The video camera is an innovative piece of equipment that has gone through a remarkable evolution. Today, it can be seen in virtually everywhere: offices, laptops, cellphones, houses, street corners, and even inside cars. Additionally, it is presently being used in a myriad of different ways. But before we can fully appreciate it completely, lets first discuss where it all began.
The whole idea of how to record moving images was first conceptualized by John Logie Baird during the early 1900s. He drew inspiration from the Nipkow Disk, which is a mechanical device that breaks images down into “scan lines”. As these are viewed through several equidistant holes created around a circular disk, it gives off the illusion that these are actually moving. Baird used this framework and married it with his own electronic scanning technology, which laid down the foundation of the video camera we know today.
This analog set-up was used in many of the cameras and TVs during that time. That is, until the 1980s, when the world slowly turned digital.
The turning point of this transition came when Sony, an ever-growing electronics brand at that time, introduced the Mavica single lens into the market. This device primarily used a D1 file format, which was a huge leap forward from analog but was also very limited in terms of the amount of footage it could record.
Shortly after, more and more companies contributed to this vastly growing advancement. Kodak introduced its own line of digital cameras that spearheaded the creation of Photo CD, a way that converted images and saved them on a compact disc. This innovation helped provide users with a safe place to store all their video files.
Ampex, which was another leading electronics company during that era, launched the world’s first digital camera to successfully compress large video files into more user-friendly ones. This allowed users to more easily edit these files and share them with other people.
As the 2000s came rolling in, tapeless video cameras were conceived to further improve the problem of storing data. Later on in the decade, tapes became almost completely obsolete. A new technology allowed files to be saved on memory cards or flash storage units. This further improved the file sharing and transferring capabilities of users and is the standard that we have come to know today.
At present, video cameras literally come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Many of more heavy-duty models, which are primarily used by broadcasting networks and production houses, are bulky. Their size is meant to support more technical features that create clearer image quality.
On the other hand, cameras used by the everyday individual are more compact and easy to bring around. Most are even small enough to fit in your pocket! The video quality is good enough to be uploaded to social media and sport a slew of different features. These are normally waterproof, have exceptional zoom capabilities, come with different filters, and are extremely user-friendly.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that video cameras today are being used in so many different ways. People use them as part of surveillance systems, to immortalize momentous occasions, and for entertainment purposes. Video cameras have been so embedded in our daily lives and how we do things that it weird to think less than a century ago, all this ceased to exist.
The video camera is a great example of how rapidly human technology can be developed. From a circular piece of metal that made still objects move, it is now an advanced piece of equipment that has the ability to capture any memory imaginable. With the rate things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if 30 years down the road, manufacturers are able to fuse video cameras with enhanced virtual or augmented reality features. Right now, the sky’s the limit for what this piece of equipment can achieve.
One thing’s for certain, though: I’m really looking forward to what video cameras can evolve into.
My admiration for cameras first started in senior high school when I bought my first point-and-shoot. As soon as I heard that first click of the shutter, I knew I was in love. Since then, I’ve always had a camera in my bag, ready to photograph anything that gives me inspiration.