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Personal Work Timeline

The other night I was going thru old invoices from the 90's. I had to dig out an old Filemaker file to look something up and reading thru it was like going thru a journal or a diary. It was fun and I came across some interesting jobs and even if YOU don't want to read them, I'm putting here so I can have them all collected in one spot.

January 1986 - My First Live Television Broadcast 

I ran camera on a show called "Thoroughbred Review". Back in those days the 'high tech' graphics we did involved me taking apart a race form, using a heavy ball point pen and a straight edge to cross out the horses that didn't actually run, mounting these pages on a black art card with spraymat and then framing up and tilting down the list of horses as the director called for the move. Technology baby!!!

June 1992 - I Bought My First Hardware

One month before I got married in 1992 I bought my first hardware, a "souped up Video Toaster". I remember talking over the fear of the investment with my dad. I told him that I had one client that had told me that he would give me all his work if I bought this hardware.

My dad said, "How much work are you talking about?"

"One job a month."

"How much is that worth?"

"Probably no less then $500 a month."

Then he asked, "What is the lease payment on the hardware?"

"About $500 a month."

Then my dad said, "Why are we having this conversation?"

I went the next day and leased a $10,000 computer that from 1992 to 1997 basically printed a $20 every time I hit the Return Key... Needless to say, it was a good investment. 

Early 1995 - My First Tapeless Production

We had just purchased the Video Toaster Flyer and toyed with the idea of doing a job completely tapeless. We packed the Flyer up in road case and took it to the shoot. I remember that whole day giggling every time we called out "Roll Tape"... yea, we didn't have any tape but old habits are hard to break. Most of us STILL say roll tape even though we normally don't shoot on tape anymore at all.

May 1995 - My First Tapeless Playback to a Live Audience

We were supplying tape playback and director services at the Northern California Emmy Awards night. In addition to directing the live show Phil Azzopardi was floating around during the cocktail hour and pre-show shooting the 'festivities'. While I was directing the live show Doug Johnson, now at Fat Box in Redwood City, was cutting a highlights reel in an empty office about 50 feet down the hallway. An output from the edit system was ran down the hallway and showed up as a crosspoint on my switcher.

We were using Version .9 of the software and a few minutes before we had to roll the highlights reel to the audience Doug jumped on the com and told me, he couldn't determine how much pre-roll he needed to make the timeline play. After testing playback from the $3500 full height 9GB hard drives, Doug told me that the timeline would take anywhere between 10 seconds to a full 60 seconds before it actually started to play. What do you do? We went for it... at the time we HAD to have the timeline play we got lucky, it played quickly and the audience never knew what was going on.

January 1997 - First Firewire Edit

I had met a guy who was pretty high up at Adaptec. He was looking to tryout their first Firewire I/O card. The final feature set wasn't even decided yet. He brought me a PC (I know right??) and asked me to cut together a video about a trip thru the wine country on some train. My friend Phil Azzopardi had shot the footage.

When he asked what I thought of the process I told him that you couldn't really expect a video editor to work without seeing your work on an NTSC monitor. They hadn't thought anything of the downside to working ONLY in the Adobe Premiere canvas window. After my comments they reworked the firmware on the card so that if you kept the camera attached during the edit you could watch your work on a video monitor if you hooked it up to the camera, a work flow that became totally normal in the DV world.

This was 2 years before Apple released the Blue and White G3 Macs with Firewire.

July 1998 - My first 16x9 Animation

No big deal really but the first time I produced anything in 16x9 it was an animation that I did in a piece for Intel. I had done the whole piece in 4x3, it was totally finished when they told me... "oh by the way, this needs to be 16x9. Is that a problem?" I remember thinking how cool it was that I was able to change the canvas size in After Effects, re-position a few keyframes and be done with it.

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Reader Comments (5)

This is cool. However, you left out the dorm room video system from college and Mitsubishi RGB monitor (still working, BTW)

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam Brown

". . . even if YOU don't want to read them, " Did you say that? Of course, I want to read them! Thank you for putting them here so even I can "have them all collected in one spot."

Fun Stories, Chris. I remember so many of these tales and how exciting it was -- I did not understand anything, you know, right? But hindsight is wonderful! What if you had not done this -- where would you be today? You love what you do. Who could ask for more than that?

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Fenwick

I think I was doing titles at that Emmy show, remember? I can't remember the workflow, but the titles were done in PS and we were feeding the key and alpha at the same time through some piece of genlock hardware, it would interpret 32 bit TGAs or TIFFs.

I remember even we didn't know who the winners were so I had to get the right title ready just before it came on.

Those studio-on-folding-tables shoots were fun. Except how heavy everything was. CRT monitors, toaster/flyer road had a pretty nice setup though, it was all packed in to that nice case.

The other thing I remember is the catered lunch was stuffed gamehen. mmm.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Massee

I remember the first tapeless shoot.

I was the dude yelling roll tape.

You were way ahead of the times.


January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony S.

reading that, make me remember my amiga experiences in the past....

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeo Copello

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