Understanding catalogue records

Here are some helpful tips on how to interpret and understand the catalogue records found on the website.

General conventions

No bracketing indicates that the information has been taken from first hand viewing of the film or video, i.e. the information is credited on the film itself.

[Square brackets] indicate information that is not on the film itself but was originally written on the can or in accompanying documentation, or confirmed by secondary sources.

(Round brackets) indicate the information has been given on the basis of research and subject knowledge by the cataloguer, as there was no other information available at the time of viewing.

Field definitions

Reference number
Each title in the archive is allocated a Reference Number. Please use this number when contacting us with an enquiry, as it means we can pinpoint the exact film referred to.

Some large collections of film have letter(s) before the reference number as follows:

Tbelongs to the Scottish Television Collection
Nbelongs to the Grampian Television Collection
UCSbelongs to the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Collection

Most film in the archive is non-fiction and the date(s) refer to when the film was completed, i.e. the release date. It can refer to the date a film was made (amateur), or released (professional) or broadcast (television).

If no date is given, there may be a stock date, which is always recorded with an asterisk after the year, e.g. 1934*. A stock date is a symbol(s) found on Kodak film stock that indicates the year the stock was manufactured, so we can determine that a film was made on or after that date.

If there is no stock date, then we given an estimated date, which is always recorded with a 'c' after the year, e.g. 1934c.

The date a film was produced (rather than released) may be known, in which case it is recorded with a '+' after the year, e.g. 1934+.

If the film was shot over a period of years, then this is recorded as, for example, 1934 - 1944.

If the film was shot in separate, non-consecutive years, then this is recorded as 1934 / 1944 / 1949, for example.

The name of the director of a film (professional production) or the film-maker (amateur production). If it is a professional production, then the name of the director is prefixed by the letter d. If it is an amateur production, then the name of the film-maker is prefixed by the words 'filmed by'.

The company or organisation who sponsored the film, i.e. who funded the film. The sponsor may be an organisation such as Films of Scotland, an educational body such as the Scottish Educational Association, a government body such as the Ministry of Information, or it may be a town or region.

Production Company
The name of the film production company, i.e. who made the film. Applies to professional productions only.

Titles in the collection can be sound, silent or mute. A mute title is one that is known to have been released with soundtrack, but we hold only the mute picture at present.

Film can be black and white throughout, colour throughout or a mixture of both. A shotlist may mention what type of colour stock the sequence has been shot on, e.g. Kodachrome. If it is a mix, the shotlist will indicate when the changes occur, using the convention [COL] or [BW].

Running time
The running time of a film is indicated in minutes and seconds. As far as practicable, films have been shotlisted at the correct speed. Usually this is a choice between 18 frames per second (fps), 24fps or 25fps. There are some occasions when we have been unable to shotlist a film at the correct speed. (At the time older catalogue records were created equipment was unable to run the films at a slower frame rate, for example.) The shotlist may give further information on what speed a film has been timed at.

Please contact us for clarification on speed and running times.

This area of the record offers a brief synopsis of what the film is about.

There can be cross references to other films of interest on the same subject, or from the same collection - we are building in live links to such records on the catalogue. There are links to related websites where further information and context can be discovered. We sometimes include comments made by the cataloguer, giving a more subjective reaction to the film, or some further information. There may be references to paper archive material such as stills, photographs or documentation held by the Moving Image Archive or elsewhere.

Credits recorded on the film have abbreviations input before the name. You can find a summary of these below. Cast members (fiction) are also included in this area of the record.

a.d.art director
ass. d.assistant director
assoc. p.associate producer
adapt.adaptation, adaptor
art d.art director
comm.s.commentary speaker
comm.w.commentary writer
d. ph.director of photography
dress des.dress designer
ecsend credits
exec.p.executive producer
film ed.film editor
m.d.music director
m.p.music performer
m.p.c.music performer/cast
m.p.s.music performer on soundtrack
p.c.production company
p.consultantproduction consultant
p.des.production designer
p. man.production manager
p.teamproduction team
sc. adv.script adviser
sd. rec.sound recordist
spec. FXspecial effects


The description, with timings, of the content of a film. It is objective, and sequences are described in such a way to include all the most important subjects, places, peoples and organisations in the film. Timings are entered in brackets after each description. There are some occasions when we have been unable to shotlist a film at the correct speed. (At the time older catalogue records were created equipment was unable to run the films at a slower frame rate, for example.) When possible, a shotlist will give further information on what speed the film has been timed at.

Shotlists can include intertitles found on silent film (titles written within the film itself that often explain the action). For technical reasons it is not possible to display these on the website, however they are sometimes given in capital letters within the shotlist or make a statement that seems to introduce the action described. Intertitles can provide useful information with regard to the message of the film as well as putting the film in context with regard to society at that time.

Please contact us to find out more about intertitles and interpreting the records. The shotlist uses the following abbreviations:

gvsgeneral views
ecsend credits
c/uclose up
l/slong shot
m/smedium shot
vox popsuseful to describe members of the public voicing their opinions, e.g. people on street comment for a news programme
panpanning shot - sometimes clarified with left / right / up / down
visualsgroups of similar shots e.g. 'visuals landscape'
tracking shotshot from a mobile camera e.g. on a train or from a moving car
talking headclose up of someone being interviewed to talking to camera
oofout of focus
oovout of vision

Related information

Film status
There is a brief indication of copyright here, particularly useful if you want to buy a copy of a title. Find out more on the copyright page, or contact us direct.

Find similar films
This area allows you to find films catalogued with the same places, subjects, people/organisations, genres, series or decade. You can select all titles or only films to view on the website using the dropdown list to the left of the search box.

Read related biographies
In the find similar films box you will also find liks to biographies of the people/organisations listed.

You can link to some Scottish Cine Biographies from the full catalogue record. These appear to the right hand side of the screen as links where relevant. They offer information on Scottish exhibitors and film makers, production companies and institutions.