Thread: 80s camcorders?

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    80s camcorders?
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    what sort of camcorders did they use in the 80s? mainly for stuff like: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ijAYN9zVnwg and http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vp-is6S_b_g (or perhaps those were both film, but the DP's sucked) more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBGIQ7ZuuiU / http://youtube.com/watch?v=thhhAoadjXM

    I know of the Sony Betacam SP and that it was popular in the 80s and 90s for this kind of thing, but I'm just wondering if there's anything specific you'd guys know about to get this effect

    I'm looking more to actually use an 80s analog camcorder that would have been used back then as opposed to using a modern camcorder and making the footage look bad
    Last edited by getyoursnackon; 04-29-2008 at 01:24 AM.


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    Senior Member NOMADIC's Avatar
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    shoot 60i ?

    I know the chips in those cameras had terrible ghosting, which gives that 80's video vibe.


    Some of those videos were probably in much better condition, but because someone dubbed them on VHS and had them sitting in a box for 20 years, they look like crap now.

    On a side note, did you know 10 years ago, there was an HD VHS format. haha.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-VHS
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    Cinematography/Lighting Mod Ryan Patrick O'Hara's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Video has come a looong way since the 1980's. If you would like to match the quality (or lack of) of the 1980's video camcorder I would love to see you actually use one.

    You should also be aware that you have not mentioned whether you are wanting to emulate PROFESSIONAL or CONSUMER grade video from that time period.

    For instance think of todays cameras: Are you emulating an F900 or a sony Handycam?

    For instance consumer HD Televisions have existed since 1969! (Japan)

    So, if you want to emulate the consumer (home videoish) look then the formats of Betamax, VHS, SuperVHS, or Video8 would do nicely. Later options of High8, VHS-C, and other formats would work for the 90's, up until the age of DV. (Note VHS-C is of equivalent quality of VHS but in smaller cassette).

    If you want professional Betacam, or Betacam SP was a very popular option, Panasonic's MII not so much, and U-Matic tape for before the 80's . Those are all options, although lots of studio work would have the camera's running to professional decks and not recording to on board tape decks. Those were usually 2 or 1 inch tape.

    I was born in 1985 so this is just my view on the world of video.

    -ryan

    If cinematography wasn't infinite, I'm sure I would have found the end by now.


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    Director of Photography TimurCivan's Avatar
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    Panasonic AG-155 "Reporter"....

    I have one. It still works perfectly..... I love panasonic stuff.
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    D-VHS, wow, I had never heard of that until today. That's really stupid. What a waste of money developing that paperweight.


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    Senior Member TMY's Avatar
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    Man, I love shooting with betacams. you could spend an afternoon driving nails into a wall with it and it would still fire right up and shoot awesomely.


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    Senior Member j's Avatar
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    google plumbicon or saticon.


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    Ryan's post is great. I helped a buddy shoot the Democratic Convention in SF with a 3 tube Ikegami and a 3/4" u-matic deck hanging on your shoulder. What an anchor.

    Before that it was 16mm Kodak VNF (video news film) reversal, which stations souped in-house and threw on a primitive film chain for transfer. Thats where the saying "Film at 11" came from, because it was in the can but not on tape yet. The film looked pretty darned good, but usually the film chain reduced that to mush.

    I have a friend here at work who buys stacks of vhs camcorders on Ebay for his kids to use making Godzilla movies and hitting each other over the head. Sounds do-able... Fisher Price makes a toy video camera with a pretty heinous image as well.


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    Chapelgrove Films
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    And there's always those cheap Aiptek camcorders you can get at Walmart that record onto SD cards. There's another brand of similar camcorder they sell for about $60 -- can't remember the brand right now. It's pretty sucky.


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    Cinematography/Lighting Mod Ryan Patrick O'Hara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chapelgrovefilms View Post
    And there's always those cheap Aiptek camcorders you can get at Walmart that record onto SD cards. There's another brand of similar camcorder they sell for about $60 -- can't remember the brand right now. It's pretty sucky.
    It's true that if getyoursnackon wants horrible looking footage that there are modern digital cameras that can deliver... but there are different kinds of s*%tty.

    Betamax, my suggested format for a 1980's look (if lit and composed well can keep that 80's look with a professional look as well) is a world away from what we know as s*%tty digital footage. Betamax and all of those formats were analog tape formats.

    Our bad digital stuff suffers from compression, pixel artifacts, 4:1:1 color space and other handicaps, while betamax footage suffers from other ailments. Looking at footage, the colors and sharpness suffer but without pixelation, and the resolution is much lower then SD. (330480 (250 lines): Umatic, Betamax, VHS, Video8) I would also venture to say that much of this look also has to do with the lenses of the day. Consumer/prosumer betamax cameras probably had really crap glass, and would have a certain look because of it. Todays crap glass is probably MUCH better then back then. Last of all, analog betamax tape, if not stored and taken care of properly would not have dropouts or pixels but rather tracking lines or jumbled signal as the tape rolled through the video heads. This wasn't a technical breakdown of exact differences but some observations that show there is a difference in s*%tty 1980's footage and crappy 2008 footage.




    I would also venture to say that if you want the 80's look and in the 80's production design is what is going to make or break you.

    If cinematography wasn't infinite, I'm sure I would have found the end by now.


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