Tapes & Negatives & Memories Oh My!

AKA Lockdown Part 1

So, work is cancelled for the foreseeable future. Having moved house not so long ago I have become “box blind” so the things that didn’t get sorted immediately have been invisible and possible to work around.

Most things at least are labelled as I have learned my lessons in previous moves but there boxes are old bits of kit, cables for things that no longer exist or just in case I need to wire up a VHS deck from the 80s to 00s technology and kit.

But one box has been opened, sifted, sorted and brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It’s a box of photo negatives, Hi8 and DV tapes. It’s funny how this lockdown has led to reconnection with people scattered across the world or just brought back memories so this seemed an apt way to spend some time. The negatives go back 30 years which is a bit scary so they are nice to have to scan but not for public consumption!

But having edited a couple of “birthday tapes” for clients last year it was fun to see how much pleasure could be found in retrieving lost treasures! Adding some music and graphics and a lot of editing and suddenly 23 tapes over 21 years became 10 minutes. And apparently the subjects of these films actually enjoyed watching them! So that’s a bonus.

The tapes mostly go back to the University of Sheffield Film Making Society and the madcap films we made of which I seem to have some of the rushes. These are fun! The legendary Twang was filmed in a couple of freezing hours when in snowed sometime around Easter. Yes we were watching a lot of Tarantino and so on…

I spent two years in Japan from 1997-1999 on the JET Programme. My job was teaching English but I filmed pretty much everything as well. Local village festivals, people’s hobbies like Japanese archery and drumming, some of my and other people’s students at work and play, karaoke sessions, the scenery… S

A lot of memories but also some playing with seeing what can be done with old Hi8 tapes and modern editing – scaling to full screen, noise reduction, colouring. Is it worth it in the long run or for whole tapes? Probably not. But when I get around to editing 2 years in a short film I will carry on experimenting!

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