By Seamus O’Connor - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 31, 2008 6:43:08 EDT
The military has used motion pictures for training and entertainment since the dawn of the medium. Now the age of YouTube has brought a Web site dedicated to the sharing and preservation of military films from World War I to the present.
Http://realmilitaryflix.com is the brainchild of retired Air Force Capt. John Corry, who served as a combat cameraman from 1986 to 1990. Corry was involved in the production of numerous military documentary shows for the History Channel after he left the service. In creating each show, Corry made copies of hundreds of old military films, transferring film reels and other former standards onto Beta SP tapes, the longtime broadcast standard.
“These are very engrossing to people that have never seen them before, especially the old ones, the World War II films,” Corry said. “They really take you right back.”
With the onset of widespread Internet access, Corry said, he began “fantasizing” about an online archive of all the films he had collected over the years, a conduit for sharing them with the world.
That dream became a reality Thursday with the launch of the site. Corry and a small staff in Los Angeles spent most of the last year converting the Beta tapes into digital files, then uploading them to the site.
There are about 650 films available on the site, and Corry says he has another 1,200 films digitized that he will upload as he’s able. The films are categorized by time period and subject matter, including a section of formerly classified materials. Some of the films are gory, including the execution of German Gen. Anton Dostler, while others are entertaining for their primitive perspectives on topics like sexual diseases and foreign cultures.
Corry said that the military continues to offer him its full cooperation, and he continues to add modern and historical films to his collection.
In its first day, Corry said, the site got about 1,000 hits, with viewers staying on for an average of 14 minutes.
“Ideally, we’d like to hook up with a bigger portal” like AOL as a future revenue source, Corry said. For the time being, he is counting on press releases and word of mouth to generate traffic for the site. Corry also hopes to allow for downloading and embedding of the movies on separate sites, but doesn’t yet have the bandwidth, he said.