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Online Historical Media Database

Published 02/04/2011 and rated Ratingstars5 5 out of 5 stars
by AppAppeal Editor
What can you use the app for?

Historic videos and photos can be very intriguing finds for some people. Others may actually need one or two for a personal, professional or educational project. Critical Past is a website dedicated to providing this type of media to internet users. The site features over 57,000 historic videos and more than seven million photographs taken from well and lesser known periods in history. It boasts the “world’s largest collection of royalty free archival stock footage.” A bar graph at the bottom of the homepage display decades from 1890 through 1990 to depict how many clips Critical Past has during each ten year period. 1940 is by far the most extensive with 1960 and 1930 following behind, at least for now. Users can also search for specific items using keywords.

CriticalPast screenshot
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What is the history and popularity of the app?

Critical Past was founded in 2007 by Andy and Jim Erickson. The team currently includes fewer than ten individuals in Dover, Delaware. Critical Past was intended to provide historic videos and photographs to its users. Today, it still serves this purpose and does so quite will with millions of photos and thousands of video clips from significant times throughout history.

What are the differences to other apps?

Many websites offer stock photos and similar media. Critical Past is appealing because it focuses specifically on history. Users can find video clips and photographs from some of the most momentous occasions and events since the 1890s.

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How does the web app look and feel to use?

The Critical Past website welcomes users with a dark color scheme featuring grey and red. The design works exceptionally well, especially alongside both color and black and white video clips (which are featured on the homepage). A keyword search tool can be found near the top of the homepage, complimenting the stylish star and circle logo.

How does the registration process work?

Visitors can create a Critical Past account by clicking the small white “Register” link at the top, right hand corner of the homepage. The following page contains the registration form which requires an email address, username and password. The user must also check the terms and conditions box at the bottom of the form before submitting the information. After doing so, the user is advised to check their email for a confirmation message which must be accessed to complete the registration process.

What does it cost to use the application?

Anyone can create a Critical Past account for free. There are no subscription fees or purchase requirements to maintain an account at this time. That being said, the site does not offer access to its material for free. Users can locate clips and select the download format. Based on this information and the length and type of clip being purchased, the user will have to pay a flat price. For example, a one minute black and white clip with no sound from 1945 costs around $5 for a basic download. Users who wish to utilize the Pro options can pay anywhere from around $5 to almost $140. The Pro options are intended for professional use while the basic options are geared towards the average user.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Critical Past is an excellent resource for anyone who has a need or interest in accessing old video footage or photographs. There is a great deal of history available and for the most part, the average user will find the pricing very affordable (depending on how many items they purchase).

  • Browse clips by decade then year and location
  • View videos and photographs taken from 1890 on
  • Purchase material in basic and professional formats
  • Learn about the video or photograph from the item’s page
  • Search for material using keywords or dates through the search tool

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