This quarterly feature reports recent news highlights from the media archive community, including: acquisitions, preservation, institutional and organizational changes, exhibitions, awards, new DVD releases, online resources, and technology. In most issues of the Cinema Journal, there is an In Focus section that revolves around a chosen theme. Contributions are welcome - please send them here >
Archival News Editor (as of January 1st): Katherine Groo
The most recent edition of Archival News is listed below. Past issues of Archival News are located here
Please note that we are currently in transition between editors. Contributions to the Archival News should now be sent to Katherine Groo. The current Archival News was compiled by previous editor, Jennifer Petersen.
Edited by Jennifer Peterson
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Commercial Acquisitions
3. Institutions and Organizations
5. Online Resources
1. COMMERCIAL ACQUISITIONS
• Cohen Media Acquires Rohauer Film Collection
The Rohauer Library, spanning 75 years of cinema, is now the Cohen Film Collection. Holdings are being restored for the theatrical and home markets.
The Rohauer Library is a world-renowned collection of rare movie classics. Long acclaimed for its immensity and entertainment value, this esteemed collection of over 700 titles spans 75 years of the cinema’s most dynamic eras. This unique screen treasure was amassed by Raymond Rohauer (1924–1987), the former film curator of the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art in New York, who devoted his life to collecting these distinguished films.
Rohauer was born in Buffalo, New York, and moved to Los Angeles when he was a teenager because of his passion for the movies. Starting his collection as a youth, he went on to found the Society of Cinema Arts, offering events and regular screenings of experimental, classic and foreign films at the Coronet Theatre and the Riviera-Capri Theatre. These venues played an important role in educating film students and filmmakers in Los Angeles about early cinema history. Later, Rohauer established partnerships with Buster Keaton, Mrs. Harry Langdon, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and others for the distribution and restoration of features and shorts.
The Rohauer Library is the successor in rights (in most cases, all rights throughout the world) to the listed motion pictures of Buster Keaton, D. W. Griffith, the films of Marcel Hellman, Herbert Wilcox, Pendennis Films, Ltd., the Paramount short film libraryand others. These exclusive licenses and contracts bring to the Collection original nitrates, camera negatives, prints and other materials unavailable elsewhere, to assure the best prints possible.
The Cohen Film Collection’s first Blu-ray release (on February 14, 2013) was a digital restoration of the The Thief of Bagdad (Raoul Walsh, 1924).
For more information see the article at http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/14/entertainment/la-et-mn-cohen-films-20130214. See also www.cohenfilmcollection.net/.
• Library of Congress Announces National Recording Preservation Plan
On February 13, 2013, the Library of Congress unveiled "The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan,” a blueprint for saving America’s recorded sound heritage for future generations. The congressionally mandated plan spells out 32 short- and long-term recommendations involving both the public and private sectors and covering infrastructure, preservation, access, education and policy strategies.
The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 called on the Librarian of Congress to "implement a comprehensive national sound recording preservation program” that "shall increase accessibility of sound recordings for educational purposes.” The plan released in February is the cumulative result of more than a decade of work by the Library and its National Recording Preservation Board (www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/), which comprises representatives from professional organizations of composers, musicians, musicologists, librarians, archivists and the recording industry.
"The publication of this plan is a timely and historic achievement,” said James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. "As a nation, we have good reason to be proud of our record of creativity in the sound-recording arts and sciences. However, our collective energy in creating and consuming sound recordings has not been matched by an equal level of interest in preserving them for posterity. Radio broadcasts, music, interviews, historic speeches, field recordings, comedy records, author readings and other recordings have already been forever lost to the American people.
"Collecting, preserving and providing access to recorded sound requires a comprehensive national strategy. This plan is the result of a long and challenging effort, taking into account the concerns and interests of many public and private stakeholders. It is America’s first significant step toward effective national collaboration to save our recorded-sound heritage for future generations.”
Download a series of quotes from other members of the National Recording Preservation Board members and industry leaders (PDF, 1MB).
