Los Angeles Public Hearing: Volume 2
Report of the Librarian of Congress
Table of Contents
- The National Film Preservation Board and its Current Members
- List of Abbreviations
- Opening Remarks by James Billington, Librarian of Congress
- Opening Remarks by Fay Kanin, Chairwoman, NFPB
- Statements by:
The National Film Preservation Board and its Current Members
List of Abbreviations
- American Film Institute
- American Movie Classics
- Association of Moving Image Archivists
- Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
- American National Standards Institute
- American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
- British Film Institute
- Broadcast Music, Inc.
- Committee for Intercollegiate Cooperation
- Council on International Nontheatrical Events
- Film Archives Advisory Committee/Television Archives Advisory Cmte.
- Federation Internationale Des Archives Du Film/International Federation of Film Archives
- Independent Film Importers and Distributors of America
- high-definition television
- internegative film
- interpositive film
- Society for Imaging Science and Technology
- Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division
- track music and effects sound track
- Museum of Modern Art Dept. of Film
- Motion Picture Association of America
- National Moving Image Database
- National Association of Photographic Manufacturers
- National Archives and Records Administration
- National Endowment for the Arts
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- National Film Preservation Board
- National Historical Publications and Records Commission
- Online Computer Library Center
- Relative Humidity
- Radio-Keith-Orpheum Pictures Corporation
- Research Libraries Information Network
- Society for Cinema Studies
- Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
- United Artists
- University of California, Los Angeles, Film and Television Archive
- University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television
- United States Information Agency
- yellow, cyan and magenta color film separation records; also L.A. film lab
The Current State of American Film Preservation - Friday, February 12, 1993
National Film Preservation Board Panel
Hotel Sofitel Ma Maison
Los Angeles, California
The National Film Preservation Board Panel met, pursuant to notice, at 9:07 a.m., at the Hotel Sofitel Ma Maison, Opus Ball Room, 8555 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, to conduct its first public hearing on the current state of American film preservation, Winston Tabb, Associate Librarian for Collections Services, Library of Congress, presiding as Panel Moderator.
National Film Preservation Board Panel
Proceedings: Morning Session
DR. BILLINGTON: Welcome to the NFPB public hearing. I want to thank you all for joining us today, for the first of two public meetings on film preservation by the National Film Preservation Board. These meetings are intended to help us develop a report which we must deliver to the Congress in June as well as to achieve the historic mission in which we've been involved for some time: to preserve our film heritage.
In June 1992 Congress reauthorized, as most of you know, the National Film Preservation Board for four years and asked us to continue performing some of the tasks which we were already performing, such as selecting 25 culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films and collecting archival copies of them for a national collection in the Library of Congress. But the 1992 Act clarified that our principal mission is film preservation.
Congress asked us to take two steps. First, we were asked to take a snapshot of all the current activities and issues in our national film preservation efforts across the country and to report this information to Congress by the end of June 1993. Second, using this report as a working document, as the basis for further work, we are then to work with all of the relevant parties to develop a national plan to preserve our film heritage. We will prepare this plan by the end of 1993.
So today we're embarked on our first task. This is the first major part of that task, as information gatherers. Last September, the newly reconstituted National Film Preservation Board decided that we should hold public meetings to discuss our nation's preservation activities. And these public meetings are a great opportunity, we feel, to air a wide assortment of issues, to hear from all parts of the film community and to begin to shape public policy.
Before we start there are two points that are worth underlining, I think. First of all, we are defining preservation broadly to include the full range of activities required to save and also to make available America's film heritage.
The second is that Congress asked us to limit our report to film preservation. So we will put aside and not be involved in questions about television and other video media. Our report may pave the way for a second report on the important issues involved with the preservation of television and video materials, but we were not given this mandate from Congress and we're not charged to address them today or in our June report. And there's quite enough to do with the subject that we are required to deal with by June.
So today we'll add to our information base with testimony from almost 20 witnesses. We're doing it in the public forum to encourage discussions of the issues we are now facing. On February 26, we will hold a similar meeting in Washington at the Library of Congress. We encourage additional comments from those who are testifying today, and from those of you in the audience, on any of the subjects before us today.
All written comments must be received to be of use in the study by the Library of Congress by March 15. Before I call on Fay Kanin, the esteemed Chair of the National Film Preservation Board, I want to especially thank Annette Melville and Scott Simmon, our hardworking consultants, who have spent the last few months interviewing many individuals represented today. They've begun, I think, most auspiciously to research the issues that confront those charged with preserving film.
And now, it's my great pleasure to turn to the Chairman of our Board, who's done so much to shape it and give it a sense of direction and purpose, and to bring together the various elements of the film community to focus on this important national problem. Ms. Kanin.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Thank you, Dr. Billington. As Chair, I just want to make a very brief observation, because I know we've got a lot to do today and I'm not going to take up much time. The number and the diversity of interests that are participating in this public meeting toward a national plan to preserve film is very exciting for all of us who care so much about it.
As Dr. Billington said before, it's historic that the Library and the National Film Preservation Board are able to provide an opportunity for archives, for the major film studios, for film labs and for the users of film to discuss in an open meeting our mutual interest in saving the thousands of films that need our attention.
Even before we start today, we've already accomplished something valuable in bringing us all together and encouraging this dialogue. I, as all of us, look forward to what we'll be hearing and learning today. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you very much, Fay. I would now like to introduce the other panelists. You've heard from Dr. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, and from Fay Kanin, who's the Chairman of the Film Board. To Dr. Billington's left is David Francis, the Chief of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division for the Library of Congress and at the end, David Chasman, a veteran industry executive. Next to Fay is John Belton, who is a member of the National Film Preservation Board, representing the Society for Cinema Studies; Dr. Belton is a professor at Rutgers. Next to him is Milt Shefter, an alternate at-large member of the Board and President of Miljoy Enterprises, a preservation consultancy.
I'd like to begin by reviewing some of the procedures we'll be following today. First, we have organized the speakers into panels so that we can give everyone a chance to testify, but also keep within the limits of time so that everyone who has prepared a statement will be able to make it.
The speakers will go in the order that is listed on the charts that we distributed at the table outside. Generally, people have been organized alphabetically by the organization that they're representing. With the first panel Mr. Ptak is going to be a little late, so we'll save him for last.
It is required that everyone speak no more than 10 minutes. We've told everyone this and if I need to, I will call time and bang on my gong here so we're sure that we don't run out of time. All written comments today are being transcribed. They will be published as an appendix to the report that we give to Congress in June.
As the Librarian said, today's hearing is the first of two that we'll be having. The second is two weeks from today in the Mumford Room at the Library of Congress. The most important thing, I think, for everyone here to know is that while we may run out of time for comments here, you are encouraged to think of new things that you would like to have put into the record. You can put any further questions or comments in writing to the Library of Congress by March 15. This is a very important deadline to meet. Such comments should be put in writing and mailed to Mr. Leggett of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
All of this information is contained in the photocopy of the notice from the Federal Register which is on the table outside. If any of you have any questions about that, we'll be glad to answer them after the morning hearing or this afternoon as well.
Now, I think we should go ahead and begin. The first group of panelists is already at the table, five representatives of the public film archives. We'll begin with Mr. Friend from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Statement of Michael Friend, Director, Academy Film Archive, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
MR. FRIEND: Thank you and I'd like to thank the panel for giving us the chance to speak and be represented here. I'm Michael Friend. I'm the Director of the Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And I've prepared a statement here which was largely meant to not replicate things that other people on the panel are going to say, and it's a statement that probably should come after their statements in logical progression, but I will be happy to go first here, and it bears on technical issues rather than the reasons why we do preservation in the first place. And I think my colleagues will speak ably to those issues.
There are a couple of issues that I need to bring up which are highly or at least rather technical in nature, but which I think need to be considered in the context of a national preservation plan. I'd like to start by introducing our archive and talking about our work.
The archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has existed as a part of the Academy foundation for over 20 years. As the film collection of the Academy, the collection was created to serve the work of the Academy and foster the study of the motion picture as art and as science. The Academy archive now contains approximately 12,000 films and videotapes of diverse origin.
Early cinema is well represented in the Academy film archive by the paper print collection preserved by Kemp Niver in conjunction with the Library of Congress, important collections of film by M_li_s and Lumiere as well as the negatives of Chaplin and Keaton and other important masters of the American cinema. In addition the collection has extensive holdings of American silent film from a variety of other sources.
Throughout the years the Academy attempted to collect copies of Academy award winners and nominees. Although the core of our collection is comprised mainly of motion picture features, our holdings include a large number of shorts and documentaries. There are also many films collected for their value as an example of technical achievement in motion pictures, including the Technicolor collection of prints, guide reels and tests.
Over the years the Academy has received the personal collections of prominent Hollywood figures such as Hitchcock, Zinnemann, Huston and Peckinpah. These collections often contain long versions or director's cuts of important motion pictures as well as personal footage of family and professional life. Much of this material is of great value to scholars who come to the Academy to study the papers and other documents associated with these important figures of cinema.
The Academy archives also has the most complete collection of the Academy awards ceremonies which have been recorded on film, kinescope and various video formats. Our archive has been a source of programming as well as a preservation facility. Those in the archival field will remember the Academy's catalytic role in the preservation of the paper prints, but in addition, our distinguished nitrate collection of M_li_s films was entirely copied with funds generated internally.
Currently the archive loans prints to a number of institutions including the UCLA Film and Television Archive, Pacific Film Archive, the Film Department of George Eastman House, Los Angeles County Art Museum, the British Film Institute, the Cin_math_que Fran_aise, the Pordenone Film Festival and, of course, the studios.
The Academy archive is located in the Academy Center for Motion Picture Study at 333 South La Cienega Boulevard, and this facility, which is shared with the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library, contains offices and work spaces for the Academy archives and a 1,500 square foot environmentally controlled storage area that's been stabilized at 50_F and 50% humidity.
The vault houses all of the Academy's nonnitrate preservation material. The Academy archive is actively involved with other archives directly as well as through the Association of Moving Image Archivists and the International Federation of Film Archives. Other activities include work with a number of studios on preservation and documentation projects and participation in the Film Foundation's technical committees.
Many of the most important issues concerning preservation today are being raised by our colleagues on this panel. We would like to raise two more less technical issues that should be taken into consideration in the national preservation plan, and although these remarks are directed primarily at the preservation of feature motion pictures produced and distributed by major studios, they also pertain to the preservation of independent films.
The first issue is what is preservation today? When we say films should be preserved or that a film has been preserved, what do we mean? There are a number of sources that define preservation in terms of using the original medium engaged for preservation, making protection and duplicate negative elements and so forth, but there is no commonly accepted definition of preservation that can serve as the basis for a national preservation plan. If such a plan is to come into being, and if new programs for the support of preservation of work are to come into being, we will need clear and unambiguous expression of what we all mean by the word preservation.
In the archival world we're often confronted with a single, more or less unique element, a nitrate negative or a print or other element which is the only source for preservation of the film. In other cases, there are multiple sources for reconstruction of the film and parts of different prints. Negatives, finegrains, and sound track elements must be combined to produced a restored original version of a film.
We generally presume that original version to be the longest released version of the film as indicated by contemporary reviews, studio records, existing film elements, etcetera. The reconstruction work often requires collaboration of archives, studios, distributors and collectors. The first great era of film preservation involved duplication of physical materials that were often the property of the archives and frequently the films being preserved were in the public domain, such as silent films, whose copyright had expired.
We're now in a new era of preservation. Although there's still a very large amount of nitrate film to be preserved, the focus of preservation work is shifting from black-and-white nitrate film to color film on acetate base. Most of the original film elements are still the property of the studios, and most of the motion pictures being preserved are under copyright protection and are being exploited in ancillary markets.
In the case of films since about 1950, there has been a proliferation of emulsions, screen and sound processes--Eastman Color film, Cinemascope film, Techniscope, VistaVision, 3-D, 65mm processes, Cinerama, magnetic, Dolby and digital sound system among many others--that make preservation choices much more complicated. Although the color instability of the Eastman Color process is well known, color separations are not always made for color films.
Is a film originally released in four channel sound preserved if there is only a monophonic record of the sound track? Is a VistaVision film preserved if color separations have not been made from the negative in the original format? We need a definition of the minimum technical requirement for a film to be considered preserved.
Often preservation elements are made but never tested. When an original element is destroyed or deteriorates, protection elements are sometimes found to be insufficient to reproduce the film. Standards should be established for quality control of all phases of preservation work, including test printing and examination of the sound and picture elements.
Increasingly motion pictures are created to be exhibited in a variety of different contexts and often a variety of versions. Director's cuts special editions for theatrical, cable or home market release and other significant variants of the original release version may exist. A general policy which addresses the preservation of all important versions of a film should be considered.
If we're going to create a national preservation plan to address the problems of film preservation, studio production as well as the film produced in other contexts, we need to define preservation more precisely in terms of standards for image quality, types of elements needed to protect a particular type of film original and organization, documentation, storage, maintenance and access to preservation elements.
This forum is not the place to propose such a definition, but the national preservation plan should support the emergence of standards for film preservation such as those being studied by the Film Foundation's technical committee and promote the institutionalization of such standards through such organizations such as SMPTE.
My second issue is the future of preservation. The widespread apprehension of the physical limitations of film as a support for moving image storage and duplication has led us, in the archives, to the realization that motion pictures cannot be duplicated beyond a few generations without drastic and visible loss of image quality.
With the rapid development of electronic imaging sectors of science and industry, there may come a time when film, including stock, printing and processing facilities and expertise becomes far less common and far less available than it is today. Unfortunately, electronic forms of storage appear to be considerably less stable than motion picture film. There is, in fact, no true preservation medium that will capture all of the information in a film image and store that information in a recoverable form for an archival period of time.
We submit that any true national preservation plan must include a research component that is directed towards two goals. The first of these goals should be the identification and development of technology that allows the scanning of an original motion picture negative or other film element from film into the digital domain at full resolution, supports the preservation enhancement of the image and allows the digital image to be transferred back to film at full resolution and without artifact. Such a system would overcome the inherent limitation of photomechanical duplication, the analog process, which is the basis of all film preservation today.
Second, the conceptualization and development of a true archival system for the long term storage, and I mean more than five hundred years, of conservation of motion pictures that is highly reliable, economical, relatively universal in terms of technical standards and deployment, flexible in terms of its ability to be transferred back to film or other media and low maintenance in terms of storage, environment and other inspection requirements, must be considered. We do not envision the conversion of every motion picture to this archival format, only ones that have been identified as having perennial importance.
We do not see the development of these systems as public sector activities, but the national preservation plan and subsequent initiatives could provide a valuable stimulus and a forum for the conceptualization and validation of these systems. The work of preservation is necessarily one of looking to the past and often of adopting tools of the past to recover our motion picture heritage, but it would be wrong for those responsible for this heritage not to look now to the future and take into account the immense changes occurring today in the regime of the moving image.
Those are the issues I hope to present and I hope that you can take them into your deliberations and thank you for the opportunity.
MR. TABB: Thank you very much, Mr. Friend. We'll next hear from Ms. Ishizuka from the Japanese American National Museum.
Statement of Karen Ishizuka, Curator, Photographic and Moving Image Archive, Japanese American National Museum
MS. ISHIZUKA: Good morning. My name is Karen Ishizuka and I'm the Curator of a relatively small but significant archive, consisting primarily of amateur film footage taken by Japanese immigrants in the 1920s and 30s and their American born children in the 1940s and 50s.
What I'd like to speak to today is the significance of amateur film footage, specifically what is commonly known as home movies, as unique and best surviving records of everyday life that must be preserved in order to secure a true picture of the multi-cultural reality that is America.
Until as recently as the 1960s and even 1970s in some parts of the country, activity in communities of color were not considered particularly newsworthy and therefore, usually went unreported and, hence, undocumented by the mass media, the chroniclers of modern society. Not until after the civil rights movement were people of color reflected in newsreels, advertisements, mainstream feature films, illustrations and commercials in other than infrequent, often stereotypic and often times racist portrayals.
We have never seen images of America in the early part of the century as lived by Mexican Americans, African Americans, Japanese Americans and other ethnic groups except as recorded and documented in our family albums and home movies. As such, early home movies provide the only motion picture documentation of ethnic life from the point of view of those who lived it.
They provide never-before-seen visions of America and are deserving of our best preservation efforts. I'd like to tell you a bit about the Photographic and Moving Image Archive of the Japanese American National Museum as an example of the significance of the untapped cultural resource of home footage.
I first heard about home movies taken by Japanese immigrants quite by accident while collecting still photographs and found them about five months later. They turned out to be twenty-four hundred-foot reels of 16mm black-and-white film taken as early as 1925, which I think is about a year after Eastman Kodak introduced sixteen millimeter to the public. And on this early home footage were remarkable documentary images, some we had never even seen in stills.
There was very complete documentation of his lumber exporting business in the Pacific Northwest, including cutting the logs, Japanese lumberjacks floating logs down the Columbia River, loading the big ships and even a trip to the bank to get his business loan. There were early scenes of Seattle including a busy unlined intersection with vintage automobiles going every which way and an Independence Day parade featuring World War I vintage tanks and soldiers.
There were rare interior scenes of a Japanese American bank with Caucasian workers using upright telephones and Japanese workers calculating figures on an abacus. Clearly, these were not the endless, seemingly endless, vacations, birthday parties and kids learning to walk that one usually associates with home movies. These early home movies were clearly documentary footage of cultural and historical significance.
From then, it seemed like about every fifth person that I talked to either had or knew of someone who had old home movies. Another collection was taken by a Nisei, a second generation Japanese American who is now 78 years old. He began taking home movies in 1935 after seeing home footage of a friend of his who had died suddenly in his prime two years previously.
He told me that when he saw it, he felt miraculously reunited with his friend who he thought he would never see again and said, if the wonder of film could do this, then he wanted to do film. He took extensive footage of his community and life before the war. He was very active with the YMCA and has documentation of Y events in the late thirties. For you college football fans, he took the Cal-UCLA game of October, 1936.
Then Pearl Harbor was bombed and he was interned. Cameras were considered contraband. One day he saw his Caucasian foreman with an eight millimeter camera and mentioned that he wished that he had his camera. When the foreman asked him where it was, he replied that it was on loan to a friend for the duration of the internment. And so this new friend of his, knowing that all mail to internees was opened and censored, offered to have the camera mailed to himself and that he would make sure that my donor got it.
My donor was told to be careful. As he indicated, because he shot the footage in secret and with the fear of discovery, there are no shots of armed guards, barbed wire fences or sentry watch towers. He wrote to me the following:
I hope my home movies share with you one aspect of the camp experience, that is the spirit of the Japanese American community. Despite the loneliness and despair that enveloped us, we made the bestwe could with the situation. I hope when you see--when you look at the scenes of Mochitsuki pipe repairing, dining hall duty and church service,you look at the spirit of the people. You will see a people trying to reconstruct a community despite overwhelming obstacles. That, I feel, isthe essence of these home movies.
We now have approximately 50,000 feet from 30 different collections, black-and-white and color, 16mm and 8mm, all silent. We have footage from the mid-1920s when Japanese immigrants were making America their new home and home movies were first introduced, the 1930s when 8mm was introduced and 16mm began phasing out, the 1940s during and after World War II, the 1950s and 1960s.
We also have some early reel-to-reel half-inch videotape of community events and speakers during the Asian American movement of the 1970s that was donated from a local university.
I don't know how much footage is still out there but my guess is that it is a significant amount. We have not done any active searches and we're still getting collections coming in or leads to collections to follow up on. And this is just within one ethnic American community. When you think of all the homemade documentary footage that might be deteriorating in the garages, attics and basements of African Americans, Hispanics, Filipinos, Italian Americans and so on, it does represent a large nationwide cultural resource that is, at the same time, untapped and endangered.
In conclusion, I'm not saying that all home movies should be preserved. Selectivity, as it is with all film considered for preservation, is key. I am stressing that unless there is national and professional recognition of the significance of home footage as documents of our cultural heritage, there won't be any footage to select from. First of all, they are already limited in number. We have to realize that the majority of the home movies taken in the 1920s and 30's are long gone.
In the past 70 years there have been more opportunities for them not to survive than to survive, including the Depression, World War II, countless moves from home to home, fits of spring cleaning, deaths and new generations who have no connection or room for such things.
Secondly, the surviving materials suffer from the same deterioration as other acetate film and as nonprofessional materials: They have not been well-kept; they have been stored in the worst conditions, closets, attics, basements; they have not been maintained with an eye for preservation, being roughly handled and barely, if ever, cleaned, and they have been periodically subjected to now outdated and ill-working projectors that tear up sprockets and scratch emulsion.
And lastly, if people don't realize the significance of the old footage they have, if I, as a professional in the field, don't recognize their significance and if you, as a national body charged with the overall responsibility of guiding the preservation of our visual cultural heritage, don't realize the significance, what little there is will be lost forever and once again, people of color will not have been able to take their rightful place in American history. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you very much, Ms. Ishizuka. Next, we'll hear from Stephen Gong of the Pacific Film Archive.
Statement of Stephen Gong, General Manager, Pacific Film Archive
MR. GONG: Thank you very much. It is indeed a privilege to speak to the National Film Preservation Board. I'm going to speak to the significance of the independent and experimental film and to suggest some of the factors and obstacles unique to the preservation of these materials. I'll start by describing the activities of the Pacific Film Archive which is a curatorial department of the University Art Museum at the University of California at Berkeley.
We are a film exhibition center and a film study center. We present one of the most extensive exhibition programs in the country with over 650 film and video screenings annually to a total audience of more than 55,000. Exhibition programs range from silent films with live musical accompaniment to premieres of experimental film and video art and include films from every film-producing country in the world.
In addition, attendance at daytime university classroom screenings numbers about 23,000 students annually and another 10,000 are served through a weekly children's film series. The film and video collection at the Pacific Film Archive contains more than 6,500 titles with particular strengths in the Japanese film (more than a thousand titles), and in Soviet film or what we would now categorize Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian cinema, American independent and experimental film and video, international animation, international features and historical film of the Bay Area.
Our collection is comprised primarily of film viewing prints in 16 and 35mm rather than archival masters, although we have notable examples in the latter including the video master of Media Burn and the notorious California election news which were the fake news reels from Upton Sinclair's failed 1934 gubernatorial campaign.
The Japanese collection is the largest of its type in the United States and features films from the 1950s through the 70's largely from the Shochiku, Daiei, Nikkatsu, Toho and Toei film studios. These collections, along with the Soviet shorts and features and the American experimental films, are largely unique among American archives and attract researchers working in these particular areas.
We have a film library and study center which is open to the public and is used extensively also by the students and faculty of the University of California. Annually, we serve more than 5,000 researchers. We have 7,000 film posters, 25,000 photographic stills, over 75,000 clipping files, books and periodicals related to film.
Our films are stored in an off-site vault space of more than 11,500 square feet which is temperature and humidity controlled, although we must consider it as a cool storage rather than a true cold storage facility. The Pacific Film Archive is an active participant in the Association of Moving Image Archivists. We are an associate member of the International Federation of Film Archives and we've participated in the national moving image data base and other efforts in the field.
We've identified as our preservation priority the American independent and experimental film. One reason is because San Francisco has long been a center for the production, exhibition and study of independent and experimental film. It was the center--it was the site--for the development of some of the first avant-garde film making.
Our collection. In recent years we have preserved important films by George Kuchar, Gunvor Nelson, and Chick Strand. Our collection has an emphasis on West Coast avant- garde films from the 1960s including works by Bruce Baillie, Jordan Belson, Bruce Connor, Gunvor Nelson, Pat O'Neal and James Whitney, among others. These films were produced outside of and as an alternative to commercial and theatrical film.
They represent a diversity of film styles and types--documentary, shorts, feature length. They are distinguished by representing the vision of individual artists. Although produced on triacetate film, which at one time was of course consider safe and permanent, we are all now too aware that these materials face preservation problems as severe as those which confront nitrate film. All film is endangered.
In addition, because of the limited number of prints initially made and the general inability of the independent film maker to afford duplicate prints or even adequate storage for their originals, experimental films are at particular risk. There are many cases--all too many cases--where the film maker shot his film on reversal film and then distributed and showed that original so there is no negative and there's not even adequate printing material. This is a particular problem of ours, especially as film stocks change. And our ability to make high quality reproductions becomes that much harder.
As independent works tend to disappear from distribution more rapidly than films produced by the entertainment industry, it is consequently these works that are most likely to be lost unless steps are taken now to insure their preservation.
And so I'd like to just suggest a number of points here that would--suggesting some of the actions that we should take. First, I'd like to reiterate, however, our belief at the Pacific Film Archive of the interconnectiveness of collection, preservation, access, exhibition and the study of film. We believe that all of these activities are equally vital and important to the activities of the Film Archive and to the broadening of film culture, which is the context which really will make film preservation a possibility.
The second is that, for practical purposes, proper storage of film and video materials is the most single most effective way we can safeguard the greatest number of materials in our possession.
Thirdly, because this material that we are trying to preserve is of relatively low commercial value, is dispersed and now held by individual filmmakers, we would like to emphasize the importance of collaborative and cooperative information gathering projects. We actively take part in projects with the National Movie Image Database, which is part of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation, in their efforts to survey independent film distributors, making contact with independent filmmakers, asking them where their original materials are being held. We are in the first steps of such a project, but it's vitally important that we understand the nature and extent of this problem.
Fourthly, we would like to urge you to consider tax incentives for the donation of film materials to film archives, not simply for commercial studios but also for individual artists. It's a different section of the Tax Code, but we would like filmmakers to be afforded recognition as artists in the donation of their materials to an archive as much as an art work to a museum.
Finally, at the last conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, I participated on a panel that discussed estate planning, moving image archives in the age of AIDS. Although the topic of estate planning is not a new one to the archival field, the subject has taken on a new urgency at this time, given the size and scope of the AIDS crisis. As a field we face the specter of a generation of media artists who are dying earlier in their careers and with film and related materials in states of disarray, without the support structures and time to organize thoughtful bequest agreements with archives.
Clearly, education of the independent filmmaking community and within the archival community needs to be accelerated, lest we lose a significant portion of these works for future generations. I thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share these thoughts with you.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Gong. Now, we're glad to hear from Bob Rosen, who is a member of the National Film Preservation Board, representing UCLA.
Statement of Robert Rosen, Director, UCLA Film and Television Archive
MR. ROSEN: The archive at UCLA is a large archive. We have the second largest holdings in the country after the Library of Congress with about 200,000 film and television titles, and 27 million feet of newsreel. We have active programs in exhibition, in research, in preservation; and over the course of the last decade, we have been involved in the preservation or restoration of more than 1000 titles.
With 47 million feet of nitrate in our vaults, we have some major problems to confront, given the fact that on the funding side, the funds that come from the extraordinarily useful AFI/NEA preservation grant bought us in 1980 300,000 feet of nitrate for safety film preservation. In 1992, indicating a clear curve, it bought us only 65,000 feet of nitrate for safety film preservation. And this is simply one number to indicate the depth of our problem.
But rather than focus on the specific needs of UCLA or of the larger archives confronting the problem of nitrate, I would rather speak to some of the requisites for a comprehensive and effective national plan.
I personally have been involved, and I have a perspective on national planning as a result of my involvement with the National Film Preservation Board, with the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the AFI, as a member of the FIAF Executive Committee and working as the chair of the Archivists Council of the Film Foundation. So I have tried to think about what is in the best interest of the field as a whole.
What I would like to do in this small amount of time, is to take five minutes to make eight points. This means that they're going to sound a little bit dogmatic [Laughter.], but I hope to get them out there. These points are not the technical requisites for a plan. A plan will come out of the discussions here; rather, they are requisites for the creation of consensus building in the complex pluralistic archival world in which we live. So let me just list these eight points.
