The Evolution Of The Video Camera

By: Jeff Saunders

It's incredible to think just how far camcorder technology has come and evolved from its humble beginnings. Video cameras, like all forms of technology and gizmos and gadgets, have improved and become more user-friendly and more innovative over the years. That's nothing new, and there's no reason to trump the advancement of the video camera onto a higher pedestal than anything else. But, when one looks at the history, timeline and growth of the video camera, it is remarkable to see where it has come from, where it has gone, and where it will venture to in the future.

Video cameras emerged as large, bulky and cumbersome devices that required tapes or reels to record and store the moving pictures. The either rested uncomfortably upon the shoulder, or stood on tripods or legs. Their movement and portability was severely hindered and limited by wires, cords or cables. Only specialized technicians and trained individuals could operate them. And, perhaps most stunning of all, video cameras could only record, broadcast and play back in black and white.

Fast forward (another innovation on the video camcorder) to the digital age, and we are now inundated with brand upon brand of digital camcorder. Some dwell in the higher price range, with all the requisite bells & whistles and features. While others are more simple and affordable. Most do not require tapes - which, upon further reflection, were probably larger than today's digital camcorders - to record and playback the movie. Nowadays, today's video cameras are built with a hard drive included in the unit, so that it can store the movie right on the device itself. Which, in and of itself, also shows how far computer technology has evolved over the years.

Digital video cameras have improved and advanced so much that they are now not just limited to the traditional video camera venue. Camcorders are now found in a variety of devices, including cellular phones, portable digital assistants, hand-held video game consoles and a whole host of other portable devices. Whereas before, perhaps only an important event warranted to use of the video camera, today's generation uses the video camera in the same regard as they would a pair of scissors - they are a tool of convenience.

Digital video camcorders appear to be everywhere these days, even if we are oblivious to their locations and whereabouts. Certainly, the hand-held video camera will always be in favor and in style. But, more and more people are choosing to own a digital video camera that is part of another item altogether, rather than just a stand-alone item. And, just as interesting as the technology itself, is how it is being used. Video cameras are being used regularly to document, record, create and share. Perhaps they have always been employed for that purpose, but they are now playing an even greater role in society, media and culture.

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