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Technology, Video

Technology, Video

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Video technology was developed as an adjunct to centralized television systems. Its widespread adoption since the 1970s has had the profound impact of integrating film and television culture into global everyday life. Initially many hoped that video technology would lead to greater diversity of programming and an expansion of televisions function beyond ephemeral entertainment and would empower the ordinary viewer. The empowerment that has occurred has increased cultural fragmentation and an isolation of viewers from each other. Thus video technology contributes to the general post-1970s trend of privatizing life spheres.

Video is not a precise term. It most commonly refers to those technologies that record or download electronic images, but the general reference to all electronic images remains. In analog systems the recording is achieved by breaking down reflected light into a series of electrical impulses typically recorded on a magnetic tape. In digital systems the electrical impulses are further refined by a computer into a series of numbers that are recorded and that can be retrieved by other computers and displayed as images.

The American corporation Ampex first demonstrated a working video recorder in 1956. In the early 1960s video technology was used for instant replays in sports and the breaking events of President John F. Kennedys 1963 assassination. Video cameras and systems were developed for surveillance and other uses. The Japanese manufacturers took the lead in developing consumer video recorders. Sony introduced the 1/2-inch Portapack in 1965 and the 3/4-inch U-matic cassette system in 1969. These were adopted in the educational market and also in the adult film market. But it was in 1975 that the 1/2-inch cassette systems captured the global consumer market. At first there were two formats, Sonys Betamax and JVCs VHS, but within five years VHS dominated. The digital versatile disc (DVD) became the dominant video format after its introduction in 1997.

The video revolution was sparked by a pent-up desire of people throughout the world to change their use of television. Television critics were scornful of televisions vast wasteland of poor choices in the United States and no choice in other countries. However, enhanced choice was a secondary reason for most VHS purchasers. The most important motivation was to watch shows at the time and place that was convenient for the viewers (time shifting ). Thus video technology became part of the sociological phenomenon of a time crunch. This function of video was not imposed by corporations but was the result of a consumption junction (a term coined by Ruth Cowan in The Consumption Junction [1987]) among users, manufacturers, and content providers.

There was some experimentation with original programming for video. But videos overwhelming use was to extend the global market for Hollywood films and television shows and the mainstream values they convey, fitting a general pattern of suppressing [videos] radical potential (Winston 1998, p. 11). Raymond Williamss concept of mobile privatization is an influential way to understand video use. He deduced that broadcasting was a culmination of a century-long pattern of privatizing popular culture. People use television to make their homes the center of their lives. Video dramatically accelerated this trend. The additions of downloading movie and television clips on the computer, the cell phone, and the I-pod have gone even further in the private viewing of filmed entertainment.

Diaspora communities use video technologies for ready access to their home cultures. However, this direct access has weakened specialized movie theaters and has lessened the opportunities for theater bookers to introduce the audience to unknown titles.

The art of filmmaking has changed. The mainstream American film industry dramatically merged into transnational media conglomerates attracted by the new video revenue (Wasser 2001). Video became the most important market, surpassing the theatrical box office. Story lines and characters are sold across a variety of media, from games to merchandise.

Video games have influenced narrative film aesthetics toward visceral effects that seduce the audience into experiencing the repetitive thrills and spills of movement and sound at the expense of character development and plot logic. To make people feel the experience of the movie, filmmakers have increasingly turned toward another aspect of video technology, computer generated images (CGI). Video shifted experimental filmmaking from the art house to the art gallery. Adult filmmaking is entirely in video.

Video technology has enabled the large trends of mass culture. On the industrial end, industries have consolidated. The promise of grassroots video making has rarely caught the mass publics attention. One interesting example is the explosion of cheap fictional videos in Nigeria. On the consumer end, audiences have fragmented as viewers use video to facilitate a flexible work and leisure balance focused on consuming culture in isolated domestic spaces.

SEE ALSO Modernization; Technology, Cellular

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. 1987. The Consumption Junction: A Proposal for Research Strategies in the Sociology of Technology. In The Social Construction of Technological Systems, eds. Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor J. Pinch, 261280. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Levy, Mark R., ed. 1989. The VCR Age: Home Video and Mass Communication. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Wasser, Frederick. 2001. Veni, Vidi, Video: The Hollywood Empire and the VCR. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Williams, Raymond. 1992. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. (Orig. pub. 1974).

