Richard Voorhees | BAVC

Richard Voorhees

Success Story
October 16, 2015
By 
General BAVC

Richard Vorhees

I was hoping to digitize my original French film, Proust + Vermeer, and create a new version for English audiences. The two-inch video master was somewhere in storage in Seattle, and after a hefty archeological dig, I unearthed its unmistakable green plastic case. 

But when I visited a Seattle post-production house, my worst fear was confirmed. There wasn’t a single machine left that played two-inch videotape anywhere in Seattle. Try L.A., they advised. Or maybe S.F. 

Had my labor of love become unwatchable? Had two-inch videotape gone the way of the dinosaur? Back in the 1980s, two-inch video was the best. It’s what T.V. stations considered “broadcast quality.” 

Decidedly deflated, I returned to S.F. with my precious, unwatchable film and made more inquiries. I found a video specialist who said she could digitize it for me, but it would be expensive.

Then I called the Bay Area Video Coalition. They informed me that BAVC did in fact have a two-inch video machine. And they could digitize my film if I supplied an external hard-drive. “Is the video you’re trying to preserve a work of art?” they asked. “Because if it is, we can probably give you a special rate.” They even had an affordable preservation program for artists. 

Thanks to BAVC’s Preservation Access Program, I was able to digitize my original French film. Then I was able to do what I’d been hoping to do all along, which was to record a new audio track and create a film that would be more accessible to English speakers. 

In April 2015, I showed an English version of Proust + Vermeer to a full house at the Mechanics’ Institute Library in S.F. It was a truly wonderful evening for this filmmaker, because the audience could feast on the beautiful images of Vermeer’s paintings without having to attempt the (nearly impossible) task of reading subtitles at the same time. 

As I can most happily and gratefully attest, BAVC is a fantastic resource and true friend to filmmakers. 

Richard Voorhees is a S.F. writer and filmmaker. His novels, Shooting Genji (2014) and A Little Too Rambunctious (2015) are available on Amazon. His film, Proust + Vermeer, can be downloaded at www.rgvoorhees.com.