As a tool for a television broadcaster or a well-moneyed consumer, the craft of video production was an elitist's profession or hobby in the early days. Not only did you need to have the means, but the creative gift and the technical skills to produce video.
The first Home Movies were made using film – celluloid, and the consumer film camera only came out for very special occasions. Many times one roll of film that would cover an entire year's worth of events. When video arrived, it was still a costly hobby or business; the average camcorders ranged from $1,500-$2,300 and their footage was horribly lacking in quality.
From poor low-light abilities to limited color saturation and bland contrast, film was still preferred by professional and serious users. But video has evolved tremendously from its cumbersome and expensive beginnings.
From huge shoulder-mounted camcorders to smartphones; from mega tape-to-tape editing suites to simple computer editing; from VHS distribution to the internet; from streaming video to instant uploading, video has come a long way!
Timeline of Video Production Milestones
1964 – Videocassette for consumers idea developed by Koichi Tsunoda, a Sony engineer
1968 – Sony Portapak introduced as first consumer two-piece video recorder
1969 – Bell Labs develops the first Charged Couple Device (CCD)
1975 – Sony introduces Betamax decks
1976 – JVC brings VHS decks to market
1980 – Sony and JVC concurrently bring first consumer camcorders to market
1981 – IBM introduces the PC
1984 – Apple introduces the Macintosh
1985 – Sony introduces Video8 format (some sources say Kodak did this in 1984)
1985 – VHS-C developed
1986 – Videomaker's first issue launched in June
1987 – S-VHS introduced
1988 – Hi8 introduced
1989 – America's Funniest Home Videos debuts
1990 – Newtek introduces the Video Toaster Flyer, considered the first non-linear editing system
1991 – First CD-burner
1992 – Sharp introduces first LCD screen for camcorder
1992 – First smartphone – the IBM Simon
1995 – Mini DV introduced by Panasonic
1996 – First DVD-ROM players
1997 – D-VHS introduced
1999 – The Blair Witch Project – first successful movie made with consumer RCA Hi8 camcorder.
1999 – Digital8 introduced
1999 – iMac DV One of the first consumer NLEs introduced (iMac DV)
2000 – Hitachi introduces first DVD-RAM camcorder
2001 – First DVD burner
2003 – Major camcorder manufactures standardize high definition video (HDV) format
2003 – JVC announces first HDV camcorder, the GR-HD
2004 – Panasonic and Sanyo release first flash memory camcorders
2005 – Samsung introduces the DuoCam – a still camera and video camera in one
2007 – Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone – one million units sold in first 74 days
2008 – Nikon releases D90 – First DSLR to shoot video
2009 – Motorola Droid released – 1.05 million units sold in first 74 days
2010 – Apple releases iPad
2011 – iPad 2 released, with live TV abilities
2011 – Canon announces first 4K camcorder in its consumer lineup
Jennifer O'Rourke is Videomaker's managing editor.