Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

November 11 at 8:15am

Simple Fix: Tell Us Where Your Film Elements Are

By Ted Hope

Film preservation is a difficult thing. And it has gotten more difficult. But it could be made easier.  Like many things, although there is not yet an app for that, there is a simple fix.

If you are reading this now, I am going to assume you know about the “digital dilemma” and recognize that we probably are going to lose a great deal of the films that have been created over the last decade.  As digital is not a stable medium, and filmmaker rarely migrate their data, archive quality versions of films that were originated on digital and never output to film, are probably gone for good.  I guess one simple fix would just be to educate people more about this.  But then again, knowledge does not ofter alter behavior — or else we wouldn’t smoke, over eat, or have unprotected sex.

Yet we have the mechanisms and infrastructure to make everything a whole heck of a lot better — and who knows maybe we can save a few films from oblivion.  Digital requires it’s own initiative (and I have a few ideas about that too), but good old celluloid — reliable as an archive medium for about 100 years — has it’s own challenges too, starting with the most basic of knowing the what and the where.

Perserving films is one thing, but the process can’t start unless you have the elements to work with.  You won’t have the elements unless you know where they are.  How often do we hear the tale of yet another version of Metropolis being discovered in a vault somewhere?  The fact is filmmakers often lose track of where their elements are. They have their film print made at a lab, and then they forget.  If we were lucky enough to have had our film funded by a third party, but if your film industry is at all like mine, precious few companies last for eternity.  Companies go out of businesses.  Labs go out of business.  Humans forget.  And soon we don’t know where our mix master is, let alone our negative.

If every film festival requested on their application for filmmakers to identify where there film elements are, we would have the foundation to create a fantastic database.  We could even take it one step further and ask filmmakers to identify what their preservation plan was; not that they would most likely have a preservation plan, but if you ask the question, at least they’d start thinking about it.

As most festivals use WithoutABox for their applications, it should be easy to facilitate, right?

If the database was collected, it could be put on line and filmmakers could thus update it if they ever moved their elements.

Help me think this out.  It is a simple fix.  I thought I would initiate it as soon as I ran a film society, but well, things happen and things get delayed, but there is no time like now.


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print


leave a comment
  1. CourtneyDaniels / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    Such a hugely important topic to bring up! I have a plan, but I’m not sure if it’s sufficient: I have the final edit saved on a hard drive and was thinking I’d put another hard drive containing the final edit in a safety deposit box at a bank.

  2. find more / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    I just want to mention I am just beginner to blogging and definitely enjoyed your web page. Almost certainly I’m want to bookmark your site . You actually have fabulous articles and reviews. Appreciate it for revealing your webpage.

  3. read content / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    I just want to say I’m all new to blogging and actually savored you’re web site. More than likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You surely have superb articles and reviews. Thanks for sharing with us your website page.

  4. design / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    Wonderful web site. A lot of useful info here. I¡¦m sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your sweat!

  5. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    After checking out a number of the blog articles on your site, I seriously like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site as well and tell me what you think.

  6. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this matter here on your blog.

  7. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe that this web site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!

  8. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!