A little videotape history

(and some links for equipment lovers)

It’s really a conundrum that the camcorder industry put the cart before the horse with videotaping and editing. Growing up (a long, long time ago), there was and actually still is, an 8mm film editing console in my basement (I know someone in my family used it at some point but I never saw them). So it’s clear even film companies realized how important it was to make good home movies.

8mm film editor

8mm Film Editing Console
And back then, wasting film wasn’t an option because of film processing costs so you could conceivably sit through Uncle Ned’s home movies. Now, editing is needed more than ever because videographers tend to shoot longer than necessary, just because they can with video tape and disk space relatively cheap.

Investing in editing equipment over the last 30 years was only cost effective for the serious professional, with editing suites costing $100,000 to start. At video editing post production houses it cost $500 an hour just to sit in the chair! But with the advent of digital technology, smaller chips, faster computers and better mechanical function, video tape machines, VHS, Hi8, DVC, DVCam, Beta, ¾, 1 inch and all the other dizzying array of formats got better and cheaper and more consumer friendly (and obsolute which is often the case with new technology). Sony Betamax tapeDid you buy a Betamax machine back in the late 70s and 80s?

I still have mine! I just can’t seem to get rid of equipment that cost $1000 then, but is now worthless. It plays a different speed than the professional machines I was using at the time at my television station but the tape stock was and is still the same. Sony BetaSP videotape

So, that’s just a snippet of videotape history and again, isn’t needed to learn how to edit. I’ll wax video nostalgic later on down the road but right now, let’s get busy and make a very simple dog, cat, kid or insurance movie that will give you some confidence and the desire to try it again and again.