Paul Harrill here. What follows below is Ashley Maynor’s second post about For Memories’ Sake, her forthcoming documentary. (I am the film’s producer.) If you missed Ashley’s first post, you can catch up with it here.
As you might guess if you read my first post, I soon found myself overwhelmed with the task of caring for Angela Singer’s massive and chaotic collection. While this preservation project has finally come together in the form of a movie (more than three years since it began), I had to first learn to work with and care for her diverse and problematic assemblage of photos, films, and video. As a first generation college student, I majored in the not-so-versatile area of French Literature. I came to filmmaking late in my academic career, so it was without any formal photography training and during my first year of film school that I set out to learn best archival practices, digitization techniques, and the ins and outs of small format filmmaking.
While there’s no substitute for learning hands-on through trial, error and frustration as I did, the following is a collection of websites and online resources that most helped me as I stumbled through the first phase of preservation:
Working with Home Movies
General Interest & Footage Sources
Lost in Light – The documentation of a (now complete) free home movie transfer project, including home movies, categorized by topic, many of them available for Creative Commons remixing.
Prelinger Archives/Archive.Org – A collection of home movies includes amateur films and videotapes from the collections of the Center for Home Movies, the Prelinger archives, other home movie aficionados. Many of the movies are public domain or available for use under Creative Commons guidelines.
Supplies & Small Format Filmmaking Resources
Film Shooting – A great online source for news about all things home movies and small format filmmaking based in Norway. Given that two major print publications (Super8Today and SmallFormat) have shut down their presses in the last year, this online news pool is essential.
On Super 8 – This site bills itself as “impartial and comprehensive resources for today’s Super 8 and 8mm small gauge film makers.” It’s all that and more; based in the UK.
Pro8mm– The only movie house I know of in the US that specifically specializes in Super-8 film stocks and transfers. In 2008, they added a Milliennium II Scanner with daVinci 2K color corrector to their transfer menu, capable of SD or HD scans. It’s the premier scanning system for small gauge film.
Super 8 Site – A German Super8 site. The “links and addresses” page is worth a look.
Urbanski Film – Though the website screams 1990s, I’ve ordered and been very pleased with film cleaning supplies, projector bulbs, and other hard-to-find small format equipment.
And though it goes without saying, eBay is an immense (if risky) resource for finding old Super 8 cameras and projectors, as well as professional VHS decks for digitizing old videocasettes. Before purchasing the unknown, I’ve found the folks on the AMIA Small Gauge/Amateur Film Interest Group listserve to be incredibly helpful and willing to share their expertise.
Preservation & Care Information
Brodsky & Treadway –The transfer house for rare, valuable, and fragile home movies. Their companion site, Little Film, contains detailed, downloadable tips and instructions for caring for home movies.
Home Movie Day – A major project of the Center for Home Movies, Home Movie Day is an international celebration of home movies. The site contains lots of information about film handling and care as well as links to home movie day events across the country and the globe. Home Movie Day also keeps a running list of home movie transfer houses.