Three Views Of Digital Preservation

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

I worked on a large inventory project with a group of media production units in the Department of Defense a few years ago. We were at one of the storage facilities and a shipment of albums that had been on a base in Spain came in that day. As we were opening one of the couch-sized boxes to get an es

The Preservation Of The Singular Versus The Mass

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The (sorta) recent discovery and restoration of the film interstitials and outtakes for the stage play Too Much Johnson (I refuse to call a jumble of scenes tied to a larger narrative a film) shot by Orson Welles poses the obvious, titular question, how much Johnson is too much?

Apparently, as in

Why Do We Look Past The Complexities – And Shortcomings – of Film?

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Media preservation is an imperfect art. In the end, it is about maintaining a faithfulness to the original image/signal/presentation, within the confines of what is possible as impacted by condition of the original, existing technology, desired use, and (shhh) budget. There are options for reformatt

Ray Harryhausen Is Cinema To Me

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Ray Harryhausen is cinema to me.

I use the term cinema and associate it with him because my love of the moving image was not forged in theaters but on UHF and early cable television. When I was 5 years old I was semi-disappointed one day when I thought I heard my mom say The Birds was on TV that

The Elitism of Film Preservation

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

When I was studying some (and failing at) History as an undergrad (I don’t think the professors fully appreciated my approach of reading and interpreting historical texts as if they were literature) the full shift to the Bottom Up approach to the field was settling in. There was still time in class

Are The Aesthetics Of Decay And The Aesthetics Of Preservation Compatible?

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

If decay is a beautiful thing, why are we working so hard to preserve all this archival material?

A facetious statement, perhaps, but an exaggeration that underscores the fact that aesthetics guide many of the decisions we make as archivists and preservationists. We may claim it is for research,

Is the Product of Less Process Sufficient for Audiovisual Collections?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Greene and Meissner’s “More Product, Less Process” is both an inspiration to me and one of the banes of my existence. As I’m sure many archivists feel, it’s refreshing to hear an approach to collection processing that is pragmatic and takes into account the realities of the time and person

Don’t Kill The Carrier Part 1 — The Digital Dilemma is a Communication Problem not a Format Problem

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

My first experience with 16mm home projection was during a sleepover at a classmate’s home. I was 7 and at the time in a private school in southern Oregon, which meant my classmate A) either lived in town or in an even smaller town somewhere within a 50 mile radius (it was the latter), and B) that h

Is There A Right Time to Let Go of Original Materials

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Film is dead. Again. Or still. Or will be soon. It’s difficult to tell where exactly film is in the continuum from bloody-phlegm-coughed-up-in-a-handkerchief to too-far-gone-to-be-a-threatening-zombie. The tendency in the technological age is to declare the end of X and move on to Y before one (or

Naturalistic Artifice

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

One thing I’ve always loved about film is the delicacy of the frame. Well, I very much doubt I always would have stated it in such terms. I can certainly say I have nearlyalways been a sucker for that feeling that — despite the fact that you know there’s a crew of people watching the events transpi