Month: April 2019

Open Video Resources – A Few Alternatives to Kanopy and Swank

By Dave Rodriguez

FSU Libraries currently subscribes to a wide variety of streaming video services and databases. Some of these, such as Swank and Kanopy, provide users access to commercial feature films for scholarly analysis, research, and teaching purposes. Others, like Films on Demand, are treasure troves of documentary content–although there’s some interesting feature film collections in there as well!

In addition to these valuable, paid resources, there are a number of open video collections containing narrative, documentary, ethnographic, and historically significant moving-image resources that can and should be utilized by those working in higher education and promoted by the Library. Below is a list with links and collection highlights from five such collections.

More information on how to access audio-visual content can be found in the Film LibGuide. Direct any questions about these or other online media resources to Shelly Schmucker, Electronic Resources Librarian (shelly.schmucker@fsu.edu), and Dave Rodriguez, Resident/Media Librarian (dwrodriguez@fsu.edu).

  1. Public Domain Movies (http://publicdomainmovie.net/)
    • A consolidated site of feature films, shorts, and cartoons that have fallen into the public domain either by virtue of being created before 1924 or the copyright having lapsed for some other reason.
    • Collection Highlights:
    • Search Note: Unfortunately, this site lacks an internal search feature. However, you can effectively search the collection via Google by using the following search command: site:http://publicdomainmovie.net/ “insert movie title or other search criteria between quotation marks”
  2. Snagfilms (http://www.snagfilms.com/)
    • A streaming platform with over 2,000 independent feature films and documentaries. Looks and runs like Netflix but some content contains ads at the beginning of playback.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty’s documentary indictment of the nuclear age The Atomic Cafe (1982)
      • Lucy Walker’s exploration of Amish youthful transgression The Devil’s Playground (2002)
  3. Library of Congress National Screening Room (https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-screening-room/)
    • An initiative by LoC to make its moving-image collections accessible for streaming and download. Wide variety of titles ranging from silent films by Thomas Edison and D.W. Griffith to feature films and shorts from the 1940s and 50s
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Ida Lupino’s taut, masterfully crafted noir The Hitchhiker (1953)
      • Oscar Micheaux’s landmark work of African American silent cinema Within Our Gates (1919)
  4. Internet Archive’s Moving Image Archives (https://archive.org/details/movies)
    • An old standard at this point but full of great material for those willing to do some digging.
    • Collection Highlight:
      • The Prelinger Collection – Perhaps the the world’s most comprehensive collection of educational, ephemeral, propaganda, and industrial films ever assembled. A crucial repository for studying the culture of the 20th century.
  5. Florida Memory (https://www.floridamemory.com/video)
    • The State’s extensive catalog of moving-image materials offers a vivid snapshot of Florida’s history.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • The Adventures of X-14 (ca. 1963) – A promotional tourist film produced by the FL Development Commission and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce about an alien visitor (disguised as a kitten!) to Florida’s Gulf Coast
      • Julio 26 (1960) – A TV documentary produced by a local Miami news channel chronicling the first six months and 26 days of Fidel Castro’s leadership in Cuba.