Retro Technology Is In?

I recently read a story stating that old vinyl records, (you know, what we used to call L.P.s), are making a comeback. And not just the old fogies, but new releases, but does anyone have a turntable to play them on anymore?

When audio cassette tapes entered the market, no one thought they'd take over the better-quality recordings found on vinyl, but when CDs came along, we were all hooked. Or were we hood-winked?

Yes, CDs offered instant track access, and they didn't pop or crackle, but, boy-oh-boy, when a CD cracked, your "album" was toast. At least with vinyl you could skip the needle over the scratch. 

Well, the same thing happened to we who use video as our preferred medium. In the good old days, you didn't have to think about formats, codecs or bitrates, you only needed to know if your video was Hi8 or VHS. Then they came up with miniDV and everyone was happy.

Then… along came the DVD cameras, and some marketing spinner said it was the next best gadget to have, and where are they now? The DVD cams were clunky, with delayed starts, and the only benefit was, yep, instant access to a clip you shot without having to rewind.

I was just wondering, I don't suppose I really want to go back to the old days of VHS tape, of course, but I do like the digital video format, it's clean and easy to edit with. I use miniDV, but all these other digital acronyms, codecs and formats blow my mind: Mpeg, DVCAM, DVCPro, h.264 (Properly pronounced H-dot-2-6-4). Am I alone in the frustrations of this alphabet soup conundrum?

I told someone recently to keep that old Hi8 camera, in case he gets a client that needs some old video transferred. There's definitely a market for transferring analog footage. You can find out more on transferring old formats from author Tom Benford in our story "Digital Video Converters". There's also a market for transferring film, but it's a bit more cumbersome. (read our story, "How to Transfer Old Film" by Garret Maynard too).

And if you have a hankering for reproducing that "warm" sound that vinyl released, we even have stories showing you how to dub audio from a record player. Try this one on for size, "Unconventional Audio", by Hal Robertson. And what about all those record players that have now made their merry way to electronic waste piles? What a shame; good players, some of those; with diamond-point needles, too. But let's forget about 8-track cassettes, although, one advantage they had was, yep.. jumping to the next track in an instant. As for analog cams… I doubt anyone will lament the old VHS cameras anytime soon.


Related Content