A web of interlocking issues currently threatens the long-term survival of U.S. sound-recording history, from a lack of storage capacity and preservation expertise to rapidly changing technology and disparate copyright laws governing historical recordings. Major areas of the nation’s recorded-sound heritage have already been destroyed or remain inaccessible to the public.
Experts estimate that more than half of the titles recorded on cylinder records—the dominant format used by the U.S. recording industry during its first 23 years—have not survived. The archive of one of radio’s leading networks is lost. A fire at the storage facility of a principal record company ruined an unknown number of master recordings of both owned and leased materials. The whereabouts of a wire recording made by the crew members of the Enola Gay from inside the plane as the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima are unknown. Many key recordings made by George Gershwin no longer survive. Recordings by Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and other top recording artists have been lost. Personal collections belonging to recording artists were destroyed in Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Many rights holders have not permitted researchers or the general public to listen to the recordings they legally control outside the limited scope of facilities maintained by legitimate research institutions. One survey of reissues of historical U.S. recordings created between 1890 and 1964 determined, "On average, rights owners have made available 14 percent of the historic recordings that they control from the various eras.” A gospel-music historian estimated that only a few of the thousands of gospel recordings that have been produced are now available commercially.
There is currently no efficient way for researchers or the general public to discover what sound recordings exist and where they can be found. Despite the development of the Internet, few historical recordings can be made available online legally because of aspects of the U.S. copyright law.
Technology of the 21st century provides enormous potential for addressing information-sharing, coordination, preservation and access challenges that were previously insurmountable. However, the digital environment has created significant technical, organizational and funding challenges for those institutions responsible for preserving recorded-sound history for future generations.
Among the recommendations:
- Create a publicly accessible national directory of institutional, corporate and private recorded-sound collections and an authoritative national discography that details the production of recordings and the location of preservation copies in public institutions;
- Develop a coordinated national collections policy for sound recordings, including a strategy to collect, catalog and preserve locally produced recordings, radio broadcast content and neglected and emerging audio formats and genres;
- Establish university-based degree programs in audio archiving and preservation and continuing education programs for practicing audio engineers, archivists, curators and librarians;
- Construct environmentally controlled storage facilities to provide optimal conditions for long-term preservation;
- Establish an Audio-Preservation Resource Directory website to house a basic audio-preservation handbook, collections appraisal guidelines, metadata standards and other resources and best practices;
- Establish best practices for creating and preserving born-digital audio files;
- Apply federal copyright law to sound recordings created before February 15, 1972;
- Develop a basic licensing agreement to enable on-demand secure streaming by libraries and archives of out-of-print recordings;
- Organize an advisory committee of industry executives and heads of archives to address recorded sound preservation and access issues that require public-private cooperation for resolution.
The recommendations were developed by task forces that included experts from public and private institutions across the country in the fields of law, audio preservation, library/archive management, business, digital technology and cultural history. The plan recommends that the board take responsibility for shepherding the recommendations forward.
"The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan” follows on the fulfillment of other mandates that Congress assigned to its Library in the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. Those mandates included establishment of the National Recording Preservation Board in 2002; annual announcements of the National Recording Registry starting in 2003; the publication of five landmark studies from 2005-2009 on issues affecting sound-recording preservation and access; and publication in 2010 of "The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age.” Both the preservation plan and the 2010 report are available as free downloads at www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub156and www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub148abst.html, respectively.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its vast collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
3. INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
• Ryerson University Launches Film Preservation MA
The Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University is pleased to announce the September 2013 launch of Film Preservation as a new specialization in the Master of Arts program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management. The program is the first of its kind in Canada.
The intensive, two-year graduate program assumes that a film preservation specialist or collections manager must be acquainted with the materials of film, its history, the social and cultural conditions of its production, and the critical and theoretical conceptions that inform its reception.
The program offers twelve one-term courses, including an internship and a professional practice project. In keeping with Ryerson tradition, the degree is designed to provide students with a graduate curriculum in which historical knowledge, practical experience, and professional education are fully integrated.
Course offerings include seminars in film materials and history as well as issues of curatorial practice and are taught by Ryerson faculty who are preservation and conservation specialists. In addition to this, students complete an internship at an archival facility, specialized film collection, film laboratory or digital media centre activity engaged in film preservation or restoration.
