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As late as 2014, my Introduction to Video Production classes were still using MiniDV tapes for classroom projects. (The school district gave the Advanced classes the swanky HD cameras.) Each student paid a district-mandated fee to take the course; therefore, I was required to provide every student with his or her own MiniDV tape (even though we had hundreds we could recycle).


The most difficult assignment of the year—and the most glaring example of the increasing generation gap—was when I distributed the tapes and asked students to label them. They were clueless. Not knowing how to open the plastic cases, they’d pass the tapes to their neighbors, and I’d watch as they’d try to muscle them open. Eventually, I’d demonstrate the “put your thumb here and just pull it apart” method, and they’d respond with ooooohs and ahhhhhs. Puzzling still was where to put the labels. These kids never used cassette or VHS tapes, so they just guessed where a label might fit, not thinking about the mechanics of a tape.


Even better was when they came back from their first shoot and asked how to delete the footage from the tape. They’d keep pressing the screen on the camera (which was obviously not a touch screen) and hope for a delete option to appear.


No, kids, it’s a TAPE. There isn’t a delete button. (sigh)

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