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Video killed the archivist’s mind…

Interesting issues emerge with video in the BFS Archives, particularly that VHS quality sure does not stand the test of time. I’ve now learned that 25 years is a pretty accurate VHS lifespan. Transferring Dance Concert VHS has been the major focus in the archives recently. There are often multiple copies of each Dance Concert, so listening to the same songs over and over can drive one to the brink.

Another issue is sharing the video online. With Dance Concerts, almost all of the music is copyrighted which raises real concerns when posting them. Yes, people do it all the time, but it is illegal and the cost of licensing each song adds up. Have a suggestion? Please come forward.

As in most cases in the BFS Archives, we do not have a complete collection of Dance Concert videos, so we ask anyone with copies to share with us. We will return your copies in good condition! We are missing complete Dance Concerts for 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, possibly 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. We are also interested in videos from other years, especially for comparison.  If you have any Dance Concert videos hiding in your homes, please email

So, I’ve posted two Dance Concert videos, as transferred, without adjustments: one with original music which gives an idea of what VHS degradation can look like, and one with the music track muted due to licensing issues. For the latter, most of you can provide your own soundtrack by singing The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.”

Sing along, friends – it’s “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and it’s fun.