Winston, Brian. 1998. Media, Technology, and Society: A History. New York: Routledge.

Frederick Wasser

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Video Devices

Video Devices

Video devices are peripherals added to a computer to allow it to work with video. A video capture card provides a way to input video to the computer from conventional sources such as a camera, a VCR, or a TV cable or antenna. A video output card allows video to be output from the computer to a monitor. It is also possible to get video output cards that output video via a cable that can be connected directly to a television, allowing video to be played from a computer and watched on a television.

All information stored on a computer is stored in digital form as a sequence of numbers. When video is received from a source outside the computer, such as a VCR, it is usually in analog format and must be converted into digital form that can be stored in the computer. This is one of the key functions of a video capture card. To record a video sequence in digital form with the quality of a standard TV program would require approximately ninety gigabytes for one hour, equivalent to the capacity of approximately 140 CDs. A significant reduction in the required disc space, without a noticeable loss of quality, can be achieved by compressing the video. Instead of ninety gigabytes to store one hour of TV-quality video, the same information can be compressed to approximately two gigabytes. Because video is almost always stored on a computer in compressed form, most video capture cards also include hardware to perform video compression.

In the same way that the video capture card converts the incoming video to digital form, the video output card must do the opposite conversion, taking the digital video from the computer and outputting analog video for display on a monitor or television. Often the video output card will include hardware for decompression of the video as well as the conversion from digital to analog. Software running on the computer can also perform the decompression, but if the computer is not fast enough, the video will not play back smoothly.

It is also possible to get digital, as opposed to analog, video cameras. Many commercially available camcorders record compressed digital video onto tape. Such a camcorder can be connected directly to a computer without the need to use a video capture card because the video is already in a compressed digital video form. Digital video cameras are also available for connection directly to a computer. Again, because they output video in a digital format, a video capture card is not needed.

One reason to transfer video to a computer is to allow for editing. Once the video is stored on the computer, sophisticated editing software can be used to manipulate the video. For example, holiday camcorder recordings typically contain much unwanted material. After transferring the video from the camcorder to a computer, the video can be edited to remove the unwanted parts. When the editing is finished, the holiday video can be transferred back to the camcorder tapes or to a standard VCR. Or, the edited video can be kept on the computer and played from the computer to a monitor or television.

If a computer is equipped with both a camera and a video output card, it can be used for video conferencing. In video conferencing, two or more people in different locations communicate with each other using both sound and video through their computers. The camera captures a digital video signal of the person, and the computer transmits it through a network to the other participants. Similarly, the other participants have cameras so that video is transmitted to them also. Each person also needs a video output card to display the video received from the other video conference participants. Video conferencing allows people to both see and hear each other while in remote locations.

When a computer is equipped to handle video, it can be used to perform functions normally done by consumer electronics devices. If a computer includes a digital versatile disc read-only memory (DVD-ROM) drive and a suitable video output card, it is possible to play DVD videos on the computer. Or, the output from the video card can be connected to a television and the DVDs can be watched on the television instead of the computer monitor.

see also Animation; Games; Interactive Systems; Virtual Reality.

Declan P. Kelly

Bibliography

Fischetti, Mark, ed. "The Future of Digital Entertainment." Scientific American 283, no. 5 (2000): 3164.

Fox, Barry. "Big Squeeze for Video." New Scientist 139, no. 1888 (1993): 2123.

Johnson, Dave. How to Use Digital Video. Indianapolis, IN: Sams, 2000.

Taylor, Jim. DVD Demystified: The Guidebook for DVD-Video and DVD-ROM. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.

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Video Evidence

Video Evidence

The use of surveillance cameras and closed-circuit television (CCTV) for security and crime prevention has been growing in recent years. Shopping malls, car parks, offices, airports, and many other public and private places are often fitted with such systems, which means that an increasing number of crimes are now being caught on camera. Such cameras are often small and very discreet, so the perpetrators have no idea that they and their actions are being recorded. Video images relating to a crime can be used in court as evidence , but effective forensic video analysis is a specialized and highly technical task.

