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For my friend Mark...

...who deals with this kind of thing every day.

A wizard's words finally set free -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY:
The unlikely resurrection story began when archivist Chris Hunter grew curious about 13 undocumented film canisters tucked away on a bottom shelf among 5 million items in the basement archives of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium.

Hunter had no idea what they contained, aside from a few vague jottings that indicated they involved radio programs from the 1920s.

There was an even bigger obstacle to solving the mystery. He had no machine that could play them.

He might as well have been looking at ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The canisters were not going to give up easily their mute secrets.


RTWT, and think for a minute about all the history locked up in analog media that we have no way to play back any more.

(Instapundit)

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
darksumomo
Jun. 19th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Why am I reminded of the episode of Cowboy Bebop where Spike and Jet were on a quest to find the last working Betamax machine on Earth to play back Faye's tape?
wombat_socho
Jun. 20th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Same stuff, different day. :)
edwarddain
Jun. 19th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
Very cool!
433
Jun. 20th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)
What a great story!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)
Orphan media is a problem in the digital realm as well as the analog one (talk to Doug about the joys of trying to find somewhere that can read 7-track magtapes).

You may find the IRENE project at LBL interesting. http://irene.lbl.gov/

Reading what amounts to a film soundtrack off 35mm film, while an interesting challenge for a summer project, was probably mostly a walk in the park for the guys featured in the article given their backgrounds. Hardest part is machine shop time to build the jigs and film path.

The good news is that these films long predate cellulose triacetate and "vinegar syndrome" safety film stocks. The bad news... is that since they predate safety film, it's almost certainly nitrate base. Stable in storage, but explosive. Oh well. :-)

-RS

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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