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Video Production: 1990s and Now

I grew up and reached adulthood in college right before the transition to digital video. I worked at a PBS affiliate doing a live show. Often, I was part of a film crew in the field – i.e., outside of the studio – carrying very heavy equipment that recorded broadcast-quality video. (We usually used ¾” tape. But we also used Sony Beta-SP for the higher-end productions.)


Positive growth in the video industry.

As a student intern in the 1990s at the University of Arizona, I learned to edit on machines that were huge, box-like beasts, each worth thousands of dollars, and two were required to edit. We used hybrid Sony cameras capable of switching between ¾” tape and Beta-SP modules. Together w/ the lenses and shotgun mics, they were $50,000 cameras! It took a lot of tech knowledge and huge cash investments.

3/4″ tape editing machine
Sony Beta-SP broadcast camera
Stock photo of man working with davinci resolve

In 2023, video production is much easier and 100 times less expensive! You can buy a cheap webcam for less than $100, for instance, and many would rival even the Beta-SP of the 1990’s! And video editing software can now be obtained…FOR FREE. I’m talking about true, professional-quality software! (i.e. Blackmagic Davinci Resolve – now in version 18.) Consequently, everybody thinks they can do it themselves.

BUT BEWARE: STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS HAVE ALSO CHANGED. I’ll talk more about that in the next post.

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