Video Camera Demo Tape Fred Meyer (—, 2017)

Video Camera Demo Tape Fred Meyer (—, 2017) is 26-minutes of footage taken by a Washington State Fred Meyer superstore’s floor model VHS camera in the spring of 1992. Discovered by Kellie Rogers among her father’s old camcorder tapes intended for DVD conversion, this footage of early ’90s consumerism is oddly compelling and extremely watchable. Katie Rife of The A.V. Club calls it “2017’s most avant-garde documentary” and Sophia June of Willamette Week cites it as “the greatest time capsule ever.” Hyperbole aside, the footage offers plenty of grist for the theoretical mill – the independent and foregrounded presence of the apparatus (notice those autofocus corrections), the manner of its smart device-less, unconnected subjects, the transient and incidental quality of captured footage with the rising convenience of personal recording, the footage’s online success and the current culture’s thirst for nostalgia. For those disinterested with the philosophical implications of Video Camera Demo Tape Fred Meyer, there are plenty of fascinating period intricacies to take in – the early packaging of CDs in long boxes, the ubiquity of sweatshirts, commercial transactions actually paid with paper money, and the lamentable rise of fanny packs. Good times.

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4 thoughts on “Video Camera Demo Tape Fred Meyer (—, 2017)

  1. Silver Screenings July 9, 2017 / 2:51 am

    This is compelling, like you said. I was only going to watch a minute or so, but quickly became too absorbed in it. How did you hear about this?

    • spinenumbered July 9, 2017 / 3:39 am

      To be honest, the AV Club article linked above came up on my Facebook newsfeed!

  2. jesgear July 17, 2017 / 3:42 am

    Silver Screenings is right: it is compelling. Nothing happens … but there’s so much to see. So many people to wonder about: What’s their stories? Why are they there? Where did they come from, and where are they going? There’s even a few that could be considered the ‘stars’ of the film: The boy at the end who tinkers with the camera, the clerk at the far register who at times didn’t seem happy to be at work, the busy clerk always carrying boxes past the camera, the young girl who kept putting her face in the camera (just when you think she’s gone, she walks back in again 🙂 ). Nothing life-changing or inspiring or motivating in my opinion about this film, but, for whatever reason, it sure was interesting.

    • spinenumbered July 17, 2017 / 4:04 am

      Thanks Jes. I also like the clerk behind the register, as well as the guy browsing through the CDs. I love the fascinated kids in tow behind disinterested dads. It’s wonderful to think that those kids are now 25 years older, dragging their own kids around and wrangling them past gadgets and impulse buys (assuming any shops in brick and mortar stores anymore or looks up from their devices, LOL).

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