EXP TV has a huge lineup of retro found footage

 

Chewbacca frolicking with Japanese toddlers and other delights await at EXP TV, a curated stream of found VHS footage, Star Wars rarities and other visual delights. Read the rest

Watch the rise and fall of Blockbuster Video in under four minutes

The first Blockbuster Video location was opened in 1985, in Dallas, Texas, by Sandy and David Cook. David pulled together the scratch for the startup by selling off the assets of one of the subsidiaries of an oil services business that he owned. Once the Cooks saw the insane amount of cash their first store was bringing in, they said buh-bye to the oil industry entirely in order to focus on Please be Kind, Rewind stickers, full-time. Game rentals became a thing for them, in 1987 (after taking Nintendo to court to secure the privilege of being able to rent out their hardware and games). by 2004, there were 9,094 Blockbuster locations, worldwide. Thanks to cable networks offering video-on-demand and streaming and rental services like Netflix and the Apple iTunes Store drinking their milkshake, the number of Blockbuster locations began to decrease. By 2014, the last 300 corporate stores, owned by Blockbuster, had shut down. A few franchisees held out—for a while.

Today, there's only one Blockbuster Video left on the whole damn planet, located in Bend, Oregon. While this video only details Blockbuster's locations within the continental United States, its a hell of a thing to see just how many there were until streaming video took them (almost) all down.

Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest

Stuck on VHS is a visual history of video store stickers

Stuck on VHS is a book that has over 1000 photos of stickers that video rental stores of the 1980s and 1990s would stick onto the cassettes. These stickers would be used to let people know about a video's genre and rating, and also to remind them that they could be fined if they neglected to rewind the tape before returning it. I don't have a copy, but it looks like a true delight for anyone interested in design.

For a taste of what's inside, check out their Instagram account.

 

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You know it must be one HELL of a video! STUCK ON VHS is sold out online, but copies are available at all @drafthouse theater locations and VHStival Tour stops! We’re hoping for a repress sometime later this year, and will keep everyone updated! Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy! Let us know what you think when they arrive, dudes! Can’t wait to share it with you! #vhs #vhstapes #videostore #videostores #videorental #vhscollector #vhscollecting #vhsstickers #vhsculture #vhsforever #vhsishappiness #stuckonvhs #devil

A post shared by STUCK ON VHS (@stuckonvhs) on Jan 22, 2020 at 6:57am PST

 

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And a doggone good deal, too!! Gotta love those animal mascots with human teeth! #vhs #vhstapes #videostore #videostores #videorental #vhscollector #vhscollecting #vhsstickers #previouslyviewed #fullyguaranteed #vhsculture #vhsforever #vhsishappiness #stuckonvhs

A post shared by STUCK ON VHS (@stuckonvhs) on Oct 1, 2019 at 8:16am PDT

 

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It’s not a bad question, Burt!

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This is New York City in 1993... in HD

This footage was captured from a demo tape used by home entertainment dealers showing off the high quality of the new D-Theater (D-VHS) digital video recording. Enabling the recording and display of HD content, D-Theater/D-VHS was the VHS videocassette format's last gasp. From Youtube Pedant:

In 2002 D-Theater launched in the US - the dealers needed a demo tape of HD footage. JVC reused some HD video that had been shot as a demo for the Japanese HD market back in 1993. This footage would have most likely been originally used for a HiVision MUSE demo (an HD Broadcast, Tape & Laserdisc format).

You can determine that the year is 1993 by the adverts in Times Square - The Radio 501 CD that's advertised on a billboard came out in 1993 and Paper Moon is playing at the Marquis Theater.

(Thanks, UPSO!) Read the rest

The Internet Archive has a treasure/trash trove of 20,000 VHS recordings from the 1980s and 1990s

The Internet Archives' VHS Vault isn't new, but since the beginning of the year it's been refreshed with hundreds of new uploads, reports LifeHacker.

So what kind of gems will you find in the VHS Vault? The clips, shows and films run the gamut from instructional videos, to documentaries, to children’s programs, to workout videos. Want to watch the 1935 film version of Les Misérables? It’s on there. Want to work out with Traci Lords? Your wish is the VHS Vault’s command. Want to watch every single episode of Salute Your Shorts? Get ready to spend some quality time with Budnick, Dina and Ug Lee. How about an introduction to Windows 95 with Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry? Yes, that exists, and it’s on there, too.

Image: Internet Archive Read the rest

A visit to the world's oldest surviving video rental store

Twentieth Century Flicks is the world's oldest surviving video rental store. The offer 20,000 films (yes, many on VHS too) and even have screening rooms. This shop embodies much of what I miss about how I experienced media growing up before the dark times... Before the modern Web.

Be kind, rewind.

Directed by Arthur Cauty.

Previously on Boing Boing:

• "Only one Blockbuster Video Store left standing"

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1980s VHS babes shooting machine guns

When the new civil war kicks off, will you have fourteen 1980s machine gun VHS babes on your side? They're sharper shooters than the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, that's for sure.

Consider this your weekly reminder that Robocop was a documentary. Read the rest

The beauty of blank VHS tape covers

There was something special about the perfectly-dimensioned, shrinkwrapped new VHS tape. Overlarge yet empty, a blank canvas in a new age of copying video. And now, a decade or three later, a perfect mote of nostalgia.