The first is what should be saved and the justification for it. My feeling is that in order to present the most compelling case to the public and to the Congress why film ought to be saved, it is crucial that the justification pivot around the centrality of moving images to a wide multiplicity of different sectors of twentieth-century culture. Film is entertainment, wonderful entertainment, but it is also more than entertainment.
For our century, film is at once an art form, a historical document, a cultural artifact, a market commodity, a political force and an omnipresent object of popular culture. Consequently, in answering the questions of what should be prioritized for preservation, who should do the preservation and how preserved films should be made available, we must take into account an equally wide array of potential users, including historians, sociologists, film critics, students of film production, economists, social planners and public policy groups. So that is overall strategy and justification.
Point two, the national collection. For a plan to succeed, it must be premised on the fact that the national film collection in the American pluralistic context is held and preserved at a plurality of institutions, philosophically diverse and geographically dispersed, that work together in a spirit of cooperation and common purpose. UCLA, Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the AFI, the Academy, the Pacific Film Archive and a host of other institutions around the country collectively hold and preserve virtually all of the films presently under the protective umbrella of public institutions.
Consequently, any plan for a national preservation effort must recognize this pluralism as a point of departure and must focus on means to assist the entire array of participants. In a real sense, the plan must be for all of us.
Third point, financial plan. The plan must dramatize the scale and urgency of the problem that we confront. In viewing a hundred million feet of nitrate in the vaults of the archives alone, in looking at the problem of color preservation, in dealing with the restoration work required for many classics, and in dealing with the question of new technologies, there is a vast problem with urgent needs.
There must be a fundraising strategy fully commensurate with the scale of the problem. I think most of the archivists around the country would say that well-meaning statements of concern are not enough, consciousness raising is not enough, any number of bake sales and charitable activities like that are very important but not enough. There must be a bottom line for the bottom line of the report, in order to satisfy the needs of the archivists across the country confronting the deterioration of film in their vaults.
Fourth point, what I call art in films. There must be an inclusive approach to identifying the films necessary to be preserved. Although well-known classics from the major studios capture popular imagination and obviously must be saved, public governmental agencies have a special responsibility for saving films held in public institutions that otherwise would have no commercial support. There are many areas here, but in particular I would underline endangered newsreels and the documentaries turning to dust in our vaults.
At UCLA we have 25 million feet of invaluable newsreel material owned by the people of California. This is a public trust. The only people who will pay for this preservation are the public in some sense. And I think these needs must be given the priority within any financial plan that is drawn up.
Fifth point, partnership. A truly comprehensive national preservation plan must be premised on fostering a partnership involving the archives, the movie industry, government, foundations, the creative community and philanthropic individuals. Strategies--new and imaginative strategies--must be devised for making that cooperation a winning proposition for all.
An example, and it's merely one, might be providing tax incentives to producers who contribute toward the preservation work done jointly with public archives.
Point six, technology. Here I have to echo what Michael Friend said earlier, the nation's archives must aggressively explore the impact of new entertainment technologies on the future of preservation. While archivists must remain wary of buying into any quick fix that will later be regretted, we must be open and receptive to new, even radical, solutions to old problems.
The digital revolution currently underway is destined to transform the very nature of media culture and may very well ultimately transform the nature of film preservation. We should be ready for it.
Point seven, television. This hearing is not about television, but it must be put on the agenda for the future because television and film and their archival activities are so intertwined.
Finally, point eight, access. The goals of preservation and access are symbiotically intertwined. To do preservation without access is to create dead storage. To provide access without preservation is shortsighted. The case for film preservation is best made when the public falls in love with images on the screen and realizes the tragedy of what might be lost. The case for preservation is best made with scholars, when they have easy access to the results of preservation, in user-friendly study centers.
These are eight elements. They are not all that constitutes a national plan, but I believe they are minimal requisites for all of us working together. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you very much, Bob. I see our last panelist has just arrived. John, do you want to come on up to the table? John Ptak, from the National Center for Film and Video Preservation, had said he would be here by 10:00 o'clock and fortunately got here just a few minutes early. Catch your breath.
Statement of John Ptak, Interim Director and Co-Chair, National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute
MR. PTAK: Good morning. I want to thank you very much for having these proceedings and for this entire process which I think is certainly a compliment to our intentions. We have one goal and we're all a part of it and it's good to see you here.
I'll just get right to my prepared statement. The reauthorized National Film Preservation Act of 1992 represents the first time that a moving image preservation planning study has been requested directly by Congress. For this reason alone it is an extremely important piece of legislation that deserves both the strong support and extensive involvement of the entire moving image archival field.
In order to assist with this national planning initiative, the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute would like to provide the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress with its perspective on this vital matter.
As you may know, the National Center was established in 1984 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Film Institute to serve as a central office for coordinating American moving image preservation activities on a national scale. With funding support from the NEA, the Center continues to administer the only federally funded film preservation grants program, researches and publishes a national filmography through its AFI Catalog project and acquires film and television programs to add to the over 25,000 titles in the AFI collection at the Library of Congress and other archives.
To assist with these hearings, the National Center would like to recount the results of a nationwide preservation needs assessment that it carried out in 1990. The survey was conducted as part of a national planning document prepared by the Center at that time. The results yielded a clear consensus regarding a number of principals that the nation's archives felt should be involved in any national plan for the moving image preservation.
To summarize, any preservation plan should include the following. One, to build upon the long history of work and relationships within the existing archival community. Two, bring together all constituencies in the field and provide a structure for their direct participation in the preparation and implementation of the national plan.
In conducting its survey, the Center identified the following key constituencies of this archival community: (a) the FIAF-member nitrate archives; (b) historic television collections; (c) local television news archives; (d) nonfiction and subject-oriented collections from anthropological, ethnic and natural history collections, U.S. government archives, and educational, industry, labor, political and urban-life collections; (e) independent avant-garde and performing arts collections; (f) university-based collections with distinct research and educational mandates; (g) production and broadcast archives from the commercial film and television libraries of the major studios, network and independent broadcast and production communities; and finally (h) commercial stock footage archives.
Three, back to the primary list, it is imperative that this plan continue to emphasize the concept of a national collection now held at a diverse range of public and private archives across the country who collectively must share in this responsibility of preserving the national film heritage.
Four, acknowledge the convergence of film and television/video preservation and the functional inseparability of the two media within the field. Five, address the well-established priorities of nitrate and theatrical film preservation while at the same time giving attention to the less developed area of television and video conservation. Archivists have continually expressed the belief that one of the major goals of a national preservation plan should be to provide funding agencies with the information they will need to establish ongoing support for television and video preservation through programs similar to those already in place for film preservation.
The National Center recognizes that these hearings reflect the legislation currently embodied in the National Film Preservation Act of 1992 and are intended to address the needs of motion picture film preservation. As was noted in the announcement for these hearings, film is defined as, quote:
...works originally fixed on film stock and excludes works fixed on videotape or other electronic formats. Therefore, the study will not concern itself with issues related to the preservation of video or television materials.
Despite this definition, however, it is important to remember that much of, if not most of, the nation's historic television production has, in fact, and continues to be, originally struck and fixed on film. It is the hope of the Center that this study will acknowledge this fact and pave the way for future action by the National Film Preservation Board and the Congress to address the extraordinary needs of television preservationists. Not to do so might exclude some of this country's greatest work produced during the golden years of television, such as Marty or Requiem for a Heavyweight, to subsequent television events such as Roots, Holocaust or Lonesome Dove or to such representative modern works in television series such as Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure and, of course, to recent documentaries of filmmakers such as Frederick Wiseman.
Back to the important list. Six, determine the overall scope of the problem by measuring the size of this country's moving image production and holdings. This is especially important for television and cable production. Seven, address the crucial problem of the selection of materials to be saved. This can be done through national-level selection criteria, promoting shared preservation responsibilities by both public archives and producers.
Eight, define the appropriate preservation standards and practices, especially those relevant to emerging new research on storage temperature and humidity conditions to the deterioration of acetate film materials and to the conservation of materials on magnetic video tape and other new optical and digital media.
Nine, solidify cooperation between public archives, industry producers, and rights holders in order to facilitate preservation and access to the broadest possible range of materials. This is a crucial component of any national preservation plan. The archives have worked long and hard for many years to build bridges of trust and collaboration within the production community. Through the membership of the National Film Preservation Board, the archives feel they have an extraordinary opportunity to expand and strengthen these relationships. Ten, and finally, we must articulate the long-term funding needs of this archival community. We must establish the programs, pass the legislation, and raise the millions necessary to meet these needs.
The techniques to preserve our moving image heritage are available but the rate of research, acquisition and preservation must be accelerated. With every passing day archivists must choose how to invest scarce preservation resources. The process of choosing what to save is to choose what will also deteriorate and die. Time is, therefore, our greatest enemy.
The National Endowment for the Arts and other government agencies are making vital contributions to the effort but increased support is crucial. In addition to these ten points, there are additionally two supplemental points that have been clearly articulated by the preservation field:
A. A national moving image preservation plan should address the concrete and specific needs of the field not the often limited assumptions of funding agencies themselves.
B. Any national plan should be kept as focused and simple as possible and not burdened with additional bureaucracy. It should keep its sights on the bottom line which is to develop an immediate agenda with significant preservation dollars attached.
I'd like to close by stating that the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute will continue to offer whatever assistance it can provide to help the Library and the preservation field achieve the goals of the National Film Preservation Act. For the past decade, the National Center has been actively involved in developing and coordinating the national preservation effort. In the process, we have acquired a great deal of experience in planning and implementing national level preservation initiatives.
The Center continues to serve as secretariat for the Association of Moving Image Archivists, for the North American FIAF Archives and for the Film Foundation. It is, therefore, in the unique position of having worked closely with all archival constituencies, film as well as video, public as well as private. More than any other organization we are aware of the work and the needs of the field in its entirety. In addition, the National Center continues to acquire physical holding information from a broad range of film and video archives across the country for inclusion in the National Moving Image Database.
The gathering and coordinating of this information is a crucial prerequisite to any comprehensive national program. Currently more than 25 institutions have contributed collections information to NAMID which now holds over 160,000 records. Included in NAMID is information on a number of titles already selected by the Librarian for inclusion in the National Film Registry. As one possible point of collaboration, the National Center could assist the Librarian in gathering holdings data on all titles included in the Registry. This information would provide a special focus and foundation within the national preservation database.
The Library and the National Center could coordinate information sharing on these titles so as to insure the best surviving materials are always available for preservation. The National Center would like to thank the Library of Congress for its continued leadership on behalf of preservation and for the opportunity to provide these recommendations today. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you, John, and the other panelists as well for your excellent and concise remarks. At this point, I'd like to turn to my colleagues here on this panel to see if there are follow-up questions that you would like to ask?
DR. BILLINGTON: Just an informational question on the home movies business because that seems to me a very interesting and rather neglected aspect of this problem. Is there any union catalogue of these? Has there been any national inventorying of these at all? Or is your experience with the Japanese American archive, which I think we all found fascinating, simply a unique phenomenon? Are there other such archives? Is there any central database or is information about these archives included in any other central reference works?
MS. ISHIZUKA: To my knowledge, there is no central data bank specifically considering home footage. There are archives across the country who are considering home footage to a greater and greater degree. The National Moving Image data bank at the National Center is including it in its survey and is quite aware. There are other ethnic institutions, Jewish museums and institutions that are collecting very actively home movies from their constituents.
Consciousness, I think, is being raised on different levels. For example, Blackside (Henry Hampton, who did Eyes on the Prize) is now doing a series on the Great Depression. He had contacted us and tried to get other footage that shows people of color in the 1920s and 30's and has found great difficulty in doing so. He actually hoped that he could use more material that we had because it was one source that he had found.
He did look high and low and was very dismayed at not being able to find footage in any other archive that reflected just everyday life of different ethnic groups during the time.
DR. BILLINGTON: It seems to me there are two aspects to the problem that you pointed out. One is the sort of multicultural diverse ethnic community's records, which are not solely home movies. One of the things that I think has been an interesting discovery on the film registry is the amount of these [ethnic-audience] films that were also made more or less commercially. They had commercial release and so forth, but have been generally neglected. So that's one aspect.
But the other aspect is that the home movie thing--which is not confined to any one ethnic group or even a variety of them--is a general American and modern phenomenon. And I wondered whether, internationally or nationally, there's any central, even crude, survey of what there is. I just think of the closets of America. [Laughter.] I mean, we really have a potential history bonanza for the twentieth century which I don't think anyone has very much tapped.
MS. ISHIZUKA: There is a working group of the Association of Moving Image Archivists that is called right now the Amateur Materials Working Group. Part of that working group there are people in that are concerned with home movies. I offered at that last meeting to put together a very initial survey of our membership of what members of the Association of Moving Image Archivists have home footage in their collection.
I hope that this would be an initial step in trying to at least poll members or member organizations in the Association as to what they have and what they know of others. Internationally, however, I understand that the European Community has very much recognized the importance of home footage and we have Canadian representation on the Amateur [Materials] Working Group that is collecting more information and, hopefully, we'll be able to distribute that.
DR. BILLINGTON: Just one last question on this and also for Mr. Gong, perhaps, because it is related to the independent films you talked about. Do the preservation problems of home and independent movies differ fundamentally, assuming that we're talking mainly about the postnitrate films? Do they differ in any fundamental ways, apart from the fact that they're kept under the worst possible conditions in many cases? Are there any fundamental differences in the preservation aspects of the home and the independent-type movies?
MR. GONG: As I mentioned, one of the particular aspects different is that you start further back. You start with a tremendous need and, as you inferred, of not knowing exactly what was produced. The record for exhibition and for copyright registration might be very scattered. A filmmaker might have made numerous versions of a work, an important cultural work, but for which our definition as archivists and catalogers makes our jobs that much harder.
Also, as I mentioned, just to repeat, we may not know the production history of a particular title: how many copies were made, where the original is, if the one copy that's now being distributed and shown by a university in a study center is the sole surviving best copy. That's going to take a certain amount of time to try to work through, and we, as I said, are at the beginning stages, but we are trying that whole information gathering before we can even get to the technological side.
MS. ISHIZUKA: I think that in terms of home footage, the films are subject to the deterioration that other acetate film is subjected to. We have a lot of vinegar syndrome films and a lot of deterioration that affects acetate film.
I think because especially they're in the closets of America, they have not been at all thought of as significant materials that should be preserved, so they are not well handled. Now, I might add, too, that although I think that home footage is particularly significant for ethnic communities, it's also significant for, say, the regional histories of the United States and it has a wider significance than simply ethnic.
MR. TABB: Just jump in with questions.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: I think the information we're getting even from our first panel is remarkable. The problem is staggering as we hear it. Bob, you gave us eight points of activity. If you were to prioritize that, what would you say is the most important to attack first?
MR. ROSEN: I'd have difficulty answering that question because all eight come together. The answer I know all my colleagues across the country would want me to give is funding, but one of the things we know is that the requisite for funding is clarity, and having a plan and goals and objectives. So it really all works together.
I would say--and I emphasize this--the present technologies are pretty well known. There are future technologies that are going to develop as well, but the present technologies are well known. Wonderful works of restoration are done. The major obstacle standing in the way, is the means to accomplish those goals.
So I would say, the bottom line still remains the possibility of finding those means. But again, I realize one has to be realistic. And the only way those means will be found is if a compelling case can be made on all those other fronts. So, in my mind, those eight points go together as a whole.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Then "making the case" is probably the most important.
MR. ROSEN: Absolutely.
MR. TABB: John?
MR. BELTON: Yes, I have a series of questions. Maybe I can just sort of follow up with Ms. Ishizuka on the amateur film area. One of the things that strikes me as very valuable about what you're doing is that you are having direct contact with the public. And the public is going to be extremely involved in any kind of preservation policy because they're actually preserving their own immediate records of their family, and of their community and of their region.
One of the things that I think concerns me, and I'll ask you a question, is the public has a perception of preservation, especially through their own home movies, that these films are somehow preserved when they're transferred to video. Most of us know that this is the worst possible conception they could have, but it spreads also over into the public's notion of preservation of commercial films, because if they see a commercial film on videotape, they think it is preserved.
One of the things that I think is important about making an outreach to people who have amateur films and to the public is to educate them about what exactly preservation involves and entails, especially if they're talking about their own family records. I guess the question I have is with your relationship with the public. Is there any kind of financial collaboration? Do the owners of this material help finance your efforts? And is this a model that perhaps could be employed for the actual preservation of home movies instead of just transferring them onto video which is what you're doing? Is there some kind of private/public collaboration going on?
MS. ISHIZUKA: Yes, I think that's definitely a possibility. At the museum we have been striving toward that, some with success, some with no success. For example, I received, I think it was 20 rolls of footage from the Sacramento area. It was from a 1929 Boy Scout troop, complete with parade and on the steps of the capitol and they were making a goodwill tour to Japan.
This is something that we felt was important enough for us to consider preserving. We did not have the funds at that point. I worked with the donor and I worked for a donation to--and this gets to that second stage that you're talking about--at least to get a very good telecine [transfer] onto digital tape, a copy, so that I could make him a very good enhanced quality videotape.
So we have worked with some success. I have worked with other donors, for example, who simply either do not have the means to do this or do not feel that this is something that they want to put their funds into. I think there are lots of possibilities for public and private funding on this.
We have, for example, produced a three-screen video installation that features some of the video-transferred film, and it is part of the installation at the exhibit at the museum at this point. You know, this touches on access and provides some public education of the significance of this material. These types of spinoff projects, I think, can help in the whole public and private responsibility of preserving these materials.
MR. FRANCIS: I share Mr. Rosen's views and I would like to ask him a specific question. With the Hearst Metrotone collection, basically, do you differentiate between the commercial user and the private user and do you make a charge for a commercial user which takes into account the costs of preserving the material or storing the material? And do you, separately from that, make a copyright charge, because I understand you have copyright in the collection as well?
I'd like to know, is there a reaction if you do it, and if you think there's any way in which this could be expanded to other areas of collections?
MR. ROSEN: It's a very interesting and complex question you're posing. Specifically, responding to the newsreel material in which we do have a copyright, when we do license it for commercial purposes in a competitive way with comparable houses outside, one goal, of course, is to generate income that goes back into the maintenance and preservation of the collection.
But the larger question you pose is: Can archives have some kind of an entrepreneurial attitude toward the holdings? One approaches that with enormous care, because with most of the materials you're holding, you don't in fact own them or own the copyright on them, but rather you are entrusted to make preservation materials to pass on to the future, and to provide access to scholars and researchers and the public for purposes of study.
So you do not in any way want to compromise the distance that you have put between your educational activities and your commercial activities. But in those areas where archives clearly have the rights, I think it is incumbent upon the archives, given the urgency of the necessity for funding to do preservation work, to try to use those materials to generate as much income as possible.
MR. FRANCIS: Do you mind if I just follow that up just one moment, because I was assuming you had very real costs looking after material, even if you don't own the copyright and I felt that it was reasonable to pass on some of those costs to the commercial user. Do you do that? Do you only charge a copyright fee or a facility fee?
MR. ROSEN: No, we don't. But I think again, you propose a good point, and this refers back to my point about partnership. One of the things that is clear is that all of it, the maintenance, conservation and ultimately preservation of these materials is a coming together of the public institutions and private interests, as well as foundations and others. Beginning to reconfigure what the appropriate contributions are for each of those participants toward those common goals ought to be on the agenda for discussion.
MR. CHASMAN: Well, this is tied up with the copyright question. My informational question was: Of the 12,000 photographs and 50,000 feet of film that you control, what's the copyright status?
MS. ISHIZUKA: We do have agreements of deposit and deeds of gift that include copyright transfer. We have not, at this point--it is a complex question. They have granted us copyright and yet we know that, because of rights of privacy because these are personal artifacts, that we are charged with a great responsibility in terms of our use of that copyright.
In many cases there are other family members or other people who hold those same images. They may have, in the past, loaned or given copies to other educational institutions, production companies, whatever. So that's basically where it is. We do have legal deeds of gift and agreements of deposit, however, on all of the holdings.
MR. TABB: We'll take one more question. Milt, did you have a question?
MR. SHEFTER: Thank you. My thanks from the panel for all of your input which is very helpful to us. I'd like to direct this question to John and Bob. You both, in your proposals, have suggested that a national collection be housed at a diverse group of cooperating archives. Now in preservation, we have a concept of protection by separation in which we take individual elements from a title and place them in diverse geographical locations to avoid total loss because of natural or man-made disaster.
Are you proposing this for elements or are you only addressing the issue of exhibition prints?
MR. ROSEN: No, I think the question of protecting the different elements and situating them differently is a very good one; but I think what we're talking about is more on a national basis, that we have different institutions, some in museums, some in educational settings, some in the context of governmental agencies, some in the area related to the industry. Each collects in its own way. Each has excellent staff, and the whole question is how to share the responsibility in a nonduplicative way for the holding of those materials and for the preservation work itself. So essentially, referring to the national collection and the responsibility for preserving the national collection as a collaborative enterprise, I am speaking more fundamentally to that issue.
MR. SHEFTER: And where would you see the coordination of this activity?
MR. ROSEN: Well, this is one of the reasons I'm very optimistic about these hearings. Up through now, that cooperation has come about in large part because the archives have found it in each of their own self-interests to work together. And through the International Federation of Film Archives, as the major nitrate-holding archives, we meet on an ongoing regular basis to avoid duplication.
Through some of the activities of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation, there has been some useful coordination that has gone on. And conceivably coming out of this national plan, maybe new structures and new directions will emerge, and we might move and might go in that direction.
So this is something to be talked about, but I would say the desire to have that happen has already been evidenced by the practice of the last twenty years.
MR. TABB: John, did you want to follow up?
MR. PTAK: As Bob said and I completely agree, it's not the intent in what we're saying to usurp any local identity whatsoever, neither the Center nor the AFI for that matter. It exists merely to coordinate and reflect the field as a whole. I think that the mandate of the Center, quite frankly, has been to exercise that with its entire existence. That's why the AFI was established in the late sixties. It is definitely not to usurp any local identity, but to provide the facility to reflect our national identity.
MR. SHEFTER: Would you see the National Center as the coordinating body for this diverse national collection, diversely located national collection?
MR. PTAK: Absolutely, unless there's some reason to create yet another bureaucracy. [Laughter.]
MR. TABB: Mr. Friend, did you want to respond to this in anyway?
MR. FRIEND: I've always felt very comfortable with having a plurality of archives, each pursuing their own interest and each maintaining their own collections as best they can. I don't think we need a bureaucracy to maintain or develop that. What we need is a national preservation plan to get support for that plurality of institutions.
We have had over the years a number of voluntary organizations which have helped us to coordinate our activities. The AFI has participated in that, but I don't think that there's any particular centrality to any group and I wouldn't want to see the establishment of any kind of centrality. I would rather see a conceptual plan put forth by the National Film Preservation Act group, which can be funded very well by a variety of sources, both public and private, and which funding can be directed primarily to the archives that are doing preservation.
I think that bureaucracies are the death of preservation. They have been in the past and they will continue to be in the future.
MR. TABB: I want to thank all the panelists both for your prepared remarks as well as your responsiveness to our panelists' questions. We'll now take about a five minute break while the next panel comes to the table. Thank you.
[A short recess was taken.]
MR. TABB: Are we ready? Please take your seats. Before the next panel begins, I want to say how much we appreciate having such a large audience here today. We'd very much like to know who is here, so we've put a sign-in sheet on the table just outside this room. We'd be happy for you to put down your name and your organization, if you wouldn't mind doing that.
We're now ready to start with the next panel: representatives of film laboratories specializing in preservation work. We'll begin with Robert Heiber from Chace Productions.
Statement of Robert Heiber, President, Chace Productions, Inc.
MR. HEIBER: Mr. Tabb and esteemed panel members, thank you for inviting me to share my views on the national film preservation policy. I'll keep my remarks brief because my expertise is more towards the practical realities of film preservation instead of the theoretical or aesthetic aspects of this very complex issue.
Chace Productions has over 10 years experience in restoring literally the complete span of sound on motion picture films. Rick Chace, our founder, developed and specialized many specialized and proprietary pieces of equipment which we have used successfully on films like Coquette, On the Waterfront, The Ten Commandments and Rebel Without a Cause.
The underlying or common thread of our restoration work is that it's almost exclusively done for the major studios which are finding new commercial life for their films and this is, perhaps, the good news. The bad, of course, is that the studios are only a small portion of our collective film heritage.
In my written remarks, I've indicated that the studios are actively and aggressively protecting their film assets. And so, perhaps, they should not be given as much assistance as some of the financially less able institutions. I'd like to temper that position a bit by adding that while the studios may not need the monetary incentives to protect their films, they do need to be given some form of credit, compensation and/or recognition for the work that they are doing.
But I still believe that more assistant be given to financially strapped and traditionally underfunded film archives. From our experience, basically, a film archive is a storage and cataloging entity. Literally, the amounts of material they are asked to care for taxes their ability to do preservation and/or restoration work except on a very selected and limited basis. Therefore, assistance needs to be given for both storage, which is a large problem due to the enormous costs of creating a proper environment of low temperature and low humidity, and for restoration.
However, the ultimate solution rests in developing new technology which will create more permanent film elements which require less costly controlled storage conditions. So, as I view it, our national policy should create a stream of funds to be used both short term, to address storage and rejuvenation efforts, and long term towards research and development of these new materials which require less expensive storage conditions.
In my written remarks I emphasize that Chace's expertise is in audio and not auditing. So the creation of this formula to produce revenue I'll have to leave to you experts, but the bottom line is that the entertainment industry today is a multi-billion dollar industry. And so today's entertainment should somehow be able to find a way to fund our past motion picture history.
Finally, whatever our plan is to be, the first part is to set a hard and firm time table to develop and implement this national policy. I think all of us here agree that time is of the essence. It would be a terrible shame to discover that a long and lengthy legislative process had outlived the film elements that it was designed to protect. And so on that note, I will conclude my remarks. Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Mr. Sargent?
Statement of Ralph Sargent, President, Film Technology Company, Inc., accompanied by Alan Stark, Vice President, Film Technology Company, Inc.
MR. SARGENT: Ladies and gentlemen of the panel, since our written submission to this panel has already outlined the historical facts and developmental philosophy relating to Film Technology Company, Incorporated, I would like to concentrate today on an expansion of the implications of the final paragraph of our written submission and for that reason, I will include it here.
Film Technology has done, is doing now and looks to the futureto do more archival motion picture work. Though we have done work formany nonprofit and governmental agencies, we have never looked to these organizations for direct underwriting of our facilities or services. Rather, in this regard, what would be of more direct benefit to us and tothe field, in general, is this: That organizations which undertake the underwriting and/or contracting for archival materials take a more realisticview of their field; that their work is not the ordinary but the extraordinary; that ordinary facilities have neither the equipment nor enthusiasm for this type of work and their equipment, procedures and results are organized around the mass market and are priced accordingly. Archival work is none of these. It requires patience, precision, attentionto detail and enthusiasm for the subject that can boggle the mind and to a greater extent burden the pocketbook. It is time that archival organizations be properly funded to do the job right and that they, inturn, give the archival laboratory the greatest possible freedom to do itsjob and in this way we mean the elimination of artificial price competitiveness between the ordinary commercial laboratory pretendingto do archival work and the laboratory that is dedicated to truly satisfyingthe demands of the archival world. Without a realistic view of what archival quality means, and what is financially required to produce it, an archives' new materials and the laboratories that produce them aren'tworth anything.
