View Full Version : Advice for finding Archival Footage?

06-29-2005, 11:23 AM
I'm working on my first doc which requires a good deal of archival footage. I need to locate (and hopefully use) the following: Commercials which were broadcast from 1950's through 1980's, footage from same time period of school films about geology etc, news footage of national press conferences which was broadcast on every major network in 2000/2001.
Is there a website or specific place to start trying to hunt these things down? What is required if I were to use a clip from, say nbc news, if i only want to use the coverage of the press conference (ie: i would not show any of their anchorpeople or commentators, just the news that they were covering?) Are there generally fees for such usage? Where is the best place to locate and see old commercials etc?
Any help is greatly appreciated!

Neil Rowe
06-29-2005, 11:29 AM

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06-29-2005, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the site, unfortunately it doesn't contain anything I need. It seems like a great resource though.

Neil Rowe
06-29-2005, 11:49 AM
did you ony go to the first link? theres plenty of 1950's - 1960's commecials there.. as well as school type films about geology.

discs of tron
06-30-2005, 08:52 AM
yeah rick's site is great- make sure you're searching thorughly.
also, library of congress. tv news stuff can be weird- there is such a thing as "fair use" which can sometimes get you around some stuff. "outfoxed" was sort of a big envelope-pusher in terms of how much footage from a network they actually used to make the thing. but there are tons of variables about intended audience, educational/critical value, etc. the vagaries are totally confusing even to copyright lawyers, and it seems like you're not really sure where you stand until you find yourself in court. here is the copyright office's explanation-
good luck.

07-05-2005, 03:04 PM
Oh, thanks! how would one go about obtaining news footage in the first place though? Are there archives, or do i just have to find someone who happened to have taped it?

07-05-2005, 09:15 PM
I have a friend who works at CNN. If I understand correctly, his job is to fill requests from other stations by pulling footage from the countless hours of tape they have in storage. For example, a news station in Seattle is doing a piece on the space needle and says "Hey CNN, got any neat Space Needle stuff?" I have no idea about payment etc., but since I know such a department exists it would seem that a few phone calls might help you find out how it works.

07-10-2005, 01:19 PM
Everything is available, just have to ask... what is your budget? All this stuff needs to be licensed and that can get expensive. I would budget $25K+ just for clearing footage...

ash =o)

07-10-2005, 05:58 PM
oof, that's about my budget for the film... hmm i can't imagine that alot of the crappy crappy docs i've seen lately in nyc (with LOTS of news footage) spent that much for it. hmm...

07-18-2005, 12:27 PM
News footage is pretty cheap... also, you dont have to pay the big money until you get it to physical distribution...

ash =o)

07-29-2005, 11:15 AM
Free Footage:

Laserdisc archives at University Libraries. I have also used Community Colleges. Here's how:

Get a library card, or enroll in a class. Under most cercumstances, you are able to copy (royalty free!) the laserdisc images onto miniDV. I have a couple hours of US nuclear tests and Japanese ruins that I used for a project.


08-03-2005, 06:28 PM
I've gotten some good archival footage from http://buyoutfootage.com/.