Does anyone remember "U Film"?
October 30, 2012 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone remember U-Film?

Back in middle school (mid-to-late 1980s; suburbs of New York City), whenever I had to give a presentation in class, I chose as my visual aid a device known as either "U Film," "U-Film," or "You Film." I am now looking for more information on it.

U Film was a do-it-yourself filmstrip: you took a short roll (perhaps 10-25 frames) of blank, white, frosted 35mm filmstrip film, and drew directly on it. You could use colored pencils or markers: the surface took multiple media and colors quite well.

Then, you'd load it into one of those old filmstrip projectors -- the kind that you advanced frame-by-frame -- and the images would be projected onto the screen. When I made U Films, I would have a semi-prepared "lecture" to accompany the images.

I'm a film professor now, and thought I might do a little research into this device, as it intersects with a number of interesting areas of film history.

The terms "U Film" and "You Film" are damnably hard to Google, and I'm having a hard time now researching this near-forgotten piece of educational a/v history.

Does anyone remember U Film? Does anyone know how or where I might find some more information about it? I'm interested in ANYTHING I can find: who manufactured it, where it was used/distributed, any alternate uses it might have had, its general history, even personal anecdotes about it. Anything.

Any MeFite A/V geeks from the 1980s out there?
posted by Dr. Wu to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I remember it, and Googling tells me it was called a "U-Film Kit" and was made by Hudson Photographic Industries of Irvington, NY.
posted by dilettante at 9:29 AM on October 30, 2012

posted by travis08 at 9:35 AM on October 30, 2012

Google Books search is giving me a hit on what appears to be an advertisement in this 1978 volume of Instructor magazine. It's only showing me snippets of the page but the bit I can see says,
"U" Film—the Write-On Filmstrip. You can draw on it, write on it, type on it and erase it. Teachers have been using it for years to create their own exciting instant filmstrips.

Now .... many teachers have turned "U" Film" into "hands-on" learning experiences that have helped their children use all the study skills they're acquiring in planning, structuring, organizing and summarizing.

...Put "U" Film into your children's hands and watch them create excitement with such "basics" as Language Arts, Math...
posted by XMLicious at 9:40 AM on October 30, 2012

This PDF from 1993 has instructions for making a filmstrip.

I made one in middle school. We were each given a plastic container to keep them in, with a label on the lid so we could write our film title. Mine is still around in a box somewhere; it was too neat to throw away.
posted by stefanie at 9:44 AM on October 30, 2012

Ha! Yes! My mom has been teaching fourth grade for enough years that she'd probably kill me if I said out loud, and she definitely used to use this stuff. She had a bunch of old spools from the 70s/80s that she dragged out for the last time to make a presentation for grandparents' day when I was in her class back in the mid 90s.

If I remember correctly, it was "U"FILM and was black writing on a yellow label. If that helps.

That was so fun.
posted by phunniemee at 10:55 AM on October 30, 2012

As soon as I posted my question, my 'net connection started flickering - an after-effect, perhaps, of the hurricane. Sorry for the delay.

Thank you all for these terrific links and suggestions! It really helps my research.

stefanie: I can't download that PDF; in fact, clicking that link crashes my browser! Any other way to it?

Somewhere in my mother's house are the U Films that I myself made; I'm going to try to dig 'em up. If anyone else has any stories or memories of using it, I'd be really pleased to hear them!
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:09 PM on October 30, 2012

Sorry about the PDF. I extracted the filmstrip instruction page and uploaded it here.
posted by stefanie at 12:39 PM on October 30, 2012

Thanks, stefanie!
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:37 PM on October 30, 2012

« Older Seeking the best stories, across all genres, about...   |   Medical Miracles in TV or Film? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.