Saturday, June 23, 2007

Christmas Wish

In 1987, Fischer-Price released the Pixelvision PXL-2000 camcorder. This black-and-white analog video recorder captures about 11 minutes of footage on a simple cassette tape. The Pixelvision records the video to the left side of the cassette and the audio to the right. The uniquely appealing low-fi recording was pixelated and gutterboxed (black border around the video). The audio and video were far from crisp but had a certain vibe that is undeniable. Trying to mimic the Pixelvision's distorted video on modern equipment is tough. Pixelvision users are easily able to spot a clone!

Although originally designed as a toy, the PXL-2000 has a rabid following within the independent film world. Richard Linklater, Sadie Benning, and Michael Almereyda have all integrated the Pixelvision into their unique visions. In Almereyda's brilliant adaption of Hamlet, Ethan Hawke (playing Hamlet) can be seen using a Pixelvision camcorder throughout the film. There is even a film festival, called PXL THIS, featuring movies and shorts made with the venerated PXL-2000. Bent-Instruments produces circuit-bent versions of the Pixelvision loaded with features, including "body-contacts" and light level adjustments.

Dear Santa,
Please add the PXL-2000 to the top of my Christmas list!
Being good,