Previously: VHS Camcorder app makes iPhone video look like 1980s tape Read the rest

Visiting the VHS Swap Meet

Be kind, rewind. On Sunday, Houston, Texas's Insomnia Gallery hosted the VHS Swap Meet where 21 sellers gathered to hawk VHS tapes. Jason Champion, 37, who operates a VHS video store out of his garage, organized the swap. From The Chron:

“For me, it’s pure nostalgia,” (attendee Tayvis) Dunnahoe said. “When I watch a tape, it’s not always about just (watching) the best-quality version of the film. A lot of times it’s just kind of going back to that root of how I saw it the first time I watched it.”

Dunnahoe, who’s known among VHS collectors as Benny Junko, is all about “keeping physical media alive.” He and his wife, Nancy Agin Dunnahoe, operate the online shop Video Sanctum, which specializes in horror.

In fact, just about every vendor Sunday had at least a small collection of horror films, from the rare to the classic to the campy.

“We’re horror fanatics,” said Debra Santos, 32. She and her husband, Nasario Santos Jr., bought a bag full of videos Sunday, from 1979’s “Nosferatu the Vampyre” to “Cujo,” based on the Stephen King novel.

“A lot of people who are into VHS are primarily horror collectors,” said seller Ryan Allison. He said he recently paid a dollar at Half Price Books for a trashy horror thriller called “Slash Dance,” then sold it to a collector for $150.

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Weekend Tunes: The Pogues Live at the Town and Country

The Pogues were my entry point into punk. They caused a massive shift in my understanding of music: they made my growing up to play the mandolin, tenor banjo and bodhran feel cool. The music I played needn't be something from the past. As much as I loved and continue to adore traditional Irish tunes, The Pogues showed 15-year-old me that there was new life in the tunes I knew; new themes to explore. Discovering A Pair of Brown Eyes, Thousands are Sailing and The Broad Majestic Shannon kicked open other musical doors for me. It wasn't too long until my Discman was pushing The Waterboys, The Levellers, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span into my skull.

I've got fond memories of The Pogues Live at the Town and Country. When I was 18, I skipped my high school prom in favor of shipping off to Halifax. I'd fallen in love with a girl there, the summer previous. She was waiting for me. The relationship smouldered itself out, as flames that burn too hot, too fast, often do. Before we parted ways, she bought Live at the Town and Country on VHS for me as a birthday gift.

I watch it and listened to it until there was nothing left of that tape. Read the rest

VHS is making a comeback

Free VHS rentals are part of the planned fun at Video Vortex, a new venture by Alamo Drafthouse. The first one is under contstruction in Raleigh, North Carolina. Read the rest

Micro documentary about VHS video horror art

From Entertain the Elk: "A love letter to video stores, horror films, and the AIDA Advertising Method that made the artwork on their VHS covers so effectively grotesque and memorable." Read the rest

1993 New York City recorded in high-definition DVHS format

This remarkably clear VHS footage of Clinton-era yuppies who are now retirement age will either take you back to a more innocent time, or give you a good glimpse of what yuppie scum looked like back in the day. Read the rest

The best video store in the world carries only one movie

Remember those bygone days when certain stores would decorate their walls with movie titles for us to pick through? Well, just imagine a magical place that cuts out the celluloid chaff and delivers only what we really want to see.

Last weekend I stumbled upon the finest collection of cinema classics I‘ve witnessed since the early 2000s.  It was stocked with everything I needed to scratch my entertainment itch for drama, romance, and even sports flicks.

And the place I’m talking about ONLY carried the classic Jerry Maguire movie and get this… it was all on VHS tape! Read the rest

Surviving Edged Weapons, fabulous police training video from the VHS 'n' Crack era

"Of course, you're aware of the balisong," intones the deep-voiced narrator, "... or butterfly knife."

Awesome, terrifying, paranoid and goofy, Surviving Edged Weapons is a relic of another era, an age of fishhook earrings and razor blade-impregnated ballcaps, where reality itself stars Charles Bronson. Which, of course, it did. Read the rest

Recovering Teletext data from VHS recordings

Teletext was an early mainstream precursor to the web that became successful in the UK and France: hundreds of low-res pages a day streamed in the invisible overscan margins of the TV signal. It died with analog television; archivists are finding the original data can be recovered from VHS tapes.

Technology is changing that. The continuing boom in processor power means it’s now possible to feed 15 minutes of smudged VHS teletext data into a computer and have it relentlessly compare the pages as they flick by at the top of the picture, choosing to hold characters that are the same on multiple viewing (as they’re likely to be right) and keep trying for clearer information for characters that frequently change (as they’re likely to be wrong).

It's an interesting study in horsepower: it takes such "phenomenal processing power" to accurately and reliably scan VHS recordings of text that we're only now on the cusp of being able to do so.

That hundreds, even thousands of frames of each teletext page are required to OCR each one is also a powerful tribute to just how astoundingly awful VHS is. Read the rest

VHS Camcorder app makes iPhone video look like 1980s tape

Record the world through a 1980s lens with Rarevision's VHS Camcorder app, currently available for iOS with Android coming soon. Don't forget to please be kind, rewind.

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