Thursday, May 26, 2011

On The Flip Side

As nice a day as Monday was, in one aspect it was also a fairly typical Monday (in the way that Mondays have a rep for being bad).

My aunt had come to visit for the weekend, and had brought a DVD along with her. On this DVD was some footage that I never knew existed. It turns out that back in the 60's my uncle (Dad and this aunt's brother) had bought a movie camera and brought it to the farm a few times over a 4 year period. So this DVD contained footage of the farm and family from various visits between 1961 to 1965.

It amazes me how different was the land back then. There were FAR fewer trees than now, which surprised me a great deal. We now have great stands of willows where water lies late into the year. Very little of these willows existed back then but the old scraggly (or even dead by now) poplars we see now were young and thriving then. The lake itself looked much more lush and green as it contained more water than now, for more of the year. There was enough water that there is one shot of my father and his little nephew in a flat bottom boat, about to head out to check muskrat traps.

I had no idea this footage existed and I think I enjoyed watching it even more than Dad did. For him, it was partly a reminder of some very very hard work with a much much lower quality of life than now. As an example, the house I grew up in was standing then, and lived in, but they had already had 2 other houses burn down. Then factor in the days of work from sun up to sundown, and beyond, and it is already a far harder life than I live now. But for me, it was a chance to see a bit more of the history of this piece of land that means so much to me.

But, back to the typical Monday story. Obviously I wanted a copy of this DVD, both for my parents but definitely for myself. Not the smallest reason for wanting a copy was the desire to share some of this footage here especially as some of it was footage of harvesting and threshing in operation. So I brought the DVD back here to copy but, as it was my first time doing such a thing, I learned it was a tad more complicated than copying a CD used to be.

The long of it is, I managed to erase the DVD...

My first reaction was a sickening feeling as I envisioned having just erased the only copy of this footage other than the original 8 or 16 mm or whatever kind of film stock it came from. This sense of dread eased a bit as I realized it was not likely that my extended family would put the footage at such risk. Turns out that it had been transferred to VHS and the digital copy taken from that VHS. They still have the VHS tape and the digitalized footage on hard drive so it can be reburned to DVD and all is well. In order to try to make up for the hassle, since I have contacts in the Alberta film community I would try to see if I could find someone local who can digitize from the film stock directly, giving us a much higher quality copy if the tape itself is in good shape...and if it even still exists.

I sure didn't get much sleep that night though, and I will be a lot happier when I have a copy of my own to watch and share.

9 comments:

LindaM said...

Oh my! Better get it copied off tne hard drive soon though. It must of been wonderful to see this. I got a copy of a book written by the last of the original family who lived at our farm...just memoirs yet it gave me a good sense of the place as it was before. Tobacco was big and the tobacco shed was put to good use. Its stillstanding...but barely.

Jerry said...

Not up to me when it gets copied as its not on my hard drive. It has not been emailed to me yet so somethng tells me it won`t be...

Jerry said...

Yes it was pretty cool. Amazing how few trees there were though.

goodnufranch said...

Hi Jerry!

Just discovered your comment on my blog! Slow yes! So I am here to apologise for not being a bit more attentive. Please forgive my over sight!

My heart was skipping a beat looking forward to see history of the GP area before it is now. Than my heart dropped when I read the line that you erased history! I felt sickened. Glad to hear that it was not the only copy. I feel it is very important to preserve our history.


Cheryl

Jerry said...

Thanks for visiting Cheryl. No worries at all about not seeing my message immediately. I would imagine you are spending very little time inside on your computer these days.

The good news is we received a new dvd in the mail the other day so when I get brave enough to try again I should be able to share some of the footage.

goodnufranch said...

Hey Jerry!

I have to tell you that hubby and I have been watching some of the videos you posted. A couple of years ago we had 'discovered' Monsanto. It really disgusts me how influential these companies are and how ignorant our governments are. But I can not change their way of thinking, but I do have control over what I grow and eat.

Thank you very much for sharing and I hope your readers all take the time to educate themselves about where their food actually comes from.

Cheryl

Jerry said...

Hey Cheryl, I'm glad you and your husband have had a look at some of them and gotten something out of them. I hope more people choose to live consciously as you and yours seem to do.

Angie Sotiropoulos said...

Hey Jerry! I assume this is the Jerry I worked with at Fringe years ago in Edmonton. My mother just recently got her wedding transferred from film to DVD. She did it at cine av of all places. It worked well. I'm sure your familiar with them :) A few years ago I took a conservation course from the provincial archive folks. You might want to check in with them and see if there is a benefit to donating a copy of the footage for the historical record. I would think our ecological hertitage would be just as important of a document as our cultural one.

Jerry said...

Ha ha, yes Angie its that Jerry. We worked a heck of a lot more than Fringe together but yeah I suppose it has been years and years now...

Thanks for the advice as well. I was thinking about contacts at FAVA but Cine I hadn't thought of.