Stock Footage Q&A

Charles Hope-Dunbar
December 1, 2007

Charles Hope-Dunbar
Archive sales director, IMG World Media
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

We have two main clips that, for different reasons, are the ‘stars of the show.’ Jonny Wilkinson’s drop kick to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup is very popular, but for pure emotion, Seve Ballesteros’ winning putt at the 1979 Open Championship – it shows a combination of joy, happiness and relief – is a great clip.

Martin Lisius
President, Prairie Pictures Storm Stock
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

For drama, you can’t beat the Hurricane Katrina footage I shot on HD video. I came upon some volunteer firefighters that launched a small boat in 100 mph winds to search for possible victims in a flooded area in Mississippi. The team was hanging on for their lives to save lives.
We were shooting from an elevated road, behind my suv, which was pointed into winds gusting to 120 mph. The three firefighters arrived and did their thing right in front of us. It was surreal, like watching a movie.
What’s the clip that got away?
That might be Hurricane Rita. I couldn’t get to the Texas Gulf Coast to shoot the storm because all roads were one-way outbound. That was an exceptional evacuation as it was the first US hurricane following Katrina and folks were scared. Typically, we have no problem getting into a hurricane strike zone prior to the storm since most inbound lanes are empty.

Michael Goldberg
President, CelebrityFootage
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

Heidi Klum was set to arrive for photos and interviews at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She was accompanied by four male models and, as she made her way towards the photographers, was apparently nudged by a male model into the swimming pool. Two of the male models jump in after her, as she is half laughing, half accusing them of pushing her. Soon enough, all four models are in the pool with Heidi, posing for photos and splashing photographers.
What’s the story behind you getting it?
After waiting for Heidi two extra hours, most of the press left. Our videographer decided to shoot her entire entrance instead. Had he not been filming her arrival, we could have very well missed her fall. Luckily we didn’t, and were the only ones to capture the moment on video.

Donna Kaufman
COO, Footage Search
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

The up-close and personal clip of a full-grown polar bear trying to get into the Tundra Buggy camper, as captured by cinematographer Daniel Zatz. It’s beautiful, startling, funny and just a little bit scary.

Dan Baron
CEO, Footage Search
What’s the clip that got away?

I was filming breaching humpback whales from a kayak, and while setting up for a shot, two whales surfaced right beside me. In my excitement, I hit the record button on the video camera, but inadvertently turned the camera off – right when the whale lifted the bow of the kayak from the water! Quite an exciting ride… but the perfect shot got away.

Todd Wieneke
Archivist, WPA Film Library
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

According to his book, The White Sands Incident, Dr. Daniel W. Fry was contacted by aliens and taken for a friendly ride aboard a flying saucer. He spent the rest of his life writing and giving lectures about the experience. He also shot a wealth of color and black-and-white movies on his 16mm camera, documenting such unique ephemera as early ufo conventions, abductees’ testimonials, and The Integratron – an alleged cell rejuvenation and time machine built by fellow contactee George Van Tassel in the Mojave Desert. Despite featuring some rather blatantly faked flying saucer films, it was his passion and belief in ufos which rise to the fore and cannot be denied. The Dan Fry collection was acquired by the WPA Film Library in 1991, during production of the MPI Home Video documentary, Contact UFO.

James Angrove
President, Real Action Pictures International
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

My favorite clip I shot myself. It’s a guy getting trapped in an avalanche in France. We were there during a big storm, filming a ski movie… [The skier] stepped off the top of the mountain and set off a huge avalanche that cracked within three feet of the front of my tripod. I filmed him going down through the avalanche until he went into the snow.
Who’s been the most unlikely donor of a clip?
I was on a flight from Vancouver to Seattle, and there was this older guy beside me – probably in his late 70s. He had traveled to Lake Louise in the ’30s to holiday. He liked the story of what I did and he said he’d send me his library. One day I received all these old dusty cans of black and white film. It’s incredible footage of people having a great time on Lake Louise, sort of home movies, 16mm from probably 1935 to 1940.

Christian Ruel
Assistant director-general of distribution, NFB
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

We have a series of beautiful clips on the changing Arctic landscape. They’re spectacular images in their own right, but they also provide a glimpse of things to come on this planet.
What’s the clip that got away?
On August 2, 1967 a fire destroyed a building used by the NFB for storage. The contents, a total loss, included a considerable amount of footage, including shots of Glenn Gould playing the piano and Leonard Cohen singing in his bath.
What’s the clip you dream of having?
A clip that shows how fragile and yet resilient we are: there is material out there on what NGOs and the Red Cross are doing to help the local population in Darfur. We have material where you see women and families walking vast distances in war-torn countries to reach a little oasis of hope: an International Red Cross field hospital near the Sudanese border in Northern Kenya. I wish we had more.
What’s the strangest origin of a clip?
During the Second World War, the NFB became the British Commonwealth’s depositary for captured German, Italian and Japanese footage. These clips represent a unique collection of historical moments of a world at war.

Virginia Melrose
Director of creative services, Absolutely Wild Visuals
What’s your favorite clip in the archive?

The high-speed fleas. It was for a documentary comparing animals and wildlife to various Olympic events, called Animal Olympians. We had to hire a South American flea wrangler. The whole thing was shrouded in secrecy. They’re quite well sought after, flea wranglers, and she didn’t want to give away any trade secrets. We had this cage with all the fleas and a high-speed ballistics camera. But the fleas kept jumping out of focus. One of the camera assistants came up with this great idea. He built this Perspex case, it was very narrow so that when the fleas jumped, the depth of field stayed the same. But in changing the fleas from the tank to the case, they got out in the office and everyone was bitten.
What’s the clip that got away?
A koala birth. Like pandas and kangaroos, it’s the easiest birth known to mankind in that the young just crawls out of the opening, and climbs up into their mother’s pouch. So the cameramen are waiting for this event for days and they ducked out of the room for just a few minutes and when they came back he was just slipping into the pouch and we’d missed the entire thing.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.