Post Production

The Desktop Video Revolution – Part 2

How desktop technology revolutionised video production – 1997

The video production industry has radically changed over the past 20 years, a period of time that can be called “the desktop video revolution”.  As desktop computers evolved to become faster and cheaper, they gradually displaced the traditionally expensive “black boxes” that had governed video productions over the previous decades.

In Part 2, we jump back to 1997 and look at the production process behind a 30 second TVC for an Australian air conditioning company.  As I explain at the beginning of this video, the TV commercial I examine here has a certain amount of personal significance – it was the first project I worked on after landing my first job.

Every so often I’m reminded of what it was like working in those early days, and sometime I laugh and sometimes I shudder.  It’s difficult to explain to someone how temperamental a chain of SCSI devices could be, or how much of a hassle it could be to simply prepare an audio sweetener U-matic or an EDL for a grading session.

Looking at the many stages of production now, it seems like a long and complicated process to produce fairly mundane looking result – but at the time it was very exciting to work on a project like this, and a relatively rare opportunity to see inside expensive online suites that cost a small fortune.

It’s just as difficult to explain the aura and mystique that surrounded expensive online suites back then.  They were so expensive that every minute counted – literally $20 per minute for the Editbox!  Being allowed to sit in on an online session was a huge treat and one that I savoured whenever I had the chance.

If you’re younger than I am then hopefully you can appreciate how far we have come since 1997, and if you’re of a similar vintage then I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane.

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Jump back to part 1 for the introduction

In Part 3 we jump forwards 16 years to 2013, to see how everything changed…

Return to my ProVideo Coalition channel for more videos…


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Chris was born a geek, and was lucky enough to own a Commodore 64 at a time when the number of students at his primary school who owned a computer could be counted on one…

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