This blog tells a bigger story via the history of television that wraps back in to explain what we’re currently mid-process with at Thomas Productions. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
So, by freshman year high school, I’d already been a filmmaker for many years, having started out with a grayscale Quickcam in the 3rd grade. There was even a short time I had considered starting a business called “Fool Your Friends with Funny Fotos” because that’s precisely what I enjoyed to do — use a mix of Photoshop and ClarisWorks (yes, that’s right) to erase backgrounds from one picture and put a person over a different background they were not originally taken in. One example even had myself and sister “sitting” in a hand — these looked rather cheesy, considering my young age at the time, but it was a start. I also would use the QuickCam to do stop motion photography with my toy dinosaurs on the dining room table back in the ’90s — if I can ever find recovery clips, I’ll keep you posted.
Moving on, once we got an actual Sony Handicam for Hi-8mm video, middle school was where I started editing digitally. But, for space saving reasons, I would typically only edit projects at 15 fps for the time being. It wasn’t until mid high school began that I ventured into the full 29.97 fps reality of smoother motion. First few projects that likely permitted me to do this were “Mother” (2001) and “Brave New World” (2002).
Brave New World was the last movie project I got to film for a class before the rolling blackouts of 2003 in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the time, I had not yet started storing any video files on external hard drives and the like, nor did anything a la cloud computing even exist yet. I had turned in my only VHS copy (yes, again) to my teacher, and due to PG&E failure that year, my computer was fried. The digital copies of my first 25 films *EVER* were destroyed.
However, via an “older” VHS and DV Digitizer, I’ve been recovering old “fieldy” footage still in existence from “Brave New World,” amongst other lost pieces like “Whodunit,” still with the raw Hi-8mm footage tapes. Yes, they have started degrading a bit more now, some 15 years later, but watching myself direct all these years later is like reigniting my initial passion. This likely was my 2nd-most adult film, despite being for an A.S. English high school class! The ones that are online from that time period exist at all because I still happened to have VHS copies at all to redigitize, but sadly, those original digital file edits have been eliminated.
Long story short, and moral of this story: always back up your files, and you will be saved!
Learn more about the differences of NTSC vs PAL here: