Feb 24, 2012

End of tape

Something terrifying happened at work a few weeks ago: part of the computer system crashed and we couldn't get it running again. What that means is we couldn't get any of the pictures we had shot into the editing system.

Okay, let me back up and explain. We shoot on Beta tapes. Do you remember Beta? I can just remember them being shelved to make way for the VCR. But Beta is still used in the newsroom due to its quality.

Once we shoot the tape, it has to go into the digital system so we can edit the pictures on the computer. We couldn't do any of that the day the system crashed.

Fortunately, we still have cameramen and editors who remember how it used to be done, and we still had the old editing equipment kicking around. It was called linear editing, they told me. Once you set down your shot choices, you can't go back and change it unless you start again from the beginning. It was fascinating. I took a picture.

The editors were laughing because I'd never seen this done before. But you know, they can laugh all they like - I'm the last generation who will EVER know what it's like to shoot on tape. And that was probably (hopefully) the last linear edit that will ever be done in our newsroom.

Because we are, someday soon, getting new digital cameras. There won't be any more tapes after that, and all those linear editing and shooting skills will be lost.

Strange to think, isn't it? But by the way, the show went on. People who were watching at home never noticed a thing.

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