What is audiovisual conservation?

The process and activities which result in the stabilization and protection of original audiovisual elements, often involving inspection, cleaning and repair of those materials.


What is digital audiovisual maintenance (Digital media management)?

A formal endeavor to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable.

All digital technologies eventually become obsolete. Computer and hard drives become out dated, as do their connecting wires. Therefore there is a continual need to replace hardware and software with their contemporary versions. It is also necessary to ensure your audiovisual digital files and their players stay up-to-date, otherwise you will not be able to open, view, play them. In a way, these digital files, their players and storage areas are similar to having an old tape, an old tape player and a shelf where you store the tape. Just like an old tape, such as a VHS or MiniDV, it becomes out-of-date and so does its player. From time to time you even need to make sure your old tape is stored properly and not starting to grow mold from humid weather or suffer other deterioration. Eventually you might have your VHS tape put on new media, play it on a new type of player, and move the original VHS to a better storage location for safe-keeping. Doing this with your digital files is referred to “migration”. It’s a process of keeping your digital media (data), its players and storage facilities up-to-date and duplicated, so they will be playable and accessible for many years to come and not just until it all becomes obsolete. To learn more, please visit our Resource page. Our Best Practices Guide is coming soon)


What is a digital transfer?

A process of transferring analog or digital audio or moving image recordings onto a contemporary digital format called a codec which will result in a digital file such as a ProRes422, Quicktime, Mpeg4, etc. that can be played on a computer.  


Where can I find more information on home analog (film/video/sound) preservation?

Please visit our Resources page for more information. 


Where can I find more information on home digital preservation & maintenance?

Please visit our Resources page for more information.


Why is it important to conserve my home movies?

ALCF is part of an every growing collective understanding of how significant home and amateur audiovisual recordings are, both for one’s personal family history and for society at large. These works give insight into our cultural history and our possible futures. They unravel mysteries and even the recording of the most common place activities can document a time and place that will never be again. Some home movies include local and national landmarks that are no longer there, people that are no longer with us. They are a cultural documentation like no other and therefore important to conserve for generations to come. They are an educational tool like no other.


Why is it important to share my home movies with a larger audience?

Part of ALCF’s mandate is to promote an understanding of the importance of home and amateur recordings and make more of these works available to the public. Surprisingly, a large audience does exist for home and amateur recording even when they don’t have a personal connection to the people or places in the films and videos. ALCF also believes in the creative reuse and editorial contextualizing of these recordings to bring greater understanding and joy to audiences. (See our Content Sharing page for further information).


Please note: 

Grantees do not receive any funding directly. These budget amounts are applied to work done at partnering film and video labs for the conservation and digital transfer of analog moving image material. Additional costs such as shipping to and from labs and hard drives are covered but funding/cash is NOT sent to grantees. ALCF provides pre-paid shipping labels and lab provides hard drives. If budgets come under projected amount, grantees do not receive residual cash.


Why does ALCF give their grantees digital transfers as files on a drive instead of putting the transfers on DVDs?

Giving grantees their digital transfers as both high quality digital files and web quality access files will allow for ease in sharing their audiovisual stories. These files can be made into playable DVDs, uploaded to user generated content sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and others as well as use with a digital projector. The high quality digital file also far exceed the quality of a DVD. Additionally DVDs deteriorate, scratch, break and will eventually become obsolete (Many laptop computers do not include a DVD drive anymore). We want grantees to come away with their original analog materials in the best possible condition after the conservation process, along with modern formats for the best possible sharing and maintenance of their digital assets.


What media formats are eligible for conservation & digital transfer?

ALCF will  accommodate most analog (non digital) formats. We encourage applicants to research on their own, what formats are analog vs digital (For example, all film is analog, some video tape formats are analog and some digital). Analog generally speaking is pre-digital technology.

Additionally, there will be cases where ALCF will not be able to award a conservation and digital transfer, regardless of the date the recording format came into existance. This may be due to the rarity of the format (and as a result the transfer equipment is rare or non existent) or a complicated circumstance involving the format, and/or a situation where the format renders the expense greater than what ALCF can support.


Why do ALCF grants require that the funded digital transfers get uploaded to Internet Archive (

ALCF has followed experts in the field and genre of home movies, such as Center for Home Movies and the like, by using the Internet Archive ( as a resource and tool for sharing home and amateur movies. Further more, currently many professional preservationists and archives are increasingly including public access as part of the definition of preservation, which ALCF also subscribes to. The Fund believes that sharing these works with large audiences through the World Wide Web will help raise awareness of their social and cultural significance and provide further research opportunities for families, genealogists, students, teachers, archivists, historians, enthusiasts and others. Plus, home and amateur made movies are just fun to watch, so why not share great entertainment?


