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NAB 2011: Mr. Brown’s Marvelous Machine—Garrett Brown & Steadicam

A young boy rides his Big Wheels tricycle around the empty lobby of an old resort hotel as the camera follows close behind, low to the ground, the sound grating and tense as the trike runs noisily onto the hardwood floor, then over a rug, then onto the floor, then over a rug, around and around.

The boy’s father, haunted and demented by months of isolation, chases his wife with a knife, up and down a circular staircase. Later he chases an apparition through an eerily lit hedge maze in the snow. . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Mr. Brown’s Marvelous Machine—Garrett Brown & Steadicam

Tech

NAB 2011: Back to Vegas

The first time I went to the NAB Show, I wore camouflage fatigues and marched through hippies.

I was working the show for Ampex, the television equipment company that had invented videotape. During the 80s, they were buying Sony professional video camera parts, assembling them in Ampex factories, and branding and marketing them as their own. One of their promotions at that time showed a photo of their new, integrated camcorders with a camouflage paint job and the caption “Guerrillacam.”

These Ampex products, based on the Sony 200 and 300 Betacam camcorders, represented a huge improvement in portability. Before this time, most professional video shooting was done either in a two-piece configuration (with camera connected to a separate recorder) or with a “dockable” record deck mounted on the back of a camera. This older dockable rig was pretty heavy, because it mated two units that each could function independently, each with its own rugged case and power supply.

The new Ampex (and Sony) camcorders provided the basic form factor for most professional camcorders for years to come, a sleeker and lighter alternative to the dockable systems. The marketing push was directed at news shooters, especially those navigating the urban jungles. Hence, Guerrillacam.

So Ampex hired me and another cameraman named Dan Cascino to help man their booth at the National Association of Broadcasters annual trade show, oddly held that year in Atlanta. We wore jungle camouflage fatigues on the floor of the show, with camo military caps that said . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Back to Vegas