I have already cited the fact that large and mid-sized commercial labs seek to derive the bulk of their profits from volume release printing. This is a given in the business. Release prints are to the motion picture business what razor blades are to the shaving business, a wonderful self-destroying product. If a film goes to wide release, more and more prints are needed. If a projectionist mangles a print, a replacement is needed and so on.
Volume is the key to profits. Preprint materials needed to produce those release prints are a form of buried cost to the distributor as major labs essentially fold the cost of preprint into the release printing cost, if the order is big enough. So if an archive attempts to deal with a lab with this mindset, the usual answer is, "Don't bother us, we're too busy with such and such feature."
On the other hand, if a mid-sized lab is having some slack time, it's not unheard of for management to suggest that the lab seek to do some archival or preservation work to fill the gap. They put out a bid which is way below that of an experienced preservation lab and get the job. All of a sudden, the people down below are stuck with a project for which they are not equipped, either mechanically or experiencially.
The film comes over from the archive and the lab prep person doesn't know what he or she is looking at. The original could be safety or nonsafety in various stages of decomposition or have often more or less severe mechanical problems. The lab may not even have shrinkage gauges to measure shrinkage, much less printers that can handle shrunken film.
Sound may be a problem which must be dealt with if the archives so wish, to counter undesirable effects built in by previous mishandlings and inattentive rerecordings. And this lab lets the existing track slide by because its people can't hear anything wrong much less have any means to do something about it and so on. The product of this approach to preservation can be quite unimpressive if not downright disastrous.
It is against this type of operation that the true archival lab often has had to bid when the inquiry came from the inexperienced archive or governmental agency requesting an estimate.
The key to avoiding the previously described situation is really experience, experience on both the part the buyer as well as the seller. If the buying organization has the experience to know what type and condition of material it seeks to duplicate and preserve, and couples that with the knowledge of what can realistically be accomplished in the duplication process, then it will not use the hypothetical lab described above. Rather the archival organization can approach an experienced lab as a partner in preservation, an extension of its own facilities, and work out the best approach tailored on a film-by-film basis to make the materials it needs.
The next logical question is, what does this degree of specialization cost? The answer is: If you only look at charges being based directly on footage, the charges are remarkably similar to commercial labs located within the same geographical area. (It is true that East Coast laboratories have historically had an edge on prices in all phases of the business. Then again, we on the West Coast think we do it better.) The real difference comes with the amount of effort and charges for preparation or prep work and other a la carte services. If the customer walks in with a film in which every splice is falling apart or if there are many broken or completely missing perforations or some other structural problem, then it's going to take some time to get the film mechanically ready for printing. This time is chargeable and is in addition to the per-foot charge.
Labor for conforming picture and track, marking off sections for paper-to-paper printing and other similar work is also chargeable. At Film Technology Company, Incorporated, an analysis of some of our more recent projects shows that labor-related charges and other extras vary widely for individual projects. We have found that per-foot prices historically charged by commercial laboratories as well as those listed in the price schedules of preservation laboratories was not a true measure of the cost for film preservation.
We have sampled a variety of black-and-white projects that Film Technology has done over the past few years to look at the additional charges for various processes, techniques and technical labor required to produce well restored archival quality materials. Of 25 projects sampled, we found additional charges ranging between 2 and 31% of the per-foot charges. There does not appear to be any correlation between the gross footage and extra charges.
To assume that special handling charges can be extrapolated as a fixed percentage of gross footage submitted to the laboratory may be totally erroneous. It is our opinion that the wide project-by-project variation in non-per-foot charges is directly related to the widely varying condition of original film elements and the efforts to produce quality restorations. An awareness of this on the part of archivists, archival laboratories and those funding archival activities is most important.
Finally, I would like to address what we feel is a fundamental misconception of our business as it presently stands. Many archives and their funding agencies have the mistaken notion that somehow we or other preservation laboratories are operating at full capacity and therefore, do not have the time for their work or that more labs are needed to fulfill the demand there is out there. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We, at Film Tech, have been asked what we need to do to increase our capacity to do more preservation projects. The immediate answer is: "Nothing". We have the plant, equipment and people to do 50% percent more work without changing a thing other than striving for a steadier work flow. Recent work has come in waves. Lots of work all of a sudden, then periods of no orders. Steadier, more consistent ordering would definitely result in more productivity.
From a federal funding standpoint, two year granting cycles for archives along the lines of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting might help alleviate the situation. To increase production beyond the point already described would entail adding more staff with no additional outlay for equipment of facilities. We've been running approximately one- and-a-half shifts per day and this obviously, could be doubled.
Our theoretical facility capacity is probably two-and-a-half to three times what we are doing now. We would be ecstatic to reach that level of productivity. All we need is the demand. Thank you for your attention.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Sargent. Mr. Stark, did you have anything you wanted to add? All right, fine, we'll go on then to Mr. Dayton.
Statement of Richard Dayton, President, YCM
MR. DAYTON: I'd like to thank Annette Melville and the members of the panel for inviting me here to comment on the subject of film preservation. I'll make my remarks brief in the interest of questions. As a teenager, I was interested in motion pictures and the method by which they were manufactured. Having worked as a film inspector, a negative cutter, developer, control department head of various companies, I was exposed to a great many techniques and methods.
For over 30 years I have seen the changes in technology and its effect on preservation and restoration of motion pictures. Television in the 1950s brought about the distribution of a great many films in 16mm in a level of quality considered quite acceptable. These copies were often manufactured directly from 35mm nitrate negatives. Later as distribution grew wider, 35mm finegrain master positives were used to make 16mm negatives for printing.
Had these 35mm elements not been saved, good quality copies could not have been made. With the increased interest in older films over the years better quality copies were needed. 35mm prints were often shown in Filmex and other venues whenever possible. Original prints or carefully made new ones were warmly received.
With the advent of distribution by means of videotape to television facilities, 16mm materials tended to become substandard. Revised quality standards demanded a return to the original material. Again, this meant using 35mm elements, very often nitrate, whenever possible. I cannot stress too strongly the importance of saving these original elements.
What is considered acceptable quality at one point in time may be considered quite poor at a later date. If original nitrate elements are discarded after copying, these images and sounds may never know the benefit of future technology. Only in the last 30 years have we come to expect the advantages of wetgate printing, computer-designed lenses, T-grain technology, LAD or laboratory density standards, digital sound processing, etc. Also the quality of lab work particularly with respect to older films has improved substantially.
If a reel of film is definitely deteriorating, and none of it can be saved then, yes, it should be disposed of. It is my understanding that the only element in nitrate film that is harmful to the environment other than its flammable properties and gases, is possibly the metal reel, plastic core or container. I'd like to think there might be a new solution to the currently expensive manner in which nitrate film is disposed. I know in the thirties it was quite often disposed of in the ocean at night when no one was looking, and I am told that in many ways that this, although it sounds horrific, is not necessarily all that bad environmentally.
Another point I'd like to address is that even though the current buzz words are digital, HDTV and so forth, the long term preservation of film images and sound is still safer on film. We and other facilities have many many times successfully retrieved high quality color images from separation master positives or negatives.
Separation master positives, however, are not often checked back to an internegative to confirm their quality. We have uncovered instances where defects have not been detected-- two yellow records and no magenta, two cyan records and no magenta, replacement section cut-in cyan for magenta, magenta for cyan and so on.
We've also manufactured new separation master positives from color negatives or separation negatives. These are tailored to be composited back to the current film stocks available at this time. As for sound records on film, I can say that as technology changes and improves new ways of transferring audio are continuing to surface. Saving original elements will allow the possibility of a better result at some future date.
MR. TABB: All right, thank you. Follow-up questions?
MR. SHEFTER: Gentlemen, this panel has received preliminary information from some users that capacity is an issue. Mr. Sargent, you stated this morning that capacity is not an issue and I'd like the panel to put on statesmen-like hats and speak for the industry, if you can. Is there capacity to handle the time-consuming, nonproductive work of film preservation today? Is it available today or do we have to wait three months for you to build it if the business is there?
MR. SARGENT: It's there today. I can say that unequivocally. Now, if, in fact, you were to immediately double the demand, yes, we would have to bring in additional people and train them. But in terms of going 50% up, we can handle it. I'm speaking for Film Technology Co., Inc..
MR. DAYTON: No, I agree with you. In fact, I think if you could, as Mr. Sargent said, anticipate a general flow of work, other than that sporadic sort of thing, it's a lot easier to enlarge and plan ahead. I know handling nitrate is more difficult because we're really only allowed so many rolls and so many cans at one time in a facility, even though we have sprinklers and all this sort of stuff. It is a problem of traveling back and forth to vaults and so forth, the handling, etc., because vaults are closing down, not opening.
MR. HEIBER: I don't see any problem from our standpoint or in the audio domain in terms of capacity to handle more archival restoration work. I'm a little bit curious to find out where you get your information that there's a shortfall in capacity actually.
MR. SHEFTER: I'm only here to ask. I can't answer, sorry. [Laughter.]
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: It goes one way. [Laughter.]
DR. BILLINGTON: The vaults closing, could you expand on that? You said vaults are closing.
MR. DAYTON: Well, I know of some vaults that were located on the land of a laboratory in Los Angeles that were torn down to make room for other space. They were their own vaults and used for their own purposes, but because they dealt so little in nitrate they tore them down. And the building restrictions for new vaults are much different than in the thirties. I think that whatever studios hold nitrate vaults, it seems the general trend is to clear them out and close them down.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: You said there were difficulties in selecting a good lab, that sometimes mistakes are made in selecting a lab that doesn't do good work. Would it be helpful for users of labs to have a set of guidelines of things for them to demand or ask for or recognize in the selection of a lab?
MR. STARK: I agree with you. I'm a member of the AMIA organization also and, within that group, the constant question that keep coming up, particularly from smaller archives is: "We need more technical information. We need to educate ourselves." It's a very important issue.
MR. BELTON: This morning Michael Friend was actually framing the whole issue of what is preservation: What does it constitute? I didn't assume that he meant that if you have certain preprint elements and they're preserved, you can say: "It's been preserved." From what Mr. Dayton and Mr. Sargent have been saying, I'm wondering whether this is the case.
In other words, if a studio had preprint elements from a new film and it's not been done at a kind of archival lab but they just have preprint elements, does this necessarily mean that the studio's material is preserved? And if an archival lab were to take these preprint elements what would they be able to do with them?
MR. SARGENT: I think that, in fact, most of my remarks were not directed at the major studios because they generally protect their materials very well. I think that what I'm aiming at are, in fact, institutional archives and archives which deal with nonentertainment films, also. A present-day studio that is making new materials can, of course, deal with standard commercial laboratories. That is precisely what they're for.
But when you back away 30 or 40 or 50 years from today's production, then all of a sudden, you have to examine what do you have and approach it in a much more labor- intensive way than a modern lab would do with a current picture. I'm trying to make a distinction between currently produced pictures and pictures that have existed for a considerable period of time.
MR. TABB: David Francis.
MR. FRANCIS: I don't think anyone's mentioned the question of preservation standards. I think that it's very important that everyone involved in preservation has them. I wondered whether the group of speakers here and other people who are actual specialists in film preservation could help devise a set of standards which we should be working towards and also possibly advise anyone who's using your facilities if the request they're making is not meeting those standards?
MR. SARGENT: We do that now.
MR. FRANCIS: I see.
MR. SARGENT: We certainly have customers who come to us and say, "We want to do X, Y and Z", and if we don't agree in terms of producing what we would consider to be proper archival material, we will point that out to them. They're the boss, of course; they've got certain specific goals. If they don't want to go to that particular extreme, then that's their choice.
But also we do have to ask the question, do you intend to push this beyond what standards FIAF is setting, and what their recommendations are, or would you fold their work into this report?
MR. FRANCIS: Well, I would also be very interested in your views about existing standards and about the standards imposed or suggested by FIAF. I would be very interested to know if you agree with them or not. It just seems we must have standards that we're working towards.
Okay, there are times when you can't meet those standards, but you want to know you're not meeting them. You want to be able to have a way of testing that the work that is being done meets those standards. I was asking your advice as to whether there was any way that we could go further towards establishing a set of standards that everyone could be working towards. And those have to be realistic standards, because you can never finish preservation. You can go on doing more and more work and making something better and better. You have to find some level which is reasonable and attainable.
MR. DAYTON: For YCM, we continue to try to upgrade and improve methods of doing things and even though we're keeping abreast of current standards. Whenever we can, we will do things differently if they are for the better. So what was standard and acceptable 10, 15 years ago is not necessarily what I would consider standard or acceptable today.
MR. SARGENT: It's an interesting point because I think that both SMPTE and the other standards organizations tend to always follow in the wake of what is going on in terms of progress. And we were talking earlier, I think, John Belton and I, about how, in fact, the SMPTE hasn't appeared to publish any articles or very few articles in the most recent year pertaining to motion pictures, per se. The proportion of motion picture-related articles versus video-related articles is almost 99 to 1, let's say, and the standards seem to go accordingly.
So what you're asking here is whether or not we have to be our own vanguard and the answer is "Yes, we must be." I think your request would be an interesting one to pursue. But standards also have a way of stopping progress, too.
MR. HEIBER: I think I'd just like to add, I think probably if you would like to say, "This work will be funded if it's done to a given standard," you could set up a technically correct minimum standard. I don't think you would ever want to stop anyone from pushing the envelope. And I think really what we said today is we don't know where we're going to be going in the future. Is it going to be digital optical technology for a storage medium? Is it going to be some other form or way of preserving this stuff?
I think you have to say, "Well, here's what we can do today and this will a good base, cornerstone. It should be preserved on ESTAR film, polyester film; it should have X type of noise reduction for talking, sound; that's our minimum." You could certainly exceed it, but if you meet these minimum requirements, then you're fulfilling your duty to be technically correct.
Then you come into the total subjective portion of the material and then it's a question of artistic taste and what you're trying to achieve. And I don't think you can set any standards for that.
MR. TABB: David.
MR. CHASMAN: This seems like a fundamental question but are there uniform criteria for storage conditions for film or does it vary from lab to lab and from vault to vault?
MR. SARGENT: There are certain suggestions in that regard but those have changed over the years. There are standards now which were considered fairly--
MR. CHASMAN: Is there any continuing research into that particular aspect of the--
MR. SARGENT: Yes, sir, but not within our organizations but at the Permanence Institute in Rochester and so forth. They are the ones who have really looked into it more so than us. We are on the producing end of the materials as opposed to the warehousing.
MR. CHASMAN: Okay.
MR. TABB: John.
MR. BELTON: I'd like to follow up on the standards question. If I understand the discussion, if a group sets a certain level of standards and since you work on the basis of clients or a relationship, and the client cannot really afford to preserve according to those standards, does where standards are set really impact seriously on whether films get preserved? Or are we taking a risk if we set the standards too high? If there's a plan that has that absolute [set of standards]--you know, a preserved film that is going to qualify for a tax incentive or a tax credit or something has to be this, that and the other thing--I think we're asking for someone to eventually be spending $30,000-40,000 for a simple color film? Is this a danger?
MR. HEIBER: Yes, I think it is. I mean, obviously some preservation is better than no preservation. So you don't want to say, "If you can't meet these criteria, you get no credit whatsoever or no value for what you've done." And obviously, you may just see someone who will say, "Well, forget it, I'm not going to do it." That serves no one's purpose.
So it's a very, very fine line. I mean, we're moving into an area which becomes very difficult, I would think, to legislate and it needs, I think, a more broad blanket policy. Whatever you do is going to be appreciated and valued.
MR. STARK: Those decisions are being made on a routine basis by the smaller institutions today. Some of our clients, who, again, are smaller institutions, really have severe funding problems and generally they have two goals. One is preservation; the other is access and exhibition. And their general mode of exhibition is via video because they have a mandate in their institution to accomplish this.
And they will go in that direction and perhaps do only a film-to-tape transfer simply for that purpose and put the film back on the shelf and say: "Well, we may have to deal with the preservation aspect later, but we have at least accomplished this." It's driven totally by dollars.
MR. SARGENT: Something else, too, about the materials that are produced. It's only recently that Eastman Kodak, for example, is heading in the direction of commercializing polyester-based intermediate films in black-and-white, even though they've been pushed for 20 years in this regard and that materials of that kind were available on special order. It was always an impediment to doing that sort of thing, but now they are definitely doing it.
That, as one of the requirements, I think is fundamental. I don't know anybody here who would argue with me, but I'm willing to listen. There is the question of residual chemistry within the film when it's finished. Those are given standards that we work to now. I mean, we definitely make every effort to keep that sort of thing under control.
Beyond that, what are we talking about? Are we talking about steadiness, resolution, certain contrast levels and so forth, fixed standards for what constitutes a fine grain versus a dupe negative and so forth? I would point out though that one of the wonderful things about motion picture film in the last hundred years is its great elasticity to deal with a wide variety of applications and to try and nail this down to something as specific as what I've just said, takes away that elasticity.
So it's a question of what are the standards. You know, what is it that you're really talking about to really nail what constitutes archival materials? It's in some ways like certain other things: I know it when I see it.
CHAIRMAN KANIN: This is for Mr. Dayton. I noticed in some of the material that was provided for us that you were suggesting that it was valuable to preserve nitrate film for later use. It says that it would, in some instances, provide better quality source information. And that amazed me because we've all thought once nitrate has changed to safety--it's put on safety--we should get rid of the nitrate. Your suggestion is that we hang on to it. So we still keep having the problem of storing nitrate.
MR. DAYTON: I would think so, yes.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: From your suggestion.
MR. SARGENT: Can I add to that?
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Yes.
MR. SARGENT: Such as in the case of the video business, the technology is moving rapidly in that regard. And what was considered a reasonable transfer, in fact, an excellent transfer, five years ago today is not. To compare the two side-by-side, the faults and omissions of five years ago stand out like sore thumbs.
I agree with Richard on this one, that the same is true in the motion picture business. Things get better and better. The materials and the machines that we do this work on get better and better. As long as that foundation of the original nitrate stays around, then you can go back and do it again as that technology improves. I don't agree with kissing it off at one point.
MR. HEIBER: Yes, I don't think there's a facility out here that would ever recommend to a client once something is preserved, no matter what condition the original element was in, "Okay, it's okay to throw it away now." None of us say that. Of course, this is why you end up with an enormous storage problem, because here you are saying: "Let's make a protection copy. Now, we [client] have a good safety and now you're [lab] telling me, don't throw away this thing we just started from."
And yet I would say "don't," because as we all know the technology will be advanced. Who knows what we'll be able to resurrect from it in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. So, yes, you end up with kind of a dual standard. Yes, we've protected it; now it's safe. But no, keep all the old stuff that's shrinking and falling apart because who knows how much better we can do it in the future. It's a very difficult--
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: The storage problem just--
MR. HEIBER: It's not going to go away. I think maybe it would be, again as some of the computer technologies evolved a way of condensing and doing a less costly controlled storage environment for some of it. And then still an expensive and controlled environment for the rest of it, because that's the problem with the film elements. They're wonderful, they're durable, they're very accessible, and they're universal in their use, but they're not permanent. That's the problem.
DR. BILLINGTON: What role do storage conditions play in national planning? If that's the consensus of views, that you have to keep the original even if you're transferring it, this is a pretty massive storage problem. You're saying vaults are being plowed under, even though the need for them seems to be recognized by the same panel that's reporting the vaults are being discarded.
Is there some role for the Film Board in this? And then I have one other question.
MR. SARGENT: You're talking about setting standards, vault standards, really?
DR. BILLINGTON: Well, just the minimal standard, just to make sure they exist.
MR. HEIBER: I mean, obviously the creation of some kind of national repository for materials, for the vaulting material of proper temperature and humidity control which right now is around 20 to 30% humidity and around 0_C is what's recommended. You can see that that's very expensive and I don't think you'd want to locate that facility in Florida. But it would be wonderful to put that into the pie; to say, yes, there will be a national repository that will handle this.
The nitrate storage has become one of an environmental concern. And so, you know, which lucky state gets it? [Laughter.] No one likes wants hazardous waste. How do you figure out the solution to that?
DR. BILLINGTON: Let me ask another question. You know, realistically at some point we're going to have to deal with priorities rather than an endless inventory of problems. For you as professionals who work directly with a wide variety of material--leaving apart the judgments about what ought to be preserved because of its content--in terms of form, in terms of the material, what kinds of materials are in the most immediate need? What are the highest immediate priorities for just the physical preservation of the material?
Could you give me some sort of classification, you know, first, second, third; I mean, some sense of order of priority? I have talked with a number of people who are interested in this, and it seems like we get an undifferentiated laundry list of needs that goes on and on. If you're going to deal with people--anybody, public, private, or whatever--who must pay, you need some kind of prioritized list. I'm interested in your sense of what are the most immediate needs.
I know this is a very difficult problem, just in preserving the physical materials.
MR. SARGENT: I'll speak to black-and-white. You speak to color. Obviously where possible the original negatives, but in lieu of that, you have to march down the generational chain--finegrain positives from those dupe negatives and so forth. But I think the key is generational. Wherever you can identify an original camera negative, for example, that's where you start and you go on from there.
And in that regard, I still say that properly made polyester-based materials right now offer the best hope for duplicate materials of whatever generation you select. But if you can't go that far, get back in the chain as far as you can.
MR. DAYTON: I agree with that. The color, at least nitrate color, is all basically black-and-white film anyway in the form of three separations. So it is a situation again where you certainly want to go back to the original negative or the earliest generation of the element that is available and transfer from that, assuming it is a good one. In fact, sometimes, you know, it's kind of a subject-by-subject case.
Many times what is considered a second generation element made in 1930 might not be anywhere near as good as something made in 1946 from the same material, but with the better technology at that time. Also the opposite could be true as well. It's a difficult choice- -really there's no rule to go by. You have to examine the material and make the best judgment.
MR. HEIBER: If I could just add to that. As a policy among ourselves as facilities, that's really exactly it: Look at what are all the materials and go to whatever the best original element is for manufacture of subsequent elements. I think if you preserve that one element, and if you have had every element to examine, you can say conclusively, "This is the best element." I think then you've done your duty to preserve that one project and you can go on.
And as you say, you have to be able to set a criteria. You can't copy everything. And you can't save every possible thing. You can save it, but you don't necessarily have to preserve everything if you've made that very scientific research of what is the best element for manufacturing.
MR. FRANCIS: This isn't really a technical question and it's probably not the ideal place to ask it, but I cannot resist because in your letter to the Board, you said two things. You said:
Will the studios be able to renovate their entire film inventories in a time expedient fashion? ...Will every film in a studio's collection be considered commercially desirable? The answer to both questions, in my opinion, is optimistically, yes.
Now, that is a fairly strong statement. I wondered why you felt this. If that is going to be the case, it's obviously very important that it is reflected in the national plan. MR. HEIBER: Well, what we've seen in the types of projects that we've been asked to remaster is that you can't rule out anymore what might or might not be a commercially viable project. And so because the studios are very, very protective now of their own assets; I mean, these are gold mines for the studios. They have well-implemented procedure--or they're all developing them now--to go and examine every element they have. If they see that it is in need of restoration or preservation, most of them are preserving it because they just don't know when they may be able to sell it.
So that's a giant driving force and you certainly are not going to let any more of these little nuggets of gold be lost to history. So I think because of the enormous demand for this material, the studios are being responsible in protecting it primarily for financial reasons. I am optimistic. I mean, I would like to think that they will all be saved in time. The studios have enormous film inventories but they're all working real hard as far as we can tell to protect them.
MR. TABB: John?
MR. BELTON: Yes, Mr. Heiber again. I have sort of a real interest in sound, and as I understand it, there is digital technology for preserving film sound. What are your feelings about this? How do you prefer to preserve sound tracks independently of film? Do you prefer to use digital technology or analog?
MR. HEIBER: Well, right now our facility does not recommend digital preservation of audio primarily because there are no standards in the digital world for that preservation. And primarily looking in the long-term view, we recommend to our clients that the analog preservation with the proper noise reduction is probably more useful in the short term.
We've examined some things for digital preservation, optical digital preservation of audio. Again, it goes back to a film-base medium which still requires the controlled storage conditions. Even though we've looked at some data that suggests the reels will last for 800 years or longer, which is certainly a lot longer than we could expect many things to last right now and you and I would never have to worry about it, it still requires that very expensive, controlled-storage conditioned environment which is going to be the continuing cost of a film preservation plan.
So at this point in time, you might say we're a little bit on the sideline. We do digital restoration work at our facility. It's done very carefully and really kind of, you might say, with analog ears because there is a desire still to have the warmth and the richness of that kind of audio processing. The future is where the exciting breakthrough technology is coming. At our company we're developing proprietary equipment ourselves to use computers to do some of this interpolation work in restoration.
MR. TABB: One last question from Milt.
MR. SHEFTER: We've kind of touched on this but I'd like to get the response of the whole panel on the film support or base material. Nitrate, as we all know, is very unpredictable. We don't know how long it's going to last or when it's going to start deteriorating. Up to recent times it was general policy to transfer it to safety film and that was cellulose acetate. And now we have the vinegar syndrome which may or may not be Chicken Little. I'd like to hear your opinion on whether acetate is no longer the safety stock for preservation. And without being repetitive, Ralph, your feelings on polyester.
MR. SARGENT: Well, first on the question of triacetate film, we have run into a considerable amount of it which is, in fact, not suffering the years well. Certainly 16mm and 8mm films which have been stored in high humidity, in high temperature areas, Hawaii, Florida and so forth, have very poor survival characteristics. We've also seen deterioration in 35mm film that has been kept in Hollywood vaults.
So we're not out of the woods on that one. It is a real problem. Now, as far as polyester is concerned, we've got an experience here of 20 to 30 years with that material. As a motion picture base, certainly it's been in use for that period of time. Those films hold up very well and on a comparative basis, if you went down through all the physical characteristics the films are put through, there is no doubt that polyester based material is far superior to both nitrate and safety triacetate films in its characteristics and in its expected longevity. There is no question about that. I don't know that you want to get much more technical on that score.
MR. DAYTON: I just wanted to add that at the moment we're in a bit of a problem with Eastman Kodak, our supplier of intermediate black-and-white film. They put out a flyer about a month-and-a-half ago announcing the availability of finegrain duplicating positive film on ESTAR base and duplicating negative film on ESTAR base. But the sales office and the representatives say that these are not available yet. So this is a problem because 90% of the preservation work that I do--and I'm sure that Ralph does--goes on these stocks and the film base polyester is not yet available. You cannot buy this film yet.
MR. SARGENT: We have heard, in fact, that AGFA in Europe is probably going to discontinue the manufacture of these intermediate materials on a triacetate base but that discontinuation is also occurring because of environmental laws relating to the manufacture of the base stock. Europe appears to be much tighter on this score than we do in this country.
So if they [AGFA] come into this country on a big scale, commercially a big scale, with dupe negative, finegrain stocks and so forth on polyester base, it's going to force Kodak to really move along and not send out these little letters that say, "Whoops, we've got a problem."
MR. TABB: All right, gentlemen, thank you very much for your presentations. Mr. Rothman, are you here? This was to have been a two-person panel. One was not able to join us but we appreciate Mr. Rothman coming from Daily Variety. You can go ahead and make your prepared remarks now.
Statement of Matt Rothman, Daily Variety
MR. ROTHMAN: Thank you. I want to thank you for inviting me to the presentation. I've been asked to give an overview, very quickly, about how computers are very much now a part of the filmmaking process. I'm going to spend a few moments from my vantage point, where I am really witnessing the nexus of computers in Hollywood. Some call it sort of the elopement of Hollywood with Silicon Valley or others think of it more as a shotgun wedding. [Laughter.] I'll take you through what I perceive to be some of the interaction of computers in various stages of production.
