Help with viewing the streamed video clips
Streamed video clips taken from over 150 films are available to view on this web site. The clips are available in both Windows Media Format and MPEG 4 format (suitable for Quicktime).
How to play the clips:Where a list of film titles are displayed, the film strip icon indicates that there is a film clip accompanying the record. On the pages for each of these films, under the main picture on the right hand side the following options appear:
If you have Windows Media Player installed on your computer, there are three options for viewing the video clips in this format. Choose the option most suitable for your internet connection type:
- High = streams at a very high bit rate, suitable for a University based computer or other high speed connection
- Medium = streams at a medium rate for a good home broadband connection or above
- Low = streams at a lower rate suitable for home broadband or 56K modem connection
There is also an MPEG4 option for those with Quicktime or Reel Player software able to play the MPEG4 format. This option is suitable for those with high speed connections only, such as those at a University campus.
To check your computer's ability to play the clips, choose from the
following options to play a sample video
Shippam's Guide to Opera (1955):
When you click on the appropriate option, the video player should open up in a separate window. After a few seconds, the clip will start to play. When the short clip ends you can close the player window and return to browsing the web site. The clips will not be downloaded onto your computer but can be played again if required by returning to the web page for that film item.
Note that many of the film clips available here are taken from silent films which do not have any accompanying sound. Information on whether the film is silent or has sound is indicated on the film record page, under 'Format' e.g.
Hardware and Software requirements
For best playback you will need to have a at least the following requirements:
- Pentium 166MMX 16 Mb RAM (or) Macintosh G3 Processor
- 256 Colour Graphics Card
- Internet Connection at 56K or above
- Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, or Mac OS9 or above
- A sound card
- The clips are best played using Windows Media Player version 7 or above, or Quicktime for the MPEG4 options
Getting Windows Media Player - Most modern Windows based PC's have Windows Media Player already installed, although you will need Windows Media Player version 7 or above to play the clips on this site. If you are using a Mac computer, you may need to install or upgrade Windows Media Player on your computer to play these clips. Alternatively, if you are using a Mac at a university based computer or via another high speed networked, you may be able to play the MPEG4 files using Quicktime.
Click on the link below to download the Windows Media Player software for Windows, and for Mac's, for free:
Click on the link below to download Quicktime for free:
- If the video clips don't play - If
Windows Media Player does not open, check you have the software installed
on your computer and download the Player if necessary.
Some older computers or software may have problems with playback, and older versions of Windows Media Player may only play back the audio, with no picture - you may need to download an updated version of the software.
Windows NT users may not be able to update their Windows Media Player version. If you are using Netscape Navigator 6, you may experience problems. If you are able to, try viewing the site through another browser, such as Explorer or Firefox.
- If you get a warning message or the clips do not play, this may be to do with the settings on Windows Media Player or your browser. If you are connecting to the internet through a university or other organisation, the 'proxy server' settings on Windows Media Player may need setting to your organisation's own proxy server settings.
- If the player opens but the clip does not play there may be a 'firewall' at your institution or organisation which could be restricting access to streamed video clips. If you find that you are able to play streaming video clips from some web sites and not others, you may need to contact your network administrator to ask them to open the appropriate ports on the firewall to allow access to all streaming video.
- If the clips play but there are lots of pauses for "buffering" or the images are jerky - Slow connection speeds, and times when there is a heavy demand on the network may slow down access to the clips, and they may appear 'blocky' or jerky when played, or take a long time to start. If this happens try playing the clips again at another time of day, or try the 'Medium' or 'Low' option when playing the clips.
- If Windows Media Player plays audio only or, Windows Media Player says the clip is "playing" but shows no images - You may need to make sure that you have selected the appropriate clip for the bandwidth that you have available (either 'High' for University or broadband users, 'Medium' for Broadband or 'Low' for broadband or 56K Modem users). Slower connection speeds, or times when there is a heavy demand on the network, can mean that only the audio part of the file is being received (if the clip is a 'silent' film, it will appear that nothing is playing). If this occurs, try playing the lower bandwidth 'Medium' or 'Low' options. Even if your connection can handle higher bandwidth, playback may work better if you select a lower bandwidth option during periods of heavy network traffic.
About the editing, and digitisation process
Some technical notes relating to the editing and presentation of the
film clips on this site:
All of the film clips are approximately 60 to 180 second continuous extracts from the original films. Care was taken to interfere little with the existing flaws and limitations in the original films and retain the integrity of the original item as much as possible, whilst delivering them in a suitable format for the digital environment.
Due to the limitations of the encoding and streaming process, some minor adjustments were necessary in some cases during the digitisation process to make them suitable for online viewing. These adjustments included some elimination of very obvious joins and white frames where they interfered strongly with the encoding process and the viewing of the image on a computer screen. In addition, where the film clip did not fully fill the frame, back bars were reduced, whilst maintaining the aspect ratio of the original clip as much as possible. A 'fade in' at the start and 'fade out' at the end of clips was applied. Where sound was available, fades were also applied to the sound track. This aimed to minimize abrupt starting and ending of the clips. The clips also contain a digital on-screen graphic 'watermark' added by the archive to identify the clips as material held at the Screen Archive South East.
Many of the clips are from silent films and do not have accompanying sound. Where the films have sound, this is the generally the original sound track that accompanied the films with a few exceptions where has a voice track added by the depositor or film-maker at a later date.
In most cases, full unedited viewing copies of the clips may be accessed, by appointment at the archive. Contact the archive for details on access to the collection.