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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Retiring my old camcorder (2005-2009)

My camcorder (2005-2009)

During my New Year trip at the Kansai region, I became very sure that I have to retire my old camcorder. It's a Sony Handycam DCR HC32E which I've been using since my early days in Perth (sometime early 2005). I would say that this camcorder's existence had been crucial in my becoming a filmmaker.

Prior to taking the 1-year course in film production, everything else was self-taught. I've liked shooting videos and then bringing them home to edit them into some sort of music video to share with friends (there wasn't any Youtube then, so I had to carry my laptop along and present them my latest masterworks). That was how I first managed to learn the arts of video editing (at that time, I started out with Sony Vegas until shifting to Adobe Premiere Pro, which I'm still using now as I'm not much of a Mac user, the editing of KURUS / DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY was the only time I had to use Final Cut Pro).

In Perth, aside from an attempt to make a short film, the camcorder had been to many events with me, birthday parties, graduation ceremonies, dinners, outings, family visits. (Perth playlist here)

And then, after Perth, it traveled to many countries with me too. I brought it along during my visits to China and India, footage I shot from the latter becoming numerous scenes from my short film, FLEETING IMAGES. Hell, it was even photographed with me during my 2007 interview on Sin Chew Jit Poh:

Sin Chew Interview 2

I chose not to carry my camcorder that much these days because I gradually preferred looking at things with my own eyes instead of constantly staring through the camcorder. Even so, it did accompany me to places like Chile, Rome, Hong Kong and Dubai even though I never took the camcorder out at all for filming. But I still use it to film candidates during auditions. (in fact, I was just using it for the audition of my latest Japanese short film)

Since moving to Tokyo last April, aside from the aforementioned audition, the camcorder had been serving me whenever I felt like shooting something interesting, even though it's only used occasionally. (Japan playlist here)

I'm not surprised that it had gotten through a lot of wear and tear over the years. The camcorder's really been falling apart, the LCD does not work at times, the touch screen can be unresponsive, the tape deck sometimes does not detect the tape, and there are earlier damages too, like how, as you can see from the photo above, the casing around the camera lens had already fallen off, leaving the lens unprotected. It had its limitations, like its lack of microphone socket, and the limited video quality (one would expect from such a consumer camcorder released during that time).

Because the camcorder had always been with me, there had been numerous (understandable) misconceptions that I conjured my short films using this camcorder. Which isn't true, except for parts of the experimental video essay FLEETING IMAGES, my films were shot with a more professional Panasonic AG-DVX100, with the invaluable help of a crew.

Shooting the 1st Uncle scene

Arika doesn't want to rummage the trash
(Production stills from the short films, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY and LOVE SUICIDES, were NOT shot with my Handycam)

Nonetheless, this post is about my retiring of my old camcorder after subjecting it to so much grueling shoots. I thought that the EPIC videos I shot from my Kansai region trip were worthy enough to be my camcorder's swansong. As video diaries go, they ain't too shabby.

I embedded the high quality version of the video, if it takes too long to load, go for the normal quality instead

I embedded the high quality version of the video, if it takes too long to load, go for the normal quality instead

And thus I shall give my camcorder a much-deserved rest and retirement. Not that I'll be tossing it into the trashcan right now, of course, but when I return to Malaysia end of this month, I'm likely going to just put it in the closet where my huge collections of Transformers, Ninja Turtles, WWF wrestlers, Dragon Ball Z, Marvel and DC superheroes action figures are. Long ago when my old Playstation 1 broke down, I remember my sister fashioning a mock tombstone she cut out from an A4 paper, writing its inscription, and then putting it next to the console... but I won't do that.

Even so, I'll have to get myself a new video camera. Due to my personal increase of interest in (still) photography, I have been thinking of getting myself a Nikon D90 so that I'll have both a DSLR and a video camera. But I'm not too sure.