First, last night I was at the Academy for a special effects--visual effects--balloting and one of the members said that there's been probably the greatest amount of change in a hundred years of film making in terms of computers over the last two or three years and I think we'll see that probably more so in the next two or three--certainly by the end of the decade, a real revolution.
One of the things that obviously you've heard about this morning is talk about the digital domain where material doesn't degrade. Once it's in a digital format, there's error correction. There is error reduction and what you have are thousands, maybe millions of perfect copies, which raises a whole series of issues, I'm sure, about preservation.
In preproduction where films are mapped out we're starting to see computers being used for everything from story boarding to the inputting of individual images and a database is being created. There are number of productions ongoing now at the studios and you can ask some of the representative this afternoon more details, that are using computers for the storage and filing of still images, text and sound and in some cases, whole clips are being put into preproduction use.
They are drawings or still pictures that are sped up. In the filmmaking process itself, you already have video cameras that are capturing images simultaneously with the main camera that's shooting the action. That tape is often used for rough editing, either on the set or off-line later.
There will be a day, and it's coming very close, where material will be put directly to a computer hard drive where a tap that's on the computer just takes that image and puts it into a computer and for a minute or two of action, you'll be able to edit it, to manipulate it, to see how it's being organized. In the post-production process right now we're seeing the greatest use of computers from everything from the editing which is Avid, Quantel, a number of editor purveyors, where you are editing digital information very quickly, a high degree of manipulation.
The other aspect, of course, is special effects which is not just adding spaceships but is often the removal of objects. Wire removal is a very common technique and objects you don't want in the scene. So to get that type of material, though, in the postproduction process thousands of feet of film are being digitized, being scanned into a computer, stored and then called up randomly and manipulated at will.
There is a feeling that at some point films will not be touched, per se. You'll have the original film. It will be put aside and whole takes that are what is the final film will be in digital format. It will be the ones and zeros of computer language and at that stage, there are a lot of questions to be asked about storage, about manipulation, what is being done, what is quote "a final product."
The first one that we're seeing now being wrestled with is digital compression which is addressing the storage problem. Digital compression, very simply, shrinks an object or shrinks the repetitive sequences by eliminating repetitive images. The blue sky in the first frame is the same blue sky in the 30th frame, and the computer just eliminates 2 through 29 and what you have on the media is a compressed version. And it can be up to about, today, 150 to 1, is the compression ratio. It's actually pretty common.
A good question to ask is: Is there a loss of quality when you do this sort of compression? In May, Kodak announced that it was building a technology center and in that center is about a 12,000-foot technology preservation center and they will be looking at questions like this. What happens when you put things on an optical media, when you digitally compress?
More and more we will see images, text, motion picture, sound in digital format. And the next question people are wrestling with is what the medium will likely be. What we're seeing, of course, is obviously magnetic hard drives which is what you probably have on a personal computer on your desk. Compact disk, optical storage media is very common.
Just as an aside, like this morning coming over here an announcement was made that the Micro-Electronic and Computer Technology Corporation is spinning off and commercializing something called holographics storage technology where low cost crystal media is going to be used to store the images, motion pictures, at ten times the density that is capable right now on magnetic and optical storage and this is not something that they're talking ten years from now but they plan to have a commercial product by the end of this year for use.
In any event, I can only really say that from my interviews, that [although] the digital media is indestructible to a certain extent, it is still likely that some sort of regeneration will be needed, probably about every 20 years, maybe 25 years, where they'll have to check to see if there's degradation and be rerecorded for yet another perfect copy. I am pretty certain that the type of changes we're seeing now, the type of standards that are starting to emerge is the most serious issue that all the studios are wrestling with because there aren't very many [standards] and they are rapidly evolving.
You've heard from people this morning about standards for preservation of older materials. I think the people at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers are wrestling with future materials just as valiantly. I think what we'll see in the next three or four years will be a dramatic change and some issues that you all should probably address in the near term. And that is it.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Rothman. Any questions? John?
MR. BELTON: What are the dramatic changes you're not willing to tell about? Are we talking about new forms of distribution, exhibition, movies as we know them?
MR. ROTHMAN: Well, there are three threads on that level. I mean, once a film is in the digital domain--and that's what I think Mr. Belton is getting at--there is an effort by the studios to minimize the cost of distribution. Once a film is in digital form, it can be electronically sent via a coaxial cable, via satellite, to a storage device at a hub, in a cable network, your neighborhood or it can be stored at an exhibitor theater and then called at will.
That is probably not that far off, I would say within the next three or four years quite readily. Compact disk, putting a five-inch compact disk into your player and pulling up two- and-a-half hours of film is certainly quite possible in the same time frame. Once again, all of this is "digitally perfect," to what you see on the screen.
MR. BELTON: And the cost for digitizing images and preserving of them will be a great savings, do you think or initially not and then--
MR. ROTHMAN: Right, I think with all things involving silicon, there's a very high price to be paid for the initial use. Right now the key problem is what's known as real time and coding, where you are able to take a film and digitize it just because of the density of the image, as swiftly as someone makes a videotape, which is close. I think in another year we will have the capability of turning a film into a digital stream in real time at cost that is commensurate with videotape. It is happening, I think, that fast.
MR. BELTON: So we have to worry about our magnetic fields.
MR. ROTHMAN: Well, you know, there's inscription, security, I mean, there's a whole host of issues yet to be resolved, but you raise a very important point, certainly. Mass production of this sort of digitization is still a little way off, but it's happening.
MR. SHEFTER: Good morning.
MR. ROTHMAN: Good morning.
MR. SHEFTER: Many of the people who are dealing in the chemical optical area of motion picture preservation have stated here today and to our consultants before today's hearing about the value of maintaining the original, the taking image. So let's address beyond that point in terms of future technology. Assuming that you have an absolutely beautiful 35mm frame of information, how soon will we be able to digitize that with lossless compression in the schedule as you know it?
MR. ROTHMAN: Without a loss?
MR. SHEFTER: Without a loss.
MR. ROTHMAN: I think that's a tricky term. I'm not sure exactly--a loss subjectively may be different than a loss--
MR. SHEFTER: I'm not trying to put you on the spot. Let me rephrase it, please. We're told today that most of the systems even on the drawing board would capture maybe 25% of the information that is in a single 35mm frame of color information, 2,000 lines of horizontal resolution, up to 5 million pixels, etc. At what point, from your knowledge, is it realistic that we can digitize all that information on to a medium?
MR. ROTHMAN: I think that's--that is a tough goal and I think that that will probably take somewhere in the neighborhood of four to five years before people are really satisfied--people who have spoken this morning and people like yourselves, who are aware of what is a film quality. I think commercially there's a little bit of a difference and that's an ongoing debate, but I think maybe five years, we'll be able to have quote "no loss of quality" through digitization.
MR. SHEFTER: Okay, and do you have any thoughts on what the medium might be once you've digitized the information?
MR. ROTHMAN: Well, up until this morning I thought optical, but why not holographic? I don't know. There is talk of being able to certainly put an entire film on a computer chip the size of your thumb nail with no loss. I think that's a little further out, but I think the likely medium in the interim is optical only because of its lack of degradation. Magnetic, I think, has a number of problems, but I think optical is probably the closest thing right now.
MR. TABB: David, one last question.
MR. FRANCIS: If I understand the scenario you've just painted, you still have the original camera negative. Are you going back to it when you check your digitization every 25 years? Are you going back to redigitize the information on the original camera negative?
MR. ROTHMAN: No, you wouldn't have to, in fact. You would be able to--if there was--I'm assuming that not everything is going to degrade at the same level. That if you have a hundred copies--perfectly digital copies of a film--you could reproduce any one of those for a master, so to speak or you could go back to the uncut negative, yes.
MR. FRANCIS: So you have faith in the digital master.
MR. ROTHMAN: Yes.
MR. FRANCIS: I say this because I think that every archivist thinks in terms of at least a hundred years when they copy a film and put it away into controlled storage. So the thought that goes through your mind is, over a hundred year period, are your costs going to be more if you preserve the original film or are they going to be more if you use a digitized method of storing the images? If you have to do transfers every 25 years, you could be spending more money than you did on the original film preservation and on the storage of that material.
MR. ROTHMAN: I think practically that you're raising an important question about the cost of preservation. I think that people will recognize that a digital medium will be far less costly to transfer. I didn't want to raise this issue particularly but I think we may be facing an issue of exactly what is to be preserved, whether it will be a tangible piece of film or actually a bit stream, a block of data that could really exist anywhere.
The source material, yes, would be film, but the actual image itself could be coded onto any medium and transferred at will for probably very little cost. So the question of having vaults filled with film may not be the right paradigm in the next century. It may be a matter of glass, lots of glass.
MR. BELTON: Just one more. I'm wondering if there is a wholesale digital revolution and the entire industry converts to this--Eastman Kodak goes out of business, I hope no one is here from Eastman Kodak. [Laughter.] Are we going to be able to preserve motion [picture film]? We'll have to transfer everything off polyester film onto digital at some point, right? For the future generations, we will eventually have to move to a digital standard for everything?
MR. ROTHMAN: Now you're asking whether there will be projectors, film projectors, in the year 2500.
MR. BELTON: There probably won't, no.
MR. ROTHMAN: Yes, there probably won't. I don't know if it's wholesale. It's probably going to be very costly to do this. It will be a very long and drawn-out process. In the studios--and you can certainly inquire this afternoon--there are a number of people on the coming panels that are wrestling with this issue in various forms. There will be a switchover, yes, I'm certain of that, in the film production process.
I think that, to your larger question, there will come a time when film will not be the likely source material. I think that's pretty certain. The ACE--there's a number of guilds who may not like that but I think that their children will probably be the filmmakers who will be working in a digital, purely digital, form.
MR. BELTON: Then it would be prohibitively expensive actually to preserve any film at that stage.
MR. ROTHMAN: Oh, yes, you would be transferring from digital to a nitrate base or a polyester base medium that would seem very strange. You'd be going backwards.
MR. TABB: Thank you very much, Mr. Rothman.
MR. ROTHMAN: Certainly.
MR. TABB: We have one last presentation this morning. Patrick, would you come forward. Leonard Maltin, who was to appear, called this morning and said he was not going to be able to be with us. But he and we were very eager to have his statement put into the record. So Dr. Loughney, who is the curator of film programs at the Library of Congress, is going to make that presentation now. We will do Patrick the favor of asking him no questions about Mr. Maltin's statement, so we will be able to end exactly on time for our lunch break.
Statement of Leonard Maltin
DR. LOUGHNEY: On behalf of Mr. Maltin, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present this statement. I will now read Mr. Maltin's statement.
Film preservation should be of interest to everyone--from the average film fan to the most erudite scholar. We cannot allow such a significant part of our history to vanish.
The idea that even newsreels--the most precious documents imaginable--are still on the endangered list is shocking. When I broadcasta story about the Hearst Metrotone Newsreel library held by UCLA,and mentioned that funding was needed to preserve it, several organizations and individuals came forward with contributions. They felt,as I do, that it would be unthinkable to allow these films to vanish fromour midst.
I have worked with most of the country's major archives, andeven put in some time on the staff at the Museum of Modern Art in NewYork. I've seen how these institutions, staffed by enthusiastic, underpaidfilm scholars, go begging for money simply to survive. And I've seen thelist of films waiting to be preserved--waiting year after year on a prioritylist, while they literally crumble into dust.
Is this how future generations will remember us? As the people who paid lip service to the notion of Film as Art, or Film as a mirror of popular culture--but stood by while portions of film history disintegrated?I hope not.
Nor should we allow the films we preserve to be horded. Most people have no knowledge of film archives, or the need for film preservation. But home video has given them unprecedented access to thousands of films. And with that access has come an impatience overthe fact that thousands more are not available.
The questions most often posed to me are: "Where can I findthat film? and Why can't I see that film?"
Most of the people who pose these questions are average citizens who happen to like movies and want to see a particular favorite again. Sometimes there is a more specific purpose: an author writing abook, or a scholar trying to complete a study.
Are we to tell these people that the film they seek was allowedto rot? Or that even though the movie was shown in public--the equivalent to publishing a book--it was allowed to be ferreted away thereafter, and never made public again?
Preservation should be our paramount concern. Making thefilms we preserve available to the public should go hand in hand with that process. Just as interlibrary loans, and microfiche publications, makebooks available to readers and scholars around the country, so it shouldbe with our film treasures. Perhaps as we round the corner into the 21st century we can make that a reality: a country so proud of its film heritagethat it wants a student in Tempe, Arizona, or Fargo, North Dakota, tohave the same chance to see a great silent film--projected on a screen--that his counterpart in Rochester, New York, already enjoys.
I consider myself lucky. I grew up in and around New YorkCity, and as my interest in movie history solidified, I spent countless hoursat revival theaters and at the Museum of Modern Art, where I got mybasic training. When I started to publish books on aspects of film history,I received plaintive letters from readers around the country yearning tosee the films I had described. I could only commiserate with them and encourage them to come to New York.
In this age of high-tech communications, that answer seemsmore inadequate than ever. But the answer does require money, and Ihope Congress will recognize the importance of this goal. American movies belong to all of us--or at least they should.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Patrick, very much. We'll now take our lunchtime recess. We'll be back here exactly at 1:00 o'clock. Thank you.
[At 11:54 a.m., the hearing recessed, to reconvene at 1:00 p.m.]
Proceedings: Afternoon Session
MR. TABB: I'd like to welcome everyone to this afternoon's session. I'll go over a couple of the things we mentioned this morning for those of you who may not have been here. One is that this is the first of two of these town meetings that we're having on preservation. The second is to be held at the Library of Congress in Washington two weeks from today.
Second, we've invited everyone who is speaking today and everyone who is in attendance today who wishes to add further remarks for the record, to do so. In fact, we strongly encourage you to. Any written comments need to be received at the Library of Congress by March 15 in order to be included in this record.
We have arranged panels here today alphabetically by organization. We happen to have this afternoon two panels of studio representatives and that's the way we have them organized starting with Walt Disney and going on to the end of the alphabet. We will take a slight break between the two panels.
Each of the people who will be making a presentation has been told that he will have up to ten minutes to make the prepared remarks. After each person on the panel has presented those remarks, then my colleagues here at the dais will be permitted to ask questions. We will try to keep on schedule so that each of you has an equal opportunity to present the remarks that you have prepared already.
Finally, we will be passing around for those of you in the audience a sign-up sheet. We would like very much to know who is here today and what group you're representing. Some of you may have already signed this sheet, which is on the table outside. If you haven't, we would very much appreciate your signing.
All right, let's start the afternoon with Mr. Ellenshaw of Walt Disney. Thank you.
Statement of Harrison Ellenshaw, Vice President, Buena Vista Special Effects, Walt Disney Company
MR. ELLENSHAW: Thank you. First, let me thank you for allowing us to be here. We take this very seriously, so trust that none of this is taken lightly. I will, in my remarks, tell you who I am, why I am the person representing Disney. But first I'd like to say, maybe somebody pointed out this morning that your logo is in color and will fade over a period of time [Laughter], just in case you don't know that. The logo every time I've seen it so far has been in black and white, but it's very nice to see those rich colors.
That's the reason we're here today, every studio in town, as you can see by this panel. I won't speak for them, but there is a certain commonality here, and that is that somebody at each studio is addressing this situation. So we all take it seriously. This is not an ad hoc kind of thing where somebody calls and says, "You'd better get over there because they're talking about film preservation."
I'm a vice president of Walt Disney Pictures and Television. I'm in charge of visual effects there. It may seem a little incongruous that that puts me also in charge of preservation. However, if I explain to you my background it may make a little more sense. I began in the industry in 1970 as an apprentice matte artist. I went into visual effects. I followed in my father's footsteps, who also worked in the motion picture industry as did his stepfather, so there's a bit of a legacy there. So I have a background in films and an interest in films.
I remained in visual effects and I am still in visual effects today. I left Disney after a number of years and freelanced as a visual effects supervisor, working on films for many of the major studios in town--Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount, etc. So I see a lot of similarities and I see some differences in how studios work. But the differences are very minimal.
When I was asked to take over visual effects at Disney three years ago, included in our task was to run a visual effects department and support the visual effects for various motion pictures coming from Disney, as required. Also included were theme park motion picture productions that are shown in the various theme parks of Disney. We also do trailers and titles. We also have a black-and-white processing lab, a very extensive one, more than one machine that does black-and-white processing, and black-and-white printing.
Black and white is very important in visual effects because when you do a visual effects shot of combining two elements, one element may be shot against a blue screen. As most of you probably know, to get rid of the blue, you have to go to a black-and-white element that filters out the blue. So black and white--when it comes to making mattes, when it comes to making elements, when it comes to combining film--is a very important process. Even though all the films almost without exception are shot in color--we're used to seeing color in everything--we still find that black and white is something that we need. So we're very familiar with black and white.
For this reason and for others, part of our responsibility became the restoration of park films, those films that are running in the park. Many of them have run for a number of years and it is found that, as we know, things do deteriorate. The prints that you make today aren't as good as the prints that were made five years ago. Some of these films get changed out every eighteen months. Some do not get changed out every eighteen months, but have existed in the parks for ten years and more.
Disney has found it necessary to make sure that these films as projected have "opening day quality" to them. To do that such things as rewashing negatives, going back, remaking, preprint elements, IP's and IN's need to be done. With improving film stocks, this is something that would have to be done or should be done regardless if something were to fade or something were to deteriorate in some manner.
So one of the important things that I want to stress today is that we're not looking at a situation that is necessarily entirely due to neglect by a previous generation. We're looking at a situation where the technology continues to evolve. There are emerging technologies. We'll hear the word digital used over and over especially when it comes to sound. Digital is a very good thing for sound. Digital is a very good thing for the visual medium as well, but of course it takes far more ones and zeros to record a visual image than it does a sound piece.
But the main important thing here is that no matter the condition of the film--let's say the original negative in park films, if it's been kept in pristine condition, and the best vaulting conditions to industry standards or exceeding industry standards--you still, every so often, will want to go back and make another preprint element using a better piece of film, a finer grain, intermediate stock.
Library restoration also comes under our responsibilities and I say library restoration because, in fact, at Disney we do have a title to it. Funds have been set aside for library restoration of the theatrical films at the Walt Disney Company. I'd like to read basically the statement of policy concerning library preservation, because there is a difference here and I'll get into that as soon as I finish this statement.
The following is the policy of the Walt Disney Company on film preservation:
The company has conducted and continues to conduct preservation effortsfor all titles owned by the Walt Disney Company. Black-and-white separation masters, exist for all theatrical films and continue to be madeas protection elements on current feature productions. With the exception of 13 titles all original nitrate film elements have been copiedonto safety film. The remaining 13 nitrate titles are due for completion September 1, 1993. Vault conditions exceed the generally accepted industry standards and appropriate elements are geographically separated.
One added note, all sound elements have been protected and all sound nitrate elements have been copied onto safety film. Preservation and restoration are two separate items, but when you restore a film, when you go back and clean it up, you then naturally make a new protection element. It's only logical to do that. If you go to the trouble to restore something, you don't want to use the old protection element, which may not be as fine quality as a new one would be.
Briefly, I hope, that has been my presentation. Do you have any questions?
MR. TABB: We'll save the questions for later. Thank you very much. Mr. Bell?
Roger Bell, Director of Administration, Library Services, Fox Studios Operations
MR. BELL: I just want to add a brief note here. I just want to mention that since 1975 we've had a restoration program in which we've converted over 800 titles. We're about to embark on a program of redoing the early safety film where the original negative is damaged. And that will start immediately. And as, of course, everyone knows, we're about to digitize the Movietone News Library.
MR. TABB: Mr. Ainsworth?
Statement of Gray Ainsworth, Director of Film Operations, MGM Worldwide Services, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
MR. AINSWORTH: Yes, my name is Gray Ainsworth. I'm the director of film operations for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and would probably have to be considered the youngster of the group, ironic as that may sound.
MGM has had the last several years a quite confusing history and turbulent. So we're really here to learn just as much as contribute. And I appreciate the opportunity to come here and take part.
If we agree that film is preferred medium on which to store moving images, then it is the responsibility of the owners and keepers of our libraries to protect them. In a current world of private ownership and sales generated exploitation, we have a built in system of checks and balances. At MGM as with most owners, we actively sell our movies.
What we deliver to our clients must be acceptable quality, which is often subjective and a rather changing concept. The acceptability of a negative or videotape or magnetic sound track is governed by things such as changing technology and the quality of the source material that we're dealing with. At MGM we found that what was being accepted on videotape five years ago is not being accepted today.
Foreign distributors are demanding product of the highest quality now and with the advent of digital tape, we have been faced with the job of remastering our entire library, which we embarked upon approximately two years ago based on sales of our entire library to certain foreign countries.
These contracts have led us to the decision to remaster this library and our reasoning was twofold. First, we needed to satisfy the immediate need of delivering to our clients. Secondly, we wanted to prepare our film elements for future technological changes such as high def, as well as preservation. Once we undertook the project of this sort, you have to take a hard look at your film elements. They must be good to start with if your end product is to also be good.
And as we embarked on our remastering, whatever that may be, we were forced to do this. This exercise obviously leads us to some far and strange worlds but it's also a very worthy exercise. We've had the opportunity to take a look at a very large library. We have approximately fifteen hundred titles encompassing United Artists, Cannon and some smaller libraries.
If we find an element has problems when we're looking at it for video remastering, we will fix that problem at the time and, if it's unfixable, we will replace it. That's one thing that we've been very adamant about and mainly because, obviously, we're interested in protecting the film itself. But also if it doesn't get accepted by our clients, we don't get paid. So it's a rather effective kick in the butt, if you will, to make sure that that's taken care of.
Our elements are separated for protection purposes with material on the West Coast, the East Coast and London. If we move something we confirm where other material is and then we return it to a different place. The upkeep of this library is obviously an uphill battle for us but we're constantly faced with it. No amount of vigilance can stop aging but help is always welcome. Organizations like the Library of Congress and the archives we have consulted with and used often to both of our benefits. We would welcome any form of assistance in the maintenance of these libraries as long as the ultimate responsibility lies with the owners of these libraries. Briefly, some projects that we have in progress right now are television shows that we have that were finished on videotape, which is something new in the last several years. We're going back and reconforming those negatives that are still in pieces to make sure that we have a proper negative representation of those shows.
We also have almost completed the nitrate conversion to safety film project. We have about, I would say, twenty titles left and once that is done, we're donating the nitrate to the Library of Congress for storage and future use and research. The safety film we will keep for exploitation. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Mr. Murphy.
Statement of Philip E. Murphy, Vice President, Operations, Television Group, Paramount Pictures
MR. MURPHY: I'm Phil Murphy, vice president of operations for the television group of Paramount Pictures Corporation, the motion picture and television arm of Paramount Communications, Incorporated. Those of you in the room that have seen me speak before, such as at the AMIA, realize that I usually don't work from a prepared script. I usually get up and I'm very animated, playing the room, but I notice that Annette has put velcro on my chair today, so I will read. [Laughter.]
We appreciate the opportunity to testify today before the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Paramount has a deep commitment to preserving our motion picture and television heritage and applauds the effort of the Library pursuant to the National Film Preservation Act to study and report on this subject.
Paramount Pictures adopted a worldwide preservation commitment many years ago. Our visual heritage includes many of the major filmmakers of this century and the corporation recognized its obligations of archival continuance early on. Almost ten years ago the studio stated refurbishing the original architecture of the Hollywood lot. Buildings were renamed after such notables from the Paramount past as Sturges, De Mille, Lubitsch, Wilder, Adolf Zuker, B.P. Schulberg and Hal Wallis.
The studio was lauded by the Los Angeles Conservancy for its efforts to preserve its historic buildings. Our efforts in motion picture film asset protection were the results of a major management commitment that gave Paramount the industry's most comprehensive preservation program and established the Paramount preservation standard, one to which all preservationists could actually refer.
In 1987 Paramount's top management formed a working group to determine the most effective means of assuring that the studio's vast library would, in fact, be preserved for future generations. The group determined that an asset protection program would have to encompass three areas.
The first was a computerized database utilizing bar code technology in order to identify all film and tape elements, their condition, storage location and, very importantly, their movement tracking.
Second was the program method of inspection and evaluation, repair, replacement, restoration, proper secured storage with authorized access and a prioritized system identifying elements that needed attention before deterioration destroyed the element.
And the third area was a philosophy of protection by separation, as others have mentioned, to insure that all elements were not stored in the same physical location, thereby precluding the total loss of a title.
This translated into a goal of being able to produce a high-quality commercially acceptable product from at least two diverse geographic locations. Our own self-imposed criteria for full protection is to maintain the original camera negative in our Los Angeles archive at 40_F, 25% relative humidity.
We also inspect and repair as needed an interpositive for the Los Angeles archive and inspect and repair a three-strip separation protection YCM to be located in our East Coast underground vault, which we also maintain at 40_F, 25% relative humidity. Split track magnetic audio is also stored at the bicoastal locations.
Even in the rare instance when market potential does not warrant manufacture of material following inspections, we still position the existing material in our environmental vaults to arrest further deterioration. By so doing, we protect everything. The preservation project took on a life of its own as concurrent assignments proceeded on a scheduled basis. A gifted in-house computer programmer developed the necessary software and system configurations to enable the worldwide inventory to commence.
We visited each major underground storage site in the United States to choose a second home for Paramount elements. Outside vendors were chosen to handle the huge volume of element inspection, evaluation and repair or replacement and all information was continuously fed into the database. While the preservation progress of commercial titles proceeded at an active pace, Paramount continued to nurture the historic stars of its past.
The 1957 Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn [film] Funny Face was restored for the 1990 AFI Los Angeles Film Festival. Original nitrate elements of the 1912 Queen Elizabeth, the 1914 The Squaw Man and the 1923 The Covered Wagon were transferred to safety film at Paramount's expense and the original elements were then loaned to public archives in order to complement their collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Archive, Library of Congress and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences film archive.
Several hundred other films such as Barbarella, Escape from Alcatraz, Greatest Show on Earth, Gunfight at the OK Corral, Harlow, Is Paris Burning?, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, Out of Towners, Paint Your Wagon, Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah, Shane, Ten Commandments and True Grit were fully or partially restored.
The protection-by-separation goal took a major step forward in January of '89 when the first trailer truck full of Paramount elements was shipped to the custom constructed deep mine vaults in the eastern U.S., a site which is shared by such noteworthy institutions as the U.S. Patent Office, the FBI and the Library of Congress. These vaults were constructed under Paramount direction and to our specifications of temperature, relative humidity, fire suppression and validated security access.
Almost at the same time Paramount Communications, Incorporated, authorized the construction of a 40,000 square-foot archive building on our Hollywood lot in order to house all Los Angeles-based original materials which at that time were spread among several outside storage facilities, laboratories and on-lot storage modules. The archive would hold the original elements of Paramount titles on film and tape and an editing complex for the staff that created ancillary market versions of Paramount theatrical titles who were the prime users of this vault material.
The archive building was truly a fast-track project. After the January '89 approval, our in-house planning and development department coordinated the needs of the building with the size restrictions placed on the site by governmental agencies. The building's environmental, fire suppression and security systems were custom designed.
Ground was broken in September and the building was completed in July of the following year. The first weekend in August we moved over 70,000 magnetic items into the building over a 36-hour period. Film items followed shortly thereafter. The third leg of the protection-by-separation scheme was installed in 1991 with the completion of an environmentally controlled storage facility in London, England, in order to house Paramount's European elements.
