Opening Up the Archives to Student Filmmakers

Guest post by Shane O’Sullivan, filmmaker and lecturer in Filmmaking at Kingston University.

Kingston University London recently partnered with BFI Education on a new pilot scheme, which challenged first-year filmmaking students on our undergraduate Film degree to produce creative responses – in the form of video essays – to one of twelve short documentaries from the BFI National Archive.

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On ways how to reuse EUscreen archives

Author: Mariana Salgado

With the aim to investigate remix practices within the EUscreenXL project Aalto University partners have been producing a series of videos together with immigrants living in Helsinki. The goal is to find meaningful uses of online video and to investigate the right way for cultural diasporas to use appropriate technology.

These videos were created in collaboration with a Bulgarian video artist and community worker: Borislav Borisov. One is “The day I won” and the other is “Á la minute with cheff Kolio”.

Participants in the project came up with their stories, chose how to shoot them and made the edition. Audiovisual archive material was used as source of inspiration and as content material. TVR (Romanian Television) has kindly given us permission to pursue this work. These two videos can also be seen in YouTube, through TVR’s channel.

Online archives are underused considering their potential and the magnificent collection that they hold. This proposal makes emphasis in staging encounters with communities of people from different cultural backgrounds to better understand their possible involvement in enriching the archives, specifically by remixing content. People with different cultural background in their host countries could be inspired and eager to create stories with the archives from their country of origin and this interaction could inform the development of online tools. Participatory design explorations such as a community video project with Bulgarian immigrants, is one of the ongoing research activities. The reasons for choosing people with different cultural background are: a) the availability of the audiovisual material without geographical limitations, b) immigrants’ interpretation of their culture once living abroad could be a meaningful addition to the archive, c) multicultural and transcultural studies are specially relevant in relation to the construction of an European archive.

The creation of these series of videos is part of an on going research that will inform the publishing tool that will be built as part of EUscreenXL. After making these videos together with immigrants, we could better identify the functionalities and building blocks that the tool needs. It is part of our plan to publish a detailed documentation of the process that will give an account of what needs to be in place for having the possibility to reuse EUscreen AV materials. In addition, the research into other strategies for the re use of archives materials is part of the future endeavors of Arki research group, in Media Lab, Aalto University.

In the coming months we will keep you informed about further developments of our activities.


Our First Physical Exhibition in the Freedom Express Campaign

Author: Maria Drabczyk


On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a unique exhibition entitled ‘Roads to 1989. East-Central Europe 1939-1989.’ was launched in the German capital. The exhibition documents the complicated process through which this part of Europe regained its freedom from communist dictatorship. The exhibition is part of ‘Freedom Express’, a social and educational campaign organised by ENRS, ministries responsible for culture in Poland, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia and local partners. EUscreenXL Consortium and Europeana are partners of the project.

DSC_9775The exhibition concentrates on the various ways in which civil liberties were limited in the former communist block and on attempts made to regain them. It focuses especially on the question of what connects and divides remembrance of the events that preceded the fall of communism in Central and Eastern European. The content of the exhibition reveals a story of the different faces of freedom. Individual parts of the exhibition are devoted to freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion and belief, economic freedom and other themes.

EUscreenXL contributed to the exhibition by creating a unique, moving and historically meaningful video production. It includes archival content that shows important and commonly recognizable personalities and events from the political transformation time in Europe of 1989 and depicts crucial social phenomena also typical for the period. It represents one of the first try-outs of the EUscreen Network activities aimed at reaching new audiences and stepping out of the online world by preparing a physical exhibition.

The video was created by EUscreenXL partners – Deutsche Welle, The Lithuanian Central State Archive, RTV Slovenia, Czech Tevision, National Audiovisual Archive of Hungary, National Audiovisual Institute of Poland (in collaboration with Video Studio Gdańsk), and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

The exhibition will be shown on 4-10 November on Dorothea-Schlegel-Platz – a square located close to the historic Friedrichstraße train station, which, between the years 1961 to 1990, served as a railway border crossing between East and West Berlin.

