Video: History, Types, Technologies

Video: History, Types, Technologies

Video is a technology for capturing, recording, storing, and transmitting moving visual images.  The word “video” is a portmanteau of the latin “videre” (meaning “be seen”), and “audio”.

Video technology began with the invention of analog video in 1925, by using continuous electronic signals to capture and transmit images. This era of analog video set the stage for the first television broadcasts.

Digital video was invented in 1977 as an upgrade to analog video. Digital video encodes visual information into binary data, enhancing quality and revolutionizing editing, storage, and sharing methods. This transition from analog to digital video introduced new standards in video quality and accessibility.

Video formats have evolved from analog tapes like VHS, to digital files such as MP4, MOV, and AVI. Analog formats were created to cater to recording and broadcast needs with their distinct characteristics, while digital formats offer higher quality and easier distribution, suitable for internet-based sharing and streaming.

Video has emerged as a critical tool in digital marketing. It employs compelling visuals to promote products and services, leveraging platforms like social media and television. The objective of video marketing is to engage audiences, enhance brand visibility, and drive customer action, making it a pivotal strategy in modern marketing.

Video production encompasses the video creation process from inception to final output. It involves three facets: pre-production – planning and scripting, production – filming, and post-production tasks, including editing and finalizing. This process has evolved with technological advancements and is pivotal in producing diverse content forms like movies, documentaries, and online videos.

What is Video?

Video is a technology for capturing, recording, storing, and transmitting moving visual images. Video comes in various forms, evolving from traditional television broadcasts to the modern phenomenon of online streaming.

Etymology and Origin of the Word “Video”

‘Video’ was coined in circa 1935 from the Latin word ‘videre,’ which means ‘to see’, combining it in a portmanteau with the word ‘audio’ to represent the visual equivalent of audio.

What is Analog Video?

Analog video is a type of video that uses continuous signals to transmit images and sounds. It was invented in 1925 and was the first form of video technology. It uses mediums like magnetic tape (found in formats like VHS and Betamax), and film reels (like 35mm film).

Editing in analog video involves physically cutting and splicing tape or film. It’s a linear and manual process, requiring precise timing and sequencing.

Film reels can be displayed directly through film projectors, which shine light directly through the film and onto a screen.  Magnetic tapes (like VHS and Betamax) contain the analog signal information of chrominance, luminance, and audio, and these were sent to a display through analog video connections such as component video or composite video, among others.

Learn more at our full guide on Analog Video.

What is Digital Video?

Digital video is a type of video that uses binary code to store and transmit visual and auditory information. The first commercially available digital video format was called D1, and it was introduced in 1986 by Sony. Compared to analog video, digital video improved the quality of the video, the storage of video, access to video, and sharing of video content.

Digital video primarily utilizes mediums such as digital tapes (like MiniDV), optical discs (like DVDs and Blu-ray), and digital files (like MP4 and AVI) stored on Hard Disk Drives (HDDs).

Editing digital video is done using computer software, allowing for non-linear and flexible editing processes. This approach enables easy access to any part of the footage for editing, adding effects, or rearranging sequences.

Digital video is displayed on various screens, including LCD, LED, and OLED monitors and televisions, which decode the digital signals into visible images and sound, often with enhanced clarity and resolution compared to analog.

Learn more in our full guide on Digital Video.

History of Video

The first form of analog video – the first form of video displayed – was invented in 1925 by the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird. Initially, video technology revolved around mechanical television systems, which used rotating disks and mirrors to capture and display images, but these were limited in their capabilities.

John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, demonstrated the first working television system in 1925. Around the same time, American inventor Philo Farnsworth developed the first electronic television system.

In 1951, the first video tape recorder (VTR) was introduced by an Ampex research team led by Charles Ginsburg, enabling live images from television cameras to be captured, converted into electrical impulses, and stored on magnetic tape. Two years later, in 1953, the first color television broadcast took place in the United States of America.

