Creative and technical fusion

playsport cam

playsport cam

I now own a full 1920x 1080 HD camera that is waterproof to 10 feet (sounds better than 3m) that records onto SD cards and is the size of an iPhone. The price for this amazingly futuristic device just over £100! A 32-gig card cost me £23, in 1980 20 gigs was around a million dollars and weighed 2,000 kgs and the size of a small terraced house.

The advance of technology in the AV industry is relentless. It simultaneously makes demands on our change management and yet stimulates our imagination into what is possible. When I started out as a geek in the industry 30 years ago the purchase of my newest toy would have been unimaginable.
By the way it strikes me that when geeks were told for years to “Get a life” they did… Second Life.

Yes I am going to venture into ‘Old Git’ territory and tell the youth a thing or two…

It used to take a team of about six engineers in a studio just to keep 4 studio cameras registered. This entailed moving and sizing the red, green and blue tubes just so they would line up on top of each other, as they would wander off as they changed temperature. This gave red, green and blue edges or cyan, magenta and yellow edges depending which edge. We did a rough line up before rehearsal and then a fine line up before recording. But even when on air we would have to do the odd tweak, it was quite an art nudging it the right way so it was corrected rather than making it worse.

EMI 2001

EMI 2001

(EMI 2001 picture courtesy of The Museum Of Broadcast TV Cameras)
And don’t even get me onto the “Portable” cameras, describing them as flaky doesn’t come close.

The progress of reliability, storage and processing power is phenomenal.

But what are we doing with all this storage and power? I suppose it is part of human nature that we are greedy. We want more pixels, more tonal depth, more speakers and with 3D, more dimensions!
When 4D arrives you will be able to go back in time and change your programme choice! If you stumbled onto Gok Wan’s How to Look Good Naked, you could rewind your life and choose a better channel. Is it just me or is How to look Good Naked modern parlance for The Emperors New Clothes, no one has yet dared whisper “Don’t you just lose a few pounds?” ooops sorry Gok, the cat is now out of the bag.

I digress; my point is that although our technical quality has improved beyond imagining it doesn’t automatically make for better programmes. Quicker, faster, bigger, cheaper might improve the bottom line and even feast the eye but it doesn’t feed the soul.
We need programme makers that can vault the hurdles of our multi channel, reduced revenue landscape and not just entertain but educate, inspire and enrich our lives.

Only when creative visionaries, geeks and politicians unite do we truly surpass the mundane.



Although I am starting to feel like an “Old Git” I am not nostalgic for all those lost production hours lovingly cajoling decent pictures from our cameras but I am because we can’t fly as a paying passenger at supersonic speed over the Atlantic or go to the moon today.

Maybe a magical fusion of advanced digital technology, the Internet, creative story telling and political will is just around the corner in Salford?

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Barnsey's Life