Home Videotaping Uses

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This 1982 article, from Sunset, covers the new medium of home videotaping. I found the middle section (click and magnify image for clarity), “Some video possibilities,” especially interesting. Among the readers’ uses are recording for family correspondence, insurance inventories, and performances — sports, theatrical, and children’s. While I am sure early adopters used their recording equipment as such, I’m a bit suspicious as to how the article pitches the purpose of most of these uses — to “study your form,” critique your dramatic expressions, or to erase your children’s “flubbed” lines. In this way, the article colors the new equipment as utopian, as if simply enjoying what you recorded wasn’t enough to persuade consumers, but it needs to have overt ways of making your life and yourself better. My understanding of home movie-making (given, I mostly experienced it 5-15 years after this article), was that flubs and funny accidents were the primary novelty and persuasion for watching these tapes (as well as “big life” moments like weddings), leading to the once-popular television shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos.

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