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Matthew White
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I very much appreciate this diligent account of the British Pathe history, although you have skipped over one critical step in how this archive made its way to the public through YouTube. In the early 1990s, I managed a team of archivists and film editors at Pinewood Studios as part of a three-year initiative to restore and assemble the scraps of British Pathe negative into 2000 ft clean rolls for Telecine transfer to D2. It would take as much as 24 hours to assemble a reel for transfer, as the negative had been cut into stories, sequences, and shots as small as 10 feet, rolled tight with rubber bands and squished into metal film cans on shelves at the Pinewood nitrate and safety vaults. We had around seven Steenbecks and twelve staff on site at the height of the project, and successfully reconstructed the entire collection, which was transferred to D2 and shipped to the WPA Film Library's offices in Chicago. Besides the difficulties encountered with film on site, we suffered through lawsuits and work stoppages, through management changes and pound-to-dollar fluctuations, but we left the Pinewood offices with meticulously assembled and clean 2000 foot reels. When British Pathe received their lottery funds, they were able to use our assembled rolls for their process. I suggest that it would not have been possible for British Pathe to conduct their digitization without our work on the project, which cost us significantly more than the lottery funds allocated to their effort. The YouTube access is wonderful beyond measure, as all of that work in the 1990s is so easily referenced and on display. How does that happen? You have explained that very well and now, with this work of mine and many others from the 1990s on record, the story is complete.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2014 on Pathé goes to YouTube at The Newsroom blog
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Apr 24, 2014