Why will ALCF sometimes ask for proof of ownership?

ALCF respects the fact that these audiovisual materials are the creation and property of others, and although we strive to share these materials with communities and the public at large, we want to make sure that we have permission to do so from the rightful rights holder or custodian. The current rights holder is often not the creator, as some materials come to people and organizations by way of inheritance, donation and other avenues, but there should be some proof of ownership, or documentation of acquisition, even if it's a personal letter. This way ALCF feels as though we’re handling and sharing material with the permission of its owner or custodian.


Why does the North Dakota grant give special consideration to recordings made in the southeastern area of the state?

ALCF’s namesake and inspiration is Al Larvick, a man who spent much of his life in and around Valley City, North Dakota. Because of this fact, the Fund gives special consideration to the Sheyenne River Valley area of southeastern North Dakota.  To learn more about Al Larvick, please visit


Why does the ALCF grant application ask about the importance of my home movies to my personal legacy and/or American culture at large? What is ALCF referring to?

ALCF’s committee and board wants to know how much each applicant understands and takes into consideration the importance of their materials within the family and their extended community. Home Movies and amateur creations can give great insight into family history and dynamics. For communities, these works can show local traditions and events of the past, sites and environments that no longer exist and societal attitudes. They are history lessons and are often enjoyable to watch together. Internet audiences watch these works for the same reasons and more. We want applicants to think about these factors, but to get specific about the possible people and events in their media (if they know or think they know what's depicted in their movies) and why they believe they’re important, both on a personal level and a culturally historical level. Even the most mundane activities can be notable if put into proper context.


Why does the ALCF grant application ask so much technical information about my home movies?

ALCF asks for a lot of technical information such as format, condition, number of reels or tapes because conservation and digital transfer is a technical process. The Fund offers small grants so we need to make sure we can deliver what we award and that it is within the grant budgets. We also want to help educate our grantees, if they lack understanding of what they have and the costs associate with conservation and digital transfer.


I am a filmmaker who would like to apply for an ALCF grant so I can use my home movies in a documentary I’m making.

ALCF doesn’t support film production budgets, but if you are someone who will use the digital transfers from an ALCF grant with family and your local community outside of your documentary film, as well as within it. Please include an explanation of how the media will be used to fulfill the ALCF's mission in your application statement, and emphasize the other ways you will share your media. Please keep in mind that ALCF uploads the digital transfer onto Internet Archive ( when the conservation and digital transfer is complete whether your documentary is finished or still in production. ALCF and its sponsors also ask for appropriate credit in the documentary film credits.


What is Creative Commons (CC) licensing? Why does ALCF require grantees to select a license option, which includes CC’s options?

Wikipedia’s definition of Creative Commons licensing is as follows:  Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available to others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. Creative Commons licenses does not replace copyright, but are based upon it. Read more here.

 ALCF requires our grantees to choose a license category to apply to their digital transfers that are uploaded onto the Internet Archive ( so they have some control as to how their content can be used by a wider audience. For instance, if you only want your home movies to be viewed and not used or repurposed in other people's work such as amateur movies or videos on YouTube, professional documentaries or commercials, then you can set those limits.


What is the definition of public domain?

It is a term used to describe a work (in the case of home movies, the work is the footage) that is not protected by copyright and may be used without permission of creator or former rights holder. 


If I receive a grant from ALCF, does that give the Fund any propriety rights over my movies?

ALCF does not claim any ownership of your media ever. The Fund does retain a high resolution copy of all conserved digital transfers we've granted. The agreement between grantees and the Fund states that ALCF is allowed to publicly screen any home or amateur works which are awarded an ALCF grant. This does not imply any ownership, but just permission to share your home movies with the public and use copies of what we've conserved to promote the Fund's work.


Where does ALCF get its funding from?

ALCF looks to receive funding through the generous contributions of the general public, from grant opportunities that support the Fund's mission and goals, our amazing sponsors that give in-kind products and services, and through support from the Larvick family.


How long will it take for the ALCF Board & Committee to make decisions on who will be awarded grants every year?

The decision process can take up to 3-months from the initial submission deadline of the application until final decisions are made. If there are applications and budgets that prove more involved and complicated than expected, the decision process can take a little longer. 


More questions? Please email us at