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Activity Forums Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy OT: It still works!

  • OT: It still works!

    Posted by Tom Matthies on July 11, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    Off topic but worth a note.
    I still have one On-line room here that is about to go Bye-Bye. I’m an editor but also the engineer here.
    The room is pretty large since it was designed for that time when MANY clients might sit in on an edit…back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. It’s pretty valuable real estate within the building here and that’s why it’s finally going. I built this thing over 15 years ago and it still has a warm place in my heart. Not only did I build it but I spent countless hours doing edits in it as well.
    Today, just for sentimental reasons, I went in and fired everything up to see what would work and what wouldn’t. Much to my surprise, it all came up and was functional! It all worked.
    I have a Sony 9000 editor, a Grass Valley 200-2 switcher, two channels of ADO, a Chyron SuperScribe a Soundcraft BVE-200 audio board and a lot of stuff to support all the other stuff. The ADO not only passed video, but it still looked good. And no rendering involved when doing moves either. Not bad for 15 years old. The Chyron actually booted and loaded fonts off of it’s huge 42Mb hard drive. (That’s 42 MEGA-Byte hard drive) And the Sony editor booted off of it’s three 3.5″ floppy disks and still came up with our old setup screen still intact. WOW! And the one remaining Sony BVH-3000 1-inch recorder still makes video as well. Man, they built stuff to last back in those days.
    All of you other “old guys” will remember your days in the On-line environment. Those heady days of making lay-off reels, doing pre-read edits if you were lucky enough to have a D2 machine for mastering and asking the client if he REALLY wanted to change the color of the background under a 7-layer graphic. Remember trying to explain to him why it would be difficult to do and why it would take so much time? Those were the days when you really needed to plan ahead on a graphics build.
    Hell, I even go back to the days of Ampex VR-2000 Quad decks equipped with “Editec”. “Poke ‘n Hope editing we called it. Back then it was a good edit if all lf the servos on the deck stayed locked as the edit was replayed.
    Gawd, I’m getting old…
    Anybody else got any good “war stories” from their early days? Anyone else still have a functional On-line, tape to tape room? Just wondering. Too bad it’s got to go…

    Steve Foley replied 18 years ago 9 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Mark Maness

    July 11, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    I agree with you, Tom. Yeah… I come from those days too. But there are so many folks here who wouldn’t understand the aches and pains we had… but then again… we just traded those for new aches and pains.

    And if you have noticed, with all of the technology we have, it still takes about the same amount of time to edit a spot or segment for a show that it did about twenty years ago. Yeah, we can do ten layers of video and awesome graphics now but it kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?

    Anyways… I still wouldn’t trade my Mac for all of that stuff we needed to make a program back then.

    I started out working for a PBS station in college and they were still using the top load 3/4″ tape machines and their idea of A-B roll was two VO-5800s and you pushed play on both machines then used a Microtime switcher to dissolve or wipe between the two and you had better have someone else with you to work the Shure field mixer to do audio fades. That was our edit suite for my first two years. Any graphics that had to be built was done in our production truck that we used for college football games. There went another generation of tape… Mmmm…. those were the days…. Lots of long long hours and long long days… The box of Tums were you best friend. Wait a minute…. They’re still on my desk… Oh well, some things never change.


    Wayne Carey
    Schazam Productions

  • Don Walker

    July 11, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    I sometimes miss the old days, having the flock of clients in the room arguing over the size of the disclaimer super on a car spot, or working on Home Depot commercials (before they went national in the late 1980’s.) My claim to fame is being the first editor to make an edit on the first D2 machine sold to a broadcast outlet in the US. (WXIA, the NBC affilate in Atlanta) I was very blessed to work for them, very progressive, eventually we ended up with a Quantel Harry and D-1 machines in our graphic suite. After freelance in the mid-90’s I ended up working in the online rooms at CNN post production, again I was very blessed to work on great equipment, and with great people. I probably had my last linear edit session last year at Creative Digital Group in Atlanta, just assembling a vingette reel for a client. Now I slave away over my G5 in Texarkana Texas, doing TV for the Lord. Gone are the days of the client looking over your shoulder. Today producers just want to see the final product, not watch the blue render bar march it’s way across the screen.
    If anybody is interested I have a fully functional Sony BVH-2000 (with the built in TBC). My wife would probably want me to get some money for it. But if your ever in Texarkana I could be talked into giving it to you.

