other Approaches

AV in Mexico, the first few days (I)

One of the pioneers of the audiovisual industry in Mexico recounts how were those first days

Alberto Camilli Colunga *


In the year 1961, emerged in Mexico City a company that intended to engage in film production, first 16 mm, and then, if possible, do it in 35mm. His name DOCAM SA, and its creator, Ernesto Camilli Colunga, my older brother, who offered me begin collaborating with him and learn (together, because he knew nothing of this medium) film technique.

Our first goal, to film titles of television series that appeared in Mexico and, thanks to the skill of drawing that had, encargábamos we do from months before. Then came the idea of ​​promoting the service bureau to capture the first major infrastructure projects being carried out in our country: dams, roads, railways, housing units, as Nonoalco-tlatelolco, emphasizing among them.

We were gaining experience and equipment to install achieve our own projection room, Colonia Viaducto Piedad. this projection room is also conditioned to function as room audio recording was coated acoustically, settled a "modern" mixer brand Westrex, with the fabulous amount of six input channels for microphone or line, measuring approximately 1,50 meters wide.

The Ampex tape recorders, tape ¼ "and reels 2,400 feet, were the ultimate in professional quality. We were able to acquire a recorder and two breeding two turntables with 3 arms (it would thus making the mixture of musical backgrounds); AKG microphones and two "study" plus three breeding of 16 35 mm and two mm, a recorder and a 16 35 mm mm.

In one of the trips to the United States, I had to do at least every two or three weeks, as there were no laboratories Eastman Color 16mm in Mexico, I saw a "stereo recorder" Ampex to tape ¼ ", but with 7½ reels.

I was told what it was this new format, which could be done at will "channel separation" was heard, incredible !. So I bought one and took it to our rec room. It was also necessary to buy a pre-amplifier Marantz, two amplifiers and two Altec baffles, so that could be a suitable playback volume. The most was to invite customers to listen to a stereo recording on that computer.

He could be recorded on the two channels "separate", you could burn to the left, then put to play this channel while recording on the right. At first I saw him useful to that, I was delighted about the "channel separation". Musician all my life, neither slow nor lazy, I started testing, recording a melody with piano in one of the channels and then increasing you the battery on the other channel. And they heard apart, one on each side.

In one of many visits, I invited a friend who had used as speaker, on several occasions and at that time he had acted in a series of television commercials, great popularity, playing the role of a gangster - a lucky enough bad, because never get anything right, Sergio Guzik.

Shortly afterwards, he called me and asked me for a recording room "stereo". We record your voice, musical backgrounds, the mixture was, but I said "monaural please". Then he pulled a device from a carrying case, two overhead projectors Voigtlander, hit his racket and said: now records the mixture into one of the channels of your machine and the other connects a cable that goes from the output this apparatus. So we did. We started to play the recorded channel; and he was pressing a button, emitting a frequency; and each pulse, projectors changed each other. After the decision that gave good, we reproduced that and voi la!



Projectors changed from one to another with a short fade between them, the rate of change was slow, but that automated combination had many possibilities, as also those images, format transparencies were of high quality . It was the first contact I had with the "audiovisual" the happy change control, Sergio had brought from Germany.

Weeks later I went to visit his company and told me that Germán Valdés Mannin Display company had achieved some American teams that did the same as his, but with overhead projectors of 35 mm.

A few days later, Capetillo sisters, who were dedicated to the display, asked me a film to be playing on a stand, and I commented that had brought America a device that had drawn attention, but they did not know if would have any practical application. Is connected two projectors Kodak and could handle turn, reproduction was manual, you could not synchronize the sound, as I had seen that could be done with the German team.

We had great friends among executives Kodak Mexicana, I went to see, told you about what he had seen and began investigating. In a few days, I was told that soon would a new model of projector, bringing many new features, the AF1, with autofocus and a "multifunctional" connector.

A technician named Enrique Lohman, of Chilean origin, came to see me to comment me if I could work with us. He said he had been able to operate in the United States, a device that recorded a pulse and made two projectors were alternately advancing and making their changes. We started to make two "light tables" which were 2,40 meters long by 80 centimeters deep and a height of 90 centimeters, the cover was twofold, a first layer of an opal acrylic with light tubes lower, He gave a bright flat light and over a crystal of 6 mm. thick to accommodate transparencies.

a 'pompadour "also with inner light and the same materials, but with a slight bow, and that" guides "aluminum gutter were applied also built; horizontally throughout and each 6 centimeters. vertical lines are marked, to "separate" which correspond to each projector; and there would go placing transparencies selected from among the hundreds that were placed on the surface of the table.

The system was interesting, soon they arose teams were becoming increasingly impressive presentations; inventiveness led to create "optical effects" on transparencies, had to overcome what other colleagues, began to try. Every time there was a chance to see a work of any competitor, had to analyze how they had made certain effect, to overcome it. Everything was handmade, based on ingenuity, skill, pure creativity, using materials placed on transparency directly gave "reflections", "colors", "degradations". This was a constant battle to make the images as impressive as possible.

Teams emerged beginning to give enormous versatility: first the Quadra Cue, the No. 1 and within months had risen to No. 2 (with different playback). They operated directly and then a Selectro Dissolve in each channel, which doubled the number of possible projectors. The "standard" initial luxury were the presentations on "three screens / six projectors", which quickly changed, as could already have, with controls dissolves until 12 projectors (still operating only "pairs").

* Alberto Camilli Colunga, Commercial Director of Events Communication and Image, SA de CV

Quoting products and technical services for Latin America

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