1985: Maddie and David finally gave in, the Titanic’s final resting place was discovered and we were all brought Back To The Future. What better way to memorialize all of this joy and excitement than with the Sony CCD-V8.
Announced to the press on January 8, 1985 and first sold in Japan on January 25th for 280,000 yen, it was the first video camcorder capable of recording video on standard 8mm videotape. While the very first model has manual focus, future versions of this model included autofocus. The CCD-V8 also featured a motorized 6X zoom.
Prior to this, in 1980 Sony had introduced a color CCD professional video camera. In that same year, the research group was keen on creating a portable video camera that could weigh about four pounds and use Sony’s 8mm tape to record home movies. Before that time, cameras had to connect to a separate 20 pound machine. From this, “ Project 80” was born. The components normally surrounding the CCD was miniaturized and they worked on creating a 5X increase in the density of the CCD itself. The result: A chip boasting 250,000 pixels.
This allowed the team to create the CCD-V8. The first single-unit 8mm video camera. Total weight was 1.97kg (which is about 4.3 pounds). And there is a touching story to this. At the time a key figure in Project 80 was a gentlemen named Kazao Iwama. The research director. It was his designers and researchers who were instrumental to the advanced CCD technology that made the CCD-V8 possible. Sadly while Iwama did not live to see all the many great things that ultimately came from his work on CCD technology, the president of Sony at the time celebrated his friend by placing one of the first Sony CCDs on Iwama’s tombstone. On the 7th anniversary of Iwama’s death, those who visited the tombstone saw that the CCD chip was still there.
So as you head out the door this weekend to capture those memories on video using gear that saves digital files and weigh about 65 grams, think of how far we’ve come since the 1980’s (not to mention better hairstyles). Because this isn’t any old typical Friday. It’s a Flashback Friday.