I have an interest in old video and audio equipment, I just like the technology and the aesthetic of it. I have a couple of pretty interesting bits of kit. The first is a old Sony EV-S9000E video Hi8 VCR. I think these things were briefly developed as a replacement for VHS by Sony, but also they were sold as a way to easily play back your home videos taked with a Hi8 camcorder. I got if of eBay sometime ago. I don’t have a TV that I could connect to it, however I can connect to a BlackMagic Intensity Pro 4K via component connectors. So I can play and also capture the footage off tapes onto my computer.
The VCR has some pretty clever features, including things like frame advance and slow motion play. All of which can be controlled either by the remote or a control panel. Its a fairly retro piece of equipment, I am not sure how old it is but it still works perfectly.
One thing that this technology really drives home for people like me that have just really only used computers, is that editing footage etc back then would have been much more difficult. I suppose it would have required two of these or a camera that allowed for component input to really do some editing.
The other bit of technology I have is for DVCAM and miniDV. It is a Sony DSR-25, which is essentially the same thing for DVCAM and miniDV tapes. This connects to a computer via firewire, so its a little simpler to get the footage off. All that is required is something like dvgrab or Kino on Linux. Some editors can also import the footage directly.
This connects to the same computer, I can to put in a £7 firewire card as it didn’t have one. Firewire isn’t as popular as it once was, and to be honest it really didn’t make it as standard on PCs, although for a while it was on Macs. My 2011 MacBook Pro has a firewire 400 port.
I actually have an old JVC miniDV cam, so I can produce footage for this one. I don’t have a Hi8 cam, but I did get a few tapes with the VCR. I would like something to handle Digital8 tapes. I have looked for VCRs on eBay but they go for crazy amount of money, £500+. Having said that the EV-S9000 is listed at £900 sometimes. I could get a camera with DV out, but that is not as appealing. I did have one once, not sure what I did with to be honest. Probably went back on eBay.