Viewfinder: Why Did You Buy Your Camcorder?

While most of us will answer that question
a bit differently, just about everyone of us was strongly influenced by
the same thing in making the decision to go out and buy a new camcorder.
Even a good number of serious hobbyists and professionals had the same thing
in mind to some degree when they were shopping for a camcorder: the desire
to reconstruct a memory, to re-create an emotional state for posterity.
Consumers have purchased at least 28 million camcorders since 1985 and they
have made their purchases for this one simple reason: to reminisce.

It’s a funny thing when you think about it, the human quest for feelings.
We take vacations each year for the peaceful feelings that we get from the
experience. We go on roller coasters seeking fear. We buy speed boats, fast
cars and motorcycles for the thrill. We buy large houses to show off our
worth and feel pride. We buy big cars for comfort and to show our status.

In a similar way, we buy little plastic devices full of electronics in the
pursuit of other feelings. We buy CD players to experience the feelings
that the world’s leading recording artists create in song. These can be
peaceful, calm feelings or a whirlwind of agitated emotions. We often use
telephones to speak with our family and friends, seeking comfort and familiarity.
We buy computers and video games for the excitement and thrills that they
give us, as well as the feelings of accomplishment we get from winning.
Camcorders and still cameras allow us to relive good times. They give us
the same feelings we get when we reminisce. Camcorders, however, do a much
better job of this because we get the illusion of motion and sound. In a
limited way, you might say that camcorders actually remember for us.

What do we really get when we watch a video recording of our kids’ birthday
parties from years gone by? We don’t get the memory at face value. We really
don’t care too much about the actual seconds and minutes that make up a
birthday party. If we did, the videos would be just as fulfilling right
after the party or the next day. Videos are like fine wines, scotch and
antique furniture; they gain value as they age.

What we get when we watch a video shot 10 years ago is the ability to see
how we have changed. We may be seeing the same sights and hearing
the same sounds, but we are older and wiser. Watching a recording
of days gone by, we can remember how we saw the world around us back then.
We remember both our innocence and naivete. When we remember our youth,
we remember that we are growing old.

Watching old home videos can be quite a shock to the system. We become more
human when we see ourselves in times past. In essence, we’re willing to
invest several hundred dollars in a camcorder for the privilege of being
able to humble ourselves in the future.

So break out those camcorders and videotape everyday things in life as well
as special occasions. Your camcorder is a magical device that can preserve
the memory of the places you live and the people you love. Something as
uneventful as the family around the dinner table or your young child’s soccer
game will surely bring you great joy when you watch them years from now
and reminisce.

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