Film Preservation 101: Why are old films sometimes pink?

Film Preservation 101 is an occasional series in which we answer our most frequently asked questions. Please submit your  burning questions about film preservation in the comments below! What is Color Fading? Why are old films sometimes pink? The simple answer is color fading. This might seem a little confusing, since it looks like the film … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Why are old films sometimes pink?

An Update on Kodacolor Decoded

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the National Archives' Motion Picture Preservation Lab. You might remember a fun little post last summer about the Yellowstone Kodacolor discovered within a National Park Accession deposited with NARA in 2012. The Yellowstone Kodacolor is one 453’ reel of 16mm “reversal.”  An early … Continue reading An Update on Kodacolor Decoded

Colorful Chemistry and a Visit to Your National Parks

If I asked you to tell me what you think of when you think of silent films, one characteristic you may mention is that silent films are black and white. While it is true that most silent films were shot using black and white film, by the time they were projected many had vibrant colors … Continue reading Colorful Chemistry and a Visit to Your National Parks

Photographs Relating to the Marshall Plan and Post-WWII Economic Recovery in France

In 1973 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) transferred to the National Archives approximately 31,000 negatives and corresponding prints created by the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) and its successor, the Mutual Security Agency (MSA), to document economic recovery in Western Europe after World War II under the Marshall Plan. After processing, this accession became … Continue reading Photographs Relating to the Marshall Plan and Post-WWII Economic Recovery in France

Home Movies from the War Front: The First Fighters in New Guinea

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab.  Home movies aren’t usually thought of as a rarity – especially these days as we happily capture our kids, friends, families, and pets on our smartphones-- but home movies taken during war on the front lines are … Continue reading Home Movies from the War Front: The First Fighters in New Guinea

Introducing The Unwritten Record!

Today we’re debuting our new name! From now on, the blog of the National Archives’ Special Media Services Division will be known as The Unwritten Record. We’ll feature the same great content—film, photographs, videos, sound recordings, and other non-textual records from the National Archives’ holdings-- just with a new and improved name! Media Matters was fine, … Continue reading Introducing The Unwritten Record!

Film Preservation 101: This 80 Year Old Film Printer Still Contributes to Preservation

This week we celebrate the National Archives' 80th birthday. For the motion picture lab, this anniversary was an opportunity to look back to the beginnings of the organization, when the Archives was still in its teen years and William T. Cooper, Jr. posed for photographs with the Depue optical reduction film printer. The photos, taken … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: This 80 Year Old Film Printer Still Contributes to Preservation

Film Preservation 101: What are the holes on the sides of the film for?

Have you ever thought to yourself: “Those holes on the side of the film, I wonder what they’re for?” Maybe you were afraid to ask? If you think it sounds like a dumb question, let me assure you that some super-smart people have asked us this before. Today we’ll tell you not only what those … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: What are the holes on the sides of the film for?

Film Preservation 101: Is Restoration the Same as Preservation?

When you watch NARA's video for The March on YouTube the first thing you see onscreen is a note that the film was “Preserved and Restored by the National Archives.” You may wonder why we make the distinction between preservation and restoration. Aren't they the same thing? The differences between preservation and restoration are subtle, … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Is Restoration the Same as Preservation?

The Real Monuments Men

Nestled within the Italian Alps, in the small village of San Leonardo, behind the doors of an abandoned jail cell, sat some of the world’s most cherished pieces of art. Together with a nearby repository in Campo Tures, it was estimated that the hidden artwork was worth about 500 million dollars. That was in 1945. … Continue reading The Real Monuments Men