The Early Years

Posted on May 17, 2009

In the 70s when the first portable video machines became available I made a couple of promos for local groups. There were no editing devices at that time, so I had to edit in camera. To show the finished result I had to let the group take the portable, complete with a small monitor, around to promote themselves. People were very impressed with the concept, even if they didn’t like the group. It did however get one group a recording contract, The Martels. They released one record. “Time to say Goodnight”. Later, when colour machines arrived and editing was possible I shot groups and bands with 2 cameras. One camera would shoot a wide shot and the other get all the close ups. I then laid down the wide shots and inserted the close ups.

The hardest and most challenging edit I had to do was when someone brought me a video they had shot of a band. They had shot the band on video and recorded the sound on a reel to reel machine but… the video was silent no guide track!. I had to lay the sound on to a video tape, put the pictures on a master tape and then, by watching very closely the vocalists, match up the sound…not easy.

Moving on to the 90s, when editing became more sophisticated, I worked with a company that shot a lot of music concerts in Brunei, Elton John, Bobby Brown, Bryan Adams, James Ingram and many others. We would shoot with up to 8 portable cameras and the sound was recorded on a multi channel mixing desk. It would then take me a week or two to edit. All the cameras had sound, just recorded with the camera microphone, as a guide track. I had a 4 machine edit suite, recorder and 3 playback machines. I would take the tapes from the 3 most important cameras, sync them up and take their best shots then work my way through all the other cameras. When I was happy with the result my master tape went to the sound man who married it up with his final multi channel mix.

If we do something like that today editing is so much easier with non linear! Load everything into the computer, lay all the material onto the time line and away you go.

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