Recent News

  • True Crime and FOIA Research

    March 16, 2024
    Members have been asking about True Crime and FOIA research for some time.  In March 2024, we were finally able to provide a workshop on the topic. Guest hostRobyn Doolittle; The Globe and Mail’s corporate law reporter led us on a fantastic introduction to obtain material under Freedom of Information in Canada.
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  • Introduction to AI

    December 18, 2023
    The October 2023 workshop was led by Getty Images as the team introduced Generative AI and their new platform NVIDIA. It was a mind-boggling presentation and we hope to learn more about how AI is shaping the industry in the future.
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  • Financial Confidence in Business

    July 5, 2023
    The 2023 AGM featured a special media tax workshop with Debbie Horovitch; known affectionately as the Tax Fairy Godmother.  As freelancers, running our own businesses is a big decision.  Debbie took us through business structures and tax implications to help empower us in our day-to-day work lives.
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  • Visual Research 201

    March 14, 2023
    This winter workshop was held in March 2023; led by Laura Lucas, Laura Blaney and Sonja Carr. It was a brief recap of Visual Research 101, with 201 focusing on updates and new information in our researching world.  It also included a discussion about freelancing from the home office at tax time. Download Supporting Materials — T2125 ...
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  • UGC – Everything You’ve Wanted to Know.

    October 14, 2022
    The October 5th, 2022 Fall Workshop focused on User Generated Content or UGC for short. Led by Sandra Coelho and Dominic Dare of Lola Clips and Steve Bedinger of Collab, we learned about the various UGC categories, the main suppliers and the pricing structure of this type of content. You can view the recorded ...
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  • IBPOC Communities Workshop

    November 24, 2021
    On November 4th 2021, Debbie Ebanks Schlums shared her research on what it means to locate the archives of IBPOC communities without perpetuating archaic, racist language and reinforcing racist algorithms. Despite some technical hiccups, the session was extremely informative as was the discussion which followed. As a logged-in member, you can view ...
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  • Data Organization

    June 7, 2021
    Introduction to Airtable, Slack and Google Workspace In February 2021, we presented an interactive workshop to learn about tools for archive management.
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  • Negotiating Your Deal Memo

    November 17, 2020
    On November 17, 2020, VRSC/ARAC presented “Negotiating Your Deal Memo;” a one-hour workshop led by Willa Marcus with some cameo appearances by a few members. The session was designed to help guide members through the process of contracting their services in a fun, interactive and informative zoom conference.
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  • License Agreements Decoded

    March 8, 2020
    Entertainment Lawyer Willa Marcus, in conversation with VRSC/ARAC President Elspeth Domville, reviews the essential components of archive license agreements – the basics and the not-so-basic elements of these very important documents. They come in various forms from supplier’s complex agreements to producer’s own materials releases to simple email permissions from individuals. As archive ...
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  • The Basics of Music Clearance

    December 24, 2018
    A panel discussion on how to approach music clearances from the perspective of both the Licensor and the Licensee. The topics covered included an explanation of the different kinds rights that need to be cleared, the process involved and strategies to make this affordable. Music clearances are quite different from footage and stills clearances and ...
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Past Events

December 2014

The VRSC annual holiday party was held at The Spoke Club in Toronto on December 10th. Over 40 people attended including many of our suppliers. Talia Wooldridge did a wonderful job of organizing not only a great party but obtained some great door prizes and gift certificates for our members.

November 2014

Doc Circuit – RIDM

During Doc Circuit on November 19 during the RIDM (International Documentary of Montreal), a workshop on music rights was organized by the ARAC / VRSC in collaboration with lawyer Willa Marcus and we counted with the participation of the legal representative of SODRAC. Mr. Martin Lavallée. About thirty people attended. Many young directors and producers among them many from immigrant and ethnic backgrounds

ARAC Christmas party in Montreal Tuesday, November 25 at the Lobby Bar.

