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NYPL Broadway Archives?

joshbrown31
Swing
joined:5/3/12
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/9/13 at 11:52am
A friend told me that he went to the New York Public Library and he watched video recordings of musicals that had closed (he said he watched Patti in Gypsy and a few others). I can see on their website that they recommend you set up an appointment, but has anyone here ever done this? What was it like? I'll be in NYC soon for vacation and I'm very curious about this.

Updated On: 8/9/13 at 11:52 AM
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jacobsnchz14
Broadway Legend
joined:12/13/06
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/9/13 at 11:56am
From what I've seen in other threads, they tell them they're watching it for educational purposes. If you just want to watch it because you want to, I'm thinking they may or may not let you watch. Like I said, this is what I think I remember seeing in another thread. Maybe the Lincoln Center Archives threads?
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dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/9/13 at 12:02pm
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/9/13 at 12:11pm
The Library wants you to have an acceptable reason for watching the videos. They don't want you to watch them for entertainment value. Even though you are not always asked, have a reason for wanting to watch the video, even if it's just to say "I want to see how it was staged for a production my high school is doing."

If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Updated On: 8/9/13 at 12:11 PM
mikey2573
Broadway Star
joined:12/28/10
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/10/13 at 12:52am
I was surprised by this: "Videotapes are Play-Only
To protect our older videotapes and preserve the machines that play them, TOFT must limit playback controls to "Play Only." Fast-forward, rewind, and pause functions will no longer be permitted for titles on older videotape."

It is time for them to digitize these old films like the Paley Center has done with much of their archive. The sooner NYPL does this, the better for these old films.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/10/13 at 12:58am
The NYPL has recently been begging for money. I don't think going digital is on their list of priorities.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
exedore
Broadway Legend
joined:4/20/05
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/11/13 at 01:38am
Digitisation is insanely expensive for video, especially in a city where you're going to be dealing primarily with union editors, like NYC. You're talking hundreds of dollars per hour of footage just to do the core transfer, let alone any post-work and encoding for viewability (you can't stream raw video, the data rates just aren't there).

Even the Library of Congress doesn't digitise video for its TV and motion picture viewings - of all the major video archives, I want to say the Vanderbilt TV News archive is the only one with a nearly full digital collection. Paley, if they work like LoC does for audio, only digitise for things which are super-important culturally, are going into a repeat viewing kiosk for standard visitors, or upon viewing requests.
mikey2573
Broadway Star
joined:12/28/10
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/11/13 at 03:45am
But it is really just taking the tapes and playing them while recording them onto a hard drive, right? That way, when the are viewed from the hard drives there is no fear of degradation. When you watch it on a tape player, the head of the player is pressing against the tape which can be damaged as a result. This is not the case when viewing on a hard drive; you can pause, fast forward etc. without fear of damage. I would think this would be a priority to prevent damage to these historic recordings.
I do find it odd that much of the newer stuff at Paley is digitized, while much of the older more historic content is not. I remember watching a video of ALL THE WAY HOME (1980 I think)with Sally Field there and it was digitized. But when I wanted to watch AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS from 1951, I had to go upstairs where it was on tape.
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mormonophobic
Broadway Legend
joined:7/13/08
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/11/13 at 08:22am
I found this thread useful years ago; hopefully you'll find it helpful now.

I always try and plan some TOFT shows while I'm in New York. I've seen Grand Hotel, Carousel, Grey Gardens, Falsettos, Candide ('74), Side Show, The Wild Party, Titanic, The Secret Garden, See What I Wanna See, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Life, and so many other gems. Call, make an appointment, and get transported to another time, another place, another op'nin', another show.





TOFT
Updated On: 8/11/13 at 08:22 AM
exedore
Broadway Legend
joined:4/20/05
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/11/13 at 12:03pm
"But it is really just taking the tapes and playing them while recording them onto a hard drive, right?"

It's not that simple when you want to preserve quality as well - you really need someone who knows what they're doing to handle encoding spec, colour correction, deal with dropout patching, etc. You're also dealing with older tape formats like U-Matic, which means ageing machines requiring extra service, transferring tapes off multiple reels and splicing digitally, etc. Every step you add costs more money.

The play and dump method works for something like the Vanderbilt archive, where fidelity isn't of high importance (their main goal is watchable and referenceable, part of what keeps them their fair use exemption), but here, you're preserving history and need to keep it as high end as possible.

(Note: I work in video, have friends who do transfers and encodes for commercial release, and also do theatrical research.)
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NewPhilosophy
Chorus Member
joined:10/5/12
NYPL Broadway Archives?
Posted: 8/11/13 at 03:01pm
Thanks for all this info! I'm working on a writing project and may try to visit one of the archive collections on my next trip to NYC.

 
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