I recently became the keeper of our family’s collection of 16mm films (aka home movies).  Also, 2 working projectors and the original camera!  My dad and grandpa likely filmed most of the footage, but the collection might have gained a few donations from other individuals over the years.

It was a long winter, so my husband and I dug into the large box of reels to review, repair (even bought a splice kit!), weed out duds, and find the gems.  It quickly become apparent that there were indeed some gems!  Many are the more personal family ones to be cherished, but there was also some amazing footage of life and culture in the 1950s.  These ones took us to the landscapes of Norway, Scotland, Ontario (Thunder Bay, Niagara Falls, Kenora), and Northern Manitoba, including remote Inuit settlements.  Many are filmed in Churchill where my parents and their parents lived for many years.  They got around in different ways for work and play, including bush and float planes, as well as dog sled.  This certainly contributes to the uniqueness of these “home movies”!

With so many of the films getting brittle, we decided it was time to preserve these memories and history.  We figured out the best way to digitize them ourselves “in-house”.  We only had to replace the projector bulb once, after we finally tracked down someone selling one online!  I feel like I am spamming the internet lately, but I am very excited to share the outcome of this project!  Our “16mm film archive project” led to a YouTube channel to help preserve, archive, and share the history captured in these films.  We even have footage of Royal visits in the 50s!  We have already posted a number of appropriate ones for public viewing here.  The quality varies, but some rare footage, nonetheless.

Note: We haven’t posted footage of Niagara Falls yet.  The film is currently backwards, so once we flip it around and get the falls on the right side…! 🙂