Streaming Media Service Version (2011) NEW

Through the generosity of the Leverhulme Trust and the work of Mark Turin and Claire Wheeler, all the interviews are now available for download in a wide range of formats through the Streaming Media Service of Cambridge University. We shall preserve our old format in parallel for the present, and an archive version of all films will continue to be stored on DSpace, but we see this format as a significant advance. You can access the alphabetical list of interviews by clicking the image above. The streaming media version can be accessed by clicking SMS beside the name of the interview you wish to see instead of clicking the name as previously.

To view the films on this website in the old format

In order to see the films you will need to download a recent (free) version of Quicktime onto your machine. When you select an interview, you will immediately see a short, fairly low quality, extract, lasting two or three minutes.

If you have broadband (i.e. a connection of at least half a megabyte a second or higher) you can look at the whole interview. You can view immediately with 'fastload' in a restricted window. Films vary from 20 minutes to three hours in length and are sometimes divided into parts. You can move from part to part. There is a time-coded summary of the content of the interview beside the film.

If you want to download the film onto your machine, where the window can be expanded in size or the film put unto DVD etc., then choose 'download'. The summary can also be downloaded. The average download time at 1mb per second is about five minutes. One hour of film in MPEG4 is about 400MB.

Background to the collection

The interviews were started by Jack Goody in 1982. He arranged for the filming of seminars by Audrey Richards, Meyer Fortes and M.N.Srinivas. Since then, with the help of others, and particularly Sarah Harrison, I have filmed and edited over ninety archival interviews. Having started with leading anthropologists, my subjects have broadened to include other social scientists and, recently, biological and physical scientists.We started by using low-band U-matic tape and the quality is not good. Later, digital cameras became available and recent films (e.g. Geertz), were made on a Sony three chip camera using a radio microphone. Mark Turin managed to transfer films from a variety of formats to DV tapes and developed the web application. Sarah Harrison has done most of the later transfers to mp4 and has made the summaries of the interviews.Recently the advent of a large digital store in Cambridge, DSpace, has made it possible to mount the collection for the web. This has been done with the help of Tom de Mulder and Xiaoxiao Yan and financial support from the British Academy. We have also expanded the interviews from anthropology to other disciplines and interests. New films are being added quite frequently. If you know of any that should be added (either by including here, or by a link) or could help by interviewing a colleague, please let me know Also please alert me to any errors in the transcripts that accompany the films.'Anthropological and other "Ancestors": Notes on Setting up a Visual Archive' (An article written for Anthropology Today in December 2004)

© Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge University