[Konvas] San Francisco - 1906 in HD - YouTube

Speedbird@acousticturtle.plus.com speedbird at acousticturtle.plus.com
Mon Dec 21 11:10:45 EST 2015


This is the one Adam.

I have watch this film over and over again. Archive films just fascinate me, especially this one.

Why?  Because it's one of the early ones and it's been restored. Speed has been corrected, contrast has been restored so you are looking at it as a fresh film just as if it was taken yesterday. But look at the information it is giving you, not just its historic value but the content.
If you wanted to recreate a similar scene for a film and you had the budget to do it you would not be able to achieve what you see on the above film. The street scene above is probably a typical everyday scene in SFO in 1906 BUT with a lot of added extras. The filming was planned and prepared way ahead of the shooting date. I suggest that they also advertised in the SFO main stream newspapers that a filming event was going to take place and invited certain parties to attend in what ever which way they can. They also adapted a hand cranker to take a much larger magazine. This was a precision engineering job which was probably done by the camera manufacturer after all it had to be light tight and a method of turning the drum mag through he camera onto the the take up drum mag has to be devised. This took money so somebody had to pick up the tab. WHO? What was the purpose of this film and how were they going to show it, what projector could take this film length. How many cinema's were there in 1906. None!  There were travelling picture houses but this was not a drama production so would not be interested in a short film about Market st. SFO.  So the mystery is why was the film commissioned. Is it part of a feature film and used that way or was it commissioned by the tourist board or Trade and Industry. Was it a rich mans fancy! An ego trip for him and his friends. Some of those men in cars  are wearing expensive suits and seem to enjoy meandering in front of the camera. Cars turn around and are eager to be in the shot again. A camera in those days was a novelty and so attracted a lot of interest especially from youngsters, they are always willing to perform if asked.
Adults have a different agenda and are suspicious of any movie camera especially then even though still camera's had been around for 50 years. I have asked NFA London to check with SFO newspapers to see if they ran a story before or after the shoot. Because many people in the close shots were pre warned of the filming event and made a special effort to be there. The cameraman intended to film from start to finish but over the years the beginning seem to have suffered and could not be saved in its entirety. But they have made a superb job in digitising it.

I have studied archive films for many years but this one has baffled me. It's like looking at an oil painting, you know it's not quite right and some trickery is involved somewhere. Perhaps the newspapers of 1905-1906 may reveal all!!!


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