Soon, Those Old Newsreels Will Be New Videos

Want to include video of the wreck of the Hindenburg in your next computer document? In about a year, you may be able to select digitized scenes of historic events from 60 million feet of news films dating back to 1919. Twentieth Century Fox Film and Sony Corp. have joined forces to preserve on computer tape some 10,000 hours of deteriorating, black-and-white footage belonging to the world's largest collection of newsreels, the Fox Movietone Newsreel Library.

Simply to transfer the old reels onto fresh photographic film would take more than a decade and cost tens of millions of dollars, Fox says (BW--June 28). But it expects to complete the digitizing project in about a year with the use of four Sony DIR-1000 series digital data recorders. Scanners will convert the films to digital images, which will then be recorded onto magnetic tape at a rate of about 32 megabytes per second--at that speed you could record the entire text of War and Peace in less than half a second. Fox says that not only will the digital copies be of similar or better quality than the decaying originals but they also can be easily accessed by computer and integrated with graphics, text, and sound.

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