Moving Pictures

For a long time, I have been interested in video.

When I was a teenager we carried a big suitcase with us on holidays containing a camcorder, its batteries and some tapes. When in use, the camcorder had to rest on your shoulder while you looked through a black and white viewfinder. The tapes on which the video was recorded where VHS-C tapes. Bulky 9cm wide and 6cm deep and 2cm thick capable of holding 30 minutes of video.


Although the viewfinder was in black and white the recorded video was in colour. The quality was compatible to a watercolour painting done by someone unable to stay within the lines and then had left the painting in the rain for a couple of hours.

As it was quite okay to carry such heavy equipment when you go on holiday by car and caravan it is another story if you travel by plane.

It wasn’t until several decades later when both the size and the price of camcorders came down I bought a new video camera: The Sony DV890.


This time the video quality was head and shoulders above VHS and operating the camera would not break your back as it weighs in at 400 grammes. It filmed in widescreen PAL resulting in a digital file of 1040×576 copied through firewire. The MiniDV tapes were capable of recording an hour of video, resulting in a .DV file, once transferred, of around 13GB.

Videos were edited with iMovie HD on my original Macbook.

While I shot still images with my Nikon D70, I used the Sony to record the world around me in moving pictures.

Since upgrading the Nikon D70 to the Nikon D300s I suddenly was able to record video at 1280×720 pixels and didn’t have to deal with the long task of digitising the tapes (for every minute of footage you spent another minute of digitising). And, although the sound quality of the Sony was much better, for the second time a camcorder was abandoned…


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