For more information see www.imagearts.ryerson.ca/photopreservation/or contact Sonya Taccone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Utrecht University to Oversee EUscreenXL project
The European Commission has awarded a 3.75 million Euros grant to Utrecht University for the research project EUscreenXL. The project will contribute to the realisation of the European Digital Agenda by making more than 1.000.000 audiovisual sources, mostly professional TV programming, accessible for European citizens, professionals and researchers. Dr Eggo Müller (Associate Professor of Film- and Television Studies, Utrecht University) will act as the coordinator of the three-year project starting in March 2013.
Building on the achievements of EUscreen, EUscreenXL aggregates a comprehensive amount of professional audiovisual content and makes it accessible through Europeana (www.europeana.eu). It will thus enhance the visibility of the 20th century represented in Europe’s audiovisual heritage.
EUscreenXL as the Pan-European aggregator of audiovisual heritage provides Europeana with more than 1.000.000 metadata records linking to online content held by 22 leading audiovisual archives, and 20.000 high quality contextualised programmes for public access and engagement on the EUscreen portal. The project promotes and maximises awareness for a shared Pan-European audiovisual content policy among archives, heritage institutions and broadcasters across Europe.
The project has been developed by Prof. Sonja de Leeuw (Professor of Dutch Television History in the European Context, Utrecht University) and Eggo Müller, in co-operation with Johan Oomen (head Research and Development at the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum). The EUscreenXL consortium brings together 32 partnersfrom 21 EU member states (among others the Universities of Athens, Brussels, Budapest, Helsinki, London, and Utrecht), 22 archives from almost all EU member countries (ranging from Polish TV, Romanian TV to RAI and Luce in Italy, and from Greece to the UK and Denmark and Sweden), and as technical partners Noterik, Amsterdam, and the EBU, Geneva. The project has established formal links with external stakeholders including the Europeana Foundation, the International Federation of Television Archives (FIAT/IFTA) and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA).
The EU funding has been granted to EUscreenXL as a Best Practice Network in the context of the Competiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, European Digital Agenda. The project is facilitated by the Faculty of Humanities’ EU Liaison Office (Quirijn Backx) and can build on EULO’s staff’s longstanding experience.
• Pacifica Radio Archives Makes Historic Programs Available
Pacifica Radio Archives in Los Angeles, California has announced the rebirth of 150 hours of historic programming from the 1960s to 2003.
In 2011, Pacifica Radio Archives received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to preserve 150 programs from its vaults, with preservation assistance from George Blood Audio and Video in Philadelphia, PA. The resulting collection encompasses an eclectic array of programs, some of which were only recently discovered by PRA staff. Among the many highlights of the collection are a WBAI interview with Andy Warhol about his film Chelsea Girls shortly afterthe film’s release in 1968; poet, activist and scholar Sonia Sanchez delivering two speeches at Cal State Long Beach in 1992; actuality sound of gay activists marching through NYC’s West Village to protest the shooting of William Friedkin’s Cruising; an interview with Lizzie Borden, director of the 1983 feminist science fiction film Born in Flames; a KPFA interview with acclaimed bass opera singer Elfego Esparza; a report on the role of video games in American culture from 1982; and many more. Where previous grant projects have focused on specific themes and topics in Pacifica’s collection, the NEA 2011 collection represents the depth and breadth of Pacifica’s vaults, a place where over sixty years of history, politics, and the arts blend together.
Pacifica has once again partnered with the Internet Archive to bring this unique collection to a wider audience. The digitized audio is now available for study, "footage,” and re-broadcast (on a case-by case basis regarding copyright and fair use). For more information and a list of available programs, see www.pacificaradioarchives.org/nea-grant-2011-2012
• AMPAS Announces 2012 Film Scholars
The collaborative process between directors and cinematographers and an exploration of Hollywood during the age of mergers and acquisitions will be the topics explored by Dr. Christopher Beach and Dr. Thomas Schatz, respectively, who have been named the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2012 Academy Film Scholars. The Academy’s Educational Grants Committee, which selected Beach and Schatz on the basis of their manuscript proposals, presented the first half of two $25,000 grants at a private luncheon on March 18, 2013.
