Chuck Colby

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  First Portable Video Editor


Video-Computing's Third Wave
by David Traub

Attention Videographers, Apple Computer's MacIntosh may play a big part in your future productions.

Image caption: Larry Frame uses a Macintosh computer at Cupertino CA-based Apple-TV

The "first wave" of video-computing was launched just after the summer of 1967. Ampex's Chuck Colby married computer control to serveral VTRs to create a video editor for CBS' coverage of the 1968 Grenoble Olympics. By applying the interactive control afforded by dedicated microprocessors to the manipulation of standalone peripheral devices, Colby helped foever merge the worlds of computers and video.

Twenty years later, at the 1989 NAB conference, there remain many highly evolved examples of the first wave of standalone video-computing, particularly as represented by the latest incarnations of high-end analogue editors such as the Montage of CMX 6000.

Equally pervasive this year were numerous examples of the "second wave" of video computing, professional task-oriented applications built solely to run upon the ever-proliferating IBM PC. Scattered about the conference floor were scripting, storyboard, budget and planning, edit-list management, MIDI audio and video editing, and graphic generation programs that had been developed over the last four or five years. These were programs designed to support the administrative and creative tasks that dedicated high-end products didn't serve, and to take advantage of increasingly pervasive, inexpensive, and powerful personal computers.

Except in the realm of videographics, where the Amiga remains influential, or in audio and music, where the Macintosh dominates,, the majority of these PC products were "second wave," meaning that they were DOS-based, ASCII, or Lotus-defined, and driven by a set of keyboard-entered commands within an alphanumeric desktop that varied from vendor to vendor. These were IBM-based products that were arriving several years ahead of comparable Macintosh programs, in part because the coding behind the Mac's graphical interface was correspondingly more complex and difficult to program.

Desktop media: The "Third Wave"

The "third wave" of video-computing was presaged in 1986 with the advent of desktop publishing. By marrying a laserprinter, postscript (a page description language that enables laserprinter output), and the Macintosh — most unique because of its highly intuitive graphical interface — Apple created an industry. Most significant to Apple was the fact that this desktop publishing industry helped fortify the Macintosh's position as a serious business computer. Mainly on the strength of desktop publising, Apple outsold IBM in total PC units sold the first quarter of 1989...