All three facilities are tied into a personal computer network which now includes prime vendors and some 100 users around the world. Any movement, plus editor and product notes about any item in the data base, is available to all in our corporation who need the information regarding the three-quarter million items worldwide now in our database. This free flow of information contrasts greatly with the typical fiefdom where individuals hoard information that they need on file cards, lined pads, binders or, in the worst case of all, in their memories.
The major preservation work is done. We can't know what future technology will require. Whatever the demand, we feel confident that by protecting the original film elements we have retained all the creativity the original artists intended to capture and that we'll be able to respond to any needs with a resolution, aspect ratio and quality inherent in the original.
Paramount has, for the past four years, transferred feature films onto digital videotape for distribution into electronic markets but even the upcoming digital high definition television system cannot totally capture the image which is stored on the original film. We're often asked after people tour our Los Angeles archive, "Now that you've transferred the film to video tape, why do you need to keep the film?"
The answer can be summarized by saying that the resolution of video technology continues to grow, but still cannot effectively come close to the image quality residing on that 35mm motion picture film. Our entire archival project succeeded because it had the motivated support of our top management, who never backed off or down from any of the changing requirements. It was and is the philosophy of our company that Paramount itself have total preservation responsibility for the material that we own.
While independent and public archival institutions are also important to maintaining the history of motion pictures, we cannot subrogate our responsibilities to their needs or activities. This is not to say that there isn't room for cooperation. We have and continue to work with other institutions to assist in important preservation work. We loan material; we finance; we share technological data. Indeed, as we proceeded with the archive we were encouraging other studios, archives, libraries and preservationists to monitor our progress and share in the information that we uncovered.
The imprecise science of preservation is fairly new. We hired outside consultants to provide known technical information about film preservation which was unavailable through industry organizations. During this archival adventure we have found many inherent economic incentives to protect one's own library. Film preservation need not be a philanthropic endeavor. There is a huge worldwide market for all films, be it from domestic, basic and pay cable, the privatization of television in Europe and Latin America or the hoped for advent of better worldwide copyright protection. Our product is constantly in demand.
With many new technologies poised for home introduction, our product will remain in demand well beyond our lifetimes. This demand, though, is for high quality state of the art renderings of our features and series product. Distorted, color faded or blurry 16mm prints and 3/4-inch tapes no longer sell. Our preservation efforts allow us to utilize pristine film elements to produce the latest digital videotapes for our customers.
The other economic advantage for our archival efforts is that all of our film elements last five to ten times longer than they did before they were housed in proper environmental conditions. This added life more than covers our annual storage cost and is dramatically cheaper than continually replicated deteriorating film elements whose lives were shortened by improper storage.
In the future archival film storage may be replaced by digital computer storage to an image resolution equivalent to 35mm film. However, although such digitalization technology does exist today two significant problems exist. First, the process is exceedingly slow and more importantly, the amount of digital data in each frame of film is so great that no practical storage technologies have yet to be invented. A full film transfer to a film equivalent digital domain with it's complete essence stored on computer tape would cost at least ten times as much as producing protection separations on film. However, digitalization of film may be an alternative to film archiving in the not-too- distant future.
There is a great need for the Library of Congress and Congress to focus on the parts of our American visual heritage which do not naturally fall under someone's ownership. We speak here of that great collection of public domain material much of it on nitrate film.
Those titles are called orphans because they have no protectors, no organization with the wherewithal to transfer the material to safety film to assure that future generations will have the opportunity to view what the early part of our century looked like on film.
It's our suggestion that a national preservation policy address this great collection of material before time, its greatest enemy, takes it away from us forever. We've all heard the tragic figure that half of the films produced before 1950 are gone. They're lost, deteriorated or destroyed. The other half is only partially protected. Recently Paramount, at our own expense in cooperation with UCLA archive, transferred a 1927 version of Mary Pickford's Tess of the Storm Country from nitrate to safety film. We were surprised to find that it was the only theatrical copy of that title in existence and we were shocked to think that it may have been lost forever.
It's gratifying that the U.S. Congress recognizes the need to preserve our visual cultural heritage. It's likewise impressive to know that the Librarian of Congress is marshalling the effort. We offer our cooperation, our expertise. As for Paramount, we will continue to protect and preserve our visual heritage with total commitment and dedication.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Murphy. We're also glad today to welcome Mr. Kirkpatrick, the film archivist from Republic Pictures. I understand you didn't wish to make a prepared statement at this time, but you'll take questions; is that correct?
Statement of Ernest Kirkpatrick, Film Archivist, Republic Pictures
MR. KIRKPATRICK: I've given the panel a written statement and it's part of the record.
MR. TABB: All right, thank you very much. We'll take questions from colleagues here. Who would like to be first, John?
MR. BELTON: I think this might be a question that anyone could answer or you could respond to this serially. In your preservation procedures or policy, and considerations about what to preserve, what kinds of formats to preserve and so forth, have you discovered that there is any market now for older films on 35mm for revival houses or 16mm for classroom use? Or is all of the focus on exploitation of older films for cable and video? In other words, is it likely that the studios will be generating materials for theatrical exhibition of older films?
MR. ELLENSHAW: In the case of Disney the 30 feature-length animated classics are still rereleased approximately every seven years and there's no real indication that that would stop. So there is that portion of the library that does see theatrical exhibition.
There is limited theatrical exhibition in film festivals and retrospectives of additional live action pieces, but that's rather minimal. The protection effort still addresses the ability to show a film theatrically in the best venue known because, as many of the panel members have mentioned, we are approaching high definition television and who knows what comes after that, higher definition television. So there is no compromising of the protection at this point. You still want to protect it as best you possibly can.
MR. MURPHY: On Paramount's behalf, we have a repertory division headed by a member of our audience right now, Mike Schlesinger, expressly to work with our revival houses and to deal with organizations that are doing theatrical exhibition of older films. So we are very much involved in that. [As for] our own preservation standards, when we are evaluating material as to whether or not we need to replace certain sections or what do we need to do, we don't use an electronic standard against which to judge our activities. We're looking at the ability to reproduce it in a theatrical environment, simply because, as we've said, we don't know what is going to happen in the future relative to high definition and beyond. And if we don't have theatrically acceptable product, we may fall short of a market in the future.
MR. BELTON: I had another question and then I'm going to turn this over. This may seem like an odd question, but most of you are distributors and have been distributing films for a number of years. The people who produce films actually hold on to these elements, within the last twenty years or so.
Do you see this as constituting a problem? I know that we think of the studios and the studios have the films as a central source: You can go to them and you know where the stuff is. But the recent transformations of the business have scattered, you might say, [films] across the country. If we're thinking about a nationwide film program here, is it a concern to try to track these more recent films and where the elements have gone to, since they're no longer housed by studios?
MR. BELL: I can say that everything we have is in a computer and everything is assigned a material control number and it's tracked that way.
MR. BELTON: I was thinking actually specifically of Star Wars because Lucasfilm wrote to us talking about its own preservation and, of course, this is a Fox-distributed film. So he [Lucas] has the original elements.
MR. BELL: And we have IP's, internegs, tracks, mag tracks and we have them disbursed throughout the United States for protection.
MR. AINSWORTH: It is a concern, particularly with older titles, I'll comment on first; we find that material is stored all over the place. United Artists' library was, you know, at least in the case of some films we've found rather poorly taken care, time has gone by, and we're finding material popping up all over the place--which we do not want. We pull that in, we evaluate it and store it properly.
For newer films with coownership and rights differences, it's just a matter of cooperation with the companies involved. I know recently, in fact with Paramount, we've talked about King of the Gypsies, where we hold certain rights and Paramount holds the material. And, you know, we just work that out.
Going back to your last question, I'd like to make one statement about the classic films. We have a classics department at MGM; there is a market for that. We exhibit 16mm and 35mm with revival houses around the country. As a recent example that just came up: our print of Misfits with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. The film was not good and we're now currently looking at those negatives to restore them, make them better, and make a better print.
It's rather selective but absolutely [a concern].
MR. MURPHY: In Paramount's case we encourage, John, any of the owners of original camera negative or any of the preprint materials where there are shared rights to take advantage of the vault situation that we have constructed in Los Angeles and/or the limestone mine in which to house this material even though we may only have partial rights, simply because it would provide one of the best environments that we can think of.
We'd like to think that everyone, in fact, would maintain the material in as good a place as possible, but, you know, our contribution is certainly one of making the offer if we have any sort of rights to house the material with us.
MR. TABB: David Francis?
MR. FRANCIS: This question may ramble a little but I'll try and ask it as concisely as possible. I'm very heartened by what I have just heard. I think the public archives would like nothing better than to concentrate their efforts on the orphans. I also feel, however, the public archives, in their plurality of locations, should have a first class copy of every important American film in their collections, both to satisfy their research responsibilities, but also to satisfy the need to present in their own archival locations the history of the American cinema.
I feel that there's still a certain amount of duplication between the work being done by the archives and the work being done by the studios. I'm just wondering whether it would be possible to organize some sort of carefully controlled plan whereby the best material in the national collection could be compared with the best material held by the studios on any given title to make absolutely certain for the last time, that we or you have preserved the best material possible.
I'm putting this as a very general question to see how this could be achieved: how such a systematic inspection of the best material held in the archives and the best material held by the companies could take place, or whether you even think it's worthwhile? Because the obvious solution in some cases is not for us to copy again from nitrate, but to receive from you an acetate copy, which could become our master in the national collection.
Now, I'm sorry, it's a rather long question but I think it's a very important one for this study. I just would like views in general on that.
MR. MURPHY: When Paramount has inspected the material that we have, we're looking around the world at all of the vaults, all of the laboratories, to find the best possible combination of things to come together to create two separate elements. We have, in fact, at times discovered that the best possible material may be in the hands of a private collector or at one of the archives throughout the country. And I must admit this has been probably three instances on some very old titles.
But we do do that as best as possible. In other words, we're looking now as we inspect the material--when we run into stumbling blocks--we're contacting our counterparts in the archival community to see what, in fact, they may have. So to a degree, certainly with us, that's already going on.
MR. FRANCIS: May I try and follow up just a bit further because I am aware of your doing that. I think I'm looking at this from the point of view of somebody with the responsibility for a public archive. How could we be as happy as you are, and be sure we have no material that is really important on the particular title concerned? What I'm trying to say here is, is there any way we can organize it so that we will be equally confident, so that we can then concentrate on the orphans, which I think everybody here agrees are the things we should concentrate on, yet still meet our responsibilities by holding a master copy of the best possible material and satisfying our research responsibilities?
We want to have the same confidence as you do and I'm trying to think how we could achieve that.
MR. MURPHY: I'm not sure I have the answer sitting here, David, but I would imagine that as the copyright holder, it obviously is in our best interest to make sure that we're distributing the best copy that exists. As a result, if--certainly from the major studios' points of view--the Library of Congress could rely on the fact that the preservation program as the protection programs of the majors would in fact successfully cover that issue so that the concentration could, in fact, be on those titles, as you mentioned, the orphans, where there isn't anyone looking out for them in lieu of investing time and energy on something that is, frankly, in the private sector, already being adequately covered on the part of the majors.
MR. TABB: Are there other speakers who would like to respond to David's initial point?
MR. AINSWORTH: I know at least for MGM, I see no reason why we couldn't enter into some sort of show-and-tell kind of situation that the Library of Congress would present to us a list of titles on a reasonable basis, within a reasonable amount of time, to just make sure that what you hold is as good what we hold. You know, I don't see any reason why we wouldn't be willing to just let you make sure, you know.
MR. BELL: I can understand that. I'm sure it would work. If you provide us with an inventory of what you have we could go through it.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: David, I think you're speaking for all the archives, are you not?
MR. FRANCIS: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Meaning not only the Library but every archive out there.
MR. FRANCIS: Every archive, correct.
MR. TABB: David?
MR. CHASMAN: I have a question for Roger Bell. I'm not sure how pertinent it is to these proceedings but selfishly I cannot resist asking it. There are a number of Fox titles, Just Imagine; Sunrise, the Murnau picture; Berkeley Square. Do these still exist? Are there any plans to--
MR. BELL: Sunrise is in very good shape. And what was the other one you mentioned?
MR. CHASMAN: Berkeley Square.
MR. BELL: Berkeley Square, I'll have to check that one out. I'm not sure on that one.
MR. CHASMAN: And Just Imagine.
MR. BELL: Just Imagine is in very poor condition. It's very deteriorated.
MR. CHASMAN: Any plans to resuscitate those with possible videotape?
MR. BELL: We've been working on it but some reels have deteriorated so bad that we can't use them and we can't find anything. We've made searches around the world, but we're coming up empty.
MR. CHASMAN: Qualified good news. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Milt?
MR. SHEFTER: Well, since we're dealing with the theatrical community here I guess we can use theatrical terminology so, if you don't mind, gentlemen, I'd like to cut to the chase. This panel is here to try and get input for a national preservation plan. So the question to you is, as private copyright owners, what would you, if anything, like to see in a national preservation plan? Do you want to start, Harrison?
MR. ELLENSHAW: I think if we assume, and I will assume on my behalf, that the majors are taking care of their assets, then in a national plan, we would--I'm speaking for myself--like to see a similar care taken [for] the orphans. Naturally that is the first real issue here, because as days go by they deteriorate further and further.
It's quite simple, really. Whatever film exists needs to have a copy made--if it's on nitrate, immediately. It even needs to have protection made if it's on EK color--well, on color negative because that, too, is fading. As we know, the main issue, cutting to the chase, is the fact that color fades and it fades at a rate that is determined by its storage conditions.
And it's a very simple policy that needs to take place. And that is, if you find a film, you need to copy it if it's on nitrate or on color negative. You need to make protection which, in essence, is a copy that will no longer deteriorate at the rate it is presently deteriorating.
You know, to try to simplify it any further it's really difficult to do. How this is done, obviously, takes time, energy, money and I think that's what we're trying to approach. I couldn't put a figure to it. I couldn't even put a number to it. Somebody has to start somewhere and that's what these hearings are about.
MR. SHEFTER: You are talking about material that is outside of your own library when you talk about orphan films?
MR. ELLENSHAW: Yes, Disney, you know, by the fact that we protect the films that we own, that I would hope is taken care of. So you asked the question, what should we do about things that aren't under somebody's responsibility and you do the same thing to those. It's just a matter of who's going to adopt the orphans.
MR. SHEFTER: Roger?
MR. BELL: Continued cooperation.
MR. SHEFTER: Excuse me. We're obviously not dealing in sound preservation here because we're having trouble hearing you. [Laughter.]
MR. BELL: Continued cooperation with the government, with the Library of Congress in aiding us in lending us films and negatives of that nature to reproduce, that would be of assistance, disseminating information to us and vice versa.
MR. SHEFTER: Gray?
MR. AINSWORTH: I think the issue is one of money and you know, I'm not sure I can provide an answer succinctly right now. You know, in one way Mr. Ellenshaw is right in that it's just a matter of making sure that everything is copied properly and, if a copy is already in existence, to make sure that it is still proper as Mr. Francis was also talking on. So it's a difficult question.
MR. SHEFTER: Mr. Murphy?
MR. MURPHY: If, in fact, the goal is to figure out what is at least the first step, let me propose that perhaps the first step is something that we learned in doing our own asset protection program which is the need for information. Fortunately, there's not a huge price tag placed on that compared to converting millions and millions of feet of film from one format to another.
And perhaps an institution such as the Library of Congress would be an excellent repository to commandeer such information. You have the list of copyright titles. There are undoubtedly thousands, if not millions of interested parties in the general public and film fanatics and such out there, many of whom are scared to death, frankly, if they happen to have the only--well, they don't know that it's the only one.
They have something that they fished out of the garbage can. I don't know why, you know, behind a high school, behind a film lab, Lord knows what--how they got it, but they're not going to stand because they don't want to go to jail. You know: save a film, go to jail. So they won't surface with this information. However, they don't even know that it's in public domain.
So if, in fact, there was a repository of information that [was] simply gathered together and people knew, it could be publicized that here's a starting point. Here's a title and who has what? And I have a feeling that that, frankly, could be an overwhelming beginning to a preservation policy: locating where all the stuff is. Because that very much was the problem that we had as we started our project with things scattered around the world, of tracking down which lab are they in, which vault are they in, who has possession of what?
Now, we've got four internegatives used for theatrical release printing in various territories. We have to inspect all four of them and find the best. Is this one the best? Is this one the best? We weren't manufacturing anything, frankly. If we could get away without making a thing, we were deliriously happy, because it costs money to make. But if you could piece together from everything that's out there, that could be a start.
MR. KIRKPATRICK: Republic has had quite a problem.
MR. SHEFTER: Excuse me, we still have a sound problem. Thanks.
MR. KIRKPATRICK: I have a sound problem with copyright. We have lost a few things through clerical error to public domain. If it would be possible to make it easier to recopyright a subject, I know that my company would be very happy.
MR. CHASMAN: With reference to locating lost material, what would the panel's feelings be about some sort of general amnesty whereby anybody who's holding a print that he or she should not be holding stands up and says, "I've got it?" Would they be immune from criminal prosecution? Would the panel feel that it did not have to immediately reclaim the ownership of illegally held material?
MR. MURPHY: You're looking at me. [Laughter.]
MR. CHASMAN: Well, you seem to be the most vocal. You're the one that gets up and plays the room, remember? [Laughter.]
MR. MURPHY: I remember. You're asking me to state an opinion for Paramount Pictures Corporation that I'm not empowered to do for openers. If I may take off my Paramount hat and put on my Phil Murphy hat for a moment, it seems to me that it would be a very good idea. Because if we, as Paramount, are trying to find something--and let's assume that we could find nothing or what we found was damaged; or, as Roger has, a situation with the film that you asked about, where he has deteriorating reels on his hands. If there was, in fact, somebody in the country or around the world that had something--we don't know why, it happens, it's reality--they could stand up. I don't think--I'll speak for Fox. I don't work for Fox. [Laughter.] Fox ought to not pursue someone that is, in fact, salvaging their ability to make money off of their own product, regardless of how they got it.
MR. BELL: We have used private collections.
MR. FRANCIS: I was really going to say almost the same thing; I'd still like to say it. Because of the importance of the American cinema worldwide, particularly in the silent era when language was not a barrier, a large amount of material has ended up in archives in other parts of the world. They have been concerned about making their holdings known because the way in which they acquired the material was not necessarily legal.
I see a very important role for the North American members of FIAF in trying to establish a link between the companies and their FIAF colleagues abroad to find ways in which some of these films, which we know don't exist at all in this country, can be preserved. I don't know whether you feel that this is an interesting line of approach, but I believe it could be a very important method of cooperation between the North American archives and the industry. Does this sound like something that would interest you?
MR. MURPHY: Yes, if I understand what you said, yes.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Since almost everything that we've heard up to now does certainly reinforce the truth that the mother's milk of all of this is money and that the hope for preservation lies in getting adequate funds for the job we all know has to be done, I'm going to ask you a question which probably you also are not in a position to answer. It sounds to me as if all of your companies have allocated funds for preserving your own holdings. But do you feel that it would be--I think you see this coming, Gray--that it would be in the interest of the whole moviemaking community for the companies to contribute funds, at some point and in some way, to film preservation beyond your own holdings if, as part of this program, we establish some serious funding prerogatives? [Would your companies] contribute in a way to that need beyond your own personal company needs?
MR. MURPHY: Paramount is spending an incredible amount of money doing this already. I'm not sure how we could justify anything beyond what we're already doing.
MR. KIRKPATRICK: We cooperate with UCLA Archives from time to time on various Republic projects contributing money and material. I don't think this idea would fly.
MS. BELL: We have some properties in our library that aren't Fox properties and we cannot find the owners. And we probably will be restoring these.
MR. AINSWORTH: I would say it is a possibility with us. Obviously, I can't commit to anything but we--
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: No, I wasn't asking for a commitment. I just wanted a sense of it.
MR. AINSWORTH: Perhaps there's some sort of a way where, say, a studio would front the money to restore something and some way where they could then regain that money back, or a portion of it back, through some sort of exhibition right or something like that, thus, allowing the library to have now a good element that's been restored and the company to regain some of the money back. You know, it sounds like a good idea, but also a very touchy one.
MR. ELLENSHAW: It's obviously a touchy subject, but one thing that also might be addressed here is that the preservation technology will get cheaper if we believe that as time goes on all technology becomes cheaper, faster, better. And it becomes--this clouds the issue- -if the money you spend today could buy you more tomorrow, where do you make that break?
We're in a very delicate situation because things continue to deteriorate and we can't just say, "Well, let's suspend these hearings for five years, because in five years we'll be able to spend less." So part of all these questions that you asked, that David asked, has to do with how do we maintain what we have and not let it get any further along until a time when then we can really take a logical, efficient, and less expensive step to preserve it for a longer period of time.
Again, it's a difficult question and one that I'm afraid that I don't think any of us can answer really easily. So, if you will excuse us that.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: I felt not, but I did want to introduce it. Perhaps you will think of ways so that it would not be costly to your companies but that the contribution could come back to you in some way. You might help us to put some of those thoughts into our national plan. It would be most helpful because raising money is going to be down the line. We're going to have to bite the bullet.
MR. ELLENSHAW: The studios can at least contribute a good deal of knowledge in how to preserve film. If you start from scratch and somebody walks in and hands you a can of film and says, "Go make a copy," you have to investigate. You have to decide how to do it. All of us here have gone through that process and have found out what works and what doesn't work; what do you do when you have this problem and how's the best way to restore something, reconstitute it, with the proper color balance and contrast range.
So there is a great body of knowledge that has already been examined and collected here. So there is that contribution that I would imagine that most studios would be very happy to share.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Thank you.
MR. TABB: John?
MR. BELTON: A follow-up comment on that and then the real question. I see many, many areas for cooperation and working together. If, in fact, the studios do create you might say a preservation industry, that will certainly be of benefit for the preservation of all sorts of film. If the studios do create a market for older films, that will also help create a market for films that the public archives are producing and may generate income and so forth.
I'm an educator and over the last fifteen years I and my colleagues have had tremendous problems obtaining nontheatrical 16mm prints for educational purposes. This market is constantly changing and it seems to be disappearing in fact. Is there anything in your policy that might be suitable for answering the needs for public access--scholarly access, nontheatrical, noncommercial use--of these copyrighted titles? In other words, there had been mention of some sort of national film bank or something that would make prints available either to repertory houses or for classroom use. Is this something that is possible or impossible?
MR. ELLENSHAW: With Disney, there's no established policy in this area. I would just have to say at this time, it's almost considered on a case-by-case basis. Again, you're talking about a very tricky situation concerning access to copyrighted materials and that becomes sometimes more of a legal question which, unfortunately, I can't answer.
MR. BELTON: Previously, of course, there were these distribution companies which were licensed for that purpose. Is it possible to relicense? In other words, if there were a licensee who was willing to set up such an institution, would the studios--
MR. ELLENSHAW: Probably, yes.
MR. BELTON: --want to?
MR. ELLENSHAW: Probably.
MR. BELL: You have Films, Inc. that now works in that area.
MR. BELTON: Yes, there are two major distributors, but many films have fallen in the cracks that are still copyrighted films.
MR. BELL: Because we loan films all the time to schools and universities if we have a print available.
MR. TABB: Do the others want to respond to that question from John?
MR. KIRKPATRICK: Republic has material on deposit with the Library of Congress and with UCLA where they are available on site to the students and so forth. So in that respect we do cooperate.
MR. MURPHY: And Paramount deals with Films, Inc., servicing the secondary school market and the whole print ancillary market. If there's any need beyond that, not to, Michael [Schlesinger], make your telephone ring off the wall, but we're always receptive to listen to requests and see what can be worked out on a case by case basis.
MR. AINSWORTH: We do currently donate 16mm prints to organizations like the Academy, sometimes to the producer. Then as I had mentioned earlier, our classics department does exhibit 16mm once in awhile, and we do keep prints for the ones that they've deemed as marketable in the past.
We currently hold an inordinate amount of 16mm prints of all languages all over the world. We're looking at that right now, but we're really just getting into it.
MR. TABB: Dr. Billington.
DR. BILLINGTON: It would be possible, it seems to me, in listening to this conversation to assume that there isn't really too much of a problem, that you're all doing a great deal, at least many of you are. Now, it seems to me there are two fundamental problems that I would appreciate your addressing here.
One is the quantitative and measurement problem. What is actually being done? Now we believe that at the Library of Congress we've done about half of the serious kind of work that has been done, but we don't actually know that for a fact because we don't know how much work, and to what standard, the various studios have done. So this question of comparing is not just a little aesthetic experience for archivists. It's a fundamental question of determining whether we have real preservation copies of some of these films.
And that leads to the second point, which is implicit in the creation of this Board by the Congress. There has got to be not only a national plan which we're now trying to devise, but some kind of national interest, above and beyond the individual companies interest, in having a great body of material preserved to a definable standard the way other kinds of things in the national heritage are preserved.
And if we're anywhere near to having preserved the half that we claim on the basis of the imperfect information we have, it has to be said that work has been entirely financed by the taxpayers. And members of Congress are interested in knowing whether the general taxpayer should be the only funder of such a large part of what is recognized to be a national need and a national concern. So I'd like to--not solely on behalf of the Library of Congress, but in terms generally of those who are assuming the public responsibility of archiving this material for educational purposes and for posterity, for audiences that are going to ask questions later--ask who is responsible for saving this record of the twentieth century?
I don't know that it's a question as much as a statement, but I'd be interested in your reaction to it. How do you see us working out with the studios the national preservation responsibility? Or do you not think that they bear a share of the national responsibility for this kind of an obligation to posterity?
MR. ELLENSHAW: Well, it's a very difficult question. I think our own assets, obviously, we have every motivation to protect, to preserve, to maintain. Outside of that, there's a reason they're called orphans and nobody's going to run to protect them out of philanthropic--
DR. BILLINGTON: No, but excuse me just a minute. Our massive program is not just for orphans. We do a lot of fundamental work on materials to which studios retain the copyright privileges and get some benefits from the enhanced work that is done at the taxpayer expense. So this isn't just a question of orphans and picking up the orphans and strays. It's a little more than that, more than an orphanage, I think.
MR. ELLENSHAW: In that case, you know, I'm not particularly familiar with--from Disney's point of view--any work (and I would be happy to hear about it) that has been done by the Library of Congress from which Disney benefits. Certainly, if that were to occur, it would seem only logical that Disney should pay for any benefits it may receive by somebody else--if it's the taxpayer--restoring or preserving film.
Perhaps the issue here again gets back to Mr. Francis' question about duplication of effort and we should be very careful that we're not spending money twice. And the only way to prevent that from happening is by creating a significant database--communication amongst all parties, all archivists, all studios about what you have, what kind of condition it's in and what you're proceeding to do with it, because this duplication of effort is a waste.
MR. KIRKPATRICK: Republic has not asked the Library of Congress to use any of their materials. As a matter of fact, we've been asked not to do so. Once in a great while we might come to UCLA and ask to borrow a first trial print to tape from, but we are happy that both of them are preserving films--we feel that one knows what the other is doing. They may be duplicating efforts sometimes. For the record, we do not spend the taxpayer's money in using materials made by the Library of Congress.
MR. MURPHY: In Paramount's instance, though admittedly we're now a 75 or 80- year-old organization so I can't necessarily speak for what may have happened all the way back there because I'm only 24 years old, so I don't know what somebody, my predecessor, may have done.
To the best of my knowledge, the Library has not--certainly not at our request-- expended any monies to do anything. I agree with my compatriot in terms of if, in fact, the Library did anything like that of a copyright-held material, Paramount should pay for it. So far everything we've done we've paid for ourselves. We're not seeking, you know, for somebody else to fund our activity.
