1878 films and counting...

SIXTEENmm - Blog


In Review

It's been about four months since we came online.

In that time we've gone from just over four hundred films, to just under nine hundred.

We've created tools like filmTrace to increase recovery rates of old and damaged films like The Great Train Robbery.

Still from 'The Great Train Robbery'

We spun our own cut of The Phantom of the Opera.

Still from 'The Phantom of the Opera'

And finally through a lot more research, a lot of cursing, and some luck we managed to create a colorization process that has allowed us to breathe new life into films like Murder, Ahoy!.

Still from 'Murder, Ahoy!'

So what's next?

More locations

One of the frustrations with the intricacies of international copyright law has lead to one of the frustrations of viewers worldwide.

You can't guarantee you have rights everywhere, and so you have to cut up the film collection according to the location of the viewer. Geolocking.

Americans get one lot of films, Canadians another, Australians a compeletely different set and so on and so forth.

This is the reason SIXTEENmm is only currently available in Australia and New Zealand. We'd love to support more places, but the fact is that we can't, and we're not willing to make that compromise.

Some of our films simply couldn't be broadcast in some other nations because of the companies squatting on the distribution rights. Like this one:

Still from 'Nosferatu'

However, that is not a permanent state of affairs. We have begun working towards something that should allow us to show more films in more places. This is a monumental project, and will probably take somewhere in the region of six months to complete.

But its exciting.

The first film to get the new treatment, and kickstart this process will be Atom Age Vampire.

Still from 'Atom Age Vampire'

More colour

There are more colourisation efforts coming, and some recolourisation of older efforts.

The Great Battle of the Volga and Gamera the Invincible are being redone right this moment, and Top Hat is getting a new interpretation.

Colourization is a difficult, time-consuming process, and to be frank, not all films should be colourized. Sometimes that isn't apparent until you've finished the process, wasting time and money.

We have colourized and thrown away results before. Frequently.

Malice in the Palace was our first test case. It coloured really well. It looked great... But it was a silent film. A silent slapstick comedy film.

Still from a colourized 'Malice in the Palace'

When I tried to watch it, my brain rebelled. It expected a laugh track, and it expected to hear people yelling at each other, and it expected to hear the clatter of the plates hitting the ground. Without it, it was a surreal experience. It would be possible to do this well, if you spent a year or so with some decent voice actors and sound technicians putting together a really decent soundtrack... But not just colour.

We've also, up until now, not touched a single horror film. Black and white horror films use the medium extremely well. They shouldn't be brought into colour, because it would probably look hilarious and destroy the atmosphere of the film, and be an insult to the efforts put in to create it.

We're cautiously optimistic for the future. Quite a number of films created right at the edge of the colour revolution can be translated well with our process. Hopefully we see a few more successes.


The website works on mobile, tablet, and desktop easily. You can watch it as easily on a laptop as a phone.

However, TVs tend to be cruel masters. Smart TVs generally don't come with a decent web browser, but rather a broken one, and so generally can't play our films.

So, we're working on two things to make it easier to watch on your TV at home:

More films

We've almost uploaded the contents of our first collection.

However, we have three more collections to go.

Our promise of an ever-expanding library will continue to be answered for the foreseeable future.

Our first collection contained nine hundred odd films.

The next, our second, contains around two thousand.

Atop of these collections of older films, we've also begun negotiating with a few indie filmmakers. We can't give too many details, but we're looking to have some modern films that reflect some of the trends that Hollywood has given up on - but we continue to adore.

A preview of coming films

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