There is very little film footage of the Seattle Pilots. They didn’t have a television contract and the news stations tended not to keep their sports highlight archives for very long because all of that film took up a lot of space. Fortunately, a promotional film about the Pilots, created by Pilots director of communications Bill Sears, survives. It’s called The First Voyage and it’s a terrific piece that shows how the Pilots were born, introduces players and shows some in-game highlights. Until recently, the film was only available on VHS, which had been duplicated from the original 1″ tape transfer. In fact, many of you own that tape. Well, Bill Sears was kind enough to entrust us with a 16mm print of The First Voyage long enough to get it transferred to high definition video by the good folks at Alpha-Cine in Seattle. I really didn’t know what to expect because I was warned that a nearly 40-year-old film might have faded out and the image compromised. But when I saw the final product I was stunned. The colors are rich and the details are sharp. Here’s a comparison:
The top image is taken from the old VHS version (which was used for the trailer.) And the bottom image is of the same frame from the new HD version. Notice the color and detail. You can now read the word “Detroit” on the visiting player’s uniform. You can see much more of the picture because the old transfer lopped off about 20% around the edges. It’s like a totally new film and the images from it will be a key part of the documentary.
And speaking of images, if you or someone you know has film or still pictures of the Pilots and you would be willing to let us use them in the documentary, please let us know by emailing Steve using the link on the side. Full credit will be given.
Stay tuned for more updates…