ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Why the BBS Documentary Footage is Taking So Long —

Well, first of all, there’s a ton of footage.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I mean this collection, where I’ve been uploading raw footage to on and off for the last two years. Mostly off. However, it’s already at 20 hours of footage, which has to count for something, right?

I love the reviews that the uploaded footage gets, too. Complaints that it’s not edited well (it’s unedited). Critiques of my interview style. Critiques of what I say during questions. Accolades too. Mostly critiques, though. It looks like we’re getting about 100 downloads a week of the raw footage, which is pretty cool. In the case of John Sheetz, who died before the production was finished, his interview has been watched roughly 16,000 times. Not bad at all.

What takes so long is this. I have to basically dedicate a machine to the process, a process where the tape I recorded it on is digitized to a 12gb file, that 12gb file is put into an editor, and I listen to the tape to make sure nothing too unpleasant gets on there (unpleasant meaning “legally actionable” or “the interviewee asked that it be struck during the interview”). Then I have to render it to a MPEG2 file, then upload that 2-3gb MPEG2 stream up to, which then derives 5-6 variations from that main stream. I have to do this for every hour, and there’s 200 hours. This prevents me from doing other stuff at the same time, and I have a lot of stuff I need to be doing.

So, I’m going to make a little dedicated digitizing machine for a while. I have a laptop that was recently made redundant, and it has vegas and capture software on it; I’ll put a fat USB drive on it, grab the goods, and start my rendering. That will fix some amount of the issue in terms of machine dedication.

Every once in a while I consider an intern, but an intern often comes with a college, and a college often comes with a request for credit. No thanks. I contacted the person, arranged an interview, flew or drove there, interviewed them, and did the camera and sound and questions. I’ll do the last bit myself as well.

Outside of the criticals who don’t get it, people seem to appreciate and enjoy them. I was given a few BBS video artifacts and I’m uploading them as I go. A TBBS training tape is up already and is a personal favorite, and I have others as well. (I used part of the tape for the beginning of one of the episodes, but you can now see the full wonder.)

I’m sure there’ll eventually be something I upload that causes some trouble, for some reason I can’t fathom, but for now I’m enjoying flying blind and taking reasonable steps. There’s a lot, and I mean a lot of BBS material covered here, some redundant and a lot unique. I think that when this is done, an awful lot of the history of the BBS will be there for people to enjoy.

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  1. douchebag says:

    wooooo done with november! BOOYA!!!
    merry christmas.

  2. Chris says:

    My father and I are both ham radio operators, and back in 1978 or so we acquired a Teletype Corporation Model 15 teleprinter, U.S. Army Signal Corps surplus, built around 1945. This was a massive steel and cast-iron monster that printed with black ink ribbons (like a typewriter) on a continuous sheet (about 6000 ft, I believe) of fanfold paper that came out of a cardboard box on the floor. We used to be able to copy the old baudot RTTY transmissions on the HF bands from other hams, and one favorite activity was to copy the ARRL’s daily “radio bulletins” that they transmitted from their headquarters in Newington, CT.

    Mr. Sheetz’s recollections brought all of that back to me like it was yesterday when I first watched the BBS documentary, and having the entirety of raw footage from his interview available is just the coolest thing in the world. Thank you once again, Jason, for another job well done, and rest in peace, Mr. Sheetz.

  3. Nick says:

    Great to see other hams using RTTY! 73 de AB3HJ