The new printing press

SimonKJones ModeratorWebsite User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

Growing up in the 1980s, I always wanted to be a writer. Then I saw Star Wars and changed my mind: I wanted to be a filmmaker. As I then discovered, being a teenage filmmaker in the 1990s was close to impossible. Read more...

This is a comment topic for a blog post.


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,572 Ambassador

    1) Thanks for reminding me I'm old. ;-) Also hardcore.

    2) "Next Week," you say? Hmmmmm.... will my "interesting guesses" pay off to within two weeks of prediction?

    3) As a side note, everything you wrote about video also applies to audio and music. (Insert memories of moving from reel-to-reel to multitrack tape to that first time where I sat in the theater, ripping CD's and mixing audio on my laptop while watching the tech rehearsal, plugging my MiniDisc recorder into the USB port and dumping the final mixes directly out of Sonic Foundry's brand-new "Vegas" software [pre-Vegas Video!]. I felt so high-tech and futuristic on those early "all-digital" projects. Of course, these days I'd complain if I had to rip SFX off of CD's.... But that's why I ripped my entire 500+ disc library years ago....

    4) "Next Week," you say? I have been speculating wildly that an announcment would be made end-of-October, beginning-of-November....

  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

    Yeah, I thought this article might cue a series of people lamenting their age - myself included! :P

    I've never been much into music production, but it does make sense that it's experienced a similar renaissance. I do recall using my MiniDisc recorder to add music and sound to a holiday video edit I did around 1998, which seemed pretty high-tech at the time. Of course, that required a ridiculous level of intuition to get the VCR to start dubbing at the exact right time as I played the MiniDisc track.

    I didn't actually get to play with a proper NLE until 1999 when I went to university and got my hands on the fairly awful 'cheap' Avid system they had. A year later I bought my first Windows PC, along with a Pinnacle DV500+ hardware box and whatever version of Premiere existed at the time. The DV500+ actually was pretty cool, as it has digital and analgue inputs so was great for converting analogue video. Unfortunately they never made drivers for XP onwards, which is a shame as it'd still be useful today.

  • Marcin
    Marcin Website User Posts: 132 Just Starting Out

    I have a birthday next  week :)

  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    edited October 2014

    Perhaps the difference there is that film has always involved editing, but by the time we got to the 80s and 90s the type of editing available to most enthusiast filmmakers was vastly inferior to the standard method of film editing established over decades. It was only with the advent of computer NLE that consumer editing got to a point which was as good as or better than traditional film editing.

    With sampling, that was an entirely new form of music which emerged in the late-20th century, so was inherently exciting. The methods used were inherently part of the style. That was using the technology available to do new things with an art form which had been around for thousands of years.


  • TimLan635
    TimLan635 Website User Posts: 53 Enthusiast

    Oooooh!  Tantalizing hint in that last sentence! 

    I was a bit late to the game as far as the really early digital video revolution, but I remember being blown away by The Art of the Saber, Duality, and "405" (the jet landing on a highway movie) -- that people could make such intriguing films with amazing special effects on their home computers.   Oh, and Waser's "It's Coming" video on the old fxhome forums was astounding also.


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,572 Ambassador
    edited October 2014

    @Tooshka As a teenager we actually did have to do "pause" editing--we weren't trying to edit in-camera, so it was about chaining two VHS decks together and hitting pause on the record deck a lot. After we assembled the cut, then we'd drop down another generation for the audio edit--running the VHS into a Radio Shack (Tandy) mixer along with a couple of cassette decks and maybe a microphone, bringing in music cues and SFX and foley in a real-time pass. Much much fun.

    The crowning jewel of my early audio experiments was the DJ cassette deck my parents got me for my 12th birthday--both sides could play back at the same time, and the deck actually had independent volume faders for each side--the amp I had had multiple tape inputs and would feed input of tape 1 to output to tape 2.... And my OTHER cassette deck was a two-speed BIC deck, so, by bouncing between decks I could do giants and munchkins! Also, by bouncing between decks I could take something recorded in mono (vox tracks) and position them in a stereo field.The DJ deck also had a mic input, so I could patch in a mic, or even a walkman or keyboard to get three sound sources going at once to dump to the BIC.And, of course, sometimes you just had to start spinning records backwards and recording that to tape.

    For one of our "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" inspired "radio plays" (and the radio version of H2G2 is still my favorite version) we had this one air battle scene where we had recorded four or five different VO tracks (I had a 1 second loop of white noise feeding another mic input for the interior of the planes--anytime a plane exploded I'd crank the hell out of the gain so the white noise track would spike and clip), three or four different tracks of fighter planes in flyby and a foley track of "radar beeps." all mixed by bouncing cassettes... It actually sounded pretty sweet, and would almost hold up today!

