A side-effect of my years-long home video project is that I’m sifting through all the old media that’s lying around my hard drives. I found a few recently that are especially funny considering what I do for a living now. Let’s take a stroll through memory lane.

A little history. While all the other kids were outside learning how to play sports, or even play video games, I was too busy messing around with cameras and computers trying to make what the Big Kids did on TV. Around my ninth birthday (judging from file dates), my parents got me this thing called a QuickCam. It hooked up to your computer via serial port, had an apparent resolution of 320×240, and was black & white.

If you were recording live-action video with it, the frame rate was limited to something like 15fps, which is really noticeable to the eye. It had pretty poor optics, too, so the shutter had to be open a really long time. The result was choppy, streaky video that looked nothing like TV. Unacceptable to nine-year-old me.

But wait! It also shot frame-by-frame stop motion, and those movies would come out at 30fps. Big win. According to the files I found, I started doing this the morning after my birthday. Here’s the first attempt:

Not bad. Short, sweet, to the point. A couple months later, things got a little more complicated.

It’s got a plot, it’s whimsical, and it attempts some Looney Tunes-esque gags. Plus, everyone loves a panda wearing a T-shirt, right? Let’s move on.

The obligatory Gumby movie. Now we’re cooking. It’s got action, a plot, multiple shots, and a twist ending. I must have felt pretty good about this, because to my knowledge this was the end of the stop-motion QuickCam videos. Or maybe I just thought black & white was too limiting.