What were you doing 20 years ago?
Did you watch some of the original episodes of “Law & Order SVU”? They’re hard to avoid. Some days they run on multiple cable channels. Why? “SVU” sometimes gets a million viewers for a rerun. That’s a pretty good audience for cable.
The current season of SVU is the 20th. They are going into the record books for scripted television drama:
So, what was (and was not) happening in media technology for 1998 Holiday Season?
Well, we were still shooting on film. The very experimental Nikon D1 was not introduced until June 15, 1999.
We were still involved with “desktop publishing” using Adobe PageMaker or QuarkXPress. Adobe InDesign 1.0 did not ship until August 31, 1999.
Apple gave us the first bite at Mac OS X 1.0 on May 11, 1998, for those of us who were brave explorers. Microsoft shipped Windows 98, 4 days later.
Offset printing press operators thought we were quite amazing that we could do our own proofing with the Epson Stylus Color 3000, which debuted in September 1998.
In North America, HDTV was just starting to gain momentum. The initial live testing started on July 23, 1996, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
We thought Adobe Premiere 5.0 was quite exciting (which was released May 18, 1998). We go back to Premiere 1.0. But, many of the professional video editors we worked with, thought we were playing with toys, to think we could do great work creating video content on a computer tower.
Adobe Illustrator had proven that the Mac version and the Windows version could share a common User Interface. Version 8.0 was released on August 24, 1998.
In today’s environment, Mac and Windows versions sharing operability seems quaint, but designing for the Internet was just ramping up. HTML 4.0 was still evolving and most people were working on a version of HTML 3. Adobe’s PageMill was up to version 3.0 and what would replace it, GoLive, had also released a third version, in 1998. 20 years ago, today, Macromedia Dreamweaver was still in its first version, in its first year. Version 2.0 did hit the streets in December 1998.
Speaking of quaint, creating web images, in Adobe Photoshop, took a little doing, 20 years ago today. Version 5.5 was the one which brought valuable tools to Internet page creation. That happened February 17, 1999.
How about feeling thankful for where media technology has come in the past 20 years?
Many great technological issues have moved the industry forward in that time. But the industry gains have gone deeper.
What are you thankful for?
I think our boss got us a D1. It was horrible and we never really used it, as film was so much better. We did start using computers for our photo processing, starting with PS 5.5. I was thrilled not to have to spend all that time in the darkroom, standing, printing the images. We bought a Scanview drum scanner to scan our negs - 2100 ppi. Never had to use that high of a resolution. We used to make 8X10 overhead transparencies for meetings and Velox halftone prints for hard copies, using a process camera, that started to disappear with Powerpoint presentations. We had artist paint renderings of our satellites for display, then we would copy them and make prints. That stopped too, and I was given 3D CAD renderings of the satellites that I would then enhance in PS to make them look for realistic. We would go to the Cape to photograph the preparation for satellite launches. Back then we shot film, so the file had to be couriered back to our lab on the west coast, so days delay getting the film. If we were in a rush, we would take over a local lab and do our processing there. Finally the folks at the Cape set up a trailer with a processing lab where we could process and print our photos, so that we could get prelaunch images to the astronauts and ground control. Everything is so much easier now!