After Berlin, ‘Roads to 1989’ will be shown this year in Brussels (14-24 November) and Warsaw (28 November-15 December).

Alongside the European tour of the exhibition, its digital version is also available at:


Freedom Express is asocial and educational campaign organised by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity. Its first part was a study trip whereby a group of young artists, journalists and historians visited Solidarity’s Gdańsk, then Warsaw, Budapest, Sopron, Timisoara, Bratislava, Prague and Berlin. The trip’s agenda of meetings, workshops and artistic activities was made possible thanks to the cooperation of a number of institutions involved with 20th century history.

More information is available at

You can also follow the event on Facebook.


Source: ENRS press information and own materials.
Photos: Krzysztof Dobrogowski, Copyright: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity

The Value of Audiovisual Archives

Try imagining all the world’s existing audiovisual material: all the films ever made, plus the television footage ever shot, plus all the sounds once recorded – add the scientific and military observations and home videos, the (super) 8 mm recordings, the YouTube generation’s creations. Then, try to visualise not the kilometers of celluloid or optical disks or hours and lifetimes it would take to see it all, but what the possible value of all those sounds and images would be.

Do they indeed, as the author of the just released report Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market, Peter B. Kaufman, proposes, form a sort of crude oil – ready to be refined, reassembled and made into a new creative product?

In the same way that oil, pumped from the ground, is refined and then used to fuel transportation and industry, or iron, mined from the ground, is smelted into steel and used in construction, so audiovisual materials mined from the archives form part of the backbone of information, com- munication, and our creative knowledge economy, worldwide.

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market: Models and Approaches for Audiovisual Content Exploitation was commissioned by PrestoCentre, the international competence centre for digital audiovisual preservation. It explores the ways that a audiovisual archives have been “examining, appreciating, and even embracing business and commercial interactions in the digital age”. The report takes a look back at 124 years of audiovisual archiving and how the challenge of preserving moving images and sounds has reached increasing levels of complexity.

This increased complexity, not in the least caused by the advent of digital production and storage methods, leads to a mirrored exchange between the access and preservation tasks of the contemporary archive: twin missions, as Kaufman calls them, that “twist around each other like the double helix of a modern memory institution’s DNA.” The paper investigates the forms and methods audiovisual archives have been approaching to fund this double mission and how they have shifted some of their attention towards possible cooperation with businesses and even taken advantage of existing commercial opportunities.

new opportunities for cultural heritage institutions to develop business models, revenue streams, and business knowledge — and in the process gain an even greater appreciation for the role they play in media, society, and our economies today — abound. This paper, focusing as it does on such opportunities, may provide activists in the field with inspiration and support.

In order to define the value of an audiovisual collection, one needs to get a clear idea about the costs involved – by mouth of one of the interviewees, the report states that “use has begun to define value”. Inversely, an item that is not well preserved, cannot be found and thus not used by anyone, ever again. The paper stresses the importance of access as a form of open access: the value that lies in use, sharing, reuse can only be realised when unrestricted online access allows participant from different online realms can use web tools to popularise and contextualise the assets. The paper intends to suggest that in the double helix between preservation and access, “support for one is support for both”.

It also underlines the need for the audiovisual archiving field that in dealing with the multi-billion dollar business partners who are currently so important for finding, exploring, discovering and buying media on the web, the field of archives and museums needs to be well aware of its value and importance, as well al the sensitivities we share and the experiences we’ve had.

No agent has been retained to represent the interests of libraries, archives, and museums, in the way an author or musician might retain one. No lawyers have been hired to pore over the body of agreements to date and highlight best practices for the community. No working group focused exclusively on improving public-private partnerships has been assembled and charged with a mission and a deadline. If the commercial sector is investing hundreds of millions of Euros, and a hundred billion are needed, we had better get started.

