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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 09:05 GMT
Newsreel archive launched online
Pathé news
Pathé became a staple in British cinemas
Hundreds of hours of historic newsreel footage can be viewed free of charge on the internet after Pathé put its archive online.

The bi-weekly news bulletins, which played in cinemas from 1910 to 1970, have been released via the Pathé website thanks to a grant from the National Lottery.

More than 3,500 hours of footage is available.

Pathé history
Began in 1890's Paris where founder, Charles Pathé, pioneered the development of the moving image
Established in London in 1902, and by 1910 was producing bi-weekly newsreel, the Pathé Gazette
Finished in 1970 - with more than 90,000 items
British Pathé is owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust Group

While those requiring the footage for broadcasting or "professional" use still require a licence, the website offers a free preview service for the general public.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell was due to launch the new site in London on Tuesday, thanks to the £1 million grant from the Lottery's New Opportunities Fund.

Ms Jowell said: "National lottery good cause funding has enabled British Pathé to bring about this world first, both in terms of technical achievement and in bringing 20th Century newsreel to the small screen of Internet users of all ages."

The New Opportunities fund will also take a travelling Internet suite it calls a "digi-van" to disadvantaged areas throughout south London.

The latest online digital imaging technologies have been used for the Pathé project.

Specialists at Pathé spent over 50,000 hours to process the priceless 35mm film archive to digital video.

The film had been stored in 30,000 square feet of specialised warehousing.

Its digital descendant, however, takes up about five square feet on a Pathé storage computer.

It has been streamlined so it can be downloaded quickly over an ordinary household 56K modem, while quality remains good enough to view at a reasonable size on the screen.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Lawrence Pollard
"Newsreels were at the start of the journey which has now led us to...24 hour rolling news"
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13 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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