Beach is an independent scholar currently based in Vermont. In The Image on the Screen: Directors, Cinematographers, and the Collaborative Process, the first book-length study focused on motion picture director-cinematographer collaborations, he will argue for the need to move beyond the auteurist paradigm and examine more closely the complex interaction between directors and other creative contributors.
Schatz is the Mary Gibbs Jones Centennial Chair of the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. He will complete a historical study of the American film industry in the period since the 1989 creation of Time-Warner and Sony-Columbia, which he has dubbed the "conglomerate age” in reference to the wave of mergers and acquisitions that transformed the movie industry.
Beach and Schatz will join 13 other Academy film scholars who are currently working on projects. Academy film scholars who have completed projects are Tino Balio, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Cari Beauchamp; Donald Crafton, University of Notre Dame; Peter Decherney, University of Pennsylvania; Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University; Richard B. Jewell, University of Southern California; Peter Lev, Towson University; Dana Polan, New York University; David Rodowick, Harvard University; and Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California.
Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars program is designed to "stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures." The Academy's cultural and educational wing - the Academy Foundation - annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. Through the Foundation, the Academy also presents a rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.
For grant guidelines and information about the Academy Film Scholars program, contact Grants Coordinator Shawn Guthrie at (310) 247-3000, ext. 3306, or via e-mail at email@example.com, or visit www.oscars.org/filmscholars/.
5. ONLINE RESOURCES• George Eastman House Joins Google Art Project
George Eastman House announced on April 3, 2013 that it is adding high-resolution photographs to the Google Art Project, offering yet another platform to share its collections. Eastman House, the world’s oldest museum of photography, is the first museum of photography to be selected for inclusion in the Google Art Project. The resolution of the images combined with a custom-built zoom viewer allows users the ability to discover details never before seen. In addition Eastman House has included all available cataloging data, allowing viewers access to information not previously available online.
The initial group of 50 Eastman House photographs on Google Art Project spans the 1840s through the late 20th century anda wide variety of photographic processesfrom the 174 years of the medium’s existence are represented. The variety of subjects featured include Frida Kahlo, Martin Luther King Jr., the first train wreck ever photographed, the Lincoln conspirators, the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx in the 1850s, and a portrait of photo pioneer Daguerre.The list of masters include William Henry Fox Talbot, Hill & Adamson, Southworth & Hawes, Timothy O’Sullivan, Mathew Brady, Julia Margaret Cameron, Eadweard Muybridge, William Henry Jackson, Edward S. Curtis, Gertrude Kasebier, Eugene Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Lewis W. Hine, Dorothea Lange, Nickolas Muray, and Benedict J. Fernandez. Eastman House will continually add to its Google Art Project galleries.
"Our partnership with Google is an exciting endeavor and truly opens the door to our photography vault, with areach unlike ever before,” said Dr. Bruce Barnes, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House. "This online exhibition experience allows for high-resolution andhigh-level researchof photographs from our immense archive—revealed and shared with an international community.”
The museum also has worked with Google to be a part of its Google Maps Street View project. Later this year, 360-degree views of the museum’s gardens, grounds, historic house, and vaults will be available online.
Visitors to the Google Art Project can browse works by the artist’s name, the artwork, the type of art, the museum, the country, collections, and the time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to invite their friends to view and discuss their favorite works in a video chat or follow a guided tour from an expert to gain an appreciation of a particular topic or art collection.
The My Gallery feature allows users to save specific views of any of the artworks and build their own personalized gallery. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole gallery can then be shared with friends and family. It’s an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections. In addition, a feature called "Compare” allows users to examine two pieces of art side-by-side, providing a look at how an artist’s style evolved over time or connects trends across cultures and delve deeply into two parts of the same work.
To date, more than 40,000 high-resolution objectsare available in the Art Project, part of the Google Cultural Institute, which is dedicated to creating technology that helps the cultural community bring online art, archives, heritage sites, and other material. The aim is to increase the range and volume of material from the cultural world that is available for online exploration. Street View images now cover more than 200 institutions in 40 countries.
