Videography (Amateur)

Revised: April 18,2020

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Consider this article to be a kind of history lesson in how Videos USED TO BE DONE!.
I still have the old Videonics VCU-1, but it's in a box in the basement.

I, Pete, began to take an interest in videography when one of the members of the Guild of Metalsmiths, to which I belong, started taking videos of our educational events. The tapes generated did contain useful information, but since none of the shots were staged, there were lots of scenes that included folks standing in front of the camera, the demonstrator making moves that the camera couldn't catch, etc.. Audio quality is also terrible in a blacksmith shop and there isn't much you can do about it after the fact. So I started performing simple VCR edits to try to get some of the extra footage out of the tape and to give the topic a little more cohesiveness.

Anyway, I now have an old Videonics VCU-1 non-linear editing unit and my own VHS camcorder, with a remote microphone system. I also have upgraded my PC for video capture, full page flat bed scanning, and I can now send NTSC signals to the video equipment from it.

From a Preproduction standpoint, I am now learning how to plan shots better and to be a little more aggressive in keeping the audiences out of the shots. I still seldom have the opportunity to plan the shots ahead of time.

Production: The remote microphone system allows me to get much better audio. I try to allow some extra space between scenes that I know I will have to heavily edit since the VCU-1 has trouble trying to separate scenes that are only a few seconds apart. But at the same time, I want to do as much "editing" as I can right during the action. It is a real challenge to try to "learn" the demonstrator so I can anticipate their next move and have the tape rolling JUST before the action occurs.

Post production: I guess this is where I spend most of my time. I know that the Videonics VCU-1 is pretty old technology (and I can't do A-B rolls) but I am constantly amazed at its capability to learn the characteristics of my main VCR and to pick out the start and stop points on my originals within a frame or two even when I am making 8 or 10 final production tapes.

Now that I am involved in this video production stuff, even though its at a very much novice level, I will never again be able to watch any kind of production without analyzing it to pieces. I also marvel at the amount of skill and the hours of hard work and the artistic expertise that must go into the professional stuff.

I am always looking to upgrade my capabilities and my gear. If you have some ideas or some (to you) outmoded gear that you'd consider parting with for cheap, Email me.

Check my (sort of) FAQ