The World’s Largest Maritime Film and Sound Archive 

Hello, and a big welcome to The world’s largest maritime film and sound archive, and to our award winning DVDs.

The Snowbow maritime film archive has taken over 23 years to create. Gathering thousands of clips of rare film, and combining them into over 40 DVDs, we can take you on a journey through the sights and sounds of maritime history dating back to the turn of the last century. The archive includes rare film of ships no one ever imagined they would see again. Snowbow are uniquely placed to bring you these DVDs due to our specialised maritime knowledge, and our experience of film and TV production.

Our film archive covers every aspect of shipping in the 20th Century, ranging from the once great transatlantic liners right down to the smallest of coastal and river craft. Capturing not only the sights of bustling ports and life on board the ships, it also captures the sounds familiar to those working or travelling at the time, immersing the viewer in an atmospheric walk through the golden age of shipping.

The film used in our DVDs has undergone extensive restoration and research making sure that, in the end, it has been restored to the highest TV Broadcast standards. Some of the film we have managed to find was in an almost unrecoverable state. So bad in fact that even organisations such as the British National Film Archive were unable to help save it.  However, at Snowbow we never give up on saving any rare film and have spent as long as a year carefully restoring some material, frame by frame, knowing that it was the only copy in the world showing scenes of these beautiful maritime vessels.

Rare film of the Titanic’s sister ship discovered

I never know what we will find next. For example,  I received a reel of old film from Ireland, and one look told me that it was in dire need of serious restoration. Because the film was made of extremely volatile cellulose nitrate, it was going to be a difficult and dangerous task. The silly thing was that, because of its extremely poor state of decay, I didn’t even know at that stage if the film had any recoverable images, let alone what they might be. Even so, I knew I had to at least try to find out. When, many months later, I was as ready as possible to attempt to copy it to a digital format, I remember the Telecine copying technician’s warning. “There’s every chance, because of its delicate state, that it will be torn to pieces before it can be copied”. I knew this was the only chance I had, so I asked the technician to go ahead… I closed my eyes an prayed and thankfully, as the huge machine gobbled it up, flickering onto its monitoring screen came its long lost secrets…  I could hardly believe my eyes for it was an extremely rare piece of film of White Star’s ‘Olympic’ filmed not long after the sinking of her sister ship, the ‘Titanic’. White Star had made this silent film to try to win back the public’s confidence. It was an amazing piece of film.

Now, thanks to this remarkable film you and future generations can, for the first time, experience exactly what it was like to have crossed the Atlantic aboard those great ships. In fact, when you watch it, it’s so real you can’t help but feel that you are aboard the “Titanic” itself and, I promise you, it will make the hair on the back of your necks stand on end.

Watch Des’s interview on ITV Meridian below about the most important discovery of his career. John Ryall went to meet him at his home in Peacehaven near Brighton.

Not so very many years ago, Britain was the biggest seafaring nation in the world and was home to the world’s largest navies and shipping industries. Today such maritime greatness has almost been forgotten. But thanks to Snowbow and all the work we have done, every aspect of that greatness is now safely captured in our DVD archive so the whole world can once again enjoy that greatness.

The archive covers maritime scenes and shipping all over the world, showing ports and shipping as they used to be in their heyday from as far afield as Australasia, the Far East, Pacific Islands, North and South America, North and South Africa, the Middle East and the whole of Europe… It really is a huge archive.  Click here to search our archive content or contact Snowbow direct for further information.

Browse our DVD Collection of rare maritime film