7 Recommendations

The report offers 7 Recommendations and proposes the development of four new tools for a smarter (re-)use of audiovisual archival content. The recommendations are:

  • Audiovisual archives should consider themselves part and parcel of the knowledge economy.
  • Audiovisual archives should recognize that multibillion-dollar businesses are growing based on materials they curate; and as a result their institutions deserve to participate in the revenue these materials are generating, in the knowhow that they are contributing, and in other direct and indirect benefits these materials are making to the world.
  • Audiovisual archives more than anything need something approximat ing an old-fashioned guild, where collective knowledge can come to rest, and where business savvy from attorneys, dealmakers, and others might be fielded and centralized.
  • The field needs to hire, in effect, an advocate — perhaps a sanhedrin of wise men and women who can look after its collective interest and help it argue on its own behalf and on behalf of the public sector.
  • When approaching business relationships, audiovisual archives should consider the arrangements from the perspective of their commercial partners, recognizing that the strongest players in the audiovisual marketplace are in the business now for the long term, making strategic rather than tactical investments in the sector.
  • Archives should recognize in particular the value of their building comprehensive metadata resources and optimizing their audiovisual resources for search and discovery.
  • In the audiovisual archive world, archives have been dealt a strong hand. They need to recognize that audiovisual material now and over time will be the most sought- after assets to monetize.

The reasoning behind these recommendations and the well-recommended, 30-page report, are available for download as a PDF in the PrestoCentre library.

Related reading

  • Economies of the Commons 3: Sustainable Futures for Digital Archives – – Conference outcomes, November, 2012
  • EUscreen Publishes its Second Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage Status Report – – July, 2012

Open EUscreen Items to Reuse and Remix

In honour of Open Access Week, EUscreen releases an Open EUscreen portal, which advances the work on re-use executed in the project. Thanks to the enthusiastic responses from some partners, we’ve been able to develop this platform with selected content to stimulate creative re-use.

On of the four corner stones of EUscreen is Re-use and Creativity: it was the topic of the second, Stockholm conference, was widely discussed in the status of online audiovisual heritage report and worked on in a series of workshops (Helsinki Remix and this year’s Open Knowledge Festival) under the guidance of our Finnish partners from the Helsinki Media lab. A significant milestone related to this topic is the production of an Open EUscreen portal, which advances the work on re-use executed in the project. Thanks to the enthusiastic responses from some partners, we’ve been able to develop and advance a separate EUscreen platform on Open Images.

Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative re-use. Footage from audiovisual collections can be downloaded and remixed into new works. Open Images also provides an API, making it easy to develop mash-ups. The ‘open’ nature of the platform is underscored by the use of open video formats (Ogg Theora), open standards (HTML5, OAI-PMH) and open source software components. Furthermore, all software that is developed within the scope of Open Images will also be released under the GNU General Public Licence.

The site is accessible at and was released to coincide with the Open Access Week. It features selected materials from EUscreen partners NAVA, Cinecittá Luce, VRT, Sound and Vision and TV3, who have made their materials available under a Creative Commons license. 58 videos have been uploaded and will remain available on this portal for reuse purposes. The reuse portal also receives a clear entry point on the EUscreen portal itself.

Open Video Make Session at the OKFest

Open Video Workshop Poster

On September 18th, 2012, Sanna Marttila, Kati Hyyppä and Ramyah Gowrishankar (Aalto University) organised the Open Video Make Session in Helsinki as a part of EUscreen and the Open Culture and Science Hackday of the Open Knowledge Festival.

Report by Kati Hyyppä, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

The hackday included various activities involving working with and building things with open cultural and scientific data. The Open Video Make Session focused on video as a rich resource for creative use. Despite recent technical developments such as Popcorn, it’s still rather complex to take video to the next level: beyond traditional remixing.

Programming skills are usually needed for making use of temporal and spatial video characteristics and metadata. Combining video with other content, such as open data, also has unexplored potential. In order to tackle these challenges and to promote new uses for audiovisual materials in the cultural heritage domain, about 10 experts from different fields were invited to the Open Video Make Session to open up video as an exploratory medium. The session was open for anyone to join in, either to make something or to see experts at work and to learn more about open video.

