This semester we recently wrapped up our time with GBH Fellow and Intern Kimo Nichols. We were lucky to have him on our team for two semesters, as opposed to our usual one with standard interns. The GBH Fellowship that Kimo was part of allowed us more time together, and more opportunity for Kimo to learn about what we do at ʻUluʻulu. We hope it was inspiring for him, and plants a seed in him to stick with media librarianship or archives! We asked Kimo to share some closing thoughts with us in the following exit interview. Thanks for everything, Kimo! We’re sad to see you go, but you will always be part of the ʻUluʻulu Family!
Could you share a little more about the work you did at ‘Ulu’ulu since we did your last interview? Did your assignments change over the time you were with the archive?
Since the last time I checked in, I’ve continued to work on digitizing, creating metadata and writing descriptions for the raw interview footage of the Biography Hawaii series, which originally aired on Hawaii Public Television in the early 2000s. My work on this project didn’t change much over the course of my time at ‘Ulu‘ulu, but I honestly didn’t mind. It was rewarding work and I appreciated getting to hone my skills through repetition, rather than having to “jump around” from task to task. Personally, I learn more effectively this way, so I’m glad my work on this project took this path.
Was there anything about the material you worked with that was surprising or unexpected?
By far, the biggest surprise that I encountered was the amount (not a ton, but enough to be very interesting and entertaining) of potentially regrettable comments made off camera by both film crew personnel and interview subjects. These comments, largely uttered in innocence 20+ years ago when the footage was shot, were, of course, caught by a “hot” mic and saved for posterity for an archives student to hear 20 years later. Additionally, I came across some seemingly off-color comments made in an interview about some of our more recent historical figures; these were wisely left on the cutting room floor by the filmmakers, in my opinion. After talking to others in the archival field that have previously worked with raw interview footage, I learned that “bloopers” of this sort are actually captured accidentally quite a fair amount. It’s just one of the aspects that makes this kind of archival work both fascinating and fun, however it’s also obviously an ethical/legal challenge that an a/v archivist must deftly navigate!
Now that you have worked as a Moving Image Archivist, and have had a chance to work with some different formats, what is your favorite archival media format and why?
I worked strictly with Betacam SP tapes during the Biography Hawaii project at ʻUluʻulu, so I can’t offer any kind of an opinion on the pros and cons of this type of video tape media versus any other. Overall though, I was glad that I got to work with Betacam SP because it’s a format that I had never before encountered. Having grown up during the golden age of VHS, I had lots of personal experience with that format, so I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what seemed to be the superior picture and resolution offered by Betacam SP over what I remember of the good ol’ VHS tape.
Do you have any recommendations for movies or TV shows that feature libraries, archives, or archival footage?
Tough question. Recommendations for movies featuring libraries and/or archives? I’m embarrassed to say that I had to go to the IMDb to think of any. I found quite a few that look interesting, but I’ve seen none of them to date. (Yep. This obviously means that I have not seen any of the Harry Potter films). In the “featuring archival footage” category, though, Zelig is definitely the first film that comes to mind.
Kimo’s American Archive of Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship in partnership with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library and Information Science Program was made possible by a grant from the WGBH Educational Foundation with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.