Rick Prelinger sez,
I’m delighted to let everyone know about our newest Internet Archive collection which, for want of a cooler title, we’re calling 35mm Stock Footage. Digitized from 35mm original negatives and release prints dating back to the first decade of the 20th century, these unedited sequences were shot for feature films but never used. Studio librarians saved them for use in future productions, and now you can download and use them yourself in a variety of formats, including 720p HD, absolutely free. As far as I know, this is Internet Archive’s first all-HD collection.
In the first wave of materials: a trip across the George Washington Bridge in the late 1940s, a snake slithering on rainy ground, aerials of Hollywood studios, 1940s Southern California hotrodders, stunt flying, miniature airplanes crashing, the Staten Island Ferry in the 1930s, and much more. Much of the footage is “process plates” — film shot for the rear-projection screens you see out of car, taxi and train windows in old movies.
We’ve also digitized HD versions of newsreels and short subjects from the 1920s and 1930s, and there are even French “primitive-era” silent films dating back as far as 1905. Please get lost in this collection, make your own movies with it (please upload them to Internet Archive if you can!), and keep watching for more.
Trove of free, public domain HD video