The Open Video Make Session provided insights into the different dimensions of archival video that can serve as inspiration for creative works. While some participants focused on mood and storytelling, others utilized audio, visual details, timeline and APIs. You can find documentation of the projects made in the session here: Open Video Make Session projects (currently being updated).

MEDEA Workshop: EUscreen as an Educational Resource

— Update, May 21st: video recordings of the sessions are now online available

Promoting the use of EUscreen resources for education at MEDEA Workshop in Torino

On April 20 and 21st, the Istituto Amedeo Avogadro (IIS), a large technical school in Torino is home to a workshop on the use and re-use of video materials for learning. This workshop is aimed at teachers in primary and secondary education that want to adopt media and more specifically video and audio in their classroom activities.

The workshop is organised by partners in the MEDEA2020 project, a project that supports the MEDEA Awards – the annual competition that recognises and rewards the best use of media to support teaching and learning.

Marco Rendina from LUCE is part of the workshop team, leading a session on unlocking European media archives and highlighting the work of EUscreen.

Mathy Vanbuel, one of the originators of the MEDEA Awards and project partner in both EUscreen and MEDEA2020, is leading a session on working with the EUscreen platform and other platforms to mash up, edit and create your own materials.


Marco Rendina at the MEDEA Workshop

The Open Video Landscape: 90+ Web Sources You Might Have Missed

Update 2012/01/24 Vimeo adds CC-search functionality. Update 2011/01/10: TED Downloader added.

The web is full of moving images. History has befitted us with brilliant films, television broadcasts and art videos that are becoming increasingly accessible – at an unpredictable pace. With seas of wisdom surrounding us and mountaintops of information to delve in, where do you start your search when you’re in need of material – to teach, to show, to tell, to use? Where do you find video’s to freely (re)distribute? As copyright is being challenged in all domains (see our expanding list on IPR issues), how is online video earmarked (or not) for reuse? Giant steps have been made  this year for the Creative Commons movement, as video giants YouTube and Vimeo give producers the ability to attach CC licenses to the content they upload. But while search giants Google and Yahoo do allow you to search for CC-licensed materials on the web and in image searches, finding CC video is still a bit harder. EUscreen is exploring how archive content can be made accessible broadly, whilst recognising the intellectual property rights of that content. To this end, we’re hosting events such as License to REMIX!, a video remix and IPR workshop, and the 2011 EUscreen conference on ‘Use and Creativity’. Also, we have started to maintain a list of open, freely available and sometimes freely usable video sources for all your remixing, researching and leisurely searches.. Do let us know in the comments what we missed out on – and poke around on the wonderful resources that exist to go and create new, wonderful things.

Open Content + Open Source + Open Data = Open Video?

As all listings of “free” content, we would like to open with a brief note about what “free” means, especially with regard to “openness”. Some makers decided their work should be as open as possible, and use open technologies such as open source production materials for viewing and editing for the creation of their works. Other works are becoming available in the public domain or have been made available under a free-to-share license.  While every work on this list is yours to see, not everything is therefore automatically “open” – or yours to pick up.

Where to find CC video


CCsearch is your diving board into the wondrous world of online CC sources, all of which can be searched separately on their own digital turf – such as SpinXPress GetMedia and the Public Domain video’s on Europeana, the European digital library, museum and archive. Creative Commons moreover regularly spotlights new CC events and users on their website and curate a full list of materials using Creative Commons licenses:

Open video has taken a great flight with the advent of Creative Commons licenses, which has brought a judicial way of showing internet videos and allowing you to tell people how they can or cannot your material. Flickr was of course an early adopter, and offers zillions of user-generated photo and video materias with quick CC access. Flickr Creative Commons videos is an assortment of CC licensed videos and on Flickr The Commons you can find a variety of videos licensed freely by GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums, that is).

