"Home Movie Day" emphasizes the importance of preserving film, and specifically home movies, as
historic documents in the life of the culture and the family. It was held 1 to 5 p.m. in Studio X
of Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunication, 300 N. Goodwin Ave., Urbana.
Snippets of historic films from the University Archives were shown, including scenes from a
period film with U. of I. legend Red Grange playing football, appearances by John F. Kennedy when
he visited the campus, a short interview with Eleanor Roosevelt when she was at the U. of I., and
other events featuring Illinois and its students.
What is Home Movie Day?
Home Movie Day was started in 2002 by a group of film archivists concerned about what would
happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century. They knew many people have
boxes full of family memories that they've never seen for lack of a projector, or out of fear that
the films were too fragile to be viewed. They also knew that many people were having their amateur
films transferred to videotape or DVD, with the mistaken idea that their new digital copies would
last forever and the "obsolete" films could be discarded. Original films (and the equipment
required to view them) can long outlast any version on VHS tape, DVDs, or other digital media. Not
only that, but contrary to the stereotype of the faded, scratched, and shaky home movie image, the
original films are often carefully shot in beautiful, vibrant color—which may not come across in a
low-quality video transfer.”
Home Movie Day, now in its fourth year, has become a worldwide phenomenon, with events taking
place throughout the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom.
--- Visit Official Home Movie Day's
Who Cares About My Old Home Movies?
Home movies have great value to a number of people. Researchers use home movies to get an idea
of how life really was in a community. Styles of dress, automobiles, hairstyles, and many other
facts of life are recorded with great accuracy by home movies. Documentary filmmakers frequently
turn to home movies for historical footage, both for television programs and feature films. Home
movies also show us the private side of public figures. Home movies can give us a window onto what
famous people are like when they’re not posing for interviews.
And probably the number one reason why people care about home movies is because they’re fun. It’s
fun to gather and see what people in your community took the time to record on film. The shared
nostalgia of a community is infectious. It’s enjoyable to see “the way things were.” For this
reason, many people come to Home Movie Day events without any films - just to see what other people
What Should I Do With My Old Films?
In general, it is always best to preserve your old films. Film as a preservation medium has
greater longevity than any digital or analogue video format. That being said, it is often difficult
to find a functioning projector to be able to watch these films. For those who wish to transfer
their films to video, Champaign-Urbana has the Finish Point, an excellent transfer facility right
in town. Their contact information is:
The Finish Point
1705 West Kirby Avenue, Champaign, IL 61821
Home Movie Day website has also provided a
list of transfer facilities around the country.
Donating your home movies to an archive is also an option. Once you’ve transferred your films to
video (and assuming you don’t with to keep them yourself), you can contact a local film archive,
historical society, or library and find out if they collect home movies. Donating your films will
help ensure that trained professionals will care for your films far into the future. Donation also
allows for your home movies to be seen by wider audiences. In Illinois, the
Chicago Film Archives has a
collection of home movies from all over the Midwest. Their contact information is:
The Chicago Film Archives
The University Library plans to do this again in the years to come. Remember, don’t throw away
your old home movies!