Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-28-2016, 08:09 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,277
Why is there no video footage of Philippe Petit's WTC tightrope walk?

Ever since I saw "Man on Wire" and was like "WTF, after all that, all you have are still photos?!?" I have wondered about this. It's so strange that he brought someone along to film it, but the guy didn't get a single second of footage because he was "too exhausted". Stranger still that TV news stations didn't get any.

I'm not wanting to get into conspiracy theories along the "moon landing was a hoax!" variety, and I understand that if it really was a hoax, the contemporaneous newspaper stories about it would have inspired a lot of New Yorkers to react with "I was in that neighborhood and nothing like that happened". I just want to know, where is the footage--and if there really is none, how could that possibly happen?

Last edited by SlackerInc; 06-28-2016 at 08:10 AM.
  #2  
Old 06-28-2016, 10:32 AM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,030
He did it without any advance warning so it would have taken time to get TV cameras down there or in the air. The news channels may not have even saved it. For example, very little footage of Walter Cronkite doing the CBS evening News in the 1960s or lots of sporting events...the tape was often re used. Much footage from the 1973 World Series between the New York Mets and Oakland A's doesn't exist so Petit's walk could have suffered the same fate, if it even got filmed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiping...ries_telecasts
  #3  
Old 06-28-2016, 01:25 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,277
Huh. That's messed up. I referenced Apollo earlier, and I have read that high-quality footage of the moon landing was erased because NASA reused the tapes. The shortsightedness and stupidity is incomprehensible but not unprecedented.
  #4  
Old 06-28-2016, 01:28 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Beervania
Posts: 53,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Huh. That's messed up. I referenced Apollo earlier, and I have read that high-quality footage of the moon landing was erased because NASA reused the tapes. The shortsightedness and stupidity is incomprehensible but not unprecedented.
Where did you read this?
  #5  
Old 06-28-2016, 01:39 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,277
http://www.npr.org/2009/07/16/106637...pollo-11-tapes
  #6  
Old 06-28-2016, 01:59 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Beervania
Posts: 53,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Damn.
  #7  
Old 06-28-2016, 02:11 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,277
Yeah. Sorry to ruin your day.
  #8  
Old 06-28-2016, 02:14 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,352
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Damn.
Nothing was really "lost". The original data tapes of the TV broadcast were wiped, but the equipment to read that format doesn't exist any more. The TV broadcasts were produced by filming the monitor that displayed the images, and we still have all that footage, as well as the 16mm film footage and all the still photos.

In other words, we haven't lost anything, but we don't have the first-generation data that would probably have enabled us to see a better quality version of the TV pictures.

Now, we return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.
  #9  
Old 06-28-2016, 02:59 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,681
I'm a documentary filmmaker and this is one bane of our existence. But you have to remember that the tapes were expensive and took up a lot of room. For a local TV station today it's a room of hard drives, then it could be a building with all the costs that that entails. I remember talking to a Wyoming TV station about footage from the 1970s. I was told they'd sent it all to the dump in the 90s.

In 1990, I was at a post facility and talked to a guy who was in charge of trashing ABC's 1972 Olympics footage. I'm sure they kept highlights and finals, and everything to do with the Israeli athletes, but early heats of the canoe competition? Lost to history.

Colophon, I'm not so sure the equipment to play the tapes doesn't exist--these types of tape do still exist, and unless there's a demand they may not have been transferred to another format. I see this with archive houses where, for example, they have 16mm film of something, but they don't digitize it unless a customer wants it.

ETA, I take it back--looking at the story, I can't tell what format was used. I thought it would have been 2-inch video. So I don't know whether there's still gear around to read that kind of tape.

Last edited by TSBG; 06-28-2016 at 03:01 PM.
  #10  
Old 06-28-2016, 03:45 PM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NY USA
Posts: 7,635
It also happened in 1974. News crews were still using film more than videotape back then. Portable video cameras and recorders were large, bulky, cumbersome and expensive. They also used a lot of electricity and battery tech back then was not good either. And they would have had to haul all that gear up to the roof. Even using the elevators (if they were even allowed inside) it would still have been impractical. The news crews were probably expecting him to fall and therefore felt being on the street would be a better vantage point anyway.

There may have been some video footage shot from the street but it wouldn't have been very exciting to watch and most likely was not saved.
  #11  
Old 06-28-2016, 03:47 PM
PastTense PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6,067
The question that immediately arises is if the tightrope walk was illegal. Most of these are. And if it is illegal you don't want the authorities to show up and arrest you before you can do it. Thus you are very careful about early notifications.
  #12  
Old 06-28-2016, 03:49 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEC
Posts: 13,718
Odd that nobody thought to whip out their phones.Just kidding!
  #13  
Old 06-28-2016, 03:57 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 10,428
Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
The question that immediately arises is if the tightrope walk was illegal. Most of these are. And if it is illegal you don't want the authorities to show up and arrest you before you can do it. Thus you are very careful about early notifications.
It was absolutely illegal; Petit worked covertly with a team to figure out how to string the cable, and then to actually do so.

