Do you remember the old tape-to-tape editing machines? I have glorious memories of just a few minutes that lasted hours and hours in the real world, hunkered down in a room the size of a walk-in closet with no windows, half-full of bulky equipment. The desk had to stay pulled away from the wall at least three feet to accommodate all of the wiring and leave enough room for the technician that would invariably have to go back there and fix something every time we used it, making the space less of a room and more of a stasis chamber where one person could be comfortable and two could be cozy, but any more than that was a fire hazard. Time was meaningless—the time counter on the screen in front of me was all-important, but outside the sun did things like set and then rise again, and if it weren’t for an empty belly and a full bladder driving me briefly out of my isolation I would have no idea. The equipment was warm and it always hummed softly. With one yellowish desk lamp, I felt enveloped—more like the editing womb than the editing room.
We had this one student—Eddie. There were a lot of things Eddie wasn’t so good at, but he had an instinct about the equipment. He wasn’t a technician, and was actually repeating his junior year when I met him, but if something wasn’t working, he could duck under the table, stand up surrounded by multicolored spaghetti, wiggle a few things and it would all be working again. If it had been me, I’m sure I would have laid one finger on one cord and the whole thing would have burst into flames—I was terrified that I would mess something up and I refused to touch the wires—but Eddie just fixed it.
It’s fun to reminisce, but I don’t want my old editing bay back. Not for all the money in the world.
Wait...yes, I would take my old editing bay back for all the money in the world, but I’d use some of that money to replace it, and I’d still have all the money left in the world to play with. All hail wishing for more wishes.
We acknowledge that our cell phones today have more computing capability than the first spaceship to the moon, but we’re smiling causally when we say it. I don’t know that any of us can really process that because computers have been a part of our lives forever, but this is a big deal. The editing equipment available now is not only a fraction of the size, it can do a ton more. My womb-room was good for scrubbing back and forth in the timeline, marking, hitting record, and that was it. Cue the tapes, mark, mark, dub—that was the whole process. And it filled the room.
I’m not afraid of wires anymore—that was a daunting set-up and I’d challenge most fresh-faced college students to not be intimidated by it, but I think I could handle it today. Not only that, I wouldn’t have to. Installations include setting a box on the desktop, plugging it in, with or without an adapter as needed, and running a wire back to the server. Remove packaging, plug in to computer, plug into server, done.
It’s funny—instead of a two step process to use it and hundreds of wires, we now have a two step process to install it and hundreds of features.
If you’re comfortable with your old equipment, I totally get that—something about the smell of stale dust and electricity takes me back, too. But you can’t imagine the improvements available any more than the first astronauts could imagine I’d be posting this article to a thing called the Internet using a tablet that can capture waves in the air and use them to stream movies. Give us a call—you’ll be amazed at what’s available now.