About 30 years ago, I was finishing up my degree in broadcast journalism at UTC. It was a brand-new degree and department at the school, so there were only a handful of us pursuing the degree. This gave me access to some pretty amazing stuff for the time.
My friend and fellow student, John Sellman, and I could essentially check out a couple of cameras and recording equipment and then get into the editing studio to work on our projects any time we desired. These were the days of 3/4-inch videotape. It was the same equipment used in newsrooms around the world.
The cassettes were about the same size as a Tom Clancy paperback. The recording devices, which you carried in a shoulder pack, were as big as a decent-size suitcase, and the camera looked like a bazooka on your shoulder. The connecting cable alone was the size of good garden hose.
We did what any self-respecting student would have done and figured out how to make a little money while we were getting our higher education. We did a couple of television commercials, both of which actually aired on some cable stations, and we did a couple of music videos for local bands, including one for my older brothers' band, Musical Moose.
We loved it.
About the same time, my boss at Violet Camera came back from a trade show with news that he had purchased some video transfer equipment. It took up a corner of the Brainerd store and was state-of-the-art at the time. It was pretty cool to take a box of old 8 mm and Super 8 film, some photos and slides and add some transitions, music and titles to create a single VHS home movie for people. It was pretty mind-blowing stuff.
I bring all this up because I spent the weekend transferring that Moose video to my computer at home. I used a setup that was pretty similar to what I had used at the camera shop, with a camcorder, VCR and a bunch of cables. It took about 30 minutes, and that included running the audio through a filter, dropping it back in, adjusting the color a bit and uploading it to YouTube.
Three things kept running through my head: The first was how dated the video looks, which is to be expected.
The second was that today I could essentially do the entire thing on my phone.
The third is Kip singing of his love for technology at the end of "Napoleon Dynamite."
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.