OVER 100 AMPTHILL ARCHIVE VIDEO FILMS CREATED.
The committee involved the whole community by inviting local groups, clubs, societies, churches and schools etc to film their activities, and by asking people to come forward with any pictorial material that could be of interest. The response was overwhelming.
John Day, a semi-retired video producer, and film archivist was living in Ampthill, and he volunteered to create the digital archive of fully finished films from all the material provided.
Ampthill Town Council kick started the project with a £250 grant to buy video tapes. Financial support came from other sources, including the Awards For All Lottery Grants Programme, the New Milestones For The Millennium Programme and the Bedfordshire County Council Community Fund.
In November 2000, the Ampthill Millennium Video was launched, helped by coverage on Three Counties Radio. It was a 90 minute tape of Year 2000 highlights, plus some old photographs. postcards, and cine film. By Christmas nearly 500 had been sold, showing the communities’ interest in the project. Copies were also sent via the internet to earlier Ampthill residents now living elsewhere, including Australia and New Zealand. Special copies were even produced using the NTSC video system for viewing in the USA and Canada.
John Day takes up the story: “In mid 2000 I started the huge task of converting all the material we’d gathered into a completed archive of films on digital master tapes, and it took me until the end of 2002 to accomplish this. As well as creating the digital version of the material provided, I had to add title sequences, graphics, music, and voiceovers where appropriate. We ended up with 138 fully finished films in the archive, covering a wide range of subjects including arts, music, sport, church life, community affairs, history and charity events, over 70 hours in total.”
“During this process it occurred to me that the old cine films should be preserved safely so I contacted David Cleveland, Director of the East Anglian Film Archive. When David visited me to collect the cine films and saw what we were doing, he realised that this was a piece of history that must be preserved,” says John.
David comments: “There are many films in our Archive that show a slice of town or village life, but the Ampthill Video is comprehensive, covering all aspects of Ampthill life, with flashbacks to earlier times. These tapes add up to a unique record of a town. The future value of this as a research tool, as well as for enjoyment is immeasurable. It is a collection that we will keep for future generations.”
(The East Anglian Film Archive is the region’s official archive for moving images, Founded in 1976, it was the first such regional archive in the country, storing many thousands of films and videos from 1896 to the present day.)
In early February 2003 the complete archive and supporting colour catalogue were presented to the Ampthill Library. Attending were members of Bedfordshire Library Service, the Ampthill Video Archive Committee, the Town Mayor, and Richard Holden, Chairman of Mid Bedfordshire District Council. The following day Anglia Television News broadcast an item about the Archive.
Now visitors to the Library can look at any of the films, using special video replay equipment purchased by the Bedfordshire Library Service. Copies were also presented to the East Anglian Film Archive in Norwich, and the County Records Office in Bedford.
Richard Holden sums up the success of the project: “These days we hear a lot of talk about partnerships, but here we have a real life success, with funding provided by public bodies being combined with time, effort, and skill from enthusiastic volunteers to produce something really worthwhile, this wonderful archive.
Supported by Grants from Ampthill Town Council, Mid-Beds District Council, Bedfordshire County Council, and Lottery Funder Awards For All
Version 6 - March 2018.
©Copyright Ampthill Images 2004/2018
AMPTHILL LIBRARY. VHS TAPES FOR ALL FILMS AND A DVD OF MILLENNIUM
HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE TO VIEW AND BORROW.
AMPTHILL TV.SELECTED FILMS CAN BE VIEWED ONLINE.