  • Alessandro Capitani

    July 11, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    [Tom Matthies] ” WOW! And the one remaining Sony BVH-3000 1-inch recorder still makes video as well. Man, they built stuff to last back in those days.”

    and the 3000 wasn’ as robust as the 2000 series was! No one could match Sony at that time (apart from VPR-3 perhaps, but with other budget figures).


  • Tom Matthies

    July 12, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    And speaking of D2 machines and stuff in storage, I still have a pair of Ampex VPR-200 D2 decks in my garage. They still work great. Just cant bear to toss ’em out. I just gave away a mint Ampex VPR-6/TBC-7 to a friend in Burbank. At least it will get some use there.
    Such is this business.

  • Zak Mussig

    July 12, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    I’m just a kid at this compared to you guys… I’m just in my first full-time editing job. But I actually had to capture some one-inch last Friday off of our Sony BVH-3100. I was told we bought it from some broadcast outlet for something like $50. It made me thankful not only for the G5 I captured it on, but even cassette tapes you can just pop into a camera or deck. It was an interesting experience. I’m kinda looking forward to years down the road when I have that time-tested experience you folks have… and I can have a “remember HDV” conversation.

    Hope the replacement suite brings more good memories,

  • Bob Flood

    July 12, 2006 at 3:24 pm


    not many of you guys know me, and i tend to chime in on a few things here and there, so i am gonna hop on this memory lane bandwagon with a brief history of time, as it were, to kinda get my props out there

    linear stuff i have worked on and with: CMX 3400, GVG 151, GVG 1600, 1680, 200, 300, 110 4000 CDL ???, RCA tr 600, (2″) NEC TT 7000, Sony bvh 2000, 2500, bvu 500, bvh 10,20, 40, 65,70,75, DVW ??? Ampex D2, Sony D2 Chyron 4, (whats a Chyron for, anyway?) abekes a 72, A 62, A52, Ampex VPR 2B, VPR 6 w Zeus TBC Ampex ADO, Ace Keyboard and Touchscreen, GVG Kaleidoscope, Quantel Encore, (whew)

    Non linear: Montage, avid, d-vision, avid, media 100, avid, discret edit (did i metion avid?)

    started as a “tech” shading an RCA TKP 45 (similar to the philips pcp 90, you know, a dinosaur color tv camera in a psuedo portable housing) shooting on a BVH 50 portable 1 inch (portable was a bit of a misnomer, as it weighed 40 pounds) in 1979

    I think the headahces we used to have with color framing on 1 inch (mysterious horizontal shifts etc) have transformed into render issues, as they are equally pervasive and unavoidable

    I think this job is like peanuts. I know its bad for me, but i cant stop….

    bee eph

    “I like video because its so fast!”

    Bob Flood
    Greer & Associates, Inc.

  • Tom Matthies

    July 12, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    Hi Bob.
    Ah yes! Colorframing and ScH phase problems and the every nasty horizontal shifts. I’d almost forgotten about that. It is amazing that, in many ways, editing has become so easy over the years.
    When I was just getting started in this business I worked at a local TV station that had been color for only 6-7 years. It was populated by curmudgeonly old engineer types. I used to endlessly hear how “you kids don’t know how easy you have it these days”. The stories about live commercials, live remotes from Hell and how VTRs were new, unproven technologies. I used to think “Blah, blah,blah…” Old guys telling stories. Well, now I’m doing the same thing telling old guy war stories to people that have never edited in tape before.
    A few years ago I was interviewing a potential editor here. He was familar with a few non linear editing systems, the PostBox and the good old Video Toaster. When I asked him what linear systems he had used in the past, I got a blank stare. What’s a linear editor he asked? I replied “You know, CMX 3600, Ampex ACE, Grass VPE’s and so on”. Well, he calmly replied that he ahd never edited tape before and really had never even had the opportunity to learn to do it. A cold chill ran through me. The end of an era I thought sadly. Damn kids…
    Anyhow, here I am well over thirty years in the business, working as an editor and a systems engineer while also running a home business producing, shooting and editing local TV spots and videos. I like to think that I still keep up on technology and learning new things. I will be going for my SBE Senior Broadcast Engineering certification in a few months. It’s a bit scary thinking that I’m even eligible for it.
    Oh well, “Old dogs-New tricks” Woof!