I'm back, James, to the concept about this database. I think in all instances, both copyrighted material and that in public domain, that that may, in fact, be the most useful tool for everyone involved, the archivists, the Library, and the copyright holders to be able to see who has what, who is doing what. It would be a monumental undertaking but I think the information, the knowledge, is the biggest stumbling block that we're all facing because we don't even know if there's something in existence somewhere outside of our domains that may be in better shape.
Again, in Paramount's case, I'm not talking about Paramount-owned material because we've done that sort of inspection. Any of the other majors that have done a similar inspection and a comparison if, in fact, we run into a given title where we may ask if you have something. But if we're going to access it for our own gain, we're going to pay that bill.
MR. AINSWORTH: I think one of the things that you're asking is, do we, as studios, feel a national pride or a national responsibility to protect the product of our industry whether we own it or not? And shouldn't we then feel, as part of that national responsibility, the need to cooperate financially, informationally, however, perhaps more than we are?
If that's the comment you're making, then, I can answer personally I do believe that there is a degree of that. It is important, but it's not a subject that's been particularly, and in a detailed manner, addressed by at least MGM. We do what we can. We do our donations. We do pretty much what everyone else here has said that they do. Beyond that, we, of course, are open to a dialogue, to exchange of ideas, information and resources. But I really don't know of any sort of official stance that we have on something like that right now.
DR. BILLINGTON: For the sake of clarity what you said was the real question I was asking. We probably shouldn't have gotten into all these detailed matters which require some detailed discussion, but I think that is the crucial question because we have a commission from Congress to take some kind of national inventory as the basis for developing and suggesting some kind of national plan. And an important part of that plan is, what is the conception of the studios?
I don't think it's for me or anybody else to determine what that should be, but it is important that we have some knowledge of it, to be able to report back. You've given us very valuable details about what you're doing in terms of your own legacy, but there is a general national problem. That's what we're here to try to sort out--and it's not quite clear to me from the historical record as I'm able to read it, what the answer to that question is from the studios. And it would be helpful if we could get a fuller conception of the extent to which they perceive it.
What we do about it, how we go about it, or even define it, is stage two of this process of investigation, but it is important for us. These are the only hearings that we'll be having out here in the West Coast, where the action is and the basic production of these things, and we're eager to have some conception of the studios' conception of the national interest.
MR. AINSWORTH: Well, then details and specifics aside, I can comment on kind of a feel that seems to exist in the industry, at least I'll stick with MGM. I don't want to presume, but I have felt it also. It does go beyond marketability and money. It's an industry full of people who love the art form. I think that, yes, the feeling--I believe the national feeling of responsibility and pride to preserve moving images and cinema--is definitely there. I just don't think the specifics have been defined well enough yet.
MR. TABB: Okay, we're at the end of our time. I want to thank this group of speakers very much. We will now take about a ten-minute break while we get the next panel to come forward. Thank you.
[A short recess was taken.]
MR. TABB: Will you please take your seats, we're ready to get started this afternoon. We'll begin by hearing from Mr. Humphrey. I'll remind everyone that we're ready to hear up to ten minutes of prepared remarks. We'll go through the entire group and then we'll be asking questions. Mr. Humphrey?
Statement of William A. Humphrey, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sony Pictures Entertainment
MR. HUMPHREY: Good afternoon. Sony Pictures Entertainment has taken a leadership role in film preservation and restoration. Our program has broken new ground in creating a model for collaborative effort on a national scale, the Film and Tape Preservation Committee, which is represented by the Library of Congress, UCLA, The Museum of Modern Art and the AFI.
Sony Pictures has developed a proactive financial support program for major American archives. Currently five institutions, including a few of which are not associated with Columbia's library, are funded annually. These funds directly support specific film preservation activities as well as public viewing to promote seeing films as they were intended, on the motion picture screen.
Significant financial and staff resources have been concentrated on preserving Columbia Pictures Library, consisting of 3,000 full length feature films, shorts, and serials. Over the last three years, preservation work has been completed on 200 films, nitrate conversion of 420 films has been completed, and 13 films have undergone significant restoration.
Sony Pictures has dedicated resources to creating a state-of-the-art storage facility to strengthen inventory control over film elements worldwide and has prepared and implemented corporate policies to assure proper disaster recovery, quality control and asset management.
As a leader in new technologies, Sony Pictures has initiated research into the impact of new technologies, such as high definition digital tape, to find positive contributions to film preservation. Our position on film preservation focuses primarily in three areas. First, the strong belief that a preservation partnership between the major motion picture studios, film archives, and technical specialists is required. We view our Film and Tape Preservation Committee as a model program.
Second, a standard for the planning and prioritization of the preservation and restoration of films should be established. Preservation of existing film libraries should be prioritized. Third, new technologies will increasingly impact film preservation as well as the storage and distribution of feature films. The film preservation community must carefully evaluate the impact of these changes and the use of new electronic and information technologies to enhance the permanent recording of picture and sound image.
I'd like to elaborate briefly on the three points. Regarding the first, our recommendation is for a well-defined, broad-based national partnership between the Library of Congress, The National Film Preservation Board, archives, studios, independent producers and the technical community, including SMPTE. In this way, a greater awareness of preservation and improved decision making will prevail.
Sony Pictures recognizes that our commercial-driven requirements and the work on the preservation community should be integrated. The efforts of our committee demonstrate that such an arrangement does work.
Sony Pictures established its corporate Film and Tape Preservation Committee in June of 1990 with the institutions I just mentioned. This committee has become a catalyst for accelerating film preservation and assisting in the prioritization and restoration for the Columbia Pictures Library.
The committee has also prepared the groundwork for the identification of preservation issues on the national level and the development of resolutions to these issues. A very important component has been the sharing of information and research. The partnership arrangement between Sony Pictures and these archives has made us all better problem solvers in the preservation area.
A collective effort will result in improved communications for ongoing preservation projects, coordinated guidelines for storing and preserving film, and create insights into new technological developments.
Referring to our second point, an offshoot of the needs for preservation partnership in the United States is a need for clarification of priorities and increased planning of preservation and restoration projects. We have found that good planning and analysis of a restoration project, prior to starting work, results in higher quality and cost effectiveness. Prerestoration planning also includes a high level of inventory control and quality control. Without this, the ability to carry out restoration is not possible.
Sony Pictures has concentrated significant resources through its Film and Tape Operations Division to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to inventory all Sony Pictures assets, which total over one million units of film material.
Our final point, new technologies must be integrated into the film preservation effort. In the long term, new electronic and data processing technologies will be an integral component of preservation. New technologies impact restoration in three ways. First, as new electronic mediums are created, the demand to use original film materials increases. Second, new technologies can, in theory, assist film preservation, correcting or enhancing film, which cannot be accomplished through conventional means. Third, new digital mediums have a tremendous impact on the storage of visual and audio information, and will, in the mid-term, improve storage of master material of theatrically released products.
It remains imperative that the preservation, archival and creative communities become integrated in this engineered process in order to preserve the creative nature of this art form.
In closing, I'd like to thank the National Film Preservation Board and the Library of Congress for this opportunity to express our views. We're hopeful that this dialogue continues. Thanks.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Humphrey. We'd next like to welcome Roger Mayer, who is a member of the National Film Preservation Board as well as a representative, of course, of Turner.
Statement of Roger Mayer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Turner Entertainment Co., accompanied by Richard May, Vice President, Film Preservation and Distribution Services, Turner Entertainment Co.
MR. MAYER: Thank you. We have really not prepared a statement different than the one that I submitted to you. We've given you not only the history of our preservation efforts, but all the present preservation status of what we've done and how our ongoing system works.
We work a little bit differently than other companies do, in that we are not as structured. I'm very, very impressed by the manner in which they work and I think I have no criticism of it. We just work differently. And that is that we have a general overall policy that this is what we want to do and my instructions are simply to get it done and with the gentleman on my right, Mr. Dick May, we put in a budget each year for the amount of money we think is appropriate to spend. And if that is approved, and it always has been, then we go forward and do the job.
We do it in collaboration with the community. We do it in collaboration with laboratories and optical houses, with archives, with people that can help us, with people with whom we have relationships. And we try to learn as much as we can. But we really don't do it in a structured manner.
I hear people talking about prioritization. In our case, we really don't have too much of a problem with that because as you all, all the people on this panel certainly know, Turner Entertainment is a successor to MGM and we started this work in 1967. And we in effect have preserved every piece of film, as far as we know, that is under our aegis. That includes the 1,750 MGM features, 700 cartoons, every picture made by Warner Bros. prior to January 1, 1950, and all the pictures of RKO.
There are a few things we haven't completed, such as some short subjects from the Warner Bros. library. But our policy is we will simply protect them one way or another in their entirety without any exceptions. I think that really is the most important thing we bring to this. And that is, if you have a dedication toward film preservation and you can get the backing of your top management to back up your dedication, it will get done.
I certainly approve of the technological committees. I certainly approve of each company integrating their needs because of where they are in the film preservation process. But the most important thing is an overall dedication to the fact that it needs to be done.
As far as priorities are concerned, I can best state my feeling about them by describing a few incidents that have occurred over the years. Mostly what has happened is every time a committee sits down to figure out priorities there isn't anybody on the committee can agree what their priorities should be. So that's one problem.
And why is that? Because each member of the committee has a different reason for being there; somebody wants something for videocassette release, somebody wants it for theatrical, somebody wants to beam it on cable, somebody loves shorts, and somebody else likes cartoons.
The things that get lost at our end of it is from time to time you have things that no one's interested in. Those are probably the things you should give priority to because in many cases two years later it's found that there is a market for those things, and there is an interesting concept of how to distribute them, and they do have some commercial value. And therefore, you just move on. And I would suggest that that is probably the best preservation policy for a company that has a job to be done.
However, when you're talking about the amount of film the United States and the world has to preserve, there certainly is a requirement for priorities. I will not try to state for you how we do things, the way we do them. Mr. May is our expert, and he will answer those questions if any members of the panel want to ask him those questions. But there are a few more things I'd like to touch on from a policy point of view.
The proper goals that are attainable in the private sector are so much easier than the goals in any other sector that they should be looked at separately. I would certainly recommend that you urge everyone that has an ownership interest in film that probably there are at least two priorities, if not number one, is to preserve it for their own purposes and for posterity. And I think it's that simple. And I think what you're going to do by public statements, by pointing out to people how important it really is, that this is not an artistic enterprise. It's really much more than that. I think that should do the job. And to the extent you can put pressure on people to do that job, I would suggest that you do so.
There's no question about the cultural benefit of film preservation. But I would be prepared to point out to almost anyone that there would be almost an unlimited economic benefit and they should get at it because otherwise there will be no benefit at all. And if they can't figure out what to do with the preserved material, someone will figure out something that can be done with it in the future. When you try to prioritize on the basis of what the economic advantage is definitely going to be, you may end up simply not doing the job.
I think the record will show, the history of preservation would show, that there's very little film preservation that has been done that does not have both an educational and an economic benefit.
There have been several questions that have been asked concerning some sort of support of the archives, some sort of concept of having many archive collections of prints or negative materials. Rather than making a speech on that subject, I would like to treat with that when you're ready, because that does present a practical problem to all of us and at least we would like the opportunity to tell you why it's a practical problem.
Somebody said something here before that I would like to mention. And that is, what's happening to the films that do not have the ownership of a major distributor. That was passed over a little bit. But I think it really is extremely important. I think when a major has an interest, in all likelihood the preservation will be done. And as you can tell from my fellow panelists here--Paramount, Disney, Sony, Universal and all of us--I think we're doing a pretty good job. And particularly we are doing a good job in the last three-to- five years.
But what is happening to the pictures that are being distributed by independent distributors where the ownership is not entirely clear, or is so diffuse that really there is no father and mother to take care of them, and to say nothing of the fact, as you all know, there are an awful lot of these distributors and production companies that have disappeared from the face of the earth in Chapter 11 or wherever the face of the earth disappears? [Laughter.] And I think there has to be some national source of information whereby we would know at some point what's going on and something could be done about it.
But I know that there is limited time. You have my statement. You have the record as to what we have done as a company. We're certainly very proud of it. And we also have a record of cooperating with you in the past and we would be happy to cooperate even more in the future. Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Mayer. We'll next hear from Universal. I believe Mr. Watters will be speaking first.
Statement of James Watters, Executive Vice President, Studio Operations, Universal City Studios, accompanied by Dan Slusser, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Universal City Studios, and Bob O'Neil, Director, Preservation Vault Services, Universal City Studios
MR. WATTERS: That's correct. Thank you for having us here today. Universal Library consists of more 2,330 theatrical titles. This material is protected by either separation masters, interpositives or fine grains. There are over 740 color titles, 89% have YCM separation master protection, which is approximately 17,058,000 feet. The balance of these titles are either negative pick-up titles that were shot on 16mm, or protected by color interpositives.
Our black-and-white and theatrical titles are protected by over 10 million feet of either nitrate or acetate finegrain or dupe negative. As part of our ongoing preservation program, we're replacing our nitrate elements with acetate elements.
Additionally, we have created over 27 million feet of color interpositives or finegrains for television productions. The exception to this is a 13-year period before the advent of videocassette and laserdiscs when other small gauge film formats were considered sensible protection. However, we are currently in the process of manufacturing interpositives on these titles.
Since 1976 Universal has spent approximately $21 million building and maintaining vaults, creating a computer database, relocating material to provide for geographical separation and maintaining knowledgeable staff personnel. Our main archive facility is located in Universal City, California. There are five buildings totalling 49,000 square feet with a capacity of 1.7 million containers.
In 1976 Universal built its first modern vault building. This structure is a state-of- the-art facility in which we're able to meet the vendor-recommended storage conditions of 50_F and 50% relative humidity. In addition, removable storage racks were installed, providing maximum utilization of space.
In 1987 Universal converted one of its older vaults to an environment of 46_F and a relative humidity of 35% We realized at that time the correlation between humidity and the deterioration of color negative, and chose to improve the storage conditions beyond Eastman Kodak's recommended standard of 50_F and 50% relative humidity.
In making this change, we extended the life of our color elements before they succumbed to color fading. In both instances, Universal was well ahead of the industry in the area of archival film storage. In 1986 Universal established an additional storage location in Boyers, Pennsylvania, owned by National Underground Storage (NUS).
These vaults are situated in underground limestone mines and are guarded by 24-hour security. Currently our storage environment at NUS is 50_F, 25% relative humidity. Universal was the first major studio to enter into an agreement with this facility. It was later followed by Paramount, Columbia and Disney in 1992 and 1993.
This operation is the cornerstone of our geographical separation philosophy wherein we're able to store separate preprint, picture and sound elements 3,000 miles apart.
In 1988 Universal expanded its total storage area, by adding a state-of-the-art videotape, audio tape and viewing print vault. This area comprises a total of 7,000 square feet with a capacity of 510,000 containers. Incorporated into this vault is a high- tech removable shelving system that allows 60% more usable space than that of conventional stationary storage systems. This facility operates in an environment of 65_F and 50% relative humidity.
Kearney, New Jersey, is another location dedicated to the storage of assets for Universal. Approximately 23,000 cans of nitrate film are the primary residents of this facility. These film assets are inspected on a regular basis. If a film element is found to be deteriorating, the Universal vault services researches other film element availability to expedite preservation.
Universal is also currently reviewing the new ANSI standards and SMPTE recommendations for the storage of motion picture film and will be addressing them in the near future.
In 1986 Universal undertook the arduous task of creating a computerized tracking system for picture, sound and videotape elements. The task of implementing this system included the creation of a vault inventory software program, the establishment of nomenclature, the inventorying and barcoding of over one million elements, thus providing interface throughout the studio postproduction departments, home video and MCA-TV areas.
This system allows us to track elements in our vaults in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in addition to our location in Universal City.
In the area of film and sound preservation, Universal has spent approximately $7.6 million since 1981. Additionally, $2 million is earmarked for calendar year 1993. Those figures do not include the cost of separation masters made for current theatrical product, or the manufacture of protection interpositives for our current television series.
In the area of theatrical production, Universal creates timed separation masters on all of its color features. As a follow-up, we ourselves physically inspect all of our current separation masters and periodically make color internegatives and check prints to further confirm the quality of these masters.
It is very important to note that Universal is the only major studio to inspect its own separation masters. We have a negative-cutting facility which is part of Universal Studios.
Universal has had a great degree of success restoring the older theatrical titles to their original length and quality by utilizing its separation masters. The other goal is the preservation of nitrate titles. Universal began the process of transferring its nitrate material to acetate in the early 1980s.
We are continuing with this process. And to date, approximately 429 features have nitrate preprint elements with acetate backup. In the event two preprint elements exist, i.e., black-and-white original negative, and a black-and-white finegrain, analysis is made to confirm the best element for the preservation process.
When completed, Universal will retain an answer print, the composite finegrain, dupe negative, check print, and optical track negative. If the title was originally shot on three-strip camera negative, we would produce a 35mm answer print, timed interpositive, internegative check print, optical track negative and separation masters. In all cases, utilizing this procedure, each title is both protected and geographically separated. Although a majority of our nitrate titles have undergone preservation, we will continue to store these elements for the foreseeable future in the likely event new technology emerges, thus assuring quality without compromising the original integrity.
We are currently working with the Directors' Film Foundation on the restoration of 10 films. These restorations are being undertaken in cooperation with the UCLA Archive. They are titles such as Phantom of the Opera, The Plainsman, Animal Crackers and Shanghai Express.
In the mid-1970s Universal's sound department began protecting soundtrack masters. The program was then called STUMPF copies. This process involves the copying of track masters to 1/2-inch nonsprocketed tape with sync pulse. The phrase STUMPF was defined as studio track universal multichannel print facility, and incidentally was also the name of the director of sound for Universal at that time.
The STUMPF copy process of protecting our feature and TV sound masters continued into the 1980s. We concluded that as stereo tracks became more complex the three tracks available on the 1/2-inch tape weren't sufficient for our needs.
Under the guidance of Bill Varney, vice president of sound, Universal instituted the following procedures for preservation of sound elements. Physical cleaning and/or repairing of original master elements whether magnetic or optical, relabeling and bar coding of those masters, simultaneous transferring of these tracks to both 32-track digital and analog 24-track protection masters, the shipping and protection of masters off the lot to storage facilities.
Older sound masters with unique inconsistencies are processed through the sonic solution system, which is a digital noise removal system. Sonic solution equipment removes distracting noise from the valuable titles without damaging the integrity of the original mix of track. This affords the preservationist the ability to chose many different degrees of noise reduction with minimal adverse effect upon the original soundtrack.
Most importantly, this process allows all this flexibility and improved quality through the digital medium eliminating any additional analog generation loss. Universal itself solely continues to evaluate emerging technology which could assist our sound preservation goals.
Universal Studios has mutually cooperative relationships with various archives, museums, foundations, libraries, and educational institutions. Because of this relationship we are able to inquire as to the availability of alternate film elements on our various titles. Occasionally we have found different versions of elements for use in preservation in these institutions. In the past Universal has been cooperative in this manner to outside archives for the betterment of preservation.
A large number of titles are also stored at the UCLA Film Archive, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Broadcasting, The Academy Foundation, etc. And under our existing agreement scholars may access titles for research free of charge in a library or classroom environment. With prior authorization under certain circumstances, screenings are permitted, providing no fee is charged for admission.
Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Mr. Gardiner, Warner Bros.
Statement of Peter Gardiner, Vice President, Operations, Corporate Film Video Services, Warner Bros.
MR. GARDINER: Thank you for the opportunity to address you, as Warner is very dedicated and committed to preservation and restoration. We believe we're using the best currently available technology with the eye to the previously mentioned future emergence of technologies.
I am going to give you a brief overview of the overall preservation and restoration projects as well as our experience of the value concurrence, which includes computer information, which may assist in formulating other archival and preservation programs. I am not going to address any access, budget or rights issues because that is in our larger corporate arena.
You will hear a few similarities between our program and what Mr. Murphy was talking about earlier. And to that end, we also have just completed a state of the art archive building with a capacity of approximately 600,000 cans. We do not own any of our pre-1950 material, which is under the care of our friends down the table. [Laughter.] Therefore, we also have very little nitrate. What nitrate we do have we are not storing on the lot. It is in a facility in Van Nuys, which I will address later.
The temperature and humidity of the building is very, very close and heavily controlled to standards. We will give you all that for the sake of brevity in the statement that I still owe. There's a lot of technical stuff that I'll include in it.
The other part of the building that is quite new and very, very, very satisfactory, addresses the current film issues, the triacetate problem and the vinegar syndrome. We have put in an air filtration system as part of the overall air conditioning systems in order to try and combat vinegar syndrome both in the film triacetate base and the magnetic. This has been very, very successful and we've established a way to actually monitor it on a computer where you can actually see gas trends and how the film is actually reacting.
As the building is filled, we believe that this will be valuable information to all archives, as far as being able to come up with trends as to the deterioration of films stored in various areas and monitored.
The concurrent programs that we have going, we were fortunate in that a lot of YCMs were made through the years by Warner for all of our films. The ones that we have not made YCMs on we are currently doing so. Over 60% of our library at this point is already protected. And within the next two years they will all be protected. With YCMs, there is other protection already.
We are doing feature sound restoration as has been described at Universal. Very similar we're doing at Warner Hollywood. We are protecting all formats to 24-track, which includes the newer multistem formats as well as the older composite formats. We're making two copies of those. And National Underground Storage must be doing very well, because the second copy is going there for us as well. As well as our YCMs.
As far as the concurrency issue, we have found that in inspecting all of this material, we also have our central computer system, which is on a mainframe. And also a separate PC- based system to track this material.
We have found in our experience that as you go through the material and watch it, and see it, and look at it, and inspect it, and catalog it, that if you do all of this concurrently--and do not, as Roger was saying earlier, try and prioritize--one gets the sense that you have to just do all of this, and then you have to go do something else. And in this case, what we've done is, the computers react to this particular part of the research. The film then is classified, cataloged and/or preserved and restored. And this allows a flexibility in the program to see if physically you find that you have a different type of problem. You can then go back, stop one part of the program, pick up on the other. Your computer knowledge base expands rapidly and then you can go on with all phases of the program concurrently. Picture, sound and cataloging.
As far as the restoration is concerned, we have done very extensive restoration projects. Since the overall preservation project and restoration project involves inspecting every piece of film and every soundtrack at some point. As this is done, preservation is taken care of and restoration is taken care of on an as-needed basis as well as obviously being market-driven for material that we want to release.
The moment we find a piece of material that has a problem, either picture or sound, restoration work is taken up to do that immediately. We've also done extensive research to restore elements to their original versions, which has been with limited success with the cooperation of collectors, as Mr. Murphy mentioned before. And I'm happy to say with much greater success with the Library of Congress with material that has been on copyright deposit.
We also feel that computerization is vital to any preservation effort. We have found that the mistakes made in the past--you know, I don't even know what the word is in the industry now, except to use the word infamous three-by-five cards that everybody seems to have--should not be made again just because they're on a computer. So what we've done is we've undertaken to put in a mainframe system, very similar in scope to what Phil described earlier, in that it will be a company-wide access and it will be worldwide.
In addition, we have a vault management system, which is a PC-based system. That system in fact is meant to track the material as it goes back and forth and who had it, where it went, when it's supposed to return, as opposed to the last entry on the famous three-by-five card that said it went someplace in 1954. And that's the last entry on the card front or back. [Laughter.]
Also, Warner has undertaken to preserve, with my friend Leif Adams, who is in the audience today, all nonfilm and sound material. If we find assets that are paper, or props, or anything else, Leif is on the case and is immediately trying to rescue them from wherever they may be going.
I'd also like to mention, as we have all discussed today, where did you get the idea for this, where did you get the idea for that? The industry cooperation between all of us and also with Eastman Kodak and various other companies--the magnetic tape companies, 3M, Ampex- -has all helped us formulate some of these policies that didn't exist three or five years ago because nobody was paying attention. And nobody knew. And we all know and we are paying attention and we're all trying. And I think the industry as a whole, and the town as a whole, has developed an enormous amount of knowledge just based on intercompany cooperation. And again, I'd like to thank you and the Library, and the Board, for the chance to address you on these vital issues.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Now we're ready to take questions for the panel. Who would like to be first? Milt?
MR. SHEFTER: I'd like to address the same question to this panel as I did to the other one in fairness. Since the goal of this group here is to come up with a national preservation plan, as private copyright owners, what would you, if anything, like to see in this national preservation plan. May I start at this end please, Mr. Humphrey?
MR. HUMPHREY: I think maybe, as I mentioned in my brief piece for the company, that we believe that more partnership arrangements need to be worked out. Maybe they don't need to be formal; they could be informal. But sharing of data information is really important. I think what Roger had mentioned earlier is that in many, many cases the business is becoming more complex, and the risk of protecting product is being spread out a little bit more between different companies because independent producers, independent distributors and the studios have separate rights on the same products.
What that means is that we may make a feature film product, for example, but the German rights, and the German tracks are made by somebody else. However, we may have the rights for those German tracks in the home video or the television markets. So what I'm finding is that asset management is becoming more complicated and more global, means that there needs to be more cooperation in terms of sharing data and information.
We also find a library product that Columbia Pictures may have rights for a certain period of time, but Warners or Paramount may have the same picture, but rights over a different period of time, or in different territories or in different media. Therefore, I think it is imperative that studios coordinate using their connections, resulting in cooperation in archival activities.
I have found that when I exhaust the studio sources, I go directly to the archives, who seem to have a lot of connections that I don't have, to find materials that I didn't know existed. I use the example of the restoration with the Library of Congress on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where we found some of the original materials, some of the best materials, with the British Film Institute in London. I don't know why it was there. But it was, and I was thankful that we were able to locate it.
So, from our perspective, more cooperation, more information sharing is really important. Also, I think one thing the Board could do, with the Library of Congress and with us, is to prepare standards. I know that SMPTE and others are in the process of preparing standards for how to store film, how to do preservation work. We all do it a little differently; we all store it a little differently; we all distribute it a little bit different. And when you go and look at other archives, in Germany, or in France, or in Britain, they have other methods and other standards.
I think it's important that someone take a leadership role in defining what the best standards are and define these in engineering terms as opposed to just what everybody believes. So those are the two points I think that are important. Thank you.
MR. SHEFTER: Who speaks for Turner? Mr. Mayer?
MR. MAYER: Ted does. [Laughter.]
MR. SHEFTER: One can make an argument that Jane might. [Laughter.]
MR. MAYER: No comment. Unfortunately Bill said everything I was going to say. I agree with his points. I may have a different emphasis on a few of them, but I think they're well taken.
We would suggest some method by which film preservation, technological information, be made available on a worldwide basis. Maybe it could be by a Library of Congress bulletin or something, whereby we all contribute what we know, and the archives contribute what they know. You also know a lot. And there are people around the world. And that exchange of information might occur twice a year or something like that.
As you can see, we all at this table exchange this information. I think that might really be helpful to the entire world. And then we wouldn't necessarily all do preservation the same way, but we would all be doing it based on the same technological information. I think that would be helpful.
In regard to preservation guidelines, I think that general recommendations concerning preservation guidelines, from time to time--again, once a year, twice a year, once every couple of years--would be very helpful. I think we would certainly like to see them, and I think we would be helped by them. I think all of us would be. It would be something that you would be contributing not just to the United States but to the world.
None of us are in a position to do it, but perhaps the Library is. And I think it, again, might be extremely helpful. There's always the possibility as you look at this situation and say well, there should be uniform or mandated guidelines. I don't think there should be. I don't see any necessity for them. The results over the years have indicated that that would not have been particularly helpful. But in any event, it's something that might be in your mind and that would be my attitude toward it.