Home video systems were introduced in 1972, with the invention of the VHS by JVC, and the invention of Betamax by Sony. The home video systems allowed people to record and play videos in their homes. In 1986, Sony introduced the world’s first digital video format, the D1, posing a superior quality to analog systems.

The first form of High-definition television (HDTV) was introduced in 1981 by NHK in Japan.  This form of HDTV was analog, and contained 1125 lines of resolutions, (compared to the 525 or 625 lines in standard-definition TV of the time). The following decades would include a widespread adoption of High-definition TV.  The United States introduced HDTV in 1998 after President Ronald Reagan witnessed the NHK broadcast and declared HDTV a matter of national interest for the USA.

The development of High-definition television went through many iterations over the next years, and now has standards of 4K (i.e. 4000 lines of resolution) and 8K video resolution, increasing the sharpness and quality of videos.

Invention of Analog Video

Analog video, a method of transmitting moving images as continuous electronic signals, was first developed in 1925. John Logie Baird is often credited with creating the world’s first mechanical television.

On January 26, 1926, in London, John Logie Baird successfully demonstrated the first working television system to members of the Royal Institution and a journalist from The Times. Baird’s system used a mechanical scanning method involving a rotating disk with holes arranged in a spiral pattern to capture and display images.

On September 7, 1927, Philo Taylor Farnsworth transmitted the first electronic television image at his lab in San Francisco, California. This image – a simple straight line – was a breakthrough in electronic television technology, moving away from Baird’s mechanical systems. Farnsworth’s work laid the foundation for the future of electronic analog video, which used cathode-ray tubes for image transmission and reception.

The fundamental principle behind analog video involved varying the signal to correspond with the light intensity of the image. This technology laid the groundwork for the first television broadcasts and opened a new era of visual communication.

Invention of the Television

The first electronic television was demonstrated on Sept. 7, 1927, by Philo Taylor Farnsworth in San Francisco.  Previously to this, John Logie Baird demonstrated a prototype television in 1925.

Key figures in its development of television include John Logie Baird, and Philo Farnsworth.

Invention of the VCR

The first successful VCR, the Videocord 2000, was invented by the Philips company in 1972. Other VCR’s invented in the mid-1970’s included Sony’s Betamax and JVC’s VHS formats. VHS eventually became the dominant format.

The Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) was another landmark invention in the history of video. It allowed users to record television programming and play pre-recorded videos. Who Invented Videotape?

Thefirst practical videotape recording system was invented by  Charles Ginsburg of the Ampex Corporation in 1956, during the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention in Chicago.

The technology used magnetic tape to record and playback television programs, replacing the earlier kinescope method, which involved recording onto film. The Ampex VRX-1000, which was later renamed the Mark IV, was capable of recording high-quality images and sound.

Videotape was a game-changer, allowing for the recording, storage, and playback of video content, and it laid the foundation for future innovations in video technology.

Invention of Digital Video

The first digital video recording was invented in 1977 by Ampex, but digital video did not see widespread adoption until the 1990s.

The first all-digital video format – the D1 – was invented by Sony in 1986. The D1 format made it possible to record videos in a purely digital form without the analog conversion process typical of previous technologies.

Video data was stored as binary digital information, resulting in a significant improvement in image quality and allowing for more efficient and flexible editing and duplication processes.

The introduction of digital video set the stage for future innovations such as digital video cameras, DVDs, and eventually high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) formats.

Invention of Digital Video Cameras

The first recording systems designed to be mobile were the Portapak systems, starting with the Sony DV-2400 in 1967. In 1981, the technology was improved with the invention of the Betacam system, where the tape recorder was built into the camera, making a camcorder.

In 1986, Sony released the first consumer digital video camera – the CCD-V8, which employed a charge-coupled device (CCD) for image capture. This technology was improved on by Sony, who, shortly after, released the CCD-V8AF, the first digital video camera with autofocus.

