Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ordeals In Upgrading Media

In 1994 I bought a Panasonic 4-Head VCR. In 1997 I bought a Hi-8 Camcorder. Now it's 2007 and I have amassed a relatively small but still space-taking collection of VHS & Hi-8 tapes, mostly recorded off of TV (when cable was still $12-40, had few commercials, and a diverse set of channels), some recorded events like my brother Colin's wedding, San Francisco Bay Area Puppetry Guild shindigs, and other random stuff.

Sadly, that very well-made VCR would cost a lot to repair (Note to self: Never pack a VCR in styrofoam peanuts!) though it is so much better built and (when it worked) records better than the crappy plastic JVC behemoth I had to buy in a pinch (2003). And in any case I don't watch Cable or Satellite TV anymore (a growing trend in Hollywood. Ironic, huh?) so having an analog playback device around constantly is no longer necessary. Soon the U.S. government will be forcing everyone to upgrade to digital TVs (2009) and shutting down analog TV signals altogether in 2012, so my eventual goal is to move entirely to computer-based playback.

Anyway, this desire to upgrade my media situation coincides with my recent post about wanting to put clips from "Lifeformz" online, the only copy I have of which is on VHS. I bought a Canopus ADVC-110 for this purpose, a cute little box that digitizes analog to DV quite nicely. Granted, DV is not the best format because it can cramp colorspaces but for my budget and purposes it should be fine.

Discovered that even DV footage takes up a TON of disk space! My poor Mac was running dry after just 2 tapes. So I bought a Lacie 1 TB drive with USB 2.0, Firewire 400 & 800 ports. There we go. 60 hrs!

Today I just took a look at the entirely open-source Neuros OSD multimedia device, which seems to have evolved a bit since I last checked. Might have bought that instead had i known I could watch Youtube with it and that it doesn't need a computer. Ah well.

Incidentally, you can actually recycle VHS tapes and other media through a company called Green Disk.

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posted by Brian at 3:59 PM 0 comments links to this post