The Scanimates

This area will delve into some of the history and workings of the Scanimate analog animation computers, created by Lee Harrison at Computer Image in Denver.

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Not Dead Yet!

This area will focus on the other supporting video gear I have and use in my Scanimate studio, including maintenance issues,  rare finds,  and restoration tips for old technology.

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Its in the Book!

Most of this old gear is what I call "Pre-Internet".  Documentation was all paper, but it was exquisitely detailed and helpful.  Sadly most of these books have gone into the landfill, but I hope to build up a library of these rare publications with your help.

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Obsolescence

When your car gets old, you may trade it in for a new one, but unless you've completely crashed it, it still runs, it is still useful.  Its not obsolete!

But when your smartphone gets out-classed by the newest latest-greatest model, you think nothing of tossing it in a drawer and upgrading.  Its easy because its relatively small.  A car isn't.  There is a booming market for used, er, pre-owned automobiles, because they are not obsolete, they're just old.  They will still get you to work every day.  And lets face it, some old cars are really classy, rare, represent an age gone by that we love to revisit sometimes.

The transition to HDTV resulted in the sudden supposed "obsolescence" of millions of dollars worth of perfectly good video gear.  Sadly, much of it was of the highest quality, and represented the best of class in its day,  but now it fills the used broadcast equipment listings on ebay, or has been sent to China to be picked apart and recycled.

I spent a good bit of my life learning how to make that equipment sing and dance, strut its stuff.  I like keeping it alive and functioning.  Like classy old cars, this equipment is as we used to say "built like a tank"!    It was also built in the days when it was so specialized and expensive that you had to know how it worked to be able to fix it when it broke.  And in the broadcast world, it had to work perfectly all the time, so it was the opposite of the consumer world where when it quits or gets old you throw it away.

Over the past few years, my interest in collecting and maintaining some of this once high-end equipment has been further piqued by my ownership of two Scanimate computers.  These analog animation machines ruled the airwaves in the seventies and early eighties, producing football opens, station ID's and all sorts of eye-candy that kick-started the motion graphics industry from film animation pegboards into the world of computers

I was lucky enough to become chief engineer at Image West in Hollywood back in those days, where we had two Scanimates and a boatload of video gear that cranked out massive amounts of "electronic animation" in real time for clients all over the world.  I've documented some of that work in my first Scanimate DVD, and later in <a href="http://kunaki.com/MSales.asp?PublisherId=115310">The Dream Machine</a>, a documentary about the people, the places, and the stories of these legendary machines.

I love keeping these machines and their supporting facilities up and running, and I have come to realize there are many other people like myself who are intrigued by the quality of these old systems.  Sure, modern computers can run circles around them, but many times, NEWER IS NOT BETTER!

So in this sandbox I hope to share with you some of my experiences with these old machines.  Perhaps you have some old machines of your own, or have solved some of the problems supporting this old stuff entails.  Either way, feel free to comment and setup an account with this site.

Please do keep in mind:  I have many other things begging for my time and attention.  Such things often pay the rent or buy food, so I can only devote some fraction of my attention to this site.  Right now it has some old blog entries I've imported from another old site, and I hope to straighten a bunch of this out in the near future.... I'm afraid right now it is a bit messy.

Dave Sieg

 

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Next Steps...

I'll replace this with a membership form soon.... soon...
For now, email me, I'll do my best to respond unless you're obviously spam!