    Certainly the digital tools we have today are faster, more flexible and more powerful, but I must confess, I did have more fun trying to figure out how the heck I was going to do things in the "bad old" days. I still have most of my old cassettes and am slowly capturing them to a digital format. Heck, some of my old jury-rigged SFX are going into my current production library. I have this great spaceship takeoff made with a microphone, a cup and a small vaccum cleaner.

    @Simon Video wasn't THAT far behind audio in terms of digital coming to the desktop--moving from all analog in the 80's in the 90's it was still about multitrack recording, hardware samplers and outboard gear--I think Pro Tools and Vegas (Audio) both came out right around the same time that Mini-DV hit the market. It certainly wasn't until about 2000 that software like Sound Forge gave me the ability to record, edit and mix entirely within the computer, and that was about the same time that I moved off Hi-8 to Mini-DV.

    That said, in the 90's the outboard gear wasn't TOO expensive, and, for video, your choices were pretty much a flatbed, a couple of frame-accurate decks and switcher, or a Video Toaster.

    Sometimes I walk into the gear room at the LVTV room and see old decks and switchers that at one point I'd have given my left nut for sitting there gathering dust....

  • Ubi
    Ubi Website User Posts: 85

    OMG! I don't know if i can hold the horses one more week!

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,729 Ambassador
    edited October 2014

    Mini-Discs. Boy was I sold a bill of goods on that one. Not only did the music store salesman tell me it was the wave after CDs (and they should have been- easier to work with and harder to scratch due to the wonderful casing) but he said all of Asia and Europe had moved on to them from CDs. So I invested heavily in the mini-disc player, portable recorder and multi-track recorder (supposedly studio grade according to Sony) and there it all sits. The tech from another era wasting away in my studio. The multi-track recorder was the last straw for me and the Sony "proffessional" line of equipement. $1500 and it lasted two years and then needed constant repairs. The portable player lasted 2 1/2 years but the portable recorder is still going strong but I seldom use it.

    Here in the States, if there was a mini-disc revolution it went on hardly noticed. Most of the people I know jumped from CDs to mp3s.

    T23- I used to do stuff like that too but I didn't have as sophisticaed equipement. It's remarkable what you can dream up with what you have though. The main reason I finally switched from a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder (with external effect rack mount units for reverbs, delays and the like) to digital was because the price had come down and I pretty much maxed out everything I could do on the Tascam. That's when I went from mini-disc to Roland's digital multi-track recorder which expanded the tracks from 4 to 8 and included a ton of on board effects from EQ to digital delay to chorus etc.

  • RossTrowbridge
    RossTrowbridge Website User Posts: 424 Enthusiast

    I never spent much time doing editing with two VHS decks. At the time, I was mainly focused doing (not very good) animations with Impulse's Imagine 3D on my Amiga and recording them directly to tape.

    I ended up making several videos at work using a Super VHS camcorder and a Miro capture card (either a Miro Video DC10 or a DV500).

    After switching to PC from the Amiga (I had two 500s, a 1200, and a 4000 before I was done), I went through several early versions of Pinnacle Studio. I've also used Corel's products (Video Studio Pro) and Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum. But these days I'm a Premiere guy. Imagine 3D has been retired and I'm using Electric Image Animation System these days.

    Besides making product support videos for my current employer, I've done a number of short fan films with friends. I'm much more comfortable in HitFilm than I am in AE, so that's where I do the effects shots for my fun stuff. I've even worked in HitFilm (and VisionLab Studio!!!) effects in the work videos.

    I recently found some old DVDs of what my friends and I had done in the early 90s. It's pretty painful compared to what we've done recently. The new hardware and software sure makes a huge difference.

  • Andrew
    Andrew Website User Posts: 379 Enthusiast

    These are really awesome, guys. Poignant, reflective, well-realized and well-written. And presented in such an appealing way. Reminds me of the good old FXhome days of the early 2000s. Nice work, Simon.


    Keep it up. 

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,572 Ambassador
    edited October 2014

    @Stormy Minidisc died in the states because the RIAA threw a hissy fit over digital-to-digital recording. Sony got bullied into adding DRM (being able to dub a Minidisc only once) which added a hundred bucks to the cost of a unit. 

    Oddly  enough Minidisc held on for awhile in live theater. Being able to rename and re-edit tracks on the disc, and the "auto-pause"  feature, where the deck paused at the end of a track, made Minidisc fantastic for running audio cues. 

    Saw Book of Mormon in LA last year--the main audio board was some million-dollar monstrosity with two Macbooks attached. The backup was a Mackie 1602 and two Denon Minidisc consoles. 

    I have a couple of 20 year old Minidisc machines that still work. I need to rip all my old Minidiscs to some kind of digital file... Especially my Dinosaur library (some of which ended up being used in Jurassic Park II.... Too bad I initially made those sounds under a work-for-hire.) 

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