Great book about the history of film preservation

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sethb

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Great book about the history of film preservation

PostWed May 11, 2016 7:51 am

I recently found a good book about the history of film preservation on Amazon. It's called "A Light Affliction: a History of Film Preservation and Restoration" (2014) by Michael Binder.

All the well-known players are here: Iris Barry, Henri Langlois, James Card, FIAF, BFI, LOC and even Raymond Rohauer. Lots of stories of great successes and great failures (like Universal's decision to destroy all of its nitrate negatives in the 1940's because they had no commercial value and were incurring large storage costs). Also some good information I have not seen before, including the reasons why Kodak and the studios were not anxious to switch to safety film, even though it had been around since the 1920's; the surprising possible source of Kodak's "discovery" of triacetate film and even Eastmancolor in the late 1940's; how and why a large cache of silent movies was stored at the Eastman School of Music (for movie organists in training to practice with, natch!).

Best of all, the Kindle edition of this book is just $1.49, and no, that's not a misprint. And if you don't own a Kindle, you can download Amazon's KIndle app to your PC for free, and read the book on your computer monitor. SETH
"Novelty is always welcome, but talking pictures are just a fad." -- Irving Thalberg
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Richard P. May

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Re: Great book about the history of film preservation

PostFri May 13, 2016 8:48 am

This looked interesting, so I promptly went to Amazon to get it for my Kindle. It listed for $1.49. When I got the confirmation they deducted a discount (I'm not sure why) and my net cost is 56 cents.
Anyway, I'm about a third of the way thru it. It's very well written and researched, much more than other books on the subject. Certainly written by an English author, but with much very good information on U.S. archives and studio practice.
Not of too much interest for the general reader, but for those of us with experience in preservation, worth the time.
The acknowledgements list quite a few very qualified people for source information.
Dick May
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Frederica

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Re: Great book about the history of film preservation

PostFri May 13, 2016 8:57 am

sethb wrote:I recently found a good book about the history of film preservation on Amazon. It's called "A Light Affliction: a History of Film Preservation and Restoration" (2014) by Michael Binder.

All the well-known players are here: Iris Barry, Henri Langlois, James Card, FIAF, BFI, LOC and even Raymond Rohauer. Lots of stories of great successes and great failures (like Universal's decision to destroy all of its nitrate negatives in the 1940's because they had no commercial value and were incurring large storage costs). Also some good information I have not seen before, including the reasons why Kodak and the studios were not anxious to switch to safety film, even though it had been around since the 1920's; the surprising possible source of Kodak's "discovery" of triacetate film and even Eastmancolor in the late 1940's; how and why a large cache of silent movies was stored at the Eastman School of Music (for movie organists in training to practice with, natch!).

Best of all, the Kindle edition of this book is just $1.49, and no, that's not a misprint. And if you don't own a Kindle, you can download Amazon's KIndle app to your PC for free, and read the book on your computer monitor. SETH


Thank you for the heads up, I just bought a copy.
Fred
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westegg

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Re: Great book about the history of film preservation

PostTue May 17, 2016 6:23 pm

Thanks for the tip, but in this case I'm opting for the paperback (with reward points discount). Some books I want to see on a shelf. ;)

Still, a great offer for Kindle owners.
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sethb

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Re: Great book about the history of film preservation

PostWed May 18, 2016 6:04 pm

From reading the book, it sounds like the general opinion seems to be that a 4K digital scan of a 35mm element will capture all of the frame information in the film. If so, there might finally be a way to make a copy of a 35mm film without losing any of the picture quality, and furthermore, all additional copies of the 4K digital master would be just as good as the original -- no more murky dupes! I wonder how the cost of a 4K scan compares with the cost of making a new safety preservation negative and then striking a new positive print from that.

Anyway, that's good news, assuming that whatever software and hardware are used to create the digital master will also last for another 100+ years (unlike 2-inch videotape, CD's, DVD's, Blu-rays, COBOL, DOS, Windows XP, etc.).

But would the digital projected image still have that luminous quality associated with nitrate? SETH
"Novelty is always welcome, but talking pictures are just a fad." -- Irving Thalberg
"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk ?" -- Harry Warner
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alvisrocks

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Re: Great book about the history of film preservation

PostTue May 24, 2016 8:56 pm

Free for me with Kindle Unlimited
:)
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Salty Dog

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Re: Great book about the history of film preservation

PostFri Jun 24, 2016 2:04 pm

Just finished this excellent book, and followed it up with a viewing of a library copy of the Kino DVDHenry Langlois: Phantom of the Cinemateque, which did a great job of filling in some details.
Bill Coleman

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