With regard to a national inventory of films and film materials: extremely helpful. It would be a terrific thing that could be done. All of us could give you the input from our various PCs and master computers and all the other things we all try to do. And someone could compile it. Then you would have all the information you're getting from archives. Plus you have your own sources of information. And we could all jointly find out where the holes are and what could be done and how we could all fill them.
So I think that another reason that all of this might be a good idea is that one tends to emphasize too much the major collection problems, the problems of the major holders of film. But there are a lot of people that are independent. There are a lot of people that have film under their control or guidance, one way or the other, that have really no opportunity to get the information that we get.
And so you would be really doing something for them, and not just this industry, for the country and all of that. But actually I think all this information would be even more useful to the smaller owner of film. So those would be among the things that I think would be helpful.
For a policy in regard to this question of the archival collections, which I think is something you're going to have to address on a national basis, maybe we ought wait for the questions on that particular issue. It is something I think that should be handled nationally. But I think we all have maybe diffuse opinions on that. To the extent those comments are helpful, thank you.
MR. MAY: Let add something to this if I may.
MR. SHEFTER: You may, Mr. May.
MR. MAY: Thank you. The exchange of information between the archives and the private holders can help to divert a lot of money that's being spent that is duplication of restoration. All of our original MGM negatives are at Eastman House. The Warner and RKO nitrate negatives are at the Library of Congress. The Warner and RKO nitrate finegrains are at the Museum of Modern Art.
I've run into numerous cases where the Library of Congress preserves something, MoMA preserves something, and we already have preservation on the same thing. We talk about funds that may be diverted to the orphan films, wherever they may be, Information in order to coordinate and eliminate that duplication and triplication and in sharing those preservation elements, where necessary, between us could add economies that we don't now exercise.
MR. SHEFTER: Thank you. Dan?
MR. SLUSSER: I think these gentlemen have stated the desire for sharing documentation and for transmitting data among studios, collectors, educational institutions and creating an ability for us to document this data. I think on an immediate basis, without being repetitive of what they said, one of the simplest and quickest things that this Board and this Committee could do is to start immediately to try to standardize the nomenclature among the various vaults, collectors, studios and companies that are involved in the preservation movement.
I found during the inventorying and barcoding of all of our material that there are a multitude of different terms, all of which mean the same thing. I think we can lose an awful lot in translation if we don't get into a standardization that we can all work from.
MR. SHEFTER: Anyone else from Universal?
MR. O'NEIL: Yes.
MR. SHEFTER: Bob?
MR. O'NEIL: From a technical standpoint I want to bring up one thing that I think is going to effect all of us. And it was talked about a little bit, but I think it's something that really needs to be more in the forefront. With the environmental changes that are going on, there are certain chemicals that the studios and everybody, Library of Congress, we are all using. They are very important chemicals to preservation. Without these chemicals we're going to lose it.
We've got a couple more years where we're going to be able to use tricholorethane and percloroethylene and then they're going to be gone. As soon as they're gone, the quality, the heritage, the integrity of the film that we have today is going to perhaps go with it unless somebody comes up with the technology to replace that. And that's something that is really going to be important.
Because we can talk about preserving this material, but the quality of it is going to be gone. And it's something--in Hollywood, the Technology Council--we're looking at it; we're trying to find other ways. I think some of the other companies around the country are as well. But if there's any way that you can help to encourage, either, whatever your sources are, to start looking into finding replacements, so we are going to be able to continue to sonic clean film and get a good piece of clean film before we print. When we print, be able to print liquid gate and get rid of the scratches and the digs and all the inherent problems that are in the film. Without that, we're all going to be very disappointed.
And the people, our kids, and the generations past us, they aren't going to have--it's not going to be good material they're looking at. We've got to address that now before we lose these chemicals altogether.
MR. SHEFTER: Peter?
MR. GARDINER: I would sort of go over and elaborate on really what everybody else is saying. The interesting thing about the database was found the same thing in our own system on the lot; there were many, many different terms for very valuable material.
And the subject that I brought up before is how we all were cooperating and Eastman, and the magnetic manufacturers. It was very hard to get all that data together, as Milt knows certainly. You've got eight million different answers. And I think that we're all relatively comfortable with what we're doing now. And as part of a preservation national policy, that is I think going to be very difficult for any independent, and also worldwide. I don't think that they're worldwide nearly as far along as we are in our discovering information.
So if we can figure out a way to disseminate what we already know, and mostly agree on, as well as figure out a way to standardize these terms. And even if it's a glossary where everybody's experiences--if there are eight different types of definitions for the one element or term--it would be very, very helpful to, on a centralized basis, put that out.
MR. WATTERS: We'd be happy to volunteer ours.
MR. GARDINER: I'd be happy to give you mine too and then we'd confuse everybody.
MR. CHASMAN: This question is in varying degrees applicable to the whole panel. And it's this: Most of your companies control a great many older titles, which are just beginning to fall out of copyright protection. Do you have an opinion, an attitude, a recommendation, as to how these films should be regarded? Should there be a special extension of copyright? How would this affect your preservation responsibilities? Somebody say something.
MR. SLUSSER: I'm not sure, at least in my case, the people sitting on this panel would be the appropriate people to answer that question. I can give you an opinion in that regard, which is a rather simple one. The motivation to preserve something is often tied very strongly to the right to use it. I wouldn't want to venture any recommendations as to the best way to accomplish that, but I think that's an integral part of it. There's a moral, a romantic, a creative motivation for wanting to preserve our heritage. Most companies, most industries, are driven by economic motivations more so than emotional ones.
MR. CHASMAN: That's a sound answer.
MR. MAYER: I don't know how you can say that, Dan. [Laughter.]
MR. SLUSSER: It was easy, Roger. [Laughter.]
MR. MAYER: I think that the solution, David, to your question, is to urge everyone on to full preservation of all film prior to the time they lose copyright protection. And if we do that it will not become an issue. What you, of course, are saying is absolutely true. And there are films falling out of protection. And if we could get an extension of this protection, the economic advantages of spending the money certainly would be much more forthright. We would welcome that, obviously.
We're completely motivated to get any additional protection we might possibly be able to get. I do, however, point out to you that we have protection in other countries of the world, sometimes even when we are beginning to lose our--or in fact lose--our protection here. So that would motivate us to continue preservation efforts. But we do get that argument from time: "Oh well, what the heck, only two years to go, why bother?" I've heard that said in priorities meetings as an example. When somebody is trying to set their priority, that if it's only a couple of years to go, "why bother."
So I would suggest that it would be very helpful. But the main thing is if we thrust forward and get this stuff protected, then it will not become an issue. And secondly, that where it is an issue a proper study of other reasons to protect the film will probably result in your coming to a decision that you should protect it anyway.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: From what you've all said, are we to assume that you would all be willing to list your holdings and information about your holdings for the use or for the information of each other, and for collectors, and for the archives and all interested parties? Is that what we're hearing?
MR. SLUSSER: Fay, I think what you're hearing, at least from me, is that I think it's essential that we are able to document what is available from all sources, be it educational institutions, studio archives, private collectors, or whatever. The point that was made, and I think made very strongly, is that there appears to be a lot of duplication by institutions that are spending either foundation money or other money to do these projects.
The standardization of the information, number one, has to happen before the sharing can occur. I believe, for my case, I can tell you I would be more than glad to share the information.
MR. GARDINER: Same thing. I think it's a qualified yes in the sense that it depends on how it's cataloged, how it's done, where it goes. And then how it's redisseminated. But obviously there's a point where there's a brick wall that everybody will run into if this information is not shared at some point.
MR. HUMPHREY: Sony's point of view too, we would share whatever information is valuable. The only thing I'd warn is that the information gets complex. We have a very large library, but in some of the titles we have limited ownership, rights expire at certain times, at different points of time in different territories and different mediums, as I mentioned earlier. So that's important also.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: And that would be part of the information that would be valuable for all to know. Besides yourself.
MR. HUMPHREY: If we had all that information ourselves we would be a very efficiently run company.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Whatever you do know.
MR. HUMPHREY: We're also still in the process of pulling together all of our inventory and data. We haven't completed our process yet. We still have three years to go.
MR. MAYER: We would absolutely share all the information. I would like to point out, however, that in some cases the information to be shared could be subject to a critical and negative reaction by people. It is extremely easy to take a look at what somebody else is doing, and critique it, and say, "oh, I didn't know they didn't do that, and I didn't know they did it that way." And start pitting one faction against the other and so forth.
In the best of all possible worlds, where people were wonderful, there would be no such negative implications. It is possible, people share information of this kind and they're all trying to top one another one way or another, to show how much better they are than somebody else, or people that are interested in film preservation want to use this information in order to criticize what's being done. It would be a shame. However, regardless of that caveat, yes, we would share the information and hope that people would use this information in a positive manner.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Because that certainly would be the best tool to avoid the duplication that you were all talking about. If you shared it and if the archives shared theirs, we would know where everything is and what's going on, and we would avoid a lot of useless spending. So that's very encouraging.
MR. MAYER: I think you'd also zero in on where the problems are.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Right. Quite quickly. I have one other question, if I may. I read somewhere in the material we had that Warners was trying to find soundtracks by asking collectors. And we had an experience with that--at the Academy Foundation. Actually it was the impetus to restoring A Star is Born, because in that search, Warners had found the complete soundtrack to that film. And that was a great help for us in finding visual film segments and in doing that restoration.
What has been your experience with that and how is that useful in the whole picture?
MR. GARDINER: Well, it was mentioned here earlier; the amnesty question came up. And I believe it was Phil who said that these people are afraid to come forward because they're going to get arrested. Whether or not [this is true], those legal issues are, I think, are very sensitive. What our success has been, A Star is Born, as you know, was supervised by Ron Haver. And there was a lot of restoration, a lot of research that was going on.
Our experience with other things has been on essentially the two pictures that come to mind, Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden. And what happened was, it just so happened that the Library for copyright reasons had the magnetic prints of these pictures. And that's where we found most of our sound. Because it was gone from everywhere else.
The collectors heard about that. We said that we would collaborate as much as we could. We set up all sorts of suggestions about "leave it with a locked door and we'll send you back the key" and all that sort of stuff. It worked to an extent.
But then we always hear, I think all of us hear the same thing, which is that somebody has a blank of something. It's the version of Gypsy; it's the version of Damn Yankees, it's this; it's that. And I think that one of the things, going back to Milt's question on a preservation plan, if there's a way, and, obviously again, it's very sensitive because of the legal issues, the MPAA, etc., etc., etc. But if we could figure out as maybe part of a central database, or central sharing of information on a limited basis, a way to include these people and figure out a way to resurrect this material, it would be very helpful.
I know it can be done. It's just very, very difficult to do for all the reasons. And frankly, even with the collectors cooperation on those two pictures, the basis was the prints on deposit at the Library.
MR. WATTERS: We found that for the most part private collectors have been very helpful. There pretty much has been amnesty because the titles that we're really talking about are titles that are so old they can give us any story in terms of how they got it and we'd probably believe them. Because most of those people aren't even alive anymore.
But for the most part, they've been very cooperative. In a lot of cases we've tried to approach private collectors through educational institutions because it seems whenever--and this is not always the case, maybe it's an exception--whenever the name Universal is attached to a piece that we need from a private collector, suddenly there is a very expensive price that goes with this piece. And you then lose the sort of spirit of preservation and the privateer comes into play. So we found a lot of cases that that's happened to us also.
MR. GARDINER: We actually were in that situation where that happened to us. And even though there would have maybe been an agreement, there was a back away just out of fear. Regardless of whether there was going to be any money exchanged or not. That's where this issue of "should I or shouldn't I" comes into play.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: So the amnesty thing would be a very good thing, if we could ever achieve it.
MR. GARDINER: Yes.
MR. MAY: We've had quite--a few quite nice things come forth from collectors, primarily through the UCLA Archive, who holds a lot of Warner material. And people have come forth to UCLA and said we have this. And we have cooperated with UCLA in the preservation of it.
And in another case, simply a private collector who had a thirty-year-old 16mm print of a picture that was better than we can provide just came along and said I've got it. It isn't a lot though. We have gone more to saying "thank you, we are happy to give you a cassette or whatever of what you helped to provide."
MR. TABB: Dr. Billington?
DR. BILLINGTON: On the question of sharing information, if you're going to make vast national efforts to collate and do these things, it's important to not only have just sort of a general agreement, but specific knowledge of what the limitations of the exercise would be. For one thing, on copyright, that's all publicly available from us, from the copyright office. So that's not a big problem.
But I wanted to ask the more realistic question of what are the other kinds of information that you would not want to divulge to such a thing? What's the studios' position on that? In other words, you agree in principle, but when it comes to practice, are there some categories of things you would not want to divulge about your holdings?
MR. SLUSSER: I think quite frankly that the answer to that is probably yes and no. Until we start to get in it, until we start to--
DR. BILLINGTON: This is a matter of simple logic. It's either yes or no.
MR. SLUSSER: Well, it depends on the given time.
DR. BILLINGTON: Your answer is no then.
MR. SLUSSER: No, my answer is not no. My answer is I don't know all the issues and until such time as we're able to define all the issues, it's absolutely impossible to make a blanket statement that applies across the board.
DR. BILLINGTON: So probably no in other words?
MR. SLUSSER: If you want no, take no. If you want my answer, the answer is until I know exactly what we're talking about it wouldn't make much intelligence sense to answer a specific question, as opposed to a general question.
DR. BILLINGTON: Well, it helps to have some indication. We have a date certain by which we have to produce a plan. If you're going to recommend on the one hand that we make a vast effort, or somebody make a vast effort to inventory these things, and you who are in the industry can't give us sort of an educated guess as to whether there are significant things that wouldn't be divulged, then it's hard to assess how worthwhile such an inventory would be.
MR. SLUSSER: You can't do anything along this line until you get an understanding of common terms among all of us, because believe me there are tremendous differences, and they mean different things and would have great consequence: that's number one. Number two, I think it would be absolutely important to try just to define what it is you think are the problem areas and once we all get an opportunity to look at that, I think you'll find most of us care about preservation. And most of us want to share that information.
We would all be primarily interested in preserving our own rights, our own individual rights. It's that simple.
MR. HUMPHREY: I think from our perspective that sharing primary information about preprint elements, which is really what we're all getting at--who has an IP, who has the YCM, who has a German track, who has a stereo soundtrack. I don't see a major problem sharing this kind of information. We already share that information with a lot of people. We share that information with our clients, because they sometimes help us out in finding materials also.
So if those are the parameters, I don't see a major problem with it. The only problem may be titles as they come into the public domain, which is down the road. It's not the titles of the 1920s that really sell, it's the titles that are in the 1930s and 1940s which are sold in deals. Those studios or those people that possess the best elements are the ones that will be able to exploit the marketplace with them.
Therefore, I think in general people may be less willing to share information on that basis in the long run. I know there are some instances now with Columbia Pictures or other studios' titles in the public domain which are being sold in the same markets. But that's only the tip of the iceberg at this point because most films are still privately owned by the studios. I think this is a long term kind of situation that needs further evaluation.
MR. GARDINER: I would say pretty much the same thing, in that I think that a program of sharing information is probably what's needed in that we all agree that the terminology is key to what it is that you're trying to identify in the information. And perhaps the--you know, previously mentioned duality of effort is the first body of information that is shared, possibly just with the Library and see how that goes. And see what the reaction is before a larger, broader, more detailed amount of information is released, would be my opinion.
MR. TABB: Go ahead.
MR. FRANCIS: I'd like to make just one comment first and then ask a question. I think the sharing of specific information is vitally important. I still come back to what I said to the earlier panel. I think if we're to stop duplication there must be some possibility of actually comparing material held in national collections with material held by the studios. We all know that sometimes the best material does not necessarily come from a negative or finegrain, sometimes it comes from a studio print or there are different versions.
It seems to me that there must be some kind of comparison before we can decide not to copy material. Records can only take you so far. But the question I really wanted to ask is this, I suppose there must be something like 200 million feet of nitrate in national collections in this country. Now we heard this morning two things I think very important.
One, was that it's important to keep nitrate because technology might change in future. We might need to copy it again. We also heard, both from archives and from the studios, that some of the preservation we all did in the seventies, we have to redo because stocks have become more sensitive; we've learned a lot about preservation.
The public archives are spending a huge amount of money on maintaining this nitrate collection, on inspecting it, etc., and making certain that it's in as good a state as possible.
Would you be prepared, if you copied this material, and were satisfied with the results, for the national collections to destroy the nitrate?
MR. SLUSSER: I would not.
MR. MAY: No.
MR. HUMPHREY: We would not either.
MR. FRANCIS: I think this puts a very important responsibility on the national archives to maintain the nitrate because we know that we might need it again. I wanted to get that out on the table because I [think] it has to be addressed.
MR. SLUSSER: That's a very valid, very real concern. And that's the reason we have kept it all the years we have and we've spent the money to continue to maintain and inspect it.
MR. MAY: David, I think a slight variation from what Dan has just said. Black and white I would lean more toward possibly disposing of. I definitely would not dispose of any three-strip Technicolor, ever.
MR. MAYER: I'd like to make a couple of comments on this. I think there's a little bit too much certainty to these answers. The reason a lot of nitrate was in fact destroyed was that the opinion you just stated, that it should not be destroyed, was not the conventional wisdom, 10, 20 years ago. It was not the conventional wisdom because no one could figure out how to keep nitrate in a safe manner. It was not the conventional wisdom because it wasn't known that some of the conversions were not as good as they should be or that there would be some of the problems we're now having.
So although I agree with what everyone said, I think one of the problems is that it is not that certain what these results are going to be or what these policies ought to be. The amount of nitrate you now have is incomplete. It is not the nitrate backup for the libraries of the world. It's selected nitrate backup. I think everybody's looking at it now and saying, don't get rid of it, yes, it could be useable, because that's the way it looks now. But these are things that are just not that certain. You may also find it gets too dangerous to keep it. Or very costly; whatever "too costly" is I don't know. But I just think that these are not absolutely objective things; there are not absolute standards. And I think it's got to be thought about a little more than that.
We're all saying, very clearly, "keep it, that's great, that's wonderful." Because, yes, we might be able to use it at some point. And the other point I'd like to make about your comment earlier, that there should be some method of comparing the various conversions that have been made to decide which is best. Again, I'd like to say that's a subjective situation. In whose opinion?
We have been down that road an awful lot. And that is, that we will do what we think is a wonderful preservation job, which is completely subjective on our part. And we will hear from a lot of our very good friends from the archives saying, "we don't agree with that at all." [Laughter.] That should have been more blue, that should have been more--my God, I mean, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a job on Gone with the Wind, which we thought really was quite superb, most people agree.
I can't tell you how many people wrote into us and told us that that 43rd frame in reel 7B is not what it should have been and this is the way you should do it. And we have had such discussions a number of times. So I think one of the problems to what you are--would like to have, is that if you're the one to decide which is best, fine, but it is not a term that's readily definable.
MR. TABB: John?
MR. FRANCIS: I just have one follow-up question. If we are to keep all the nitrate-- the national collections are paying for keeping that at present--and if you're all saying, yes, we should keep it, shouldn't there be some way in which you should be supporting this activity financially.
This is the issue I was leading up, because this seems to be something that the national collections are really doing which benefits the studios. And I think the thing that's come out today is that we're looking after that nitrate material. We all know, we've suffered in the past from thinking we had things under control and then finding out we could do a better job.
MR. SLUSSER: David, a couple of things happened to us in the past. There was an approach a few short years ago where most of our nitrate was backed up by 16mm. This 16mm turned out not to be the right source of material for developing markets, markets that at the time we had no idea would exist. Secondarily, there is a lot of technology, digital technology, on the horizon right now that could change a number of the directions that we've gone in the past or we may want to go in the future.
Based on that I don't think anybody can tell you, at least I can't, that we're prepared to change the approach we've taken, which is to continue to maintain the nitrate we have. We spend a lot of time and a lot of money doing it, because we think it's the right thing to do. We currently maintain nitrate vaults in New Jersey. It would be, in my opinion, a premature judgment at this point. If something were to occur over the next decade or so which brought a finality to that question, then I think we'd have to review it in that light.
MR. MAYER: I'd like to comment that I think we should pay when it is our obligation to do so. But in all cases where nitrate was contributed, whether to the Library or other archives, we were asked to contribute and we volunteered to do so. And the archive wanted to expend the money to hold onto it and preserve it because they felt it was a public- spirited thing to do, or an artistic thing to do, or whatever their reasons were. And we said, "okay, if you feel that way, fine." And now you're coming back and saying, "whoops, we forgot to ask you to pay for it."
And I think that's proper that you do so. But I look at this as part of the overall economic plan of the United States as to where we should spend public money. And in effect this would be an additional tax on us and we certainly should discuss it and we certainly should consider the pros and cons of it. But I don't think any of us are ready to say to you you're absolutely right we should pay for it. I don't think we're ready to do that yet.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Are we hearing that if the archive community decided to dump the nitrate because it was too expensive to maintain, would you all be happy with that? I have not heard that they're willing to do that. But since money is pressing now and we have to figure where to put it, would you all be happy if the archives should make such a decision? I don't know that they all would, but I just am wondering what you would think.
MR. FRANCIS: Let's say we would offer it back to you first.
MR. MAY: I think that's fair. If we want it, we'll take it. If we don't, then we'll tell you what you can do.
MR. FRANCIS: We'd be prepared to offer it back to you with a bill for the cost of storing it during the period we had it.
MR. MAY: Well, we're not charging you for the period that you borrowed it. [Laughter.]
MR. GARDINER: I'm remaining mute on this subject because I deferred to Mr. Mayer before and I continue to do so since our nitrate collection is--
MR. HUMPHREY: In terms of the Library of Congress holdings, I think Columbia Pictures has about 50% of the holdings in Dayton, Ohio. This agreement was made many years ago. What we're working on right now makes me think that I may have made a statement too absolute. We're working with the Library now to take a look at nitrate materials.
For example, what we've done is we've moved some nitrate materials to other archives, for example, British titles, we've moved those out. But there may be titles that are so deteriorated and so low on the list that no matter what technological mediums come up they will not be able to be kept. And I think we may have to make some hard decisions with our own company as to that long-term permanent storage.
I think we have to have very specific standards on that. And I agree with everybody else on the panel that I'd like to share a standard in terms of where do we make that decision of what do we destroy and what do we keep. And there has to be some real standards of measurement. Not just hearsay as to what those are. We've sort of just started with the Library to struggle with these issues in the last four or five months.
MR. MAYER: Fay, I'd like to make a comment. No, we would not be happy if that were done. We also would not be happy to agree to pay a tab that we don't even know the size of. And there might conceivably be some position in between.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Thank you.
MR. TABB: John?
MR. BELTON: I've sort of been asked to ask a question, but it's my question really. Mr. Mayer, in your written testimony you used the term "national film bank." I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that and explain what you mean by the term, and how you think it might relate to our interests and the interest of the legislation that authorized this investigation here, this hearing.
MR. MAYER: One of the reasons, and the reason I mentioned it, of course, is that everybody talks about it from time to time. One of the reasons I brought it up is that I think it is part of what you're trying to accomplish. And that is, preserve our heritage. And there's not much use in preserving our heritage if it's not accessible to the public you're preserving it for. We agree with that.
The reason I mention it is that I find it to be such a practical problem. We have dealt with it. There is no national film bank. However, there is a national demand for this sort of thing. And it's not being met. And I'm hoping that through the testimony you gathered you might have some suggestions for it. I have not sat down and at length tried to come up with how one could do such a thing and what the pros and cons of it might be.
However, I am in favor of it being studied. I'm in favor of your asking about it. And I'm in favor or our commenting on it. And among the comments we would have to make is that we really don't see how it could be done, even though we think it's a good idea.
The one thing that doesn't work for us at all is to have the demands on us by the variety of archives of the United States and the world. And please understand that it is not easy for us to say yes to UCLA and no to the archives in Paris. Because we are in a worldwide business and every country has national archives, both television and theatrical. And they all want prints of everything. They certainly want prints of several hundred pictures from every company.
And they all have the same reasons for wanting them. They want them for study. They want them for posterity. They want them in order to be able to exhibit them. They want to control how to exhibit them. It is not satisfactory to them that they borrow it from someplace else, they want one of their own. And it is not a matter of one archive, and it's not just archives.
I mean, it happens. We make a list of the archives of some of the universities in this country and national archives of one sort or another. But if you started to do this, why are you preferring Harvard over the University of Pittsburgh. They all have film programs. They all have these needs. They all want to show films. And they all want some way to have access to them.
It was certainly--you would certainly think that some sort of a national method of doing that would be a good idea. I think it requires study. I don't know exactly how you would do it. But certainly this inventory we're talking about might be a print inventory as well as a film materials inventory--we all have those inventories.
How should we handle it as a practical matter now, because those demands are on us right now? What should we do? I'm sure the rest of the panelists will comment in a similar vein. What we do is, we try to have one good print, hopefully in both 35mm and 16mm, of everything. And any reasonable demand for it, any reasonable request for it, by professionals, we fulfill.
We ask them hopefully, in many cases, to pay the transportation. We take it on ourselves usually to replace it after they rip it up, but sometimes we ask them, please could they pay for reel 2B they just scratched. You've got all those problems. You've got the problem of transportation; you've got the problem of what they do with the prints. And you've got the problem of the fact that if you've lent it to one group, you have a demand the next day by another group, and they simply don't understand why you can't make another print for them.
So all in all I think there's a need. I think it is an appropriate need. I think it would be something we could do of a very, very positive nature for study throughout the country. I'm not entirely clear how you'd do it, but I certainly think it should be studied.
And we certainly ask that our problems in trying to meet the requirements of such a thing be taken into account. Because when you own the amount of film we own and when you can think of the number of film festivals that everybody in this world would like to have tomorrow, I think you can see the size of the problem.
DR. BILLINGTON: I would just point out that I think behind this whole enterprise we've been commissioned to undertake, the idea to form a national policy is part of the realization in the Congress that we are headed for tough budgetary times, that's no secret to anybody.
And one thing that isn't realized I think; we think in terms of who's going to pay the bill, how is it going to be divided up. This is competing not just against other things on the social agenda, but against a whole range of preservation things. We have a hundred million items in the Library of Congress. It's the largest accumulation of recorded creativity. And sound is basically a large portion of the American memory. And all of it is on material that is--we're a throw-away society. I mean, our records, recorded sound, we haven't even talked about that. It's all--paper itself is disintegrating. All paper made since 1840 with very little exception.
So practically everything that we have, and that all other great repositories of American creativity have, is all disintegrating. The preservation problem of [modern] American creativity, particularly. The papers of the founding fathers are fine; you're dealing with vellum and parchment and high-rag content quality papers. The incunabula, you don't have to worry about them for the good old fifteenth century.
But modern America is on throw-away goods. It's a massive problem. On the public policy side, the Congress and legislators and others are just beginning to become fully aware of it. So the idea of defining some kind of rational pattern is essential. Not just so that everybody's rowing in the same boat in the same direction, but because there are all kinds of other preservation boats that one has to worry about too.
And that leads to the last question I wanted to ask the panel, which is the technological future that Mr. Rothman was engaging in a bit, and talking about the new digitized universe and one thing and another. Might it be the case that film itself is not going to be the long-term preservation media of this form of American creativity?
MR. WATTERS: It's possible.
DR. BILLINGTON: And I wondered what your thoughts about that would be.
MR. MAY: That may be, but nothing has come up yet that we all feel comfortable with.
MR. HUMPHREY: Sony Pictures may be in a different position in that Sony, our parent company, is in the business of new technologies. We are in a partnership with them. Sony is experimenting with film in the high definition area. But again, IBM, Apple, all kinds of other companies are looking at compression technologies and other information technologies, that can store the visual image and the audio image.
