30 Years in San Francisco Bay Area Video Productions: Reflections

Video production: it’s been a truly amazing journey. 

I’ve been in the video and multimedia production business since 1981 and in my 30+ years in the business, I’ve seen some absolutely incredible leaps in the industry.  To put video in historical perspective, it was only 22 years before I took the plunge into professional video that Sony, Matsushita, Toshiba, and JVC introduced helical-scan recording, which is the method used since to record on video tape recorders.  It took almost the entire subsequent 22-year span to bring these helical scan recorders into the home.

When I started in video production in 1981, consumer video recording was in its infancy.  Most American homes did not have a VCR.  VHS was still battling Betamax (what’s that?!) for supremacy in the home video format wars.  ¾” tape (huh?) was the staple of industrial and advertising video production and 2” “Quad” machines (what??) were what the “real” broadcast studios used for their best quality editing and studio work.  We rejoiced when the broadcast standard became the relatively inexpensive 1″ machines.

Sony 1 inch video recorderField cameras capable of producing the best broadcast-quality pictures cost more than most houses at the time.  (And now these have been surpassed in quality by today’s consumer camcorders.)  The CD-Rom had not yet come on the scene, and internet use was years away.  Tape to tape video production has given want to compressed video and streaming on web sites were barely the proverbial “figment” of someone’s imagination.  DVDs?  HDTV?  You’re kidding!

 Field cameras capable of producing the best broadcast-quality pictures cost more than most houses at the time.  (And now these have been surpassed in quality by today’s consumer camcorders.)  The CD-Rom had not yet come on the scene, and internet use was years away.  Tape to tape video production has given want to compressed video and streaming on web sites were barely the proverbial “figment” of someone’s imagination.  DVDs?  HDTV?  You’re kidding!

Yet despite the incredible technological advances in video production in my over my three decades, many things have remained constant.  The need to capture and retain audience interest, tell a story, and accomplish one’s objectives were all critical to effectively communicating then, and remain so today.

And as technological advances have brought affordable high-quality video and multimedia into the hands of the neophyte, the need to use them “correctly” has remained.  Just because you’ve got a paint brush, that doesn’t make you Rembrandt!