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. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    Good blog you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  2. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  3. www / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Thanks!

  4. Denis Serrao / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    I really enjoy studying on this site, it contains excellent blog posts. “Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.” by Demosthenes.

  5. Louetta Leto / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

  6. Alonso Vieyra / Nov 11 at 8:15am

    you’re truly a just right webmaster. The web site loading velocity is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic activity in this subject!

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!