A year or more ago I bought a modified Fisher Price PXL-2000 camera. This is a one-off video camera from 1987 that records onto standard chrome compact cassettes. As it is something that never came out in the UK, I was interested in testing one for myself as well as making a video about it. However before I got around to it other videos and articles appeared online about the camera, so I felt there was no need to rehash what had already been said and left it on a shelf.
In the months that followed I kept receiving emails and comments asking me if I'd ever heard of this device and suggesting if I could ever get hold of one that it would be an interesting thing to review. Seeing that the first of April was coming up in a couple of weeks, I hatched a plan to finally use the PXL-2000 - and you can see the results below.
There's a bit of subtext here - in April 2016 I made a video explaining that from my experience the most noticeable difference between viewing UHD Blu-rays and standard Blu-rays on a 65" TV is more likely to be the colour depth and HDR rather than the resolution increase. I explained that this was something that could only be experienced in person - not through youtube and certainly not through a non-HDR camera pointed at a screen and shown in a non-HDR video stream on a non HDR computer screen. Just to be sure this message got through, I repeated it a couple of times in the video as well as displaying as text to warn people not to try and assess the performance from a youtube video.
Unfortunately despite my best efforts most of the comments posted were along the lines of "the HDR version looks darker and a bit orange to me". All I really wanted to get across in the video was that a lot of the internet articles at the time were only focussing on the increased resolution when the reality was that this didn't make much difference at a typical viewing distance unless your screen size was getting on for 80" - however the changes brought via HDR encoded discs would be apparent on a HDR capable screen of any size.
This disheartening experience gave me an idea. If this many people believed they could assess HDR performance whilst watching a non HDR video, how far would they take this idea... and that's why I decided to use a 90p resolution B&W 15fps mono camera to demonstrate a 2160p HDR Atmos surround video.
There is no trickery here - the UHD Blu-ray and the standard Blu-ray are really being shown one after the other...and the camera recording them is the PXL-2000, and the microphone being used is the built in one on the camera (except during the voice-over sections). The outro graphics were recorded through the camera from a video displayed on my TV. The reason that you can't hear the usual whining sound of the PXL-2000's motor is that the camera was in standby and the video was being captured over composite out cables from my modified camera. For greater effect I should probably have recorded to tape and then captured that to get the full effect - but this was much easier and allowed longer recording times.
A bit of trivia - the UK tradition of April Fools Day states that it should finish at noon. If it carries on after this time then the perpetrator themselves becomes the fool. Before I went to bed the night before I scheduled the video to go live at 8am. As soon as I got up I had to go out for the morning and returned just after noon at which point I set the video to unlisted...to ensure that I was following the tradition. I then came to the realisation that I'd done a heck of a lot of work for just four hours of 'fun'...so this is one tradition that I have no plans to repeat in the future.