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About The Collection

The Karl Spreitz Film Collection consists of more than 213 reels of 16mm film representing various stages of production. These films, especially the ones which Spreitz has produced on his own or in collaboration with various artists and friends, are of a very personal and documentary nature. Covering a period over the last 35 years, the content of the collection describes the working process of various artists, the lifestyles of the local community, historical events, as well as various special interest areas such as Native art and culture, politics, and the environment. Furthermore, the historical quality of the films is a tremendous value in itself, both in terms of film production, and as a partial record of the career of Karl Spreitz.

Many of the films were produced in the 1970s, at the height of the "underground" film movement, which was characterized by experimentation and diverse forms of self expression. The influence of this spirited time is evident in much of Spreitz's work. During this period, the National Film Board was also highly supportive in the development and exploration of various areas of film, especially animations and documentaries.

All the films in the collection were produced on 16mm film with very little funding and limited resources. The cumbersome and heavy equipment used by Spreitz was markedly different than the compact and versatile devices used today. The film he used, which is now obsolete, had very little light sensitivity and was not, therefore, especially forgiving when it came to low-light shooting. Most film was spliced together with cement splices, which, when improperly stored, have dried out and come apart over the years (tape splicing has replaced much of the cement splice).


Camera Original: All of these films are 16mm, either colour or black and white. The camera original is the film exposed in the camera and will remain the first and most important source for the image.

Work Print: From the camera original, the work print has been made to allow the editor to cut the film, handle it, and run it through various machines, which could otherwise damaged the original. The work print includes the edge numbers, which would eventually be confirmed to the camera original.

Sound Track: The sound track, recorded on magnetic 16mm film, would be cut in sync with the picture and then, in a final cut, merit and an answer print would be made.

Answer Print: The answer print contains the picture and the sound to be projected and corrected. The first answer print usually needed colour corrections and exposure timing for under or over exposed scenes. At this point, the sound track still could be changed, rearranged, and another answer print made.

Outfootage: Outfootage is mostly camera original which has not been printed, but contains important information that is not included in the final film. Outfootage could also be found as a work print that ended up in the editor's bin.