This post comes from Arielle Lavigne, Assistant Audiovisual Archivist, and Libby Hopfauf-Fisher, Audiovisual Archivist, at Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound.
Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound (MIPoPS) recently hosted a Home Movie Day event as part of Archives Month 2018! MIPoPS works with Seattle-area libraries, archives, and museums to reformat their analog videotapes into digital files. We train representatives from each of our partner institutions on how to successfully digitize their magnetic media. Each representative, now educated and aware of the serious threats facing magnetic media collections, returns to their home institution as an advocate for their organization’s audiovisual material.
October 20, 2018 was Home Movie Day, an international celebration of amateur films and filmmaking with lectures, screenings, and hands-on activities taking place across the globe. Related events take place during the entire month of October. MIPoPS wanted to orchestrate an event to share our expertise with members of the general public, empowering them to create preservation plans for their personal moving image collections. We were excited to be a part of the 16th annual celebration!
Planning began at the end of August, for an event to take place in October. The Northwest Film Forum, an independent theatre here in Seattle, generously donated a two hour time slot for the event. The Film Forum also hosts Moving History, MIPoPS’ quarterly archival screening night series, and their support has been critical to our organization. Because of the limited time slot, we decided not to offer any digitization or projection of attendees film and video. There simply wasn’t enough time prior to the event, or day of, to safely screen or digitize material, especially film.
Instead, we went with an “Antiques Roadshow” style event, where attendees could bring examples of their obsolete media to our team of film and video experts. We contacted local film and video digitization vendors to inquire if they’d be willing to contribute any discounts or brochures for attendees – and everyone was interested! Thanks to this generous support, we were able to distribute coupons for film, video, and photo digitization. Reformatting film and video can be prohibitively expensive, so these coupons could mean the difference between someone’s personal collection being digitized, versus it moldering in their wet garage.
Seattle Area Archivists contributed canvas tote bags that we could stuff full of goodies. Our swag bags also contained educational brochures on best practices for caring for moving image collections and basic digital preservation steps, archival cotton swabs, lists of local digitization vendors, stickers and more. On the big screen, we played home movies from MIPoPS staff and local institutions like University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections and Washington State University, all set to music.
Some of the most tangible rewards following the event have been our new relationships with many of the digitization vendors in our area. A local video production studio has suggested we partner with them to put on a Home Movie Day in the future – including use of their facilities and equipment! Potential partnerships like this one would allow us to host a much more involved event next year, including projection and, possibly, gratis digitization – both of which we believe will substantially increase turn out.
We want to thank GT Recording, Lightpress, Lotus Media, Seattle Area Archivists, Seattle Municipal Archives, Victory Studios, and Videoland Productions for their generous contributions, as well as Northwest Archivists for their funding! Likewise, this event would not have been successful without our incredible team of volunteers. We’d like to end with a big “thank you” to Hannah Palin, Andrew Weaver, Kyle Smith, and Marta Sivchuk for all of their help!