AUSTIN, Texas — Our old home movies capture a moment in time. Whether it's playing in a sandbox or a taking trip to the state Capitol, each frame of film tells the story of Texas.
It's Rodrigo Leal’s job to help preserve those special moments. He works at the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. The nonprofit turns Texans’ old home movies into lasting memories.
“I run the entire film through our in-house scanner, capturing each frame. I’ll take the individual frames and re-assemble them into a video,” Leal said.
And there are boxes and boxes of old films at the archive waiting to be preserved
“These show us how people celebrated, what people were wearing, how they moved, ” said Elizabeth Hansen, managing director of Texas Archive of the Moving Image.
People send in their old movies as part of the Texas Roundup Program. They’re catalogued, cleaned, and saved electronically.
“When they’re finished, we return all the originals back to the contributor, along with digital files that they can do what they want with," said Hansen.
The archive usually keeps a copy for the website as well.
Elizabeth Hansen helps lead the effort. She makes sure Texas history is preserved from those who captured it on camera.
“This project allows everyone to be a part of Texas history through their own documentation and materials - and opening the doors to different types of people contributing to that story; to capture what being Texan really is,” Hansen said.
Each box of movies at the archive tells a story, from everyday stuff caught on film to the day in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
“We did find a great home movie that has the Kennedys arriving at the airport that morning. So, there’s little snippets of history that comes to life in these different collections,” said Hansen.
But films don’t last forever. Rodrigo goes over each one to make sure they're in good shape.
“I stop to inspect splices to see if they look OK, and this person used masking tape. That’s a no-go,” said Leal.
But with a little TLC, old films at the archive will live forever in the digital world; each frame of Texas history preserved for the next generation.