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TVDM 21500: Fiction Field Production

The Importance of Research

Good period productions require research.  Below is a sample search on a Civil War topic.  It is not comprehensive but an example of places to go to research.  You may need to visit an historical site or library archive.  See my Documentary Workshop guide that contains tips on searching libraries, archives, and open access databases containing an array of media.  

Sample Search: Civil War

Search the library's Catalog for books:

Civil War AND Death (subject fields)

Civil War AND United States AND photo*

Civil War AND Encyclopedia 

Search America History and Life, a history index, for articles

civil war us 1861-1865 AND everyday life 

Search historical news such as: Proquest Historical Newspapers: US Major Dailies

Abraham Lincoln .   --  Date: prior to 1865

& Library of Congress, Chronicling America    soldier and death between 1860-1865

Search military records in Ancestry, Library Edition 

Search Military,  James Montgomery, Virginia USA,  1837

Search for images in ArtStor

Civil War

Search online archives such as the Library of Congress Digital Collections

Civil War

Background Research


General Articles

Current News ("Ripped from the Headlines")

Historical News



Country Profiles

Period Piece Visuals

Methods for searching the library catalog for visuals:
  • Keyword search what picture you want (ex. canals, country houses, cars, carpets, casinos or cathedrals)  and then browse these materials for pictures.
  • Target illustrated resources by going to the Advanced search option of the IC Library catalog and in the first slot entering--ill. illus.--with the "any of these" menu option. Then enter your search term(s) in the slot below. Library records with any illustrations carry either the abbreviation "ill." or "illus."   
  • Also in Advanced Search try entering "Pictorial works" "as a phrase." Then in the slot below enter the thing you want illustrated. If this works, it will retrieve resources that are primarily composed of illustrations--assigned "pictorial works" as a subheading. But be aware that this subheading is often omitted even from heavily illustrated works.

Browsing library stacks  There are sections of the library collection where it might be most efficient simply to browse for illustrations. Below are some likely call number ranges:

GT   500-2370: Costume, Dress, Fashion
GV: Dancing [dance works tend to be lavishly illustrated]
NA: Architecture, including public buildings and domestic architecture
ND: Painting
NK: Decorative Arts 
       1700-2195: Interior Decoration
       2200-2750: Furniture
       4700-4890: Costume
TR: Photography
        624-835 Applied Photography [books of photographs]
TT: Arts and Crafts, including furniture making, upholstering, dressmaking, hairdressing, and high fashion

For styles from the past 150 years, try browsing some of the Library's bound periodicals (4th floor, Towers side):
Century Magazine (1881-1913): AP2 .C4
Harpers (1850-1916): AP2 .H3
Life (1937-2000): AP2 .L548;  Life in Google Books;  Life photo Archive (Google)
New Yorker (1948-2000): AP2 .N6763
Sears Catalog (1896-1993)  included in Ancestry Library Edition (must access on campus)
Vanity Fair (1913-1936): AP2 .V32+
     These are all heavily illustrated with prints, photographs, and/or advertising.

For images in other popular magazines, click here.


Apps for Filmmakers

I haven't tried these but thought you might be interested: 

Camera Rental

Have a setting guide you refer to? Let me know:

Location & Maps



  • Google maps. Get directions to and from a location.  
  • MapQuest   In addition to maps, access yellow pages, gas stations, and local information.


You'll need to know the time of sunrise and sunset for the shoot.


Documentaries about Productions gone wrong:
Watch Lost in La Mancha to learn about a production gone wrong.  It is a documentary about problems on Terry Gilliam's shoot.  I also recommend Jodorowsky's Dune. Some of his creativity is now found in graphic novels such as The Incal. 

Sound Clips

Try these sites for free sound clips:

You can check these out from the library's Multimedia desk (jot down the CD number):

  • Radical Music Library This 3 disc collection of royalty free music can be checked out from Multimedia.  It includes: mystery/supernatural, modern rock, and acid jazz.
  • Royalty Free Music Revolution This 7 disc collection of royalty free music can be checked out from Multimedia.  It includes: world tour, pop rock, nuevo chic, hip hop underscores, heavy rock, electronic edge, and biz underscores.

Cathy Michael

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Cathy Michael
Ithaca College Library 953 Danby Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850‑7002