Moving Archives: National Archives

This film is comprised of 16,384 video clips from the National Archives of the United States. The clips are laid out in a 128 by 128 grid, organized by sonic similarity. The viewer is moved through this mosaic of sounds and images in various ways that highlight the underlying forms, textures, and atmospheres of the source materials. At its peak, the viewer will be experiencing about 4.5 hours of footage per second.


Visit the methodology page and source code for in-depth detail for how this film was created.

About this collection

The National Archives and Records Administration preserves and documents thousands of films produced by the U.S. Government. The U.S. government is the largest film producer in the country, and all films created by the U.S. government automatically enter the public domain the moment they are created. Citizens may reuse these materials freely without restriction.

To make this film, I downloaded all the publicly available movies in the Fedflix collection that listed The National Archives as the creator. FedFlix is a joint venture between Public.Resource.Org and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) in cooperation with other government agencies including the National Archives. The venture involves the government agencies submitting government videotapes which are uploaded to the Internet Archive. Films include training videos, history films, public hearings, and even old propaganda films.

Source list

Visit this film's complete source list that outlines where all 16,384 clips are sourced from.

About Moving Archives

This film is part of the Moving Archives film series by Brian Foo that immerses you in the patterns, rhythms, and textures embedded within thousands of hours of footage from public moving image archives.