This Document Copyright 1999 © by
John F. Uske (All Rights Reserved)

<Mitchell 35 with Video Assist> USA, LLC
Digital Camera Battery Packs
<RCA TK 76 Camera> <RCA TK76 Interior> <ENG crew on the go>
<Sony Videotape Deck> <Nagra mini audio recorder> <Sony portable video>
<Ikegami HL79 Camera> <JVC 3/4 inch videotape deck> <Sony portable video and Nagra tape deck>
Professional Grade Video and Audio Equipment

F&B CECO also had a department, which rented out portable video equipment. The two cameras they rented out were the Ikegami HL 79 and the RCA TK 76. Both of these were three tube cameras, and back in 1979 they were considered to be very small and "State of the Art" at the time. These cameras did not use Vidicon tubes, instead they used Plumbicon tubes. These cameras did not have built in VCRs either.

Videographers used 3/4" tape decks instead. We had a Sony reel-to-reel machine with closely spaced reels to reduce the physical size of the machine. Later on Sony came out with the U-Matic system in a " tape cartridge. This was the forerunner of the Betamax System. On load a single finger traveling on a circular track would go into the cartridge and wrap the tape almost 280 degrees around the helical scan tape head drum whenever recording or play back started.

JVC had the M-Load system in which 2 fingers moved simultaneously to pull the tape out of the cartridge to wrap the tape only part of the way around the helical scan head. This was the forerunner to the VHS system. In retrospect I could see why the Betamax method died right away, because the M load system loaded and unloaded the tape from around the Helical Scan head assembly much faster than the Betamax method because of the physically shorter travel distances the 2 tape wrap fingers travel. The JVC used a 3/4" cartridge that loaded just like a VHS cassette. This equipment was rented out like the film cameras, and sometimes I had to check them out for damage when they came back in from being out on rental.

F&B CECO had a sound department too. Here you could rent everything you needed to record the audio portion of a film. Back then the Nagra tape recorder was the workhorse of the industry. When I went on the set I would see different brands of cameras and lenses in use, but when it came to capturing the sound part of the production, without fail I would always see the Nagra tape recorder. F&B CECO had a technician named Herb Gavey that used to work on the Nagras to keep them in shape. Herb was also into doing experiments with electronics, so we used to talk a lot because I was into that stuff too. In case you don't know it, this technology is all but gone today. Today's cameras shoot directly to hard drives and software modifies the image so it looks just like film. Advances in Digital Technology are eliminating film from almost every application that was once considered to be the exclusive domain of film. I have no regrets. For example, I assembled all the individual images for the photo panels on this web site and stitched them together using Adobe Photoshop. If I had to use conventional film technology the same feats would have been impossible for me.