image courtesy Wiki commons
 

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA

Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago
 

In 1409, the new Pope, Alexander V, was invested in Vatican City.  

At his coronation, a papal master of ceremonies would fall on his knees before the new Pontif and, holding a burinng taper invoke the phrase: Pater Sancte, sic transit gloria mundi!. Holy Father, Thus passes the glory of the world.  He repeated the act 3 times.

It was a reminder to the incoming Pope of the transitive nature of power and earthy honors. All things pass.

Of course, the Papacy and the Vatican have been around for around 2,000 years (give or take a few - mostly take), but they don't seem to be going anywhere soon.  The same cannot be said for technology.

As our attention span has dwindled so too have the lifespans of our technologies. There is a curious parallel here.

The first motion pictures, shot on film, were produced in 1880.  Celluloid film became the standard technology for movie making (and latterly early TV), and that technology stood for nearly 90 years, until the advent of U-matic, the first really portable and useable video tape television system. (In studion 2 inch and later 1 inch reel video tape was introduced in the late 1950s).

When I started working at CBS News in the late 1980s, they were just transiting from film to U-matic video, which required a two man team to schlep around both the camera and the attached record deck.

By 1991, Professional Betacam began to replace U-Matic, giving U-Matic a fairly short run.  I have several U-Matic tapes but no longer a deck upon which to play them.  I have lots of Beta tales, but also no deck upon which to play them either!

In the VJ world, we moved to Hi8 videotape and then to MiniDV. I opened a video bar/cafe called DV Dojo.  All gone. All archaic.  Fortunately, all the visual images from my previous marriage to XXXX are all on MiniDV, which I also cannot play... ever, as I have no MiniDV deck!  :)

The plethora of now unplayable tape formats were eviscerated by the advent of digital, which was launched in 1991 by Apple and now is the dominant form of video recording - even if we say 'tape' now as a generic term.  

The interesting thing here is that each successive technology had a shorter and shorter lifespan (and ironically was more and more difficult to retrieve). You can still read the Rosetta Stone, even if it was carved in stone some 5,000 years ago - because it was carved in stone.  It is, I think, unlikely that 5,000 years from now, anynone will be able to read or access anythng that we have done.  Too bad.

Cleaning out our closets yesterday, we came upon an early Blackberry. It was once the cutting edge of technology. Today, it is not even a paperweight. I was going to sell it on eBay, but frankly, who would want it?  

I am saving my TRS 100 computer for some future museum - maybe. 

The bottom line here is that tech, per se, is less significant than the content that you make.  

Many people write to me and ask, "what kind of camera should I buy'.  This is somewhat, I think, like writing to an author and asking what is the best pencil for writing a best-seller.

It's all about the content - the characters and the storytelling.  The technology for producing the product will be an ever changing story. The quality of good story telling remains as immutable as words carved in stone. 

Sic Transit Gloria.  It makes a good story line.  

 


Recent Posts

5 Tips for More Cinematic Video
3 days, 22 hours ago

Everyone wants that 'film look,' and it can greatly help you take your story to the next level.


More and more people are ditching traditional TV for the Internet.


Australian Journalist Ashlynne McGhee explains how and why she shoots with her iPhone.


Follow Us

Twitter