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The past? She's critical.
June 24, 2010 9:52 PM   Subscribe

Critical Past Claiming 57k historic videos and 7MM photos free to browse (pay to download). Single-link-dig-through-it-yourself-and-let-us-know-if-you-find-anything-great, okay?
posted by Ufez Jones (29 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm sure there's interesting stuff there, but a single link post to a stock photo/film agency? Not really my idea of great Metafilter material.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:00 PM on June 24, 2010


This post is kind of like dropping someone in the middle of the ocean, but that's ok.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 PM on June 24, 2010


I keep seeing the message that I need the MPEG1906 plugin and I should change my vacuum tubes, is that ok?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:02 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's 1933, and oh look we can make gas from corn. I feel like nothing is new.
posted by hanoixan at 10:03 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]




A gun-mounted camera for capturing crooks after you've finished "shooting" at them.
posted by hanoixan at 10:07 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure there's interesting stuff there, but a single link post to a stock photo/film agency? Not really my idea of great Metafilter material.

It's got a slick-as-shit interface and I could while away days on it. Even if I could find every single piece on there somewhere else, I've yet to see a site do it this well.

In other words, chill out and enjoy the history, okay?
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:12 PM on June 24, 2010


I nominate "The High Lonesome Sound".
posted by DaddyNewt at 10:18 PM on June 24, 2010


This is a nice looking website. All the stuff I found while browsing was from the Library of Congress which means it's available from them for free [though their search isn't as great]. The About page says "Drawn largely from U.S. government agency sources, the clips and images in the CriticalPast.com collection are available for license without the clearance concerns encountered when ordering from typical stock footage providers." Seems like a sort of brand new site.
posted by jessamyn at 10:18 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


There must be something glaringly obvious that I'm missing, but how does one access/search for these alleged seven-million images? All I'm seeing are the video clips.
posted by wreckingball at 10:19 PM on June 24, 2010


Ufez - glad you enjoy it, I still think its a weak post. One of my agencies just added a boatload of vintage imagery too - would that make a good post too?
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:25 PM on June 24, 2010




It would be better if the slick active-thumbnail interface persisted as you drill into specific decades and years.
posted by Camofrog at 10:38 PM on June 24, 2010


blaneyphoto: "Ufez - glad you enjoy it, I still think its a weak post. One of my agencies just added a boatload of vintage imagery too - would that make a good post too?"

Go for it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:45 PM on June 24, 2010


Newsreel footage from one of my favorite episodes in Seattle history: Scientists studying windshield pitting epidemic
posted by milkrate at 10:46 PM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I search for "funk" and all it gives me is Nazis.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:50 PM on June 24, 2010


Good post. I was hoping for footage of a lion in a sidecar on a vertical wall of death, but no such luck. They did have elephants water skiing | wrestling | tricycling though.
posted by unliteral at 11:00 PM on June 24, 2010


Dude, it like totally syncs up with Pink Floyd.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:01 PM on June 24, 2010


Newsreel footage from one of my favorite episodes in Seattle history: Scientists studying windshield pitting epidemic

Holy mother, they got Ike involved in this quandary of pitted glass? This passage really got me in tears laughing:

Using crack scientific methods, they found that the pellets reacted “violently” when a lead pencil was placed next to them, but not when a ballpoint pen was so placed. Nobody knew what this meant, though.
posted by ogallalaknowhow at 11:02 PM on June 24, 2010




I am very impressed. The curator work is just wonderful. For a librarian, this would be a very awesome assignment and that's who I think they got. Certainly, they have a great philanthropy behind them but I could see them becoming a great destination if they were willing to keep up collection and be editorial.
posted by parmanparman at 11:22 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Certainly, they have a great philanthropy behind them

They're offering up all of these for sale, not so much for philanthropic reasons.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:30 PM on June 24, 2010


INPUUUUT. NEEEEEED IIIIIINPUUUUUUUT.
posted by loquacious at 11:36 PM on June 24, 2010


Oh my god, they have Steel Mill videos. Lots and lots of steel mill videos!

Yeah, I can't explain it. I have a problem. I've mentioned this elsewhere that I use this kind of ephemeral industrial video to fall asleep. Knocks me out every time. Better than pills, I say.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I went back in time and tried to explain all of this to a Bethlehem Steel Worker, circa 1931, that 80 years in the future I was watching their Grand Capitalist Industrial Works on a little magic color calculating screen the size of a small book, activating an instantaneous global information network so vast it defies description to just to do so.

I would probably get my ass thoroughly kicked by a bunch of dudes wielding drop-forged spanners of ridiculous size. "HEY, EARL! THIS LONGHAIRED PRE-VERT SAYS HE'S BEEN WATCHING US FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS THROUGH SOME KIND OF MAGIC MOVIE BOX! IN BED! YOU WANNA STOMP ON SOME OF THIS?"

posted by loquacious at 11:48 PM on June 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


They're offering up all of these for sale, not so much for philanthropic reasons.

So does everyone else, except Archive.org, which made most of its money from program services fees and through a grant from Internet Archive Canada, which entered into a cost-sharing agreement.
posted by parmanparman at 1:36 AM on June 25, 2010


Boris Karlof and Bela Lugosi judging a black cat contest counts as great in my book.

I'm also fond of the "westernized" kimono shown here. I like the third dress, but she could do without the cat ears.
posted by shirobara at 4:33 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


"One of my agencies just added a boatload of vintage imagery too - would that make a good post too?"

Nope, it'd be a self link. And you should probably take this to meta if your aren't happy with your FIAMO.
posted by Mitheral at 7:15 AM on June 25, 2010


Great stuff - this is a fun site, ufez, thanks. I am procrastinating, so it is just the thing for me today.

yikes - Ballyhoo Boulevard, Chicago Century of Progress Expostion, 1939

Leadbelly sings Goodnight Irene and socializes with his wife, from a 1936 documentary; another clip - check out the guitar. And a reenactment: American folk blues musician Lead Belly being recorded by John Lomax in a prison cell, 1936

Andrews Sisters record Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, 1941

dancing at the Wiskey-a-go-go, 1950 (I think this is mis-dated and it should be in the 60s)
posted by madamjujujive at 8:36 AM on June 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I did the "my birthday in history" search on their home page and got this awesome creepy video from august 21, 1929:
Women in Sun tan bathing suits bends forward during perfect back contest at Third National Convention in Los Angeles, California. Chiropractors check vertebrae. Laurie Sherman poses with trophy after winning the competition.

US Government Archive number for this historic video is:
200 UN 1-67 #3,5,8,11,12,14 DNS

posted by ServSci at 9:57 AM on June 25, 2010


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