Inside the Film & Media Archive

10 May
Equipment and film reels from the Film & Media Archive - Washington University

Equipment and film reels from the Film & Media Archive – Washington University. Photos by Alison Carrick.

We are introducing a new feature to the Out of the Archive Blog where we open up our vault and stacks to give you a glimpse of the equipment, materials, and items we work with in the Film & Media Archive.

Pictured here is a Steenbeck flatbed film editing suite. Eyes on the Prize I, shot on 16mm film, was edited on this system. Now housed at the Film & Media Archive, the editing suite is in working order and can handle two optical tracks and three magnetic sound tracks.

When Henry Hampton began filming Eyes on the Prize I, film was still the dominant medium for documentary productions. Technology changed rapidly and between Eyes on the Prize I, completed in 1987, and Eyes on the Prize II which aired in 1989 Hampton changed his editing technique. Eyes II was shot on film, as were the other series Blackside produced, but when it came time to edit the Steenbeck was not used. The film was transferred to 1″ video, edited, and then transferred back to film for the theatrical release.

Even though the majority of editing is now done on non-linear digital editing systems, the Steenbeck is still extremely useful when a film print needs to be inspected or viewed as it is much more gentle than projection.

 

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