Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A child's recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark and 80s retro video

This youtube video has been getting some press. It is basically some kids in the 80s  that filmed a re-creation of the the Indiana Jone's adventure, "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The video has resurface and there are talks about a Hollywood documentary on it.

Here is the trailer. Today, most people would scoff at the quality. Back then, that was very impressive.

TheVerge reports.

Strompolos and Zala started recordingRaiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation in 1982, when the former was 11 and the latter 12 years old. They spent the rest of their teenage years adding to it, performing their own stunts and borrowing costumes, props, and friends to stand in for Indy's antagonists.

I took interest in this story because I am the age of the filmmakers and when I was 10 years old, I experimented with video quite a bit throughout my teenage years; making videos for the local television station. My high school had a broadcast department in which we got to play with the latest gear at the time. My father bought all the latest and greatest gear. I can name all the technologies : Hi-8, Super-VHS, BetaCAM, BetaCAM SP, VHS Compact, U-Matic, and Betamax.

During my teenage life, I would save up and buy things like video-titlers, VCRS with time code and jog-dial wheels for editing. Life was much more difficult back then. Editing video actually required some skill versus today's non-linear editing. My dad is also a hoarder so he has all that rare, awesome retro equipment somewhere. One day, I will probably inherit them and the world would probably see some of the coolest gears of the 80s properly documented for the newer generation. Some of this gear is not even documented anywhere on the Internet or in places like Wikipedia. So you guys will be getting reviews of retro gear first hand.

For example, here is the coolest piece of electronic I've seen and used my entire life. A Toshiba SVHS (Super VHS) VCR. I believe the model is SV-990. Extremely rare and high quality build. It weighed a ton.

I remember it cost my dad $900 back in the 80s. He bought it mail order and the retail was $1400 or so. Other VCRs were $200 or $300 at most and they were considered high-end. At $900 in the 80s, that is considered ultra-lux. That is the equivalent of someone spending $5K to 7K on a blu ray player adjusted for inflation. It was a thing of beauty. I will have it someday. Instead of plastic like most VCRs, this thing was hefty and solid. You couldn't buy it in the local audio video store. Seriously. It was reviewed in some videophile trade journal magazine and my dad had to have it. So he ordered it grey market from some dealer in New York.

It had a high-end audiophile look. Brushed aluminum front, veneered rosewood on the side. The front adorned actual analog "VU Meters." This was un-heard of it a consumer video cassette recorder. It was like being a kid with the first 4K television while everyone was using 1080p HDTV. 400 lines analog vs 240 standard. It had "Flying erase heads" to make your edits clean without that jarring cut. Four heads for fidelity. It was so good, I used it to record only audio. Audiophiles would use VHS and simply record audio for playback as the specs far exceeded any other analog tape format.

The remote below allowed you to do cool things like edit video. You can add titles, do transitions, and special effects. I actually made some good money in high school with that gear. The remote below shows the metallic metal finish and jog wheel. This was the remote control!

Sad to say, I am pretty certain I had access to better gear than those two boys who made that Raider's of the Lost Ark video. I'm too embarrass to post any vintage video. Most of my videos were wedding videos made for cash.

I don't want to wish ill on my old dad but one day, I will have some extremely cool retro high-end gear and publish them on this blog. For example, the first portable Hi-8 Sony mini cam, he has that somewhere. Amiga video editing gear. Yep. Somewhere in some storage shed.

Link: The Verge


  1. I think we keep this stuff as it's our link to out past, more precisely our childhoods and formative years. Nostalgia! I still have my Spectrum 48K rubber key. Reminds me of happy times with some good mates and many happy hours spent alone :-)

    When my mate's dad passed on, he inherited lots of old video gear and a massive erotic video collection on VHS! haha!

  2. By the way, it's 'Indiana Jones's adventures'. Sorry to be a pedant.

  3. I had the Mitsubishi HS-U80 SVHS VCR. What a beast and was about $1400 CDn back in the day. I recall it had an impressive at the time 4K of video memory.

    I regularly read this blog and as far as tech goes seems like I've used almost exactly the same gear. The only real difference I'm over 50.

    1. Just googled that VCR. What a nice looking piece of gear. Reminds me of a SONY ED-BETA my pops had. I still think Betmax rules!