So I’m sitting on the deck outside the big yurt this evening and it’s a moment. I pull out my iPhone and shoot the included video.

But what I’m thinking is, jeez, remember Sony Porta Paks? They were the most exciting thing in the art world back in the early ’70s. PORTABLE VIDEO! The difference was that Porta Paks were these suitcase-sized things you lugged around with a shoulder strap. And that wasn’t even the camera, which was attached to the suitcase with multiple cords for sound, video recording and electricity. The camera was roughly the size of a shoe box with a lens attached. (Don’t let this picture of the model fool you. It was hard work hauling one of these “portable” things around.)

Porta Pak
In addition to the thousand-pound batteries, the suitcase incorporated a reel-to-reel video recorder. Did I mention it recorded in grainy black-and-white? Or more accurately, grainy dark-gray and light-gray.


And now I’m whipping out a telephone smaller than half-a-pack of cards and shooting a full-color low-light video with Star Wars credits and stereo sound. Sheesh. I’m my own grandpa.

I have a box of half-inch black-and-white reel-to-reel video tapes from back in that day. Not sure there’s even a machine left to play them.

So, in addition to dedicating this video to global warming and it’s role in waking the peepers much earlier than usual, I dedicate it to the Sony Porta Pak and a time when you had to get your butt up out of your Adirondack chair and work if you were ever gonna shoot portable video.

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