1909 – Video Reuse Detector

I am currently devoting my time to the EU-project European History Reloaded. Together with my colleague Maria Eriksson and developer Tomas Skotare at Humlab, I have started working on an article that will analyse reuse of old film footage via a new application that Eriksson and Skotare have developed at Humlab – the Video Reuse Detector. The VRD is a tool that uses machine learning to identify visual similarities within a given audiovisual archive or database. It can hence identify reuse of videos in major audiovisual databases. Within the project Eriksson and Skotare are currently working on an open Jupyter Notebook that will make it possible to test the tool. In the meantime I have started working on an article that will both test the VRD tool and exemplify its concrete usage in an archival setting. The film that we will work with is from 1964, Brefven från Stockholm – en film om sommaren 1909, a compilation film made by Gardar Sahlberg. He was responsible for the so called SF-archive, which Swedish Radio purchased from Swedish Film Industry in 1963. The SF-archive – SF:s journalarkiv as it was called in Swedish – contained some 5500 films from 1897 until 1960, and was later frequently reused within Swedish television. In Sahlberg’s film, footage and film fragments from the SF-archive are reused, and we will particularly look at the way in which parts and sequences from four film fragments from the archive – SF2061A, SF2061B, SF2063 and SF2066 – are reused by Sahlberg. By using the VRD tool, the idea is on the one hand to test the ability of the tool, and on the other to discuss novel ways of analysing how history programs on television – or compilation videos on YouTube – remix and reappropriate audiovisual archival footage.