The television production studio and media services unit of the University of Michigan, commonly referred to as "Michigan Media." It was formed in 1978 through the merger of the university Television Center and the university Audio-Visual Education Center. The Television Center began producing educational programs for broadcast on commercial and public stations in 1950. The Audio-Visual Education Center produced films for the university and operated a film distribution library. The Media Resources Center closed in 1986. The collection consists of documentary type film and video and film and video of television programs produced by the Media Resources Center and its predecessors.
The University of Michigan Media Resources Center Films and Videotapes collection consists of "archives" film footage produced or collected by the Center and television programs and films produced by the Center. The "archives" films are divide into three series; Archives Film (Series AF), Film File (Series AF) and Audio-Visual Education Center Film File Series AVEC Film File. The television programs are organized based on the
The "archival films": consist of documentary style, 16mm film footage of a variety of University of Michigan events, buildings, and personalities. The series originated in 1959 when the Television Center began a project to create a "university film archives." Some of this footage was shot for the purpose of being incorporated into television programs, but much of the filming was done simply to create a film record of the university. Filming was done on a regular basis through about 1972. After that date the Michigan Media collection includes comparatively few "archival" films.
The subject matter of the archival films falls into several broad categories:
- Series AF -- Archives Films and Series FF -- Film File
- Ceremonial - including footage of awards ceremonies, inaugurations, graduations, building groundbreakings and dedications
- Campus scenes - buildings and construction sites, students on the Diag, and general activity on campus
- Athletic events and marching band performances
- Student activities -- including protests, fraternity/sorority activities, homecoming, course registration, and social events.
- Faculty and administrator interviews
- Visiting dignitaries and participants in special programs and conferences on campus.
- Films collected by the Television Center - these include several films from the 1920s and 1930s
- Series AVEC Film File
- Original footage shot for use in Audio-Visual Education Center films
Films in the three archival series range from a few minutes to more than an hour in length. The films may be negatives, original positives, or work prints. Some are identified as "trims," i.e. original footage edited out of finished productions. The work prints have often been cut and spliced and portions may be missing. Several titles were originally recorded on either two- or one-videotape reels or directly on 3/4-inch videotape cassette.
The early films, ca 1953-ca.1963, are generally black and white. After 1963 color film is more common. Many of the films, especially, from the early years, are silent. For some of these there are accompanying 16mm magnetic sound tracks or 1/4-inch reel-to-reel audio tapes.
The film description part of the finding aid is arranged by series film number or titles. Film numbers were assigned by the Television Center in an approximate chronological order. The description of individual films is based on a card File created by the Television Center and on a viewing of each film by Bentley staff.
The descriptive record for each film includes the film number; title; date; a brief summary of the content of the film; a listing of significant persons appearing in the film; and technical information on the color, sound, polarity, and length of the film.
The films are stored in canisters, usually on a core rather than a reel. A film number generally refers to an individual film title. There is sometimes more than one film number in a canister and occasionally more than one film number on a single reel or core. Alternate versions of a title are indicated by a lower case letter.
The Television Center gave the films titles which are more or less descriptive. These titles have been retained except for a few instances in which a more descriptive title was assigned or in which a uniform title was created for all parts of a multi-reel film. The individual reels of multi-part titles are designated by a lower case letter, e.g. 98a, 98b, 98c. For some titles the may be more than one film, possibly a negative, positive, work print, or other version. A few tittles have been digitized and are available on DVD and streaming files.
The listing for each film or program in includes a Title, date of production, and abstract/summary of the content of the film and ,when available, the names of persons or organizations featured in the film. University of Michigan faculty and staff are identified by departmental or administrative affiliation (e.g. Peter Gosling, UM-Geog. A list of abbreviations used is included in the Additional Descriptive Data Section of this finding aid.) Technical information for the films is provided in the format: Original: 16mm film, pos, b/w, sil, 343, 00:09:35. The order of the information is:
- Format -- film / videotape / magnetic sound track
- Polarity -- neg (negative) /. Pos (positive) / wp (work print)
- Color -- b/w or color
- Sound -- silent / sound / sof (sound on film)/ at (accompanying 1/4-inch audiotape)
- Length -- expressed in feet (footage value is sometimes an estimate)
- Running time -- in the form 01:33:25 (hours:minutes:seconds)
- (in cases where there are several versions of a title, there may be multiple values for each category)
Television Programs and AVEC Films
The Television Programs consist of 16mm kinescope films and two-inch and 1-inch videotapes of programs produced by the Center for distribution to commercial and educational television stations. The collection represents only a portion of the television programs produced by the Center. There were no extant copies of some programs when the library acquired the collection.
The films and videotapes in the Michigan Media collection were appraised and only a portion have been selected for permanent retention by the Bentley Historical Library. A number of appraisal criteria were used in determining which television programs and films were retained:
- subject matter relating to the University of Michigan;
- subject matter relating to the state of Michigan;
- subject matter of general, national interest;
- participation of prominent UM faculty or staff;
- participation of prominent Michigan personalities;
- participation of persons of national or international significance;
- programs marking significant technical or artistic developments at Michigan Media;
- award winning programs.
The television programs are organized by series created by the Center. The series for the most part reflect different type of programming the Center produced, from the earliest "telecourses" to the independent programs produced under the title "Understanding Our World". to the multi-part programs that were the core of the "University of Michigan Television Hour. See the History section for details on the different series.
The description for individual programs includes the title and date of the program, a unique id number, and an abstract of the content of the program with listing of the host and guests on the program. A program may exist in one or more formats: kinescope negative, kinescope positive and 1-inch or 2-inch videotape. Technical information for each program is recorded in the format16mm kinescope film, neg. #511, Pos. #665, 2-inch video #458. (the negative number was treated as a production and for some programs recorded originally on videotape a negative was not actually produced). The television programs were generally either twelve, fifteen or thirty minutes in length Most are black and white and all have sound.
In 2009 a selection of television programs and films and tapes were digitized. for each tape or film selected a preservation Beta SP tape was made as well as a DVD use copy and a streaming file (mpeg4 and Flash). For some films a high resolution digital copy was made as well (mpeg2). The finding aid lists the original format(s) and the derivative formats for the digitized items.