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“Press ‘Play’ on that one, and ‘Record’ on that one.”

I heard someone say it today at STV.  It about sums up the best of my childhood, that.  From copying a rental edition of Empire Strikes Back (later paying for it twice on VHS and again on DVD, not to mention the cinema tickets for the re-release) to making mix tapes to impress a girl, “Press ‘play’ on that one, and ‘Record’ on that one,” made magic happen.

I had finished for the day.  I’d saved my project, closed the application, shut down the computer and gathered my things.  On the way to the door I heard a woman say it.  Looking instinctively in her direction, I saw her regarding a video tape deck, probably DigiBeta, and a DVD recorder.  Although both formats were digital, they were linked by a fat, umbilically analogue cable.

I assumed they were transferring the tape’s contents onto DVD, but it could easily have been the opposite. It didn’t matter.  It mattered only that one was to play, and the other was to record.

I was instantly reminded how lucky I am to have a job that lets me do for a living what, in childhood, I did for fun.  Or, if not for fun, because it seemed the right thing to do while I was in that blissful state of having two hard-working individuals subsidise my entire existence.  The options weren’t infinite during that time, but they were multitudinous, and I often chose among that wealth of possibilities to press ‘Play’ on one machine and ‘Record’ on another.

Sometimes I was taking possession of something I had only paid to rent, sometimes I was sharing culture.  I was stealing.  I was giving.  Plus I edited my first film by hooking two VHS recorders up and learning how many seconds it took one of them to actually start recording after you hit the button (slightly nearer four than three seconds, FYI).

What I do for a living now amounts to making copies.  The camera copies what it sees onto film, or tape, or solid state media.  I copy that information onto a hard drive, reorganise it and make multiple copies of my derivative work.  In TV, I deliver some of those copies to various places and other people make many more copies, broadcasting them, analogue and  digital, over the airwaves and hosting them on streaming web platforms. Then any interested home users (if we’re fortunate enough to have any) copy them to their local systems and put yet more copies on YouTube and similar sites.)  Frankly, the more the merrier.

There’s a hysterical crisis over copying at the moment, but I won’t get into it here, except to say that, broadly, I’m all for copying and always have been.  I’m for preservation, for sharing and, yes, for paying what I deem fit (which ranges from nothing to far in excess of what is being asked).

For me, it started with, “Press ‘Play’ on that one, and ‘Record’ on that one,” and I’m so glad that within the broadcast industry it’s still, on occasion, considered a solution rather than a problem.

By Kenny Park

Kenny Park, pro video editor in Avid and Final Cut for over a decade.

2 replies on ““Press ‘Play’ on that one, and ‘Record’ on that one.””

Lord Carlsberg, this is an unexpected pleasure; we’re honoured by your presence.

Now, if I may dispense with the pleasantaries, Big George isn’t blameless in the Piracy Crisis. He’s fought very hard to achieve and maintain his independence from the big studios, yet he peddles their bogus piracy figures in interviews and calls it his ‘number one threat’.
Remember a certain short, round accountants woman who once prepared both our wages? She once acquired a dodgy copy of Terminator 3, and our mutual boss took the opportunity to sound as if he was in the same league as Jack Warner by pontificating that the “theft” of Hollywood films in this manner hurt “our” industry. This is the Lucas (et al) argument, and it’s bullshit.

It assumes our spherical clerk would have bought a legit copy of that forgettable film, had she not the option of the illegal knock-off. They count her £2 to some bloke who was going from pub to pub with discs in a canvas bag as THEIR £15.99 (and probably throw in the £10 cinema ticket for good measure). The truth is, that globular woman would NEVER have given them a penny in return for the chance to watch Terminator 3.

I never learned what she thought of the movie, but I see two likely uses of her word-of-mouth power:

1. Not bad, but mediocre, though seems a bit shit after the sheer brilliance of the first two (which is how half the people who saw legal copies used their word-of-mouth power), or

2. Utter pants (which is how the other half put it).

My point is, they had free word of mouth from her, with a 50/50 chance it would be as good as they deserved after that lacklustre offering.

Piracy is a BAD THING. I’m on board with that, but these plainly hysterical claims about lost revenue make the whole entertainment industry look like whining, opportunistic liars.

I understand that there’s so much at stake that individuals caught in the maelstrom feel compelled to parrot these absurdities, but Big George should know better. He should DO better.

(P.S. I won in a BBC Radio 1 competition a ticket to the first screening of all six Star Wars films, taking place at the same time (and just across London’s Leicester Square) as Revenge of the Sith’s premiere. Meaning I saw it legitimately several weeks before it officially hit screens. I loved it and raved about it. Then it had its general release and I went to see it several times, at no small expense. In the interim before its home release, I could wait no longer and watched a pirate copy with a friend, loving it just as much. And, when it came out on DVD, I was there, first day, to hand over my cash while it still cost as much as it ever would. When it comes out on Blu-ray, I’ll buy it again, and when it’s rereleased in 3D, I’ll hand over my money again. Now I ask you, as someone who once acquired a bogus copy of Revenge of the Sith, what the fuck do you think I owe George Lucas?)

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