The Anti-Video Revolution
San Francisco, CA, January 15, 2011 - The year was 1985. It was a glorious year for video. My parents had a big shoulder held VHS video camera; it had this amazing feature: it recorded video by pushing a button. You could zoom in and easily capture moments. Video editing was built-in feature because you were well aware of how painful watching hours of unedited video was, and as a result you “edited” on the fly. It was a very technical and sophisticated technique: you alternated between the record and stop button to capture only the footage you wanted. The result was a recording that was very watchable. The quality of the camera was an incredibly adequate 240 lines of resolution. The recording medium was the fabulous and nearly indestructible plastic video tape. After shooting your video, you wrote the subject of the video on it and, because the tape was about the size of a book, it fit perfectly on the book shelf. Then the magic happened. When you wanted to watch one of the videos, you quickly perused the titles on the shelf, grabbed the tape and inserted it into the same video player that was used for watching movies. I personally witnessed at least three single women, two Dads, and (I’m not kidding) one Mom execute this process and watch a video. Let’s review: insert blank tape into video recorder, masterfully record a once-in-a-lifetime event, eject tape and label, store on bookshelf, select tape, insert into daily-used tape player, and hit play.
Then it all changed with the release of the cute little Sony 8MM HandyCam analog tape and camera in 1985. The camera got smaller, the recording time increased, the quality was deliciously good, and you felt great when all the Dads approached you awestruck to see and touch your new gadget. The consumer video revolution officially began. We are just lucky live in a world with so many smart engineers; they are so committed to advancing technology and through their dedication and hard work the world will be a better place.
As a husband, friend, Dad and general video shooting enthusiast, I would like to extend a sincere “screw you”, to all those engineers and visionaries. Since the release of that stupid little 8MM tape, which was quickly followed up with a digital MiniDV tape, the amount of video I have shot has increased dramatically and the amount of video that I have watched or shared has plummeted to nearly zero since 1987. So once again, I extend a big “screw you” from the bottom of my heart.
Every time I went out to buy a new camera, I read all the reviews, and discussed my purchase with friends and my local Best Buy expert. The result was always the same: get the camera with the best resolution, the best zoom, the most storage, etc, etc. And another result was also the same. Each camera didn’t increase the amount of video that anybody ever saw but, holy crap, do I have some great video on all those little MiniDV video tapes, or at least I'm pretty sure there is videos on them.
Once, about two years ago, I got out the dedicated cable that connects the camera to my TV and I showed my family this great video of my son singing in his first stage show. It was a great moment and I wish you were there. I’d show you, but now I can’t find that dedicated camera cable. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that one video I made of my daughter when she was two: it was really cool. I plugged in my 20x optical zoom, 100 feature, MiniDV camera to my fancy iMac computer and captured the video in real time (which was cool because it only took about 4 hours). The final edit had music, titles, and a few cute meaningful quotes that made my wife cry; it was special. And, as a Dad of two, running a business full-time and actively involved in sports and enjoying my life, the 20 hours I spent on the edit was time well spent. Because everyone was so moved by this final product, I've repeated it twice and therefore have a total of three videos for the seven years I've had children.
The video technology revolution is well under way but the video sharing and watching revolution has been limited to anybody that has no life and is willing to spend dozens of hours editing videos. I wish, no I beg someone to help me share my video with family and friends. If I could watch and share my videos, I guarantee I would receive a Academy Award for "Best Video of the Year". The only criteria for the award is that only my family can vote.