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cupaloy

Newly Discovered Video (Yes Video!) Taken in 1964

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I recently discovered a great website containing a vast archive of material from Public Broadcasting.  The website is americanarchive.org  .  It goes all the way back to the beginning of PBS when it was "National Education Television".   In 1964 there were three 30-minute programs made by WNET under the title "As Fairs Go".   The second installment is basically a 30 minute time warp, in wonderful black and white video (not film) of a walk through the Fair, narrated with funny commentary from the Second City comedy troupe!   It ends with some great views of the Pieta inside the Vatican Pavilion.  I don't think this program has ever been discussed before here on the Forum, but apologies in advance if it already has.  Here is the link to episode 2 of "As Fairs Go".  Enjoy! 

 

https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_512-610vq2t21d

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Thanks for posting. I'm really scratching my head about how they managed to get video gear into the moving parts of the pavilions in 1964. 

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I am actually amazed how well the camera picked up low light stuff like the fireworks and fountains at night.  But yes Wayne I agree that in 1964 it would have had to be still a very heavy reel to reel video recorder to lug around. 
 

BTW - it is the voices of actor Alan Arkin and his son that you hear in the narration.

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10 hours ago, cupaloy said:

I am actually amazed how well the camera picked up low light stuff like the fireworks and fountains at night.  But yes Wayne I agree that in 1964 it would have had to be still a very heavy reel to reel video recorder to lug around. 

I don't see any Vidicon smear, even on the GM ride, so I am really wondering what kind of camera it was. The apparent sensitivity and lack of smear would say it's an image orthicon, but even the field models of those were big and power-hungry. GM publicity says 23 guards rode the ride, so I suppose if there were special platforms for them or for wheelchair accomodation, that's how a large TV camera and "small" tape deck could be accomodated.

Edit: I think this production should have received some kind of technical award.

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On 5/2/2020 at 2:01 PM, cupaloy said:

I recently discovered a great website containing a vast archive of material from Public Broadcasting.  The website is americanarchive.org  .

Thanks for sharing this.  

I don't know what to make of the narration.  It seems it was done after this was shot (ADR).  I wonder if this was shot on B&W film, and then transferred to video.  It sure doesn't look like it was shot on video.

I could do without the narration.  "The second most exciting thing at the Fair except for "To Broadway with Love" (paraphrase).  It definitely was done in '64.

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12 minutes ago, sunguar said:

... I wonder if this was shot on B&W film, and then transferred to video.  It sure doesn't look like it was shot on video.

I disagree: it looks like video and not like film at all.

Clues:
1) Motion rendition 
2) Gray scale / tone rendition
3) Image orthicon dark halos on bright highlights
4) In the GM pavilion, when the camera pans across the underwater safety cages, you see typical live video camera horizontal non-linearity at the extreme left

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Another clue to this coming from a video orthicon tube source are the black circle shadows which appear around each firework exploding. These original video cameras had a hard time handling very bright objects.

But the key clue as Wayne points out is the motion rendition.  This is why video gives more of a live appearance than film.

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30 minutes ago, waynebretl said:

I disagree: it looks like video and not like film at all.

Clues:
1) Motion rendition 
2) Gray scale / tone rendition
3) Image orthicon dark halos on bright highlights
4) In the GM pavilion, when the camera pans across the underwater safety cages, you see typical live video camera horizontal non-linearity at the extreme left

and

20 minutes ago, cupaloy said:

Another clue to this coming from a video orthicon tube source are the black circle shadows which appear around each firework exploding. These original video cameras had a hard time handling very bright objects.

But the key clue as Wayne points out is the motion rendition.  This is why video gives more of a live appearance than film.

I have to defer to the experts (you guys).  You would know much better than I.   

But I did say, "It sure doesn't look like it was shot on video".

 

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Regarding recording, it occurs to me that RCA had introduced a portable vidicon camera with backpack transmitter at the political conventions in 1952.  So, it would not be necessary to lug a recorder around for this program - a "small" relay transmitter would do the trick.

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With the soundtrack performed by Second City and wondering what the video set up looked like, I am reminded of the SCTV Russian mini cam: 

Also the fact that Alan Arkin is still performing is mind-blowing! 

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