Experiments in Video

Experiments in Video

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Experiments in Video

Small format video like the Sony Portapak was the affordable choice for videomakers in the 1970s. Of course formats evolve and trying to keep up was always an expensive chore.

I was able to produce a number of Portapak and small format videos during this period that stretched into the experimental range. I was always interested in time changes and used super-8 film with its stop motion capabilities and manipulated video to capture some of this.

Banjo Feedback was an analog video feedback loop triggered by the banjo-playing fingers of master musician Billy Faier. We spent some time playing with his performance, so that the effects could be scanned, recorded and then colorized. The original was shot in b&w 1/2” video. The wonderful Experimental TV Center, then in Oswego, welcomed me to finish the work with their engineering help and array of colorizers and effects machines.

Drawings of the World was a compilation of images from pen and ink drawings by my brother, Marty Carey. The rapid, repetitive cutting was done by hand on a machine-to-machine analog edit system using modified Panasonic video editing machines. The process often required redoing edits when the video “flagged” at the edit point. The resulting and surviving video loses something in the translation to modern formats, but is an example of long hours spent editing a short video.

Road Kills reveals my continuing interest (fascination?) with roadside animals and trash. Sometimes the rather alarming state of a road-kill animal reveals an unexpected beauty in composition or surroundings. I continue collecting random road-kill images and have complimented my search for trash with a contemporary take on Covid waste, like masks and gloves.

As a side note, in order to construct the edit for Road Kills, and to incorporate simple dissolves, I had to travel to Syracuse University which had an artists' accessible facility with “quad” machines, engineering help and an edit controller allowing dissolves to be made. Forty-plus years later the whole world of effects is available on just about any home computer.

The Romance of Wood is a tongue in cheek excursion into the world of wood heat. Again it incorporates stop motion and “real-time” video...this time graduating to color 1/2” video Portapak footage. Is it romantic? Or is wood heat more work than I realized would be needed?

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