Preserving History

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Stephen Frizza, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    As i mentioned in a previous post I have just come into possession of a large cache of Eastman Kodak Nitrate film from the 1930's. The seller I purchased these films from was unable to open the cans the film was stored in, did not know their origin and did not know the content upon the films.

    To my my discovery the films contain Horrific images of mass murder, mutilation and other atrocities. Men having their brains blown out the backs of their heads, men being gutted and left to be eaten by the birds or being buried with only their backsides out of the ground mooning the sky to name a few of the seriously sickening images these films capture of mans dark nature. I feel though that while these films of someones real events may be horrific they may have some historical significance.


    my concern is how best I should preserve these motion films of killings.
    is there anyone on earth who prints copies of nitrate films? can anyone suggest a safe way to convert the content of these motion films into a more safe and stable medium?
     
  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I don't know about having them printed, but may I ask where you obtained such films?
     
  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    One other point: I believe there's no statute of limitations on crimes such as you commit, so you may be sitting on evidence. (Although most perpetrators of crimes committed in the 1930s are probably dead by now, there may be a few still alive.) I suggest you consult a lawyer and/or contact an appropriate police agency.
     
  4. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    The most economical way of preservation is having the film scanned and recorded to Video. This may preserve the content. There are archives worldwide, such as George Eastman House in the USA that actually make preservation copies (on modern safety film) of historic films, but it would be a long shot. You could also possibly find a donor who would fund the project.
     
  5. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Which continent do these scenes take place on? Asia? Since you are located in Australia does this material depict events in China between the major wars?

    You may have gotten hold of some historically significant footage.
    Have you considered contacting Kodak for information on preserving this material?

    I assume that you are aware that nitrate negative is extremely flamable and if I remember correctly can spontaniously combust under the right circumstances. A lot of labs, post production facilities and projection rooms are not equiped to handle it and may refuse to work with it.

    I would contact Kodak. Also schools like the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) or USC are heavily involved in preservation. UCLA has special screening rooms that are equiped to project nitrate negative.
     
  6. Urmas R.

    Urmas R. Member

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    I would probably contact a good history museum and discuss the discovery. These photos might just change the understanding of some historical event (WWI probably in this case?) and have thus a much greater importance.

    Most top level museums also have their own labs to develop, print or restore old photos. It might be a great loss if some valuable photo gets damaged in a poor lab.
     
  7. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    The films have been shot in Northern Australia and were acquired through private sale. The seller not knowing anything about the items they were selling. Believes the only thing of possible interest was that the rusted tins would be Kodak memorabilia. Their contents which were ultra hard to release revealed to be quite a horrific but interesting find. I own a small pro lab in Sydney and have gotten the film stored in a fireproof containment at the moment until I figure out what is the best thing to do with them.
     
  8. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Old nitrate films are usually quite fragile. They need special care when duplicating them. There are a couple of groups that specialize in doing this, but I don't recall their names. I would contact the George Eastman House for assistance and references.
     
  9. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    As someone said above, a history museum or a museum associated with a large university is a likely alternative. They will either have the resources or be able to apply for grants to handle the films. Nitrate films can be successfully transferred to either safety film or video. Keep them stored in a cool, dry place in the meantime.

    Peter Gomena
     
  10. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    If I were you, I'd be on the phone to the University of Sydney's history department ASAP.

    They may well either have the facilities or know where to obtain them to deal with projecting/copying nitrate film relatively locally (suggestions in the US are all well and good, but I wish you luck finding an airline/carrier willing to ship the stuff once they know what it is,) but they will also have the experience to know how to deal with the content. As someone says, what you have may well have evidential/legal value as well as historical.


    (Edit: Minor edit and ... great minds apparently think alike! Peter put it much more succinctly than me and we crossed in the post!)
     
  11. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Your uploaded picture came and went. I think you had better call a lawyer.
     
  12. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    what do you mean? the image i uploaded is still there, also these motion films are over 70 years old.
     
  13. Miskuss

    Miskuss Member

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    Incredible find. Better a lawyer than the police. The police may lean towards confiscation, I personally would lean towards preserving the historical documents before it becomes a legal matter.

    "Nothing kind about mankind" -
    Tom Waits
     
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  15. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    should I scan some other frames and show them on here?
     
  16. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    We are allway's curious..............

    Peter
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    please do not post snuffimages in the main gallery.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2009
  18. Miskuss

    Miskuss Member

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    I'd like to see them.
     
  19. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Stephen, i would post these in a off site gallery and post a link if you want to show them. This gives people the option to click to them off site. This is probably a bit much to be posting them here.

    Sean
     
  20. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    I agree with Sean on this... they would be a bit too much.

    gene
     
  21. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Stephen -
    My approach would be to take the following steps ASAP:
    1. Contact the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra (www.nfsa.gov.au) and tell them what you have;
    2. Depending upon what the NFSA says, and upon whether you want to retain any sort of claim yourself to these films, speak to a private criminal lawyer who can help you in your dealings with the police;
    3. Contact the police - probably the AFP in Canberra in the first instance rather than the state guys;
    4. Don't post any footage or stills here or elsewhere on the internet until you have done the above - if the police decide this stuff is important to them, they are unlikely to have much of a sense of humour.

    Ian
     
  22. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    its too late ian
    he posted some of them in his safety film nitrate test thread ...
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd consult a local attorney rather than an Internet photo forum. They will have the real answers that will help you decide what to do next.

    I would certainly not share any of the work until you get the score from an attorney.

    Are they prints or in-camera film? If they are prints, one thing I would try to do would be to find duplicate footage from another source. Perhaps if you do this, you will be able to find out what events the footage depicts. They may just be prints of already-known events.

    How do you know they were shot in northern Australia? Are the people shown in military uniforms? Are the perpetrators shown? Are the weapons shown? Are there dates listed? What are the ethnicities of the victims and of the perpetrators?

    But do ask an attorney for advice before doing anything.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2009
  25. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    no its original motion footage.
     
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Stephen,

    the segment you posted has a KS perforation which makes me think it is a copy.