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Video insanity…

The Pinnacle DV500+ is notoriously hard to install and configure. What they usually don’t tell you is that that’s only the case under Windows 9x. Under 2000, it usually just plugs in and goes.
So, when I installed the DV500+ and connected my old Amiga 1080 monitor to its composite output and it only displayed a thin vertical bar, I ripped my PC apart, started juggling cards, chasing a phantom conflict, to no avail.

Finally, I thought to go back to my stack of old equipment and grabbed a 17-year-old Commodore 1702 composite monitor. I hooked it up to a VCR (the computer was still in fragments) and turned it on. Bingo. I hooked the VCR up to the Amiga 1080 and got a thin vertical bar.

I’d have saved myself a couple of hours of effort if I’d just tried another monitor in the first place. The 1080’s longevity wasn’t very good due to a design flaw. I long ago modified it, and I thought I used it fairly regularly as recently as 1997, but maybe it didn’t survive one of my two moves since then. The 1702, on the other hand, is indestructible. It too was a great monitor for its day and was actually a relabeled JVC. I know I hadn’t used it in 6-7 years.

So now I’ve got some Commodore equipment in my computer setup. It’s kind of nice to see that name sitting on my desk again.

That means I just have to learn about Premiere and Pinnacle’s bundled toolkit and continue to develop my eye. I’ve always been just an above-average designer–in j-school I was known for giving you work that was 75% as good as someone who really knew their stuff, but I’d have it done in 1/3 to 1/2 the time–but this time it’s not like I have much competition. I’m competing against mindless, brain-numbing lowest-common-denominator TV.

I ran across this quote today from Bono, U2’s lead singer, about TV: “You just have to not fear the flaws. The flaws are what make it interesting.”

Well, that’s very true about people, and to a certain extent that’s true about machines as well. After all, aren’t the flaws what gave the Ford Edsel its appeal? But I guess I just have such a longstanding bad taste in my mouth about TV that I’m not willing to give it the same benefit of the doubt. I’ll put images to music and put them up on the screen because it’s the language people understand. But it’s still the boob tube.

Time to go see some old friends, and some not-so-old ones.

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