When collecting video evidence, the investigators must take as much care as they would in collecting any other form of evidence. Videotapes can readily be wiped or recorded over, so the first task is to preserve the evidence from a camera by preventing this. For analog video evidence, the record tab must be removed or moved to a saved position. For digital video evidence, write protection has to be in place. The chain of custody of the evidence, from collecting the tape from the camera to its receipt in the processing lab, must be carefully adhered to, because questions may be asked in court about whether the video evidence could have been tampered with. Storage should be in a climate-controlled room, because extremes of temperature can damage a video tape.

The images from a surveillance camera or closed-circuit TV system are often blurred, grainy, and of low resolution. Lighting conditions, tape wear, and deficiencies in the camera system all contribute to poor quality pictures. Enhancing such images, without altering them, is challenging. The effort may, however, be well worthwhile if a crucial car number plate or a suspect may thereby be identified.

The video analysis lab will contain a monitor that can produce large images from the tape, a playback deck, a printer, and equipment that can digitize the signal from the original tape so that it can be processed by a computer. Before any analysis is actually carried out, the integrity of the tape should be reviewed and careful notes made of any damage. The video evidence must be protected throughout from external hazards such as magnetic fields or static electric charges that may harm it. It is also important not to over-play the tape, as this can also impair its quality.

There are various software packages that can enhance an image from a video camera and present them either as video tape, still images, or prints for the court. There are many image formats that can be used to do this work, but one of the most popular is the tagged image file format (.tif file). Everything the forensic video analysis technician does to the image must be carefully recorded, because this is sure to be questioned in court. Computer images can be readily manipulated and so everything that has been done to the evidence must be accounted for so that its integrity is preserved.

If a suspect has been detained, video evidence can be used to help identify them. They can be taken back to the original location of the camera and rerecorded standing or walking in the same position. This second image can be compared with the original and an identification or an elimination can often be usefully made. The original image can also be used to give an idea of the actual height and size of a suspect.

Video evidence played an important role in the investigation of the murder of two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool, England, in 1993. A surveillance camera in a shopping mall clearly shows the child being separated from his mother and then being led to his death by the two boys who were later convicted of the killing. The tape was repeatedly shown on television and its poignancy has helped fix this especially tragic case in the memory of the British public. In another case, video footage from cameras in a West London shopping mall was intensively studied by police to solve the doorstep shooting of TV presenter Jill Dando in 1999. Although the key suspect did not appear in these images, they were a powerful aid to reconstruction of the crime as they provided sharp, clear images of much of the last hour of Miss Dando's life. Another famous piece of video evidence is the recording of Diana, Princess of Wales, leaving a hotel in Paris just minutes before the car accident that was to end her life in 1997.

see also Digital imaging.

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video

vid·e·o / ˈvidēˌō/ • n. (pl. -os) the system of recording, reproducing, or broadcasting moving visual images on or from videotape. ∎  a movie or other piece of material recorded on videotape. ∎  a videocassette: a blank video| the film will soon be released on video. ∎  a short movie made by a pop or rock group to accompany a song when broadcast on television. ∎ Brit. a videocassette recorder.

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video

video Term used in television and computing to refer to electronic vision signals, and to equipment and software associated with visual displays. The picture component of a television signal is often referred to as video. See also videotape recording

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video

video
1. Relating to the storage or broadcasting of information that contains both pictures and sound.

2. The process of storing, reproducing, or broadcasting video information.

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video

video •Cleo • Carpaccio • Boccaccio •capriccio • braggadocio • Palladio •cardio • radio • video • audio • rodeo •studio •Caravaggio, DiMaggio •adagio •arpeggio, Correggio •Sergio • radicchio • Tokyo • intaglio •seraglio •billy-o, punctilio •folio, imbroglio, olio, polio, portfolio •cameo • Romeo •Borneo, Tornio •Antonio • Scipio • Scorpio •barrio, Mario •impresario, Lothario, Polisario, Rosario, scenario •stereo • embryo •Blériot, Ontario •vireo • Florio •oratorio, Oreo •curio • Ajaccio • Lazio • nuncio •pistachio •fellatio, Horatio, ratio •ab initio, ex officio •patio • Subbuteo • physio

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