Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Firstly I must thank David Doré of SILK PURSE FILMS for sending me this PDF of a set of instructions he typed out over 30 years ago. Isn’t it funny how trends go full circle.



During the early 1980’s studio cameras were like the one’s above big and bulky as was the first portable video tape called U-Matic tape.




The 16mm Eclair ACL with a 12-120mm manual zoom lens f2.2 Angenieux lens…Pierre Angenieux of Paris invented the zoom lens !


Typical news crew during the mid 1980’s with a Hitachi Z31 Camera attached to a Sony High Band Umatic recorder which needed a crew of 2 in this case myself and Ian Bodie working for Clyde Cable Vision.


Film is still unique in ambiance, texture and mood, todays large sensor cameras are more “cinematic” but its not film.


This cameraman is using an Eclair NPR 16mm film and the lens is the Angenieux 12-120mm zoom.

Due to the bulkiness of early video cameras, its really interesting that film was being touted as a more compact way to shoot, sadly today film is loosing favour to the large sensor cameras like the Sony F55.


There is no going back we now have a blend of video/film from the DSLR upwards that satisfies many budgets from student to professional that was not available during the 1980’s.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

3 thoughts on “How times have changed “When film was preferred over video”

  1. The lens on the Eclair ACL 16mm camera is the legendary Angenieux 12-120mm T2 zoom. Pierre Angenieux of Paris invented the zoom lens!

    HDW : Are you referring to the one in the BW picture ?

  2. Is that the UMatic portable recorder that took the two long slab batteries and the special 20min small tapes?

    Fond memories of that, but we couldn’t afford the real Sony batteries so I had to have a massive DSM battery belt over the shoulder too. Add the Sony camera, Fuji lens and the umbilical cable it was really stretching the term “portable”

    That, a studio player, studio recorder, and a Mikey II edit controller is what I cut my video teeth on, great but ruined me for consumer camcorders. HI8 and SVHS couldn’t get near the quality. Only D8/DV and NLE got close and really on the current Sony NX70 surpasses it.

    Ah memory lane 🙂

  3. The hair do’s haven’t got any better with time have they!

    All true about the virtues of film, but video looked noticeably smoother. On programmes that had a mixture of the two, you can always tell the difference. In reality,we don’t see with our own eyes grainy flickery images, so video looked more realistic., apart from the comet tails on bright lights of course!

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