Thursday, 26 July 2007

Archive breakthrough

Having been teased by the IT Devil and toyed with by the Money God, The Hawkinsian Intsitute has a tendency to be a little polytheistic (believe in many different gods). Although not the official Hawkinsian spirtual belief system, it works in a part-time kinda way.

Anyway, if we blame the gods for problems, we should also celebrate them if good things happen. In this spirit, we'd like to offer thanks and laudation to the Film God.

Believe it or not, this project isn't the first to be fascinated by what happened in Berlin. It means it's very hard to do anything original on this topic, but it also means there are lots of resources and materials to take advantage of - like archive footage and newsreels.

My DDR T-Shirt has already utilised some of these but it's a prohibitively expensive resource for a no-budget documentary. The clips used so far are brilliant. They really add to the edit but they are preview-only files from a commercial film archive with a deliberately intrusive watermark and catalogue number on each frame. If My DDR T-Shirt is ever to be screened, or even just submitted to a film festival, full rights would have to be secured at great expense. It was a big concern that this would be an unaffordable cost when the final edit was done. Until now.

There are certain archive sequences in the existing edit that really cannot be replaced. They are just too good. However, in the hope of reducing future licensing costs Hawkinsian staff trawled the internet to replace more generic clips with similar ones from open source film archives. Several black and white American newsreels were downloaded and some may be useful to the project. But one, by some massive stroke of luck, featured all of the short clips already used in the My DDR T-Shirt edit. They are good picture quality, free of any watermarks or catalogue numbers and most importantly free of copyright restrictions!

In the next few days, these excerpts will find their way into the edit and the old copyright restricted versions will be deleted.

Thanks be to the Film God.

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