In the end, all charges against him were dropped.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip...de_Center_walk
  #14  
Old 06-28-2016, 04:01 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Beervania
Posts: 53,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
Odd that nobody thought to whip out their phones.Just kidding!
Odd that nobody has linked up to the many YouTube videos, some of which show cell phone pics from curious onlookers.
  #15  
Old 06-28-2016, 04:47 PM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,030
I suppose some tourist could have taken footage on a Super 8 movie camera..those were relatively small and may exist in some one's attic.
  #16  
Old 06-28-2016, 05:05 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
It also happened in 1974. News crews were still using film more than videotape back then. Portable video cameras and recorders were large, bulky, cumbersome and expensive. They also used a lot of electricity and battery tech back then was not good either.
A question that comes up about Monty Python's Flying Circus (and other shows) is why they used videotape indoors and film outdoors.
  #17  
Old 06-28-2016, 06:38 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
A question that comes up about Monty Python's Flying Circus (and other shows) is why they used videotape indoors and film outdoors.
Because video tape outdoors looks "wrong". It is very obvious. Must be something about the frame rate and camera movements outside vs in the studio, because sitcoms (shot indoors) don't look wrong on VT, but take that same show outside with the same camera and it looks odd.
  #18  
Old 06-28-2016, 08:00 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
It also happened in 1974. News crews were still using film more than videotape back then. Portable video cameras and recorders were large, bulky, cumbersome and expensive. They also used a lot of electricity and battery tech back then was not good either. And they would have had to haul all that gear up to the roof. Even using the elevators (if they were even allowed inside) it would still have been impractical. The news crews were probably expecting him to fall and therefore felt being on the street would be a better vantage point anyway.

There may have been some video footage shot from the street but it wouldn't have been very exciting to watch and most likely was not saved.
Footage from the street is actually what I had been hoping to see. Just something that gave an impression of what it looked like to onlookers down below.
  #19  
Old 06-28-2016, 08:17 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,862
I don't think footage shot from the street would show anything. I think you wouldn't be able to see the wire at all and the man would be just a speck in the image.
  #20  
Old 06-28-2016, 08:27 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Beervania
Posts: 53,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
Odd that nobody thought to whip out their phones.Just kidding!
In 1974, they would be whipping out one of these.
  #21  
Old 06-28-2016, 08:42 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I don't think footage shot from the street would show anything. I think you wouldn't be able to see the wire at all and the man would be just a speck in the image.
I could see people from the top of the Sears Tower.
  #22  
Old 06-28-2016, 09:02 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Odd that nobody has linked up to the many YouTube videos, some of which show cell phone pics from curious onlookers.
Is this a whoosh?
  #23  
Old 06-28-2016, 09:13 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Displaced
Posts: 14,697
Hey, people will believe anything.

But yes, basically this time and place was not the "recording all the time" type of society we now know, and the average tourist may have a snapshot camera or an 8mm without any sort of fancy zoom lens that would help litle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
It was absolutely illegal; Petit worked covertly with a team to figure out how to string the cable, and then to actually do so.

In the end, all charges against him were dropped.
In exchange for doing a free public performance for children. And he got a free lifetime pass to the observation deck.

They probably figured they'd have to release a couple dozen muggers and pushers to make room for those couilles of his at the Tombs. And that any copycats would be a very quickly self-correcting problem

Last edited by JRDelirious; 06-28-2016 at 09:14 PM.
  #24  
Old 06-28-2016, 10:23 PM
jayjay jayjay is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,051
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
A question that comes up about Monty Python's Flying Circus (and other shows) is why they used videotape indoors and film outdoors.
A lot of BBC shows from the 60s/70s did that. I think I first experienced it with old Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes on PBS.
  #25  
Old 06-28-2016, 10:50 PM
CurtC CurtC is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,397
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
In 1974, they would be whipping out one of these.
In 1974, it would have been more like one of these.

My dad had one in his car.
  #26  
Old 06-29-2016, 08:45 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Nothing was really "lost". The original data tapes of the TV broadcast were wiped, but the equipment to read that format doesn't exist any more.
Equipment to read the tape format is quite easy to create as a lab prototype... rig up a machine to do reel to reel.. sit on the tape a magnetic head (still used in hard drives.. just grab one of them hey ?) and connect that into a little circuit that biases the head, amplifies/adjusts the signal resulting, demodulate if you like, to be just right for an analog to digital convertor .. which easily samples it far faster than required. Thereafter the computer program demodulates (if needed), converts it into lines, frames.. having saved it as so many millions's of frames (bitmaps of each frame) the job is done, thats a form of video.. conversion to a format you know, such as mp4, is trivial
  #27  
Old 06-29-2016, 11:56 AM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,658
No intact full recording of the first Super Bowl exists despite the fact that it was simulcast by two different networks (NBC and CBS). It was the first NFL game to be broadcast on two different networks and the only Super Bowl (so far). Both networks wiped their tapes afterward.

NFL Films had a camera crew there to film plays and eventually stitched together a video showing each play, but even that isn't the same as having a contiguous recording of the game with commentary. And for years (up until this year in fact) all we had available for posterity were highlights of the game.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap300...for-first-time
  #28  
Old 07-01-2016, 01:15 AM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NY USA
Posts: 7,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
A question that comes up about Monty Python's Flying Circus (and other shows) is why they used videotape indoors and film outdoors.
British shows of the time (Fawlty Towers did it too) did this not only because, as I said video cameras & recording decks were cumbersome and power hungry, but also because it rains in Britain. A lot. And bad weather & early electronic video equipment don't mix.
  #29  
Old 07-01-2016, 08:55 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: F.O.S.O.N.E.
Posts: 19,903
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isilder View Post
Equipment to read the tape format is quite easy to create as a lab prototype...
I assure you that whatever format was used to record the Apollo XI mission still exists... it's just not in anyone's studio rack any more. Collectors, old-school archivists, even museums... there's a 2-inch tape player (or whatever) ready to take the reels right now. For one thing, that would be commercial gear, built like a Mercedes tank.

I had a friend who made lots of beer money by keeping a PC, ca. 1995, with every drive that far known to man and geek attached. He could move data off everything from magstripe cards to 8-inch floppy onto either a provided hard drive or 1.4 floppies. He got at least occasional commercial jobs from companies that discovered, for example, all their corporate minutes were stored on IBM DisplayWriter discs long after the last DW system went to the scrap heap.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:44 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017