Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Back In The Day.

The last post contained my most recent 3D reel. Upon viewing it a friend pointed out how times have changed...

When I began 3D the internet hadn't quite taken off. It was painfully slow and the idea of streaming video was laughable. DVDs had just come onto the market, but access to this format was limited. Furthermore, you couldn't guarantee that companies would have a player or that you'd be using the correct codec. The only reliable way of sharing your work was on VHS.

In my experience,  reels didn't really get watched. Certainly in those days their main purpose was for adjusting the height of monitors or stabilising a wobbly desk. So, how to make a reel stand out from the other ergonomic devices in a studio? Make it bright pink! That way when you telephoned a facility you could say, "You know, the bright pink one", and I did.

When you make a reel it's necessary to provide contact information and notes on your role in the production. In those days these would go on or in the box. But why stop with those details? The idea of documenting all my information inspired the sleeve art for my reel, including portrait, height, weight and so on in a mixed parody of feature VHS case and cheap cleaning products (this from the garish pink)

When I made these sleeves digital photography was also just taking off. Colour printing was a luxury and something I only had access to through work. I feared my boss had noticed the correlation between empty red cartridges and my artwork, so I switched from pink to green when I updated the design. As you can see from the picture, this had repercussions on other aspects of the final print. As printer time was at a premium there was little I could do but embrace it. Who would know what race I was anyway?

Breaking into the industry I dispatched dozens of VHS tapes. Posting a jiffy bag was the final stage of a lengthy process. First, a master was  created on Betacam tape. Umpteen reels were then duplicated in real time (no pun intended) on an array of VHS machines. It was an awful lot of work and plastic for a reel that was less than a minute long. The modern format (Vimeo/You Tube) is easier to work with, better quality and is probably more likely to be viewed. The VHS format provides an amusing time capsule, but I wont miss it.