Monday, July 26, 2010

Thoughts on old video

I've been busily digitizing my old 8mm and Hi8 video tapes (See Also: Nothing is forever) using a Sony GVD-200 Digital-8 Walkman. It's been fascinating to watch stuff from 20 years ago, much of it shot on a Sony 8mm video camera:
  • I can't believe how bad the footage is; especially the 8mm video! With low resolution and poor color, a $100 camera today blows this video away (and that 8mm camera cost about $1,200 in pre-inflation dollars!)
  • The zoom lens is terribly noisy
  • The auto-focus unit is even noisier!
Video cameras have come such a long way, it's really unbelievable.

Quite a lot of this stuff was shot before I had any good means of editing the video; all I could do was dub from the camera to a video recorder, and use simple cuts. Net result; not a lot was really edited! Because of this, I wasn't a very good cameraman; when you start editing your material, it really informs the way you shoot video.

Even more shocking is how much of the stuff I can't even remember shooting! I've got video of things that I vaguely remember shooting; and seeing the video refreshes that memory. But I have other video that - despite the fact that I'm in it! - I have no recollection of at all! And I can't blame alcohol or other substances for this lack of recall!


NotesOnVideo: Nothing is Forever
Wikipedia: 8mm Video Format


Arlen said...

I definitely agree about how editing makes you a better camera person.

Can you post a native resolution still from one of the videos you've captured so we can get a sense of what the quality looks like?

Michael Murie said...

I will. The problem isn't so much the transfer as the quality produced by the camera's - and the video format itself.

It's not just the resolution; the color in the 8mm video is pretty awful, but a bit better in Hi8.