Monday, October 21, 2013

Video in the 80s and 90s

The 1980s were an amazing time to be a kid, especially a geeky kid.  Technology that either didn't previously exist or was too expensive for the middle class suddenly became available.  Sure, it was expensive - at first - but by the middle of the decade, we had real video gear, along with video games, home computers, electronic music, and more.

Lucky for me, my mom worked at a major consumer electronics company - which no longer exists, except as a brand name - so with her employee discount, we were among the first to have a VCR.  That top-loading beast must have weighed forty pounds, featured manual channel tuning, and a wired remote that only controlled two or three functions.  But it was coolest thing I had ever seen.

A few years later, we got our first camcorder, which was even cooler.  That little piece of awesome is the subject of an upcoming post - I'll get to that in a minute.  Shooting home video was fun, but with no easy way to edit, half of the equation was still missing.  So the camcorder came out of the case less and less the older I got.

By the time I started high school, I knew that I needed to have my hands on technology for the rest of my life.

The photo bug had bitten me hard in my early teens, but photography couldn't beat radio for pure geek appeal.  I worked at my school radio station for two years and was sure that I would be spinning the hits for a living.  Until I got to college.

I would have been happy to study radio, and only radio, if it had been an option.  But the program was broadcast production, not just radio.  I took the TV classes because it was part of the program.  Once I learned how to edit, as well as shoot, video, there was no contest.

Pictures trump audio.

Here are a couple of college projects I worked on in 1991.  I was behind the camera for both of these clips, and did all of the editing on the second one.  The cameras and studio gear were cutting edge at the time, but it all looks painfully dated now.

After college, I hopped from job to job like so many people do early on.  But I never lost my passion for video.  Sure, I got sidetracked into other jobs, other hobbies, but cameras consumed me.  They still do, and I love it.

At the end of the last post, I said I was going to talk about my first camcorder, the one we got in about 1985.  I don't have the actual camera anymore, but last year I found one just like it on eBay.  When I dug it out last week, I discovered that I don't have a working battery for it.  So, while I track one down, I'll have to profile another camera from my collection.

Since the last post was about a film still camera, I'm jumping forward a couple of decades and talking about a digital video camera that I couldn't have even imagined when I was 13 years old.  In 2013, though, it's already obsolete.

It's the original Flip camera, and I'm putting together video samples now, so look for that in the next few days.

On a non-video note, I have a very good reason for not getting a new post up sooner.  As one of those people that can't pass up an opportunity to do something he's never done before, there was no way I could let this one get away.  Two longtime friends and co-workers got married over the weekend, and they asked me to perform the ceremony.  It was my honor and my privilege.

Congrats Brian and Cathy!

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