Right now, for example, in sound restoration we're all talking about 24-track. But I think that--not trying to sound too much like a futurist--using compact disc for storage of tracks may be not that far away. But in terms of 35mm film, it's down the road. But I think in terms of storage of materials, there will be new technologies out there that are smaller and are easy to store, especially in the area of sound.
And in film, no one has found a medium yet to represent the film image. A lot of people are talking about it.
MR. MAYER: I would like to reemphasize that in the following sentence. That is, we're all--the industry and the world--looking for technological improvement, in all areas of making motion pictures, and still photography, and all that sort of thing, for many, many years.
In every case, what has happened is film has been improved. And the rest of it, electronic and other technologies, have not kept up. And every time we've looked for an improvement in photography and all the other things that you are very familiar with, it always seems that film is the medium that will get us the best image, and from there we should go to preservation techniques of a technological nature that include tape and whatever.
I do not believe that film will become obsolete. And as far as I can tell--and as I remember you're a photographer--film as the medium to capture the image is likely to continue to be the best method to do so.
MR. SLUSSER: I have to agree totally with Roger. There is a lot of work being done on digitized scanning of film; however, we all have to remember film has been here for a hundred years; it's got a track record. We're relatively certain it will make it a few more years. We can wait a hundred years to see if some of the new technology works.
MR. MAY: Let's also consider the playback technology. Not too many years ago two-inch tape was the ultimate for television. Now you're down to Sony Beta Cam that does just as well as the two-inch tape. It's all that magic in that invisible magnetic image on the tape. Whereas film is still a physical medium that with basic light, lens, etc., can be reproduced. And 50 years from now, are we going to have the playback medium to reproduce the item that is made on videotape today?
MR. WATTERS: In terms of film as a storage medium there really is nothing out there that's been out there long enough to know. I mean, I heard compact discs might start skipping after a year or two years. And if you have a master on there, I don't know, could you lose it?
So in terms of a storage medium of film, it's been around. It's a known commodity. It's relatively inexpensive, okay, if you're talking about a release print. If you keep your negatives in good condition. And the release prints could be transformed into high definition. They can be scanned. There's a lot of things you can do with those release prints that are relatively low cost. There really is nothing out there with the track record that will replace film. At least not right now, not for the foreseeable future.
MR. GARDINER: Warner obviously, and Time Warner, is looking into every new technology available. And as you all heard about our super highway in Florida, we're actually utilizing some of it already. But what we're finding on the film side, especially in the preservation side, even these new scanning technologies like Domino and like Cineon from Kodak, the whole purpose behind them is to get film, digitize it, and get it back it to film, which is very interesting. A lot of people are spending a lot of money to do it.
We're finding that everybody is still, for the far foreseeable future, saying we're going to put film in a camera and capture the image on that. Where it goes from there is anybody's guess because we've all had the conversation about glass discs are going to come out, super dense pack glass disc storage from IBM. All that. But that's more a backup storage medium. The original capture medium still seems to be film.
The way to protect film on film seems to be the right way to do it. It was mentioned this morning I believe that it costs ten times as much to do it electronically as it does to do it on film, even though it's already expensive. And the only thing I think that we're going to continue to protect, we're protecting all of our new production with the YCM separations and, as I said before, the past will be absolutely taken care of the same way.
And I think that the new technologies as far as dissemination of information will be much more readily used for people to see this material but not necessarily to preserve it. Because I think the preservation of the original will still be film-based for many years to come.
MR. TABB: I want to thank all of you for your useful presentations and responses. We're a little bit behind, so we need to move quickly to the next and last panel. If Mr. Luce and Ms. McLane will come forward quickly we'd appreciate it. All right. Mr. Luce, Gregory Luce, from The Committee for Film Preservation and Public Access.
Statement of Gregory Luce, The Committee for Film Preservation and Public Access
MR. LUCE: I want to thank the panel for allowing us to testify today. I know we're running late, I will try to get through our oral testimony as quickly as I can.
Over the past 25 years, millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on the preservation of thousands of film works donated by the major studios and other various parties. Now these films have been stored, preserved, and restored, fully or in part, at the expense of the American taxpayer. Yet the public, for all their financial support, has received only the smallest of benefits in return for this arrangement.
Even films that have fallen into the public domain are being withheld from general public usage all because of perpetual donor contract restrictions. This committee feels that preservation without eventual unrestricted availability is a waste of the American taxpayer's money, and it only makes sense that if public funds are used for the preservation of film works, the responsibility of which has been passed on by the copyright owners themselves, then the public must be allowed eventual access to them.
The Library of Congress and the other major film archives cannot be allowed to evolve into private film storage warehouses for the major studios with the public footing the bill in perpetuity. The obligations of public funding demand that systems be implemented to inform the public of what films are stored at each archive. And to establish procedures to allow general public access to these films after the copyrights have expired.
Almost all the major donor agreements contain provisions which give the studios the right to approve or disapprove any access to outside parties. Not just for the limit of copyright, but in perpetuity. The cost of all preservation, restoration and storage of these donations is paid for by the archives. The studios however have the right in perpetuity to have exclusive access to these properties.
Furthermore, any profits made from the use of donated materials, when access is requested by the donor, goes one hundred percent to the donor while the archives receive nothing. Now what does the future hold for U.S. film heritage if these donor agreements are left unchanged. The answer appears rather bleak. With a large portion of America's film heritage seemingly destined to remain unseen for a long, long time.
However, there are many good reasons why this need not happen. First of all, we must look at the overall purpose of copyright. Federal copyright laws allows for all published film works to be protected for 75 years after which they fall into the public domain and become available to the general public. Yet at the major archives, taxpayer money is being used for a system that will keep most of them unavailable forever.
There are no generations of Americans more deserving of eventual access to these film works than the ones that grew up with them, the ones that watched them on television on Saturday afternoon when they were kids, the ones that went to the movie theaters and paid money to buy tickets, the ones that made these films worth making to begin with.
These generations of Americans can truly claim that these films are more a part of their culture than any generations to come. Practically speaking, the studios don't really have a viable reason for denying access to donated public domain works. When the still commercially viable films of the twenties, thirties, and forties start falling into the public domain, the studios will have at their disposal the means to artificially extend their copyrights for an additional 75 years. That means is colorization.
Colorization will not only allow an extension of copyright, but will also rejuvenate a film's mass market commercial attractiveness to a present day public that generally shuns black-and-white product. Now, whether you approve of it or not, colorization is here to stay. But remember, if eventual public access is granted, no one will ever be forced to watch only the colorized version of a work.
For those older films that were made in color, the studios will have the prerogative of publishing copyrightable new versions, derivative works, with never before seen footage, or versions that boast added or rearranged music or effects tracks.
However, when these older big pictures do fall into the public domain, they will take along with them thousands of other much less commercially attractive works. This huge body of other films comprise mainly of lesser-known features, serials, shorts, etc., has virtually no value to the major studios on the levels of commercial expectancy that they're normally used to dealing with in today's mass television, home video, cable and theatrical markets.
It's probably not unrealistic to say that 90% or more of the copyrighted film works from the twenties, thirties and forties, fall into this category.
However, just because these lesser-known works don't have the ageless mass market commercial potential of films like It Happened One Night, doesn't mean they deserve the eternal oblivion that will be brought on by these perpetual donor agreements. These films have an enormous educational, historical, cultural, and entertainment value that simply must not be suppressed. Schools, libraries, film societies, archives, private individuals would all reap great rewards from the benefits of unrestricted public access.
Smaller companies who deal with cable TV and video distribution, whose operation costs are much lower, and whose commercial expectation of such products are not nearly so high, can once again make these forgotten treasures available to the general public where their former copyright owners could not.
Indeed the eventual falling into the public domain will not only open the door to the rediscovery of these presently confined works, but also may signal a renaissance of American film heritage. There can be no better example of this than the movie It's A Wonderful Life, which, after its copyright lapsed in 1975, was basically rediscovered by the public. It's only been since that time that it's become established as an all time American film classic.
Now this isn't to say that every forgotten film from the golden age of Hollywood is going to become a classic someday, but it certainly shows that widespread availability encourages widespread appreciation which results in a work becoming more permanently ingrained into our culture. We believe the entire film history of Hollywood deserves this consideration.
Another thing to consider is that when these lesser-known films eventually do fall into the public domain, many of them will be made available to the public anyway, regardless of donor restrictions, by outside parties possessing privately owned 16mm, 35mm prints.
However, these outside editions will be generally vastly inferior to the best existing editions currently housed at the archives. It seems ridiculous that the public will be forced to enjoy these films in visually inferior, often incomplete versions while they pay for the preservation of the best existing editions and yet are denied access to them. It doesn't make sense.
This committee vigorously believes in the necessity of continued federal funding for film preservation. And it gives the highest praise to the job done by the hundreds of hard working scholars, technicians and archivists who have painstakingly preserved these works through the use of these funds.
However, it also feels that immediate or eventual public access should be a mandatory requirement of all such funding. There's simply not enough taxpayer benefit to warrant the funds expended if the only privilege the public receives is the availability of certain films for occasional public or private showings. While thousands of others sit in the vaults unseen perhaps forever.
This committee makes the five following recommendations. One, preservation of films for the sole and exclusive benefit of the donor should be contrary to public policy.
Two, Congress should be encouraged to pass legislation that will retroactively limit the protection of donated works, preserved, stored or cataloged with federal funds. This protection should be limited to the term of copyright, or twenty years after the gift, whichever is longer.
Three, all public funding of film preservation should be contingent on eventual public access to the preserved films. Public access should include the availability of first-quality prints and video masters on a cost-plus or reasonable fixed-fee basis. Revenues generated should be funneled back into film preservation programs.
Four, policies should be formulated to detail access procedures and fee schedules. These policies should then be made available for public comment and feedback. And finally, five, any archive receiving federal funds should be required to prepare, and make available, lists of their film holdings and their availability dates and to keep such lists in an updated form.
Now, after these hearings conclude, we feel that any recommendations made to Congress must deal not only with the subject of film preservation, but also with the question of guaranteeing future public access to these films. This committee offers its services to the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress in developing recommendations for a comprehensive program which provides for continued preservation and public access. Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Mr. Luce. Ms. McLane from the International Documentary Association.
Statement of Betsy McLane, Executive Director, International Documentary Association
MS. MC LANE: Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to testify here this afternoon. The International Documentary Association is a membership organization representing people who make nonfiction work, people who work in the nonfiction field, and everyone who likes watching documentaries. So my constituents are really filmmakers who are, for the most part, operating independently of the major Hollywood studios and the major television networks.
I also see my constituency as people who are not necessarily our members, but all independent filmmakers who are there, particularly working in the nonfiction film field. You already have received my rather impassioned statement about the need to include documentary in all consideration for preservation. And we want to commend the National Film Preservation Board for the nonfiction works it has already included in the national registry.
And I know that many of my colleagues at the film archives share the concern for preserving nonfiction films. So I would refer you to my statement for the impassioned plea.
What I wanted to mention here in my statement this afternoon is that there are three points that I think independent film artists, particularly those working in nonfiction, need to have considered in issues of preservation and restoration.
The first of these is that most of the people working in nonfiction forms are highly independent and do not have the financial resources of many of the institutions we've heard from already this afternoon. Obviously there are some exceptions. Disney is doing some nonfiction production and Fox, and certainly our friends at Turner Entertainment are involved in nonfiction. But the vast majority of people who are working in documentary in the United States are truly independent producers.
And I know you heard this morning about the needs of people working independently in experimental film and in home movies. And in a sense, although documentary film makers are not exactly the same, many of the problems are the same.
So for most of the people that I work with, thinking about preserving their work is very far down the line of their priorities. They are, in many cases, barely able to fund production and sustenance of their work and their life, and never get around to even thinking about what is going to happen to their work five, ten, let alone fifty years down the line.
One of the things that I think a nationally based sort of program about this could address is a very simple communications and informational kind of awareness program for independent producers, at least getting them to start thinking about the need to do this. I mean obviously there are some people who have thought further down the line about what's going to happen to their work. But if you talk to most documentarians, they're very concerned with the issue of surviving now, and getting the next film made, and aren't thinking about what's going to happen to the work that they have already completed.
So I would recommend that there has to be a great deal more publicity and informational materials provided. Particularly directed toward independents.
Secondly, I would like to see some consideration given for an incentive for preservation for independent filmmakers. The demand deposit rules at the Library of Congress are, and have been in some cases, very onerous obligations for a person who's working completely independently to even supply a print to be put in the collection there. And it's very costly for someone who simply doesn't have the money to do that.
There has to be a cost effective way for individual artists to make a contribution to an archive. And I would suggest that this study very much include ways that artists can receive some incentive, a financial incentive, for doing preservation of their individual work.
And this also brings up a point that the Librarian mentioned. Dr. Billington talked about the availability of copyright searches and copyright research. And this in itself is a tremendous kind of an expense problem for an independent producer, an independent person working in nonfiction to try to even do copyright searches.
I had dinner last night with my friend and colleague, Herb Farmer, down at USC. And Herb, down at USC is sitting on a collection of thousands and thousands of informational and educational films in 16mm that date back into the 1930s certainly and go all the way through the 1970s. The copyright situation on many of those titles is very, very obscure and difficult to discern. Lots of the companies that originally produced and distributed this work are certainly no longer in existence.
And as Mr. Mayer mentioned earlier, and I think he was probably referring to independent feature production, the fact that these companies are gone and the fact that it's very hard to find out to whom the film even belongs, makes problems of preservation very, very difficult for these films.
This brings up my third and final point and recommendation to the study. And that is that the key to trying to find out how to deal with independent work, particularly nonfiction independent work, is to look at the distribution mechanisms of the work in the past. Obviously the way that film collections have existed are because distributors acquired groups of films that they needed to get out to sell, to market. And the distributors, and the distribution companies, are really the repositories of all of the vast numbers of educational, informational and nonfiction films that have been produced in the United States over the last fifty years.
And I would suggest that the small distribution companies as well as the larger distribution companies, and in particular those who specialize in nonfiction and independent work, be involved in this study.
The final thing I just wanted to close on was the idea that this nonfiction film form, and in my field, in documentary, the idea of talking about film is something that we have to look really at new technologies. Because documentary makers are always on the forefront of looking at new production mechanisms and new delivery systems.
And so I think that in a recommendation in the long term would be to certainly consider the new technologies that are going to be integral to what nonfiction workers do. And to just pause for a moment and think, in addition to all the wonderful, wonderful Hollywood fiction feature films that we have, about the great documentaries of the past.
Not only the ones made by the studios or made by large government agencies, but the hundreds and thousands of independent nonfiction works that are being made throughout history and continue to be made today by everyone from people working with home video doing grassroots local public access programming to people doing major, major work for network television and theatrical release. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Questions?
MR. CHASMAN: I have a question for Mr. Luce. A request for clarification on your use of the terms "access," "unrestricted access," and "availability." Do you mean the right to view, the right to screen, the right to screen and sell tickets, or the right to duplicate and sell the product of the duplication?
MR. LUCE: Well we certainly--when I say unrestricted we certainly don't mean that we advocate people being able to walk into the Library of Congress and walk out with a nitrate negative, no. But we think that a system should be established whereby these films are made available.
I'll give you a perfect example. The National Archives has a system where they have a certain list of films that are available, and you can go in at any given time. They have a certain list; you can look at the list. They have a certain list of labs that are acceptable to them. You can have the works transferred to videotape. You can have the works transferred to film. Whatever you desire to do, for whatever purpose. Whether it be educational, entertainment, commercial, whatever. And we believe this broad spectrum of needs should be included.
MR. CHASMAN: Thank you for the answer.
MR. FRANCIS: Rather on the same point, I mean, you actually attached to your submission a Library of Congress contract--
MR. LUCE: Yes we did.
MR. FRANCIS: It doesn't seem as restrictive as you imply from what you say. Because the last clause is:
Upon the relinquishing by donor of copyright in all or any component of the Collection, or of other rights and interests therein as hereinabove described, the Library shall have the right with the prior written consent of the donor, not to be unreasonably withheld, to make such components of the Collection available to educational institutions for purposes of serious scholarly research in accordance with its usual and special regulations for use of motion picture materials.
That doesn't seem to support the point that you were making.
MR. LUCE: Well, in a sense though, if you'll look here at the fine print, what it says basically is that it can be--they will not have a--you're looking on page five here I believe, number seven. [It reads]: "Upon the relinquishing by donor of copyright...Library shall have the right with the prior written consent of the donor, not to be unreasonably withheld."
Well, then we get into the question of what is unreasonable. And also, this is restrictive only to--available to educational institutions. So there's a large restriction right there.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: As I understood your remarks, Mr. Luce, you suggested that the archives use only public funds to do the work they do.
MR. LUCE: We're not saying that the archives are totally publicly funded.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: I was going to say, most of the archives I know raise a good deal of private funds on their own.
MR. LUCE: Certainly people like David Packard, I mean, there's many examples of private donations that come in. What we're saying is, particularly in the case of the National Archives, Library of Congress, even UCLA, because so much of that is state money, is that the large majority, if not almost all of the money that is used, are public funds.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: I don't know that that's so, but we will give them a chance to respond in their own testimony.
MR. LUCE: Okay. We certainly don't want to--we're not here to try to belittle the efforts that you've made either. I think, Dr. Billington, you and Mr. Francis, the job you guys have done here preserving the films that you do have is wonderful. And we want it continued. We just feel that there's a certain obligation to the public for all the money that the public is spending on these films.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: May I just finish my statement. If indeed they have spent, beyond public money, their own private funds, is it not fair for them to be able to get fees from the further distribution of those films not only to recompense them for that, but to allow them to use (they're all strapped for money, as we all are) to use those funds for further preservation. Whereas if they had to allow commercial companies to gain money from the use of those, it would certainly choke off any possibility of their using them.
MR. LUCE: It's not just a matter of commercial companies. I mean, there's all kinds of groups, individuals, whatever--
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: I meant beyond educational, I meant beyond that.
MR. LUCE: What I would say to that is I think that you have the opportunity here to look at a possible money-making venture for the archives if it's handled correctly. The fact of the matter is that there's going to be a tremendous library of film that will fall into the public domain in the next twenty-five years that normally would not be touched. Now, I don't think it's unfeasible, and the members of this committee do not think it's unfeasible for a system to be developed whereby these films could be made available for general public usage in such a way that would actually allow revenues to come in to the various archives.
And there's nothing wrong with that. If a system could be implemented that would pay for itself, and indeed possibly even make a profit, even if it's only a small profit, it could be a large profit, we don't know. Now, we don't pretend to have the answers in terms of a specific system. This is something that we want to encourage you to consider over the next few years.
We're looking at a situation--Mr. Rothman earlier from Variety was talking about all of the computer technology that's coming forward, the glass discs, I don't even know anything about this. But I mean, it is conceivable that in a not-too-distant period of time that an entire library of the history of Hollywood could be held literally in a not-too-large room.
One of the things that I personally had in mind, and we've had discussions, various committee members, one of the things I thought is that if the films could be made available in such way that you request a film, availability dates, things like that. If you wanted to get say a 1/2-inch master, or a 3/4-inch, or a 1-inch, the film, for a certain price, can then be sent out to a lab, which does the work for the private individual, or the company, or whoever it is. And then returns it to the archives with a profit made for the archives.
The only thing that the archives would probably have to do at some point in terms of increased overhead is allot an area for the storage of possibly 3/4-inch masters, one inch. But hopefully, if the technology develops as they were talking about earlier, an even much smaller storage space would be required.
MR. TABB: John?
MR. BELTON: Betsy McLane, when you were describing the needs of independent film makers, what precisely were you thinking of that a national film preservation policy could do, in terms of preservation? That is, would public funds be used for preservation. And would there be any restrictions on the materials that the filmmaker provided. What kind of exchange?
MS. MC LANE: I don't obviously have a plan in place at this moment. I was thinking more along the lines of kinds of tax incentives that would allow them to continue to claim deposits to archives for the artistic merit of a work rather than just for the value of the actual videotape. That kind of thing. To encourage people to at least think about putting films on deposit.
I think that there probably are cases when it is in the public good to underwrite the acquisition and preservation of materials from people that cannot afford to do it themselves. But I certainly don't have a program in mind.
MR. SHEFTER: Mr. Luce, I've read your submission twice to try to avoid some confusion. And I must confess I'm still confused, so perhaps you can narrow some items down for me. You started discussing public access. As I read through your committee names, I notice six or seven are identified as either producers or distributors, so I would assume they could be considered private copyright holders under given circumstances.
MR. LUCE: I am a private copyright holder myself.
MR. SHEFTER: Okay. And therefore if your material and their material is deposited in the copyright office, which then is housed at the Library of Congress, on access, could anyone walk in there, make a copy of it and commercially exploit that copy in the interest of having the whole world see our cultural heritage?
MR. LUCE: After the expiration of copyright. Absolutely. I think we have the question here, and this is a question that really isn't asked enough, what is the purpose of preservation? Who are we preserving these films for? Who are we preserving these films for? We're using public money to preserve this incredible library of film, much of it which has not been seen in decades, especially when you get into the area of live-action short subjects and things like that.
I mean, there is just a ton of film that is simply being confined without any possibility of it being seen in the near future.
MR. SHEFTER: You seem to jump from copyright to preservation. Could we handle each one separately, because I think you have some good points here.
MR. LUCE: Okay.
MR. SHEFTER: Your first answer I guess to my question was, the length of copyright. Do you have a problem with that?
MR. LUCE: No, we have no problem with the length of copyright. 75 years I think is a very fair amount of time. The automatic renewal bill went through last year protecting people for the second term on pre-1978 works. Our committee has no problem with the current structure of copyright law in this country.
MR. SHEFTER: Okay. Is your problem with private copyright holders utilizing public funds?
MR. LUCE: Our problem lies in the fact that works have been donated to the archives that are being preserved with public funds, yet after their copyrights expire and these works have fallen into the public domain, the public is basically not going to have access to these works because of the perpetual donor agreement that exists between the major studios and the various archives.
MR. SHEFTER: So in your proposal, when you say that anything that would benefit exclusively to the donor, you're talking about the period after the copyright expires?
MR. LUCE: What we're saying is that any donor agreement that is basically for the sole benefit of the donor, should be contrary to public policy. At this point--
MR. SHEFTER: That's assuming public funding, is that correct?
MR. LUCE: Yes. Yes. Absolutely.
MR. SHEFTER: All right. So you would hold the Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Archive, all of the public archives that use what you call public funding, responsible for any contracts that they negotiate with private copyright holders?
MR. LUCE: Well, obviously these contracts exist. And it's a problem. I mean, they exist and the studios have the right in perpetuity, even after the copyright is expired, to approve all outside access. As I said in the statement, I think point number four, that we would encourage this panel to encourage Congress to pass clarifying legislation which would limit these donor agreements to the term of copyright or twenty years after the gift, whichever is longer.
We think that's a very fair amount of time for the donors to have their works preserved and have the availability to use them and still eventually gives the public the benefit that it needs.
MR. BELTON: Would you consider doing this--or trying to introduce this change in all subsequent donations?
MR. LUCE: Absolutely.
MR. BELTON: And--because I would foresee a tremendous legal problem in archives essentially violating the contracts that they've already written. But if we could advocate for all future donations, which I don't know, perhaps we will not get any future donations from the studios because they're holding on to their own materials. But for all future donations that no such agreements be entered into where public funds are used. I don't know if you can go retroactively though.
MR. LUCE: You certainly can. And Congress has many times put forth acts that have basically nullified certain agreements because of the good of the public. This has happened many, many, many times. I mean, Fay brought up a very excellent point when she was talking to one of the gentleman on the other panel when she said how about if we give it all back to you with a bill for the storage and the upkeep. And I keep coming back to this point. The fact that this incredible amount of money is being spent by the American public to preserve these films.
I'll give you an example. One of the things that Mr. Pierce--who was largely responsible for coming up with the written statement, I'm just a spokesman--addressed is the fact that not only does the situation exist with the donor agreements being in perpetuity and the unfairness to the public, but the fact that the studios have in the past been able to actually get tax deductions for these things, which are now being disallowed by the courts I might add.
It's just a question of what is the responsibility of public institutions that are using public funds. What is the responsibility eventually to the public.
MR. TABB: David?
MR. FRANCIS: These are really two points of clarification. You use the word public domain to cover not only films beyond the 75 year period, but films that were not renewed.
MR. LUCE: Yes.
MR. FRANCIS: Now, this is slightly worrying to us because there may well be underlying rights in those films.
MR. LUCE: Absolutely.
MR. FRANCIS: Which could still prevent them being made available. So I think one needs to make that clear.
MR. LUCE: You have a very valid point. And I certainly would not begin to argue with that. You know, there are many musicals, for instance, that have underlying musical rights that [are] still under copyright. I understand that completely.
MR. FRANCIS: The other point was what is a fair price. How would you calculate it? Would it include the costs the archive has incurred in preservation and storage? Would it be a percentage of those costs, would it depend on the use?
MR. LUCE: Well, in terms of price for the storage, I mean, we've already paid for that.
CHAIRWOMAN KANIN: Not completely.
MR. LUCE: Not completely. But for the lion's share--the lion's share of Hollywood product that is at the Library of Congress, I mean, let's face it. And the National Archives has a tremendous wealth of newsreels, etc. And the fact of the matter is the public already has paid for the films.
But in answer to your question, David, I think that we would advocate a situation whereby you could make these films available at a profit. And I don't think--a lot of the gentlemen on the previous panels were talking about the relatively inexpensive nature of a lot of this new technology once it's established.
I don't think there's anything that would be too overly expensive about striking a 3/4- inch from an already existing videodisc of some type, or a one-inch master. By simply shipping it out to a lab across the street who will do the work and give you a bill which the person pays for with perhaps a reasonable fixed fee added on top for the Library's time and trouble, or UCLA's, or Eastman House.
There are a number of--in fact, David, you would know, British Film Institute, for instance, right now has a catalog of their own video product. They are distributing videotapes of various things. And they're obviously making some money at it or they're not doing it.
Now I don't think--I personally don't think that we should get into the whole aspect of you guys getting your own video equipment and things like that. I think that's where it would get into a situation where it would get too expensive. But I think the farming out of such work to various labs on a cost-plus basis is something that is really very feasible.
MR. FRANCIS: I think it's the "plus" that I'm interested in. Are you suggesting a different level of pluses, according to the potential use?
MR. LUCE: Well, I don't think anybody would want to walk into the Library of Congress and pay $3,000 for a 3/4-inch master. Quite frankly, if you did that you would find your business would be nonexistent. But if you charged $500, or $600, or $700, or something like that, I guarantee you there would be a lot of takers. And also if you had these things just available in terms of a moderately priced 1/2-inch, for people who just wanted to see these things.
People out there in Kansas, or in Oregon where I live, we can't fly to New York every time that there's a film festival. You know, the incredible expense that would be involved for the entire public to appreciate the archival showings. I mean, it just can't be done.
MR. TABB: All right. Thank you very much. I want to thank this panel as well as the speakers who appeared earlier today, my colleagues who have been asking questions, and especially all the large number of people who sat with us throughout the day.
I'll remind you, if you haven't had enough, that we're going to be doing this again in Washington two weeks from today. All day at the Library of Congress on the 26th of February if you'd like to come then as well. An edited transcript of this proceeding will be an attachment to the report that we submit to Congress in June. And for one last time, I'll remind everyone that if you would like to submit additional comments for the record, we ask you to do that, but get them to us at the Library of Congress no later than March 15.
Thank you very much.
[At 4:40 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]