Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

Midcentury Raleigh Video Courtesy of A/V Geeks, and How You Can Help Digitize More Old Films

If you aren’t familiar with A/V Geeks, it’s an outfit run by Skip Elsheimer with the noble and unique mission to rescue and digitize tens of thousands of vintage educational 16mm films. He was extremely courteous in digitizing a special request for Goodnight Raleigh, the midcentury film above.  The excerpts show Balentine’s Cafeteria (now demolished) and other scenes from Cameron Village, including Colonial Foods. It also includes the NC State Brickyard, before it had bricks, circa 1964.

He is currently in the final stretch of a month-long crowdfunding campaign to digitize more films like this one. Every $35 contribution will digitize 10 minutes of film.

The film above is another great example of the type digitized by A/V Geeks, a “[…] film from the 1960s imagining the future – the future of 1999.” The guesses at how computers will be so prevalent in our lives, as well as a fairly accurate description of how ecommerce works, were fascinating and prescient. Some of the other predictions in the film weren’t as correct, but still interesting to watch.

In the early to mid-20th century, the 16mm film and the projector had a direct path into people’s lives in classrooms, community centers and even the workplace. Mimicking the past, Elsheimer travels with a 16mm projector and shows films around the country in libraries, museums, parks, theaters, university classrooms and even to groups as part of home-school curriculum.

But by digitizing the films and using the internet, the A/V Geeks offer a link from the past to the present—providing access on televisions, smart-phones and computers—and bring these films to a broader and more diverse audience. “When the films are made available for the world to see, they can be re-experienced by people who saw them in the past and even morph into a whole new life,” says Elsheimer.

Over the past ten years, the A/V Geeks have uploaded over 800 public domain films and many have been re-purposed to tell new stories in documentaries, television shows, artists works, music videos, used by students for research and as modern teaching tools.

If you enjoyed seeing the films above, please consider contributing to the campaign so that more may be archived for easy online viewing and sharing.

You can keep track of the films digitized as a result of the funds raised by this campaign on the A/V Geeks tumblr site.

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