Marie-Josée Ferron had done a wonderful job organizing the party. A dozen of our members were present. Ragnhild Milewski from the NFB was present as well . It was festive as usual. We have such a good crowd….We recruited a new member Sophie Moreau that came to the event.

October 2014

Prix Gémeaux

The Awards committee of the Prix Gémeaux met last October 24th to discuss improvements to be made to the rules and category descriptions of these Awards. During this meeting, the committee members went over the possibility of creating of a new category for visual research. The committee has considered the possibility of restructuring the category Research, with the idea of dividing it into two sections: one for content research, and the other for visual research. After much discussion and deliberation, the committee decided to keep the division as it currently exists, with one category for all research combine, based on the type of emission. However, the committee does now recommend modifying the criteria for the category Best Research: public affairs, all documentaries so that Visual research will now be an integral part of the criteria to be considered by the jury.

Here are the new criteria:
20 points – Creativity, innovation, originality
30 points – Choice of participants, collaborators / archives
25 points – Quality of information
25 points – Appropriateness of the content and/or visual archives

As well, the Awards Committee recommends to the Academy that the Visual Researchers mentioned on the credit list of a programme are to be included in the competition. They also strongly suggest that there be at least one professional Visual researcher on the Jury committee.

New website committee working in updated website

Cindy Jacobsen of Frogtalk Media is currently working on an updated website for the VRSC/ARAC. One major change will be the creation of a searchable membership page. Potential clients will be able to search for members using a variety of criteria such as specialty, media, languages spoken, location, years of experience, etc. The look of the website will not change significantly as members of the web committee really like the present uncluttered look. Cindy hopes to have a template ready for the committee’s review for early 2015.

September 2014

Gémeaux Sand, investigating a disappearance (A survey unveils a little-known fact: the sand mining, a natural resource most consumed on the planet, before water and oil.) Nomination best research public affairs Nancy Marcotte Gémeaux for best documentary nature and science

5th anniversary of Barbara Sears’s death

Hard to believe it has been five years since one of our founding members passed away. The Barbara Sears Fund was established in her memory and is used for professional development and training.


Chairperson Elizabeth Klinck attended the TIFF Documentary Conference and networked with archive suppliers and producers. ITN’s Nan Halperin and VRSC ARAC lawyer Willa Marcus were Elizabeth’s guests at the annual WIFT TIFF party at the CBC.

TIFF titles for our members

Trick or Treaty (Alanis Obosawin) – Elizabeth Klinck
Red Alert (Barry Avrich) – Elizabeth Klinck

June 2014

Editing workshop in Toronto

The latest VRSC workshop was held in Toronto on June 25th and covered “all things digital” relating to both stills and footage. A popular topic in this fast changing word of CODEC’s and specs, so it was no surprise that the session was fully booked in under two hours. Murray Green, a very well respected documentary editor, put on an excellent presentation and took many questions from our members. The result was a very informative and engaging hour! We hope to have a summary of the session available on the member’s side of our website under “Workshops” very soon.

FOCAL Awards

Elizabeth Klinck and Elspeth Domville attended the FOCAL Awards in London England. They were co-nominated for Best Researcher and Elizabeth was nominated for two other films. They were able to “spread the word” about the VRSC ARAC to the archives and libraries in the UK and from France.

May 2014

On May 28 our Annual General Meeting was held in Montreal for the first time. Several board members came from Toronto , Ottawa and Winnipeg. The next day we spent a very pleasant day discovering some archives in Montreal. We started the day at Radio-Canada where we had a guided tour of the premises and a meeting with the heads of archives including Monique Quesnel. In the afternoon we visited the Archives of the City of Montreal. We even saw an original letter written by the hand of Pierre Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal! We ended our day with Marc Pitre at the CCA (Canadian Center of Architecture) and for two hours a curator escorted us through the jewels of this institution. Thanks to everyone for organizing such a great AGM !

