British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Tracing The Footage

How would you find out if this footage made it onto British television screens? What was broadcast on the Chile Coup? It can be difficult knowing where to start and how to search online for this material. This interactive timeline takes you through this research journey in a series of simple steps.

How to Find The Footage

  • Where do I start?

    With the broadcasters

    Start by asking the simple questions.

    Who were the main television news broadcasters in the UK in 1973? How often was the news broadcast? At what times? This will show you where to start looking, in this case the BBC and ITN, and further questions to ask of material once you find it.

  • Is it online?

    That depends…

    …on what you mean by ‘it’! Both broadcasters have online catalogues ie a record of content that they hold at BBC Motion Gallery (registration required) and  ITN Source. These are records of content held and are worth checking regularly for additions, amendments and enhancements.

    Some of the records will have a preview ie the film has been digitised but this will be a small amount. Content is often digitised ‘on demand’ to mitigate costs so it may depend on whether the footage has been bought in the past.

    Although the footage may not be available, the records can help build a valuable picture of the footage available to broadcasters and, to a degree, the movement of material between UPITN and them.

  • What am I looking at?

    Understanding the results

    If you did a search for “Chile” and restricted it to September 1973 you would receive results from both catalogues but what are they telling you? Was this broadcast? Where did it come from?

    ITN Source manages moving image collections as well as its own material so these results will include ITN and Reuters footage. ITN content will be a mixture of broadcast material, rushes and third party footage including CBS and UPITN. Reuters footage is television news agency content. This has a detailed synopsis, shotlist & cameraman credits.

    BBC Motion Gallery records have the broadcast date together with the position that the story occupied within the bulletin. What is worth remembering is that bulletins changed during the day & we don’t know which one this relates to.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if…

    …and it is

    Wouldn’t it be great if you knew that footage from the UPITN collection was broadcast together with the date and the time? Occasionally two vital pieces of information have been digitised, linked together and published in the same place.

    Interview with new Chilean Envoy

    from the UPITN collection can also be found in the  Jisc MediaHub (for subscribing UK universities and colleges only) as part of their (selected) ITN collection under

    Chile Coup

    The important information here is in the Associated Media tab which includes digitised newscaster scripts. From them we know this formed part of News at Ten, the late evening edition broadcast at 10pm. The late evening script also gives us the context for the interview using footage of the coup broadcast on Chilean television, Allende’s widow Hortensia Bussi confirmation of his suicide from the Mexican embassy in Santiago and the appeal to the UK Foreign Office from the Chilean ambassador in London for protection.

  • Digging Deeper

    Don’t take things at face value

    As we have seen collections contain third party content and as a result the same footage can appear in different collections. Not only does this provide an interesting research path but it can mean that the most detailed description comes from another provider.

    A key story of the Chile Coup concerned allegations (subsequently proven) that prisoners held by the junta in the national football stadium in Santiago were tortured and killed. This broke on 23 September 1973 and was covered by UPITN and

    The BBC covered this story including an interview the two British eye witnesses, broadcast on 23rd September. This is the BBC Motion Gallery record

    News: Chile Sitn: Junta Holds Prisoners in Stadium

    However there is far more detail on the interview provided by Reuters via ITN Source

    Chile: Batch of Detainees Released….

  • Remembering

    Develop your own system

    The challenge with this type of research is to document the content and its provenance as you go along. It’s easy to get carried away in an online environment moving between records and clips on multiple tabs as you discover more. It’s difficult to remember where a clip came from or a snippet from a description especially if they relate to the same event. Develop your own system for recording what you see, where you saw it and why it’s of value.