No More Road Trips? Feature film made from 90 families' home movies, 1925-78

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I’ve been to Australia, a few parts of Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, and a good swath of Europe. Lots of places still to see, but my favorite sort of travel is driving around the United States.


In before Yackety Sax! The soundtrack needs to be the opening of Koyanisqaatsi.

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The RV at about 1:11:30 is awesome.

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Fantastic! I live for this stuff! With intentional irony, the film kicks off with some oil exploration footage, like the Paramount Pictures opening sequence. The film at 1:10 of the boy & his comic book is remarkably well scripted for the era. Also somewhat eerie and monumental is the road trip ‘destination’ to the site of the Kennedy Assassination at 45:43.

There are lots of other favorites: the Firestone gas station at 20:18 beside the Lima, Ohio Central High School (which would burn down in 1966) is incredibly vibrant - brilliant reds, doing what Kodachrome did best! The hippy cyclist at 29:11 is rather entertaining - the junior aviator’s toy PBY Catalina flying boat caught my eye at 40:33 - I always enjoy seeing authentic neon lights like those of Las Vegas at 1:06:00 - and as someone mentioned, check out that home-made airstream camper at 1:11:40 and the crazy animated billboard that follows!

The film lacks a soundtrack, and thus highlights the primary drawback of early home movies - there is generally no soundtrack or commentary to provide us with the original significance of the shot. This is a profound loss, as these details are very easily lost within a single generation. So I urge you, if you have any home movies in your family, transfer them ASAP, and then record anyone who remembers the film to provide you with some commentary which you can then marry to the film.

I remixed some home movie footage which does precisely that - early home movie footage shot in Vancouver, BC in the mid/late 1930s, paired with audio commentary recorded in the 1990s. (I didn’t record the audio, but remixed what became a television special in the 1990s).

I’m glad Rick Prelinger and his camp continues to advocate for the preservation of film in this way - so much of these home movies have already been forever lost to time and the elements.

Ok, I’m back. I took the final scenes of Los Angeles from the film, cropped & stabilized them to 16:9, adjusted the colour balance, and added a soundtrack, Hooray for Hollywood, from the 1937 movie Hollywood Hotel. Apart from that, I have left the sequencing of the film the same, and have not cut out any scenes from this sequence. I have removed the superimposed titles, which were informative, but slightly invasive. I think the result is brilliant! I hope you like it!

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