April 2014

The VRSC/ARAC is offering a special discount to their members to attend Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto from April 24th – May 4th.

The FOCAL Awards take place in London on April 30th.

March 2014

The Canadian Media Awards and the Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research will be awarded on March 4th.

January 2014

Once again this year, VRSC/ARAC members in both Montreal and Toronto acted as jurors for the annual FOCAL awards.

Nominations are announced in February and the awards are held in London, England on April 30th.

December 2013

Nominations for the Canadian Media Awards were announced for the Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research. Erin Chisholm, Elspeth Domville, Paul Patskou, and Elizabeth Klinck were nominated for their work. The awards will be held on March 4th in Toronto.

Elizabeth Klinck produced an archived-theme session at the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers conference in Montreal.

Holiday parties were held in both Toronto and Montreal.

November 2013

VRSC/ARAC members attended RIDM in Montreal. Two of our members worked on the award-winning films at RIDM: Odette Desormeaux (Kébécoisie) and Nancy Marcotte (A Jamais, pour toujours!)

September 2013

The Still Photo Day was held at the Canadian Music Center in Toronto. A full day of activites, legal workshops, discussions and networking organized by Roy Harris and his committee was well attended by many of our photo suppliers and by members from across the country.

VRSC/ARAC member Odette Desormeaux was nominated for a Prix Gemeaux.

May 2013

VRSC/ARAC co-sponsored VISUAL CONNECTIONS at The Spoke Club in Toronto on May16th. More information here:

Our Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday, May 15th at The Spoke Club.

Congratulations to VRSC/ARAC member Elspeth Domville who was been nominated for Best Researcher at the annual FOCAL International Awards in London on May 2nd. Elizabeth Klinck was also nominated for Best Sports Footage for her work on the UK film 9.79*.

April 2013

VRSC/ARAC sponsored an archive master class at Hot Docs in conjunction with Getty Images. The VRSC/ARAC offered a special discount to their members to attend Hot Docs.

March 2013

Congratulations from all of us to fellow VRSC/ARAC member Darren Yearsley for winning the 2013 Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research at the first annual Canadian Screen Award ceremony. He won for “Love, Hate and Propaganda: The Cold War – Episode 2,Turning up the Heat”. VRSC/ARAC members Michelle Demeyere and Laura Blaney were also nominated for this award. And congratulations to VRSC/ARAC members Kathie McKenna and Elspeth Domville. Their project “D-Day to Victory” won Best History or Biography Documentary Program or Series.

VRSC/ARAC vice-chairperson Nancy Marcotte attended the annual ACSIL (Association of Commercial Stock Image Licensors) in New York. During the afternoon session several of the visual researchers in attendance debated the possibilities of collaborating with the ACSIL. One of the many ideas was the creation of a discussion panel aimed at young filmmakers interested in using archives in their productions. Nancy spoke about the VRSC/ARAC and described the many workshops and forums we have organize and that attracted commercial archives as sponsors and producers to participate.

February 2013

Nancy Marcotte, vice-chair of the VRSC/ARAC, gave a lunch-hour conference at the Université de Montréal on the challenges facing visual research and clearing rights in the digital era. More than 50 students attended.

January 2013

VRSC/ARAC Montreal members Geneviève Danforth, Karine Perron, Tom Puchniak, and Mia Webster were on the 2013 jury panel for the International FOCAL Awards for the category Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production. In Toronto, VRSC members Gina Cali, Elspeth Domville, Donna Dudinsky, Roy Harris, Kathie McKenna, Jivan Nagra and Monica Penner also judged a category. Elizabeth Klinck first chaired the FOCAL International Awards’ jury in Toronto from 2005-2007, and since 2007, Elspeth Domville has chaired all the following juries. In Montreal, VRSC/ARAC director Mia Webster has chaired the jury since 2008.

Elizabeth Klinck met in Winnipeg with VRSC/ARAC members Julie Arnal, Kelley Frye, and Bonnie Dickie in early January.

