Saving Film History And Memories

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - April 12, 2006
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Alan Nielsen is preserving old footage for posterity
Alan Nielsen is preserving old footage for

Alan Nielsen has had the privilege of converting film footage of Thomas Edison from 1906 into a more modern format. His company, Affordable Image Transfers, preserves images from older technologies, such as an 8-track recorder and a 16 mm projector, so that memories from long ago are not forgotten.

With 14 years as an entrepreneur, Nielsen says he really enjoys it.

“I get to know people’s families and personal growth,” he says. “I see them grow up and evolve into what they are. This is an intimate business.”

Old footage he has seen includes 1970s Primo Beer commercials starring Michael W. Perry. He’s also seen archival video footage of legendary figures such as Elvis, Jimmy Stewart and John F. Kennedy. In award-winning filmmaker Edgy Lee’s Paniolo o Hawaii - Cowboys of the Far West documentary, Nielsen helped convert footage of Will Rogers from 1924.

“We give back to the community, and we save history that’s going to pass us,” he explains. “It’s all been word of mouth.”

He says his most daunting challenge is to keep the old machines in good shape so he can transfer the videos. The only machine he doesn’t have is a wire recording machine!

Growing up in an Air Force family, the Lanikai resident has been in Hawaii for 25 years. Nielsen has worked in the hotel/convention audio/visual bsiness, and in the warehouse of Custom Audio, which is located right next to his shop. Nielsen is part of a business cluster consisting of Custom Audio, Hawaii Audio Video, and Creative Sound and Lighting. The hui helps with any presentation needs. Nielsen loves directing events, such as Santana at the Pro Bowl and Neil Abercrombie’s annual birthday party, with three live cameras. They also work on Bay Fest each year. The crews recently shot the highly publicized Crater Festival with Steve Miller.

“It’s what I do best,” he notes. “Whether it’s old film, or making Hapa look good at Abercrombie’s birthday party.”

Nielsen does underwater video, and he rents video screens and projectors. He can even make a DVD series of family home movies. He’s presently working on an educational television series about ocean adventures.

“I like to exceed our clients’ expectations, and it’s about making people happy,” adds the multi-tasker. “Our customers leave with a smile. I’m giving my clients back a piece of their lives.”

Affordable Image Transfers is located at 46-012 Alaloa St. Hours of operation are from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. For more information, call 236-4445.

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