Beauty in High Definition

This man is braver than you.

Commenter VolvoNut sent us a link to some beautiful high-definition footage from the 1940’s. It’s actually what’s called “stock footage”. For those of you living in California, you’ll be well familiar with this concept — after all, you are stock footage. For the rest of the world, allow me to explain; when filmmakers are hacking and slashing at perfectly good storylines carefully crafting their stories, there are a great many small shots that would simply cost too much to shoot. Do you need to send your highly-paid film experts to capture a one-second shot of a front door, or a crowd walking on a New York City street, or a car driving past? Not really. There are film students for menial labour like that.

So that’s exactly what they do. Most of the older stock footage out there was, of course, originally intended to be a part of a larger film project, usually something fairly low-budget that ended up not being finished. The studio that provided some of the bankroll then ends up with archives full of bits and pieces of films. Eventually, someone determines that perhaps a piece might be useful, and it gets used in another film, in another context. 

This particular clip, courtesy of the Internet Archive, shows the early days of hot-rodding. No, there’s no sound, but it’s still a beautiful thing, and a valuable reminder of our roots. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where Hooniverse came from. These are the original automotive hooligans, just trying to earn a bit of respect and legitimacy for their sport… and have a bit of fun while they’re doing it. Just think, these were the high-performance cars of their day. This was what people did to eke every ounce of speed out of them: pull out everything that wasn’t needed, including body panels, and put more power into the engine. Sounds like a familiar formula, doesn’t it?

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″][/youtube]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here