Unlike its analog predecessors, the D1 recorded video directly onto digital tape, bypassing the need for film. This invention dramatically improved the quality of video recordings and simplified the process of editing and distribution.

Following this, the market saw a surge in digital video camera technology, leading to more compact designs, higher resolution capabilities, and a broad range of features catering to various users’ needs.

What are the Digital Video Formats?

Digital video formats refer to the way video content is encoded and stored. There are numerous formats, each with its characteristics, advantages, and uses. Some of the most common digital video formats include:

  • AVI (Audio Video Interleave): Introduced by Microsoft in the early 1990s, AVI is one of the oldest video formats. It is known for its simplicity and compatibility with various operating systems.
  • MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14): Perhaps the most widely used video format today, MP4 is known for its high compression and quality ratio, making it ideal for web streaming.
  • MOV: Developed by Apple, MOV is the format used by QuickTime. It’s popular among video editors due to its high quality and flexibility with various codecs.
  • WMV (Windows Media Video): This format, developed by Microsoft, is commonly used for streaming on the internet.
  • FLV (Flash Video): Although losing popularity due to the decline of Adobe Flash, FLV was once dominant for online video streaming services like YouTube.

Each of these formats has played a role in the distribution and consumption of digital video content, influencing how we interact with media across various platforms.

Rise of Video-Sharing Sites

The early 2000s witnessed a pivotal change in the video landscape with the emergence of video-sharing sites. YouTube, founded in 2005, is perhaps the most iconic example, rapidly becoming a global phenomenon.

These platforms allowed individuals to upload, share, and view video content easily, democratizing video production and consumption like never before. Users were no longer passive consumers but active creators and curators of content.

This era marked a significant shift in how people accessed, shared, and interacted with video, leading to the rise of viral videos, influencer culture, and new forms of online entertainment and information sharing that have become a significant part of the world as we currently know it in the 21st century.

Most commonly, video consumers have leaned towards short-form video hosting platforms. A short-form video is a video that is less than ten minutes in length and contains content on several topics.

TikTok is a prominent example of a short-form video hosting service. TikTok is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance. TikTok was first released in China only in 2016 and later released for worldwide use in August 2018. TikTok hosts user-uploaded short-form videos ranging from 3 seconds to 10 minutes and was ranked the most popular website in 2021, ahead of Google.

Rise of Video Streaming Sites

Platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video started as services offering video on demand, evolving quickly into streaming giants, providing vast libraries of films, TV shows, and documentaries.

Advancements have also led to the development of live-streaming technology, permitting a user to broadcast live videos to other users worldwide. Examples of live-streaming platforms include Twitch, founded on 21 March 2006, which boasts over 140 million monthly active users. Popular platforms like TikTok and Instagram have also adopted the live-streaming feature, allowing all their users access.

The appeal of these sites lies in their convenience, variety, and ability to offer content without the constraints of traditional broadcast schedules. This shift not only changed viewing habits but also profoundly impacted content production, leading to the creation of original content specifically for these platforms.

Streaming sites have become synonymous with the modern entertainment experience, revolutionizing how we consume TV and movies.

Invention of AI Video

AI video means using AI algorithms to create, enhance, or analyze video content. This technology has various applications, from automating video editing, to improving video quality, generating realistic animations, and creating deepfake videos.

One notable application is the use of AI in making synthetic media, where AI algorithms can create entirely new video content based on existing data. Another significant advancement is video analytics, where AI is used to interpret and understand video content for purposes like surveillance, consumer behavior analysis, and content recommendation systems.

What are Deepfake Videos?

Deepfake videos, a specific application of AI in video technology, refer to videos that have been altered or synthesized using deep learning algorithms to make them appear genuine.

These videos typically involve superimposing someone’s face onto another person’s body or manipulating speech and facial expressions. Deepfakes leverage techniques from machine learning and artificial neural networks to create convincing fake videos.