Eastman House collection images are also online at Flickr Commons, with the museum being one of the first featured, alongside The Smithsonian and The Getty, in 2007.
George Eastman House combines world-class collections of photography and film with an active program of exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, and the National Historic Landmark house and gardens of George Eastman, the philanthropist and father of popular photography and motion picture film. Eastman House is also a leader in film preservation and photograph conservation, educating archivists and conservators from around the world through historic-process workshops and two graduate schools, the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and the Photographic Preservation and Collections Management master’s degree program. Eastman House, which was established as an independent non-profit museum in 1947, is one of the world’s foremost museums of photography and the third largest motion-picture archive in the United States. The museum intertwines unparalleled collections, totaling more than 4 million objects, of photography, motion pictures, and cameras and technology, as well as literature of these fields of study. Learn more at eastmanhouse.org.
• Digital Storage Experts Say: "We are heading for a data tsunami”
At the Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat in Palm Springs in February, 2013, Jim DeFilippis and Ando Setos, former colleagues at Fox, described two approaches to media archiving: migration versus fundamental archive storage, or "bits vs. atoms.” The benefit of digital file storage migration is continuous verification of content, available for all to use. The final version and components are there, Setos said. The downside is that it’s an ongoing process that needs prior planning. Fundamentally archival media is simple, durable, long-lasting; store-and-forget. The downside is not having a reading device in the future. "Because we’re dealing with files now and not things that are consumable by a human, like fixed art and looking at images on Mylar… we’re going to need complex devices to read anything that comes up in the future,” he said. "The problem is not the media, it’s ‘will I have the machine.’ Think of trying to build a quadraplex recorder today.”
And what do you do with all those bits? An HD show can generate as much as 30 hours of media at 200 Mbps for 2.7 terabytes of data. Double that for 3D, and quadruple it for 4K, for which a quarter of a petabyte would be needed for storage. A DCI-formatted movie can generate as much as 1 to 2 PB of media per title. 3D more than doubles the necessary storage capacity. Add a high-frame rate and double or even triple that. Distribution can then require more layers of storage based on what format each new online distributor requires, usually at 1 to 4 Mbps. For a 1,000-hour library, this can be as much as 0.5 to 2 PB for each distribution deal, DeFilippis said.
See the full article at www.tvtechnology.com/article/hpa--%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%80%9C-jimd-and-andy-setos-on-file-based-architectures-/218000.
• Fujifilm Discontinues Motion Picture Film Production
As of March 2013, Fujifilm has stopped production of the majority of its Motion Picture Film products. Products will continue to be available until the inventory is exhausted. Fujifilm will continue to provide products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and exhibition such as Recording film for Digital Separation [ETERNA-RDS] for long-term archiving, Imaging processing system [IS-100], and high-performance Fujinon lens for digital motion picture camera and projectors.
Products in discontinuation of manufacturing:
- Color Positive Film
- Color Negative Film
- B&W Positive and Negative Film
- Intermediate Film
- Sound Recording Film
- High Contrast Panchromatic Films
- Chemicals (Japan only)
Fujifilm first announced back in September 2012 that it would shift its business operations away from motion picture films for shooting, producing, projecting and archiving, and instead would focus on digital workflow of motion picture production and projection; its original press release can be read here: www.fujifilm.com/news/n120913.html.
For a sampling of the many stories about the demise of motion picture film, see www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/cut-celluloids-last-hurrah-8320390.html;http://nofilmschool.com/2012/10/fuji-ceasing-film-production-kodak-on-life-support-is-celluloid-done-for/. See also the 2012 documentary Side by Side (which is now streaming online) for further discussion of the shift from photochemical to digital film production, projection, and storage: http://sidebysidethemovie.com/.
"Archival News” reports recent news highlights from the media archive community for the Cinema Journal readership. Some information in this column comes courtesy of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) listserv, along with institutional newsletters, websites and press releases. This column is updated quarterly. Readers seeking more frequent news updates are encouraged to visit the AMIA news blog at www.AMIANewsbriefs.com. Contributions to this column are welcomed (see editorial information above).
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