This is the first year of the Video Archive Blog (it started in December 2009), so, as we’re nearly in 2011 I thought we’d reach back 30 years to see what was going on at that time. In 1980 non-broadcast video was still considered a new and exciting thing and we’d just moved into colour operation too. Maybe it was the whole idea of creating your own colour TV programme (which you could do if you had the right equipment) that encouraged people? So, in 1981 I was asked by the Department of Mathematics to think of ways to promote the department. It was decided an approach should be taken to discuss Mathematics in general rather than the department alone.
Lynda White, then Admissions Tutor in Maths, lead the decisions over who should appear and what they might say. She also appears at the start of the video standing outside the maths department on Queens Gate – as can be seen in this promotional photo taken at the time. Also, you’ll hear her asking some of the questions to her academic colleagues during the video. I was interested to see that we referred to everyone, except Lynda White, as just Dr or Professor and never used their first names on the captions. These days it now seems strangely formal. The only time that students are actually seen is during the opening sequence and I also spot some shots taken from the 1979 promotional video for the Lyon Playfair Library (that will be a separate blog entry where you can see the whole video). Worth noting too is that in those early days the video camera was separate from the recorder, which can be seen on the pavement. Camcorders came much later on.
Here then is the video we made. Looking more than a little dated now after 30 years and I think I’d be asleep by now if I had to sit and watch it all the way through! I can’t believe we actually had a list of courses and options being read out as part of the video. We seemed to spend a lot of time not really talking about Imperial. We did have discussions again along similar lines of promo videos but decided that a different approach should be adopted. We did this by creating a series of some 20 videos in conjunction with the maths department and the London Mathematical Society (more on these coming soon, along with all the videos we made -some 18 of them-going online).
Colin Grimshaw 2010 (updated October 2012)