  • Greg Ball

    July 12, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    Still contracting for my old employer. They have a Synergy II switcher and digibeta decks. Along with a Deco CG. I guess it’s job security for me…as I’m a dinosaur with a dinosaur system.

    We had a GVG 3000 when I was still employed there. Edited on D-2. They still have a D-2 machine, but about two weeks ago, the display died. I accidenly left it on overnight. The next day, the whole building smelled like something was burning. it was the D-2 machine.

    Actually I have another corporate client who ONLY has an on-line suite with a sony 2000. They called me thiis week to do some work. Who said dinosaurs died a long time ago?

  • Chris Paul

    July 12, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    Hah! I started at a station in a town so small you couldn’t see it if the wheat was too high. I edited on 4 RCA 2″ quads arranged in a square. Editing consisted of rolling a large reel on the record machine while running (I mean physically running) in a loop. I would load the first player by throwing the tape in heads while they were spinning without “zinging” them, cueing up the spot by audio (no video preview), back timing by turning the reels by hand, rolling the player, dashing to the recorder to punch the player into it via the attached switcher, dash to the the next player, load, cue , play, dash to recorder & punch in, dash to the 1st player & rewind, dash to the 3rd player etc. I did this every night from midnight to 8am, in addition to running audio for the news, maintaining the production van and sweeping the floor. If one or more of the VTR’s broke down (as they often did), I would paint the tape with magnetic slurry and cut between the sync dots with a razor blade. If the Chryon broke, I would stick letters on a resaurant menue board. I was eventually fired because the station manager’s nephew wanted my job. Looking back on it, he was welcome to it.

    Now that equipment is vastly cheaper I own my own business and have time for the really important things, like raising my son. For me the god old days are great for stories but I would never go back.

    Chris Paul

  • Steve Foley

    July 13, 2006 at 3:42 am

    What a great thread. I, too, started in the TV biz in the days of RCA-TK44’s and quad machines and so forth. One of those enormous cinderblock stations built in the early 50’s — studio big enough to house a jet — lots of asbestos on the walls, etc. Several standing sets including one for a cooking show and a daily children’s program. The news set was mostly plywood and cardboard — except for the backwall flats that were built like fortress walls and were so heavy it took two men to wheel them from place to place. All this was constructed by a 3 man carpenter staff that had been employed there since day one — kept on payroll because there was no retirement plan. Work til you die. Same went for the prehistoric engineering staff.

    At this time we had a crude chroma keyer that the senior weatherman refused to use — opting instead for painted national and regional maps with stickpins and little smiley suns or angry clouds. The sports guys were so stubborn that they still shot on film! All this was allowed — even encouraged — because it was a powerful VHF with no serious competition. Using old equipment until it finally burned up saved ownership a LOT of money! The one extravagance we had was a LIVE booth announcer who actually did station ID’s LIVE. Never missed a cue even when drunk (which was usually).

    This operation signed on at 5am and signed off at around midnight — and from open to close there was always a floating card game going on in the “directors lounge”.

    Those were fun days — but, like many of you, I would not like to return to them. The only thing I miss is my lost youth.

    Now — if you REALLY want to talk about threadbare conditions, we could discuss my radio days which predated my TV career. But that’s a surreal memory for another day.


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