YouTube and Vimeo have recently followed in its footsteps. In the YouTube editor you can easily look for ánd edit on the spot reusable materials to blend in your video. Vimeo shows you the license of each video, but does not (yet?) offer the possibility to perform filtered search and lets you browse videos with Creative Commons licensesWhat Vimeo did recently roll out is its The platform also offers a music store, where editors can look for music to use in their video materials and a beautiful interface was installed to show users exactly what the license and usability is. In the field of music, openness has been in place for a longer time (due to fewer creators it’s often easier to decide on a licensing model) and beautifully curated sites such as the Free Music Archive and CCmixter often dozens of free music sources. For a full list of CC music platforms, see and

Open Video Repositories

  • Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository stems from the broadcast realm, just like EUscreen, but this repository holds broadcast quality footage that Al Jazeera has released specifically under various Creative Commons licenses.
  • Internet Archive’s Community Video Open Source Video’s on the wide and wondrous world of the Internet Archive – where there’s tons more of moving images to discover and explore, a good starting point of which is written about on their blog.
  • Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse. An initiative from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
  • Open Video Project The Open Video Project is a shared digital video repository and test collection intended to meet the needs of researchers in a wide variety of areas related to digital video. The Open Video collection currently contains video or metadata for 1865 digitised video segments.
  • The Media Burn Archive is a video archive that holds a collection of over 6,000 independent, non-corporate tapes that reflect cultural, political and social reality as seen by independent producers, from 1969 to the present.
  • Wikimedia Commons is a repository originally intended for for media to use in Wikipedia articles, which is now a source that hosts 4,400 video items under GNU or CC licenses or that are in the public domain.
  • World Digital Library: This digital library, supported by UNESCO, “makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.” Its video content, however, is minimal.

Video Footage for Remix and Reuse

  • Creative Commons list of CC-available films
  • Open Footage is a small repository of Creative Commons licensed 3d materials from an Austrian designer.
  • PixnMix Candy Jar: The Candy Jar is a collection of video clips produced mainly by VJs for VJs. The clips are licensed for non-commercial use – you’ll have to read and agree to the licence when you download.
  • Public Videos(alpha) is a large collection of free stock footage. Video clips are released to the public domain using the CC0 waiver.
  • StockFootageForFree is a website dedicated to providing completely free stock footage from around the world that can be downloaded instantly and incorporated into any type of video editing project-personal or commercial. You have to create an account but it’s worth the time.
  • Xiph Test Media: a collection of test sequences and clips for evaluating compression technology. Over at theri Theora Videos list, you can find an overview of video’s encoded with Theora, that are thus open source by nature (the content however, isn’t always, necessarily).
  • XStockvideo holds free HD Stock Video and Footage with a royalty free license granting full use in all types of projects.

Open-Source Films and Projects

Public Domain and Free-to-Share Film Listings

Public Domain Movies

Legal Torrent Distribution sites

Watch Excellent Films for Free

  • Open Film is an revenue sharing site for filmmakers and is set up for discovering, distributing and financing independent films online. Through its various third-party distribution platforms, Openfilm offers independent filmmakers the opportunity to gain exposure and earn revenue for their work.
  • Open Culture has a marvelous list of 420 movies of you to see – don’t forget to scroll down the list of titles to discover another big list of sources to watch films online.
  • NFB: documentaries, animations, alternative dramas and interactive productions on the web. The site also holds trailers, playlists and upcoming online releases. Free for personal use and on a subscription basis for schools and institutions.
  • Movies Found Online
  • Popcornflix: independently owned film library available for free online viewing.
  • SnagFilms: a distribution platform with 2500 independent films to watch for free.

Documentaries Free (and Less Free) to Share

Open Education Video Resources

Open Courseware and OER Video Projects

Online Educational Video Projects (or projects making prominent use of video)

Community projects

  • Engage Media gathers CC-licensed social justice and environmental video’s from the Asia Pacific
  • Isuma TV was launched as an updated social networking platform in April 2009 with over a thousand films in thirty different Indigenous languages free for users.
  • Open Voice Project
  • OurMedia is a media resource for people to upload and share their works that is run by the Internet Archive. Ourmedia’s community of over 150,000 members is seeking to use social media to advocate for the causes that improve people’s lives.
  • an online archive of densely text-annotated video material, primarily footage and not finished films. The entire collection is searchable and viewable online, and is free to download for non- commercial use.

Sources Used for This List:

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