A blast from the past

As a youngster and before I went off to become a scientist (for a while) I occupied my time doing more art-y things.

Now, putting the record straight, I was not very good at ‘art’ as in the drawing/painting exercise. In fact I would suggest I was much worse than ‘not very good’. If I sketched something, identifying the original source could be a question on University Challenge or a question on the Cryptography Entrance Exam.

Nor was I any good at acting. Unless being a rigid ‘extra’ far in the background and out of shot counts. I do remember a primary school play where I was pretending to be such a part (or I might have been in the ‘orchestra’ (some recorders stuck at the side)) where the acting was typical for the age-group but someone got their lines muddled up and we jumped from act 1 to act 3 roughly reducing the entire performance by half.

At least it saved the poor parents’ suffering by reducing the contact time of this infliction.

No, my foray into the arts world was purely musical. Playing the piano from about the age of 6 and picking up a mish-mash of other instruments along the way.

However, my friend David and I discovered the joys of playing with video cameras and over time recorded a number of concerts, and holiday footages, using an Amiga computer to help edit it all down.

Now, in 1992, the world of digital recording was not in existence, at least not in the consumer market. Forget about iPad Airs and iPhone 6s, Apple were still in their pre-Steve Jobs revival phase, seemingly trying to make themselves as obsolete as they could, until their former leader rejoined and turned the company into what we see in 2015.  No the consumer experience involved  2 VHS recorders recording from one to the other before using the Amiga to add some titles and credits and make 48 hours of holiday footage into 90 seconds which were actually watchable.

In between ‘shifts’ of editing, we also played rather a lot of computerised pinball. It might have been Pinball Dreamz or something like that. It occupied a lot of our time when most of the other youths of a similar age were out playing football, discovering the opposite sex and drinking white lightening.

Ah, the days of our youth.

After a productive (pun intended?) couple of years I went off to do science things at one university and David took his interest in the production of video/radio to another university. This was a course in contrast to the proliferation of ‘media studies’ type courses springing up everywhere so kids could leave home for 3 years and study the watching of TV programmes……

That was extra-curricular for both of us, not the main event!

Roll on 23 years. David has a family. I have a cat. David still does media-related things. I change career on a regular basis, none of which is science related. iPhones and iPads seem to be given to children moments after leaving the womb and with our mobile phones, everyone is a photo journalist, recording what’s going on around them and then usually posting it on Facebook or YouTube for other friends to ‘like’.

Anyone under the age of 30 now and currently reading this has probably ‘googled’ “VHS” to find out what it stands for.

And in fact, this is the crux of the matter. David recently rediscovered some of the old VHS tapes whilst visiting family and dropped me a line to share a couple of gems with me.

The first, a cartoon computer animation based on a creature I spent most of my maths lessons drawing; usually ending in the creature’s demise. Called a Quadpotential, I have no idea no idea what I was thinking. But that’s not the point, just enjoy some slap-stick monster mashing!


Bield Videos 1992 presents Revenge of the Quadpotentials.

Now whilst this was all very silly, it was also where David was learning how to do animations and the jeopardy the Quads found themselves in lent themselves nicely for this project.

The second video is longer, running for about 15 minutes.

We were approached by our old secondary school to produce a promotional video for them. We were both 17 and had no media training, but were up for the challenge. Looking back at the final product, I’m honestly chuffed at what we achieved. Quite how we did it I’ve long since forgotten, although I remember the ‘hand-painting’ part in the creche as if it were yesterday. A comedy moment.

So, get a brew, click the link and find out why our old comprehensive school was so successful.


Bield Videos 1992 presents “Brine Leas School: A Full Day; A Full Life

I wonder if they’ve ever updated the video………….

These were the gems along with which were some other bits. To quote David: There’s also some appalling ‘arseing around’ during filming of NAF at Brine Leas, I think YouTube doesn’t need to see that ever …

I quite agree!

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