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Home Movies

Vintage home movies originally captured on 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8 film; a new home movie featured every week

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RokuGuide Channel Description: Before GoPros, smartphones, and digital camcorders, home movies were recorded on film. Starting with the 1923 introduction of 16mm safety film for use by amateurs, followed by 8mm film a decade later, then Super8 cassettes that became available in 19651, everyday life was captured by home filmmakers. Today we're uploading highly edited videos of our lives to YouTube and Vimeo for sharing with the world, but miles of unedited film from vacations, family celebrations, and other important events from earlier decades have been left sitting in basements and closets across America.

Fortunately, attempts are being made to save many of these home movies by transferring the films to video. One such effort is the Prelinger Archives. Founded by Rick Prelinger in 1983, the Prelinger Archives is now a collection of over 60,000 advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films. These "ephemeral" films were acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002 and include a large collection of home movies.

The Home Movies channel is making many of these home movies from earlier generations available on Roku through Internet Archive. Each week will feature a new home movie. As each new movie is added, previous ones will remain available as video on demand. Listed below are those currently available on this channel.

Remember that sound recording was usually not available on amateur films of these era, so you'll be watching silent films. Also, little if any editing was done (that required cutting and splicing film), and special effects such as titles were virtually non-existent. Turn on some music, sit back, and enjoy these vignettes of everyday life from earlier decades.

Available Titles

  • Movie of the Week for Jan 2, 2015 - Fosston, Minnesota (1950). This 15-minute film is a compilation of home movie clips taken in and around Fosston, Minnesota, circa 1950. The first clip shows a children's costume party with kids scrambling for candy and participating in games like eating apples with their hands behind their backs, and running in sack races. A true slice of Americana follows, with the American Legion leading a march down Main Street in front of the Tip Top Cafe. The rest of the film offers additional scenes of small-town life in 1950, with picnics, boating on a lake, and similar fare. Street repairs being performed in front of the Fosston post office is an incongruous but interesting clip interspersed among the filming of family life.
  • Movie of the Week for Dec 26, 2014 - Wyoming Vacation 1978, Part 1. Follow a family on their cross-country road trip to Wyoming.

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DEVELOPER: Fire Mountain Digital, LLC