Thursday, February 08, 2007

Look who I met last night

The Ampex video tape recorder team from 1956 (l to r: Fred Pfost, Shelby Henderson,Ray Dolby, Alex Maxey, Charles Ginsburg & Charles E. Anderson)

I went to my first video camcorder club meeting last night and joined. One of the members and speakers, Fred Pfost, was a television pioneer who invented the video tape machine back in the 1950's at Ampex Corporation. Before this invention, there was only live television. For example, if they broadcasted an evening news program in the east coast, it wasn't realistic for the station to show the same live program in the west coast during the middle of the day; thus, the invention of the video tape machine to repeat the same show later in the day. Yes, they were huge and they weighed over 1000lbs.

Fred told the story with tears in his eyes as he reminised about television's early days. He used to travel around the U.S. demoing the recorder to different broadcast stations. As Fred described it, when the audience realized they were watching a taped program for the first time, they literally jumped for joy from their chairs like little children. CBS went on the air with the first videotape delayed broadcast on the "Douglas Edwards and The News" show on November 30, 1956 from Los Angeles.

I regretted not having my camera with me last night as Fred showed off the Emmy he won in 2005 during the National Television Academy's "Lifetime Achievement in Technology & Engineering".

- AV

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