Friday, October 5, 2012

A Film Library

If you are like me you probably have some movies at home. And you probably have them in several different formats too. We recently upgraded our DVD player to Blu-ray so now I enjoy the great picture you can get onto an LCD screen. Blu-ray is now my preferred format for watching movies at home. It looks great, is convenient  doesn't take up much room. In addition to this newest format I still have NTSC and a few PAL formated DVDs, VHS, DV, HDV, Hi-8, BetaSP, (got rid of my laser and CED analog discs a long time ago), and a handful of HD-DVDs that I play on my Xbox, not to mention all the various file formats of films: MPEG-2, MPEG-4, , etc. Which brings me to my other favorite format, film. There I have the usual suspects Standard 8, Super 8, 16mm, and some 35mm - all safety film too. My only nitrate film (which was a mistake to acquire) was donated to the Library of Congress and shipped off in with a slew of special paperwork no doubt to protect, from litigation, any harm that might result from a mishap. So there you have a library of some fourteen plus formats all vying for attention. I'm sure there are more I've forgotten. All, or most all, requiring there own player and hardware.
I was thinking about all of the above, well some of it, when I started to read this article from the March, 1927 edition of Amateur Move Makers. Of the competing formats at that time, 35mm, 17.5mm, 28mm, and likely some more too, this size - 16mm - won out for a host of reasons and had now become the most popular format for home use. The amazing thing to me is that this library, some 85 years old now, can still be played and enjoyed. I hope my Blu-ray discs last as long.

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