VHSkumboyz

Besides the retro-future aesthetic, one of the major reasons I did the little Raspberry Pi/TV project, as described in this post, was for VHS tapes. Not only can I now rescue the few that are still packed away in storage, but I can make my own, as it has a record function. And what else would I record onto a VHS tape besides my band’s album?

Movies would be a logical guess, but when I can legally acquire films in 1080p and above why would I seek out lower quality? I’m always down to rescue a VHS tape and watch it, though, but unless there are other perks (like those that come with vinyl records, such as the superiority complex), why would I downgrade? I’m perfectly happy having most of my movies live their lives as digital files. Well, do I at least mean a compilation of lyric and/or music videos recorded onto VHS tape of the retro feel?

Nope. I can get a low quality feel without sacrificing any audio fidelity by downloading live clips of us from Youtube and stitching them together over our recordings. I mean, literally just the album will be on the tapes. A few months ago (maybe a year at this point), I wrote a small program that displayed a bunch of ASCII art in a terminal while our song “No Cops On The Moon” played behind it. I then spent 10 hours screen recording to get the perfect version. That was what I considered a music video for the album, and although it didn’t get Atari Teenage Riot-senpai to notice us, it was still pretty cool.

So I wanted to do something similar, but for the entire album. Now this was just a passing “Oh it’d be cool if I made a couple of these and gave them to some of the record store owners I know” thought, but I sent a pic of a mockup of the program to my band group text, and damn, did it blow up. My drummer, who still has his TV stand covered in VHSs (several which are Sepultura tour videos) loved the idea, and wanted me to put albums from his other two bands out on VHS like I was doing ours. Alright, cool, I mean I did just start a second job, but I don’t need sleep or anything.

But there is no way in hell that I am going to do a 25 minuite ASCII art slideshow for the album and two singles, like I did for our “music video”. Not for Skumboyz, not for anybody else. That is too much effort and free time I haven’t had since… ever. Instead, I just wrote a little program that displayed the release title in a nicely formatted way, then the track that’s currently playing as well as the entire release’s track listing, and finally copyright info and whatnot. That’s it. Simple, but to the point. Maybe if I ever make serious money off of this, and get some free time finally, I can work on doing a whole release as combo VHS Art and Album.

Here’s some pics of what I’ve done. I’ve still gotta test these on another VCR to make sure the sound/picture quality isn’t too terrible (it is a VHS after all), as I am recording this using a 20+ year old TV/VCR combo and a Raspberry Pi. I’m just hoping that when I play it on something besides this small TV that’s less than 80 characters wide, that it isn’t so JPEG-ed out that it does in fact look like glitch art. I may post a follow up eventually, probably once we get it into a record store and/or someone buys it.

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