials and cannot provide copies in any form. Viewing sessions are arranged by appointment only on BFI premises. In certain circumstances we may be able to arrange research viewings at some of the UK’s regional film archives.

Viewing sessions, using Steenbeck table viewers for film and VHS/DVD players with headphones for video, both of which are under your control, are organised at BFI premises, 21 Stephen Street, London, W1T 1LN, between 10:30am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

We may in some cases offer digital access: this viewing session would take place at the Mediatheque, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XT, between 11am and 7pm, Tuesday to Friday. 

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.

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

Contact form