Rolling your own free online
public access program with no money, technology expertise, or grief
In the panel discussion
Accessive Speed: Giving Moving Images to the Public in Changing Times
Saturday, November 16, 2008. 2 – 3:30 pm
The AFA has approximately 60 of its titles online at the Internet
Archive. All were sponsored by individuals or corporations.
Permission was initially secured from most copyright holders (e.g.
In several cases copyright holder could not be found. On a
case-by-case basis, films were uploaded without copyright holder permission.
AFA films have been viewed nearly 100,000 times (96,123 as of
10/25) on IA
How the AFA program works
We suggest films from our archive and place them on a page on our site.
Another page explains how the program works.
Another page lists the films we have already uploaded, with links to the
We email occasional notices to our AFA subscription list, requesting
Several individuals have found our “suggested films for upload” page and
begun their sponsorships there.
Sponsorships are prepaid, then we ship films to the digitizer.
Sponsorships range from $198 for 30 minute film to $110 for 10 minute
film. Sponsors get a DVD of the film with a materials cost of $5, so the rest of
their donation is tax deductable.
Digitization and uploading, and sponsor DVDs are handles by Skip
Filmmakers: Steve Condiotti, Bruce & Katherine Cornwell, Bill Deneen,
Carson Davidson, Gerald McDermott, Marshall Seagall, Tom Smith
Corporate entities: American Association of Advertising Agencies, Big
Chief Drilling Co.
Film companies: EB, Pyramid Films
Nonprofit organizations: Castellano Family Foundation (films on Latino
culture), NYU (Picture in Your Mind)
Iran & Pyramid
Family sponsorships: Jeanne & Judith Barnes, Irving & Jeff Rusinow,
Johnny Bass & Philip Stapp
Ricky Leacock’s academic films
Glitches and NoGos
American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, Georges Spicas (Plat du Jour)
To provide online free public access to media elements in your collection
A. You really don’t have to have any money, just use
B. You don’t need to know anything about the
technology, just use a digitzer that does
Documenting the Educational Film: Processes, Resources, and
In the panel Lost in the Archives? Unearthing Small Gauge Nontheatrical
Films, Thursday - November 13, 2008, 3:45 - 5:15pm, AMIA Conference,
I. Objectives for this presentation
Describe how documentation and review can be done for very little money
and few resources
Describe important elements in the documentation process for academic
Show how we capture these elements in a database specific to academic
Describe how we validate the worth of our collection through the
Make our MS Access template available to you at no charge
II. About the Academic Film Archive of North America (AFA)
Differentiation between Academic and Guidance educational films.
Approximately 6,000 16mm films in our holdings. To date, approximately 3,500
have been documented.
continue to receive donations from media libraries.
Our requirements for documentation
to do (we have no paid employees, all are volunteers)
must be easy to train (most volunteers have never used a projector)
Extremely inexpensive (we have very little in terms of funding)
Specific to academic films
is limited: an important goal is to maximize efficiency of shelf space, to
prevent us from acquiring duplicates, and upgrade prints from damaged to better
Steps for documentation
A. Review (watch
the film), and take notes
Who is qualified? Anyone with an interest that can take legible
notes, and run a projector or flatbed.
We provide the reviewer with a screenshot of our data entry form with
We provide projectors that are reliable (in our case B&H 2592) with a
stop motion feature that allows reviewer to freeze credit frames. You may
wish to standardize on a projector based on your own locally available
repair resources, familiar with a particular type of projector.
We train volunteers to run projectors on an ad hoc basis, typically
no longer than one hour including how to remove masking tape, manually
thread a projector and clear jams. Frequently they buy their own.
We provide films that match the interests of our reviewers (Daniel
Document and Return
Repair film, label film can.
Repairs are made by data entry person.
We use guillotine splicer, splicing tape, Permacel tape for end.
Lots of production, distribution, and educational objectives in and
on the can. We keep original can when possible.
Enter the information in the database. AFA uses Microsoft Access, a
commercial off the shelf product. Inexpensive, can be designed and
maintained by a non-technical person, easily backed up. Access data can be
exported to MIC (Library of Congress' Union Catalogue).
Ancillary data not in film can often be ascertained from other
resources, including those listed below and internet searches. Data entry
person is responsible for discovering ancillary data.
Presenting the AFA Database
Fields optimized for academic film
Capture basic production and distribution data
Uses MIC guide for Forms, and our Subject fields
Ethnicity fields could change, depending on the geographic locality
and collection focus of a given archive (ours is in California)
Availability fields are based on four levels of public access
Information beyond data in fields is entered into “Notes” field
Valuation fields (OPP, AvgPrice) are based on prices in catalogues,
written in cans, or averaged using our averaging matrix, as follows:
2-12 minute films: Value of $190 per 400 foot (10 minute) film
was determined by totaling the known original sale price of fifty 400 foot
titles in GA database ($ 9,535), then dividing by 50, to determine average
price ($190.70). The value of $190 per unit will then apply to all films in
400 foot reels, from 2 minutes to 12 minutes.
13-23 minute films: Value of $320 per 800 foot (20 minute)
film was determined by totaling the known original sale price of fifty 800
foot titles in GA database ($15,850), then dividing by 50, to determine
average price ($317), then rounding to the nearest 5 ($320). The value of
$320 per unit will then apply to all films in 800 foot reels, from 13minutes
to 23 minutes.
24-34 minute films: Value of $430 per 1200 foot (30 minute)
film was determined by totaling the known original sale price of fifty 1200
foot titles in GA database ($21,378), then dividing by 50, to determine
average price ($427.56), then rounding to the nearest 5 ($430). The value
of $430 per unit will then apply to all films in 1200 foot reels, from 24
minutes to 34 minutes.
35-60 minute films: Value of $645 per 2400 foot (60 minute)
film was determined by totaling the known original sale price of fifty 2400
foot titles in GA database ($32,271), then dividing by 50, to determine
average price ($645.42), then rounding to the nearest 5 ($645). Most films
that ran between 35 and 60 minutes were offered on two 1200 foot reels,
therefore the totals in this calculation reflect a random selection of fifty
films residing on two 1200 foot reels. The value of $645 per unit will
then apply to all films in 2400 foot reels, from 35minutes to 60 minutes.
Currently available Resources
AFA website has data, abstracts, and reviews of
approximately academic 1500 films. Go to
www.afana.org/chronolog.htm or search for a film using the website’s
A-V Online. Norwood, MA: Ovid Technologies. Online
www.ovid.com (information originally compiled by the National
Information Center for Educational Media (NICEM).
Einstein, Daniel. Special Edition: a Guide to Network
Television Documentary Series and Special News Reports, 1955-1979.
Methuen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1987. ISBN 0-8108-1898-1
Out of Print Resources
Educational Film Locator. New York: R.R. Bowker
Company, 1st edition 1978, 4th edition 1990
Footage 89, published by Rick Prelinger in 1989,
contains abstracts and contact information on many of the companies
producing film and video of the era
Landers Film Reviews. Los Angeles, CA. (multiple
Any archive, no matter how small, can effectively
and efficiently document its educational film holdings on very
little money with minimal startup time.
Email me if you’d like our MS Access template to get you