Sep 18, 2012

Rob Byrne (SF Silent Film Festival) visits the NYU Orphan Film Symposium (2012)

On the eve of the 8th Orphan Film Symposium, NYU Cinema Studies MA student (and now alumna) Daphna Jaglom was testing our new HD camcorder, straight out of the box. When
film preservationist Rob Byrne (also president of the board of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival) stopped by the Film Study Center at 721 Broadway, we asked him to sit for an informal camera test. He graciously agreed and talked about his previous Orphan Film Symposium experience in 2010.

Here's a clip downsized to 480p. 

Four minutes of unedited DV, recording a conversation among Dan Streible, Rob Byrne, and (off camera) Cinema Studies student Christopher Insignares.

Note that all of the video shot during the April 11-14, 2012 symposium that followed is available at the Orphan Film Symposium Collection on the Internet Archive.

Getting all the DV files uploaded turned out to be not only labor intensive, but also a learning experience for several of us. At the time, not even the videophiles among us knew that the camera  --   a Canon VIXIA HF R20 -- saved its video files in the .MTS format. And few of the videophiles among us had dealt with MTS before.

What is MTS?  A high-definition MPEG-2 format in AVC (Advanced Video Codec), developed for HD camcorders by Sony and Panasonic. Turns out this Canon model uses it too. The image looks great, especially in this 1920 x 1080 dimension. However, most applications can not process MTS files. They had to be converted, in this case to MP4 files.  NYU MIAP students Jieun An and Kelly Haydon did the conversion, and uploaded several dozen pieces to the site.

Again, all of the "footage" (to use the film-inherited term) is unedited, but also available to download and use (under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license).