About digitized moving images

The copyright status of the movies you can view on this website are one of the following:

  • In the public domain.
  • Owned by the City of Vancouver.
  • The copyright holder has granted permission for the Archives to make a low-resolution available.

These movies are in WMV format, are greatly compressed, and are of lower quality.


Copies of most moving images are available in three different formats:

  • Digital file.
  • DVD movie.
  • Digital Betacam tape.

A basic description of the movie is included.

We are unable to email copies of moving images.

We sell only complete copies of a file. Even if you need only a small part of the movie or video, we can only sell you a copy of the whole movie.

Digital files

For each moving image that you order in this format, you will receive the file on a CD with MPEG2 files.

This format is suitable for playing on a computer, but not on a DVD player. It may be edited in programs that accept MPEG2 files. They are similar in quality to a commercial DVD.

The bit rate of the MPEG files will vary, but most are about 46 MB per minute.

DVD movies

Each movie comes on a separate DVD. This format is suitable for playing on a DVD player.

Digital Betacam tapes

You will be provided with a Digital Betacam tape containing the movies you ordered.

Digital Betacam is a professional format. If the movie is available in this format, it will appear in the "Other Formats" field in the database.

Fuzzy grey screen

When films are digitized, the entire film is digitized without trimming. The fuzzy grey screen is the leader.

Sound or silent

Some of the movies were originally created without sound. In the "Physical Description" field, the movie will be listed as either "Sound" or "Silent". 

MPEG2 technical specifications

Most of our movies have been digitized to Archives specifications and have consistent properties.

Some of our movies have been acquired as digital files and the encoding may not be the same.

  • Digitization standard: NTSC
  • Frame rate: 29.97
  • Pixel depth: 32
  • Image size: 720 x 480
  • Audio: 48000 Hz
  • Bit rate: 6–8 Mbps
  • Aspect ratio: Same as original

Services and fees for buying copies

Price list

List of prices for ordering copies of archival materials from the City of Vancouver Archives. Order digital files, custom scanning, photocopies, and more. Prices listed do not include HST or other taxes. You can pick up your order or have it mailed to you at additional cost.

Buy a copy of an archival document

You can buy a copy of a non-digital resource or get a high-quality copy of a digital one.

Order your copy online

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