[vcf-midatlantic] A lot of old computers in Stranger things

Jeffrey Brace jeffrey at vcfed.org
Sun May 29 19:12:10 UTC 2022

On Sun, May 29, 2022 at 9:55 AM Michael Thompson via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> >
> > From: Dave Shevett <shevett at pobox.com>
> >
> > I've always wanted to be in the business of providing these old machines
> to
> > movies and tv shows.  I've sort of half-started putting something
> together
> > for this, but I have NO CLUE how to get onto the 'i can get this stuff
> for
> > you and make it work' radar of studios.
> >
> > --
> > Dave Shevett
> > shevett at pobox.com
> >
> Getting known to movie and video people is a challenge. A lot of the set
> designers keep their equipment sources secret so competitive movie
> companies are at a disadvantage. They are also very reluctant to put
> "Thanks to" in the credits for the same reason. Getting your name spread in
> the industry is difficult.

Makes sense.

> Many of the set designers just use search engines to find the equipment
> that they need. Some just buy what they want and sell or dispose of it when
> they are finished. You could create a Movie Props WWW page with pictures
> and descriptions of what you have. The listings need to include the year
> they were manufactured, the years that they were in use, and where they
> were used.

Yes. This is what we fear is that they will dispose of the equipment, so we
do a rental that is a reasonable cost and make sure that they have
insurance in case of damage. Usually individual member swill sell equipment
to places and not VCF. For example, I sold some Commodore PETs to The
Americans and they are in the travel agent's office scenes.

> Very little of the equipment used in movies/videos actually works. If you
> video a CRT you will see black bars on the screen because of the difference
> in the scan rate of the camera and the CRT. Usually the movie prop people
> disconnect the electronics in the CRT and replace the power supply and
> electronics with parts designed for the movie industry. The replacement
> electronics can synchronize the CRT scan rate to the same external source
> used for the cameras, so no black bars. That also lets them use modern
> electronics to make the images they need on the CRT.

And sometimes they just put a video overlay onto a blank screen. We rented
some Commodore 64 equipment to The Americans and they put someone's YouTube
of Lode Runner Long Play onto the screen. The machine *did* work, but they
didn't want to bother with how to operate it, etc.

> I have also seen them paste chromakey green film over the CRT, and just
> overlay the desired image during editing.
> One of my SparcStation 10 systems was used in Halt And Catch Fire. They
> needed a Sun workstation, and someone told them that I had a bunch of them.


> --
> Michael Thompson

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