The VRSC/ARAC would like to thank Erin Chisholm for the many years of dedication she has given as our treasurer. Erin has also organized all of our financial audits since our inception. Many thanks Erin ! We welcome our new treasurer Kelley Fry from Winnipeg.

At the Impact Media Summit in NYC in January 2013, a Master class A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words was produced by Elizabeth Klinck and featured VRSC/ARAC members Laura Blaney and Mia Webster along with Judith Ailey and Rich Remsberg from the US. A room full of 50 or more participants joined our top international visual researchers in exploring the importance and the role of photographs and imagery in historical and current affairs projects. New sources, new software, new prices, and lots of tips for producers, directors and researchers were discussed.

December 2012

Our annual holiday gatherings in Montreal and Toronto were very well attended by members and our friends from local archive houses. Thank you to Canamedia, Bellmedia, eOne, T3, DOC, NHNZ, and E Klinck Research for donating door prizes.

Elizabeth Klinck participated at the Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) Summit Conference on November 30 to December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. The WIFTI Summit brought together the representatives of nearly 40 WIFTI Chapters for an invigorating weekend of panels, seminars, networking and screenings. This regular gathering of WIFTI Chapters allows for improved member services, enhanced exchange of information, global collaborations and world-class panels on media production, distribution, financing and protection. Elizabeth represented the VRSC/ARAC at a Film Footage Panel.

November 2012

The What you Need to Know About Clearing Music Seminar, a VRSC/ARAC one day music clearing seminar was held on Tuesday, November 20th from 9:00 – 5:00 at The Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. Organized by Roy Harris, the seminar was a great success. Thanks also to the presentations given by Universal, Sony, EMI, and Warner. A special thanks to the VRSC/ARAC’s lawyer Willa Marcus for her presentation and ongoing support to our membership. Members from around the country were able to attend, a count of more than 40 participants.

May 2012

In May 2012, VRSC members Marie-Josée Ferron, Michèle Garceau and Nancy Marcotte participated in the Association of Archivists of Quebec Congress, in Lévis, Québec. They presented a lecture entitled “Visual Research: a full time job, a role too often overlooked”. Included in the presentation were several short video clips from various television programmes and documentaries the three had worked on and which used examples of archives sourced from many Québec and Canadian instutions.

Posted March 23, 2012

Academy of Canadian Cinema Changes

This year the Academy of Canadian Cinema reduced the number of Gemini awards by 20%. One of the casualties of this reduction, was that the award for Visual Research and the award for Editorial Research were lumped together into one research category. After lobbying from the Visual Researcher’s Society, the Academy of Canadian Cinema has just announced that BARBARA SEARS AWARD FOR BEST RESEARCH category will this year have TWO separate editorial and visual research entries. They will coordinate two juries for the two areas of expertise. There will then be two sets of nominations and two eventual winners for the Barbara Sears Research – Visual Award and Barbara Sears Research – Editorial Award.

The Academy has also agreed to accept two separate nominations for the deadline that has already passed – March 12th for programs aired between May 1/11 and November 30/11. A short description and the names of the visual researchers needs to be sent to with the show title in the subject line.

February 2012

An Archival Forum was organized by VRSC/ARAC in collaboration with Doc Quebec, on February 19, 2012. Eight leading providers of commercial archives whose two major international players, Getty Images and Though Equity (now T3 Media) participated, as well as two Canadian sources, French CBC and the NFB. The forum discussed licensing costs, management, operating costs of an archive facility and the development of new markets. The idea was also to establish a genuine exchange and documentary stakeholders were invited to dress a portrait of the Quebec reality. More than 100 people attended during the day which was made possible thanks to our many sponsors, WPA Film Library, NFB, Gettyimages and Though Equity. A cokctail subsequently was offered by Radio-Canada in the premises of INIS.

Posted January 07, 2012