While they have potential for entertainment and creative expression, deepfakes also raise significant concerns regarding misinformation, privacy, and the potential for misuse in creating false narratives or non-consensual content.

The rise of deepfake technology has sparked a global conversation about the ethics of synthetic media and the need for tools to detect and manage these creations.

What is Video Marketing?

Video marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves using video to promote and market products, services, or brands.

Video marketing leverages the power of visual storytelling to engage audiences, convey messages more effectively, and drive viewer action. This marketing strategy can take various forms, including product demos, testimonials, tutorials, live streams, and corporate training videos.

The rise of social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok has further amplified the importance of video marketing. It’s an essential tool in a marketer’s arsenal, known for improving conversion rates, boosting search engine rankings, and creating a more personal connection with audiences.

What is Vlogging? (Video Blogging)

Vlogging, or video blogging, is the practice of creating and sharing videos about one’s life, opinions, travels, or any other topic of interest, primarily on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or personal blogs.

Vlogging combines elements of traditional blogging with video storytelling, providing a more intimate and engaging way to connect with audiences. Vloggers often use their content to entertain, educate, or inspire their viewers, creating a sense of community and personal connection.

Vlogging has given rise to a new generation of content creators and influencers, making it an integral part of the social media and entertainment landscape.

What is Video Production?

Video production is the process of creating video content, encompassing several stages from the initial concept to the final output. It involves several facets, including:

  • Pre-production includes planning, scripting, and organizing logistics.
  • Storyboarding: Storyboarding is a process where the producers visualize the scenes, angles, and shots in a video before filming. A storyboard usually consists of sketches, graphics, and illustrations displayed in sequence of how the video will unfold.
  • Script writing: Scriptwriting is the process of researching, developing, and writing the dialogues for a video production. These dialogues and other writing involved in the video are called scripts.
  • Production is the actual shooting of the video, where the visual and audio elements are captured.
  • Directing:  Directing is the process of translating the script of a video into scenes. Directing is one of the most crucial aspects of video production, as it involves capturing the intended vision for the video. A director has the job of guiding, instructing, and leading crew members to achieve the desired result.
  • Videography: Videography is the art of recording and capturing moving images on a video camera. Some aspects of post-production, such as video editing, are also involved in videography.
  • Post-production involves editing and finalizing the content to produce the finished video.
  • Video editing: Video editing is the process of arranging, manipulating, and combining video shots and making essential technical changes to create a completed video project.
  • VFX: VFX stands for Visual effects, which refers to the post-production process of creating or manipulating imagery outside the context of live-action shots.

Video production can be used for various purposes, including films, television shows, corporate videos, advertisements, and online content. The process combines creativity with technical expertise, bringing stories and messages to life through visual storytelling.

What is Video Editing?

Video editing is the process of selecting, cutting, and assembling video clips to create a coherent and engaging final product. It is a crucial phase in the post-production process of video production. This process shapes the narrative, sets the pace, and determines the overall style and feel of the video.

Analog Video Editing

In the era of analog video, editing was done physically by cutting and splicing film reels or magnetic tape. This method required precise manual work and was time-consuming.

Editors would often work with a physical copy of the video, making linear edits that needed to be planned meticulously. Despite its limitations, analog editing was an art form requiring high skill and patience.

Digital Video Editing

The advent of digital video brought a transformation in video editing. Digital editing is done using computer software, allowing for non-linear editing where any part of the video can be accessed and edited without affecting other segments. Popular examples of video editing software include Adobe Premiere Pro, Cyberlink Power Director 365, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Corel VideoStudio Ultimate, among others.

This flexibility has revolutionized the editing process, making it faster, more efficient, and open to greater creative possibilities. Digital video editing supports a wide range of effects, transitions, and graphic overlays, enabling editors to enhance their videos’ visual appeal and storytelling effectiveness.

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