Media 100

The monthly excerpt from John Buck’s book, ‘Timeline’. Available at iBooks and Amazon

After announcing Media 100 to the press in January, John Molinari and Gary Godin from Data Translation demonstrated the new system to 1992 NAB attendees. Molinari recalls:

We spent a good two years (1990-1992) proving it couldn’t be done. It was obviously technically difficult and very challenging. Then we launched the ‘proof of concept’ in 1992 at NAB. But it was a bittersweet moment. 

Editor John Delmont remembers:

It’s kind of interesting how you can track a company’s progress by the size of their trade show booth. In the beginning, they were so small they didn’t even dare to go on the NAB floor. It’s such a huge investment in money and personnel and they didn’t even have a product yet. The first year they showed up they had a hotel suite. 

It was in the Hilton right next to the trade show, but it was definitely an off-Broadway affair. The card was shown to prospective resellers in the living room part of the suite. 

They said, “Here’s the prototype card. Do you want to hold it?”.

John Molinari recalls:

We had something that worked as a demo but it was not a real product. The mechanics, with all due respect to the engineers, who worked so hard on it, were unsound.

Tony Molinari recalls the problems with Media 100’s early release.

They tried to get the editing product to work, internally. It just didn’t work. Of course the hardest thing to make work was the interaction of software and hardware. To make it do the things it needed to do. Moving around video in real time at that quality level, displaying the video on a computer screen and a video monitor wasn’t easy. Especially with an open system approach, using off the shelf hardware from Apple and hard drive manufacturers.

John Molinari recalls:

We knew after NAB ‘92 that we had the right idea but we would have to go back, and start again to realize it. What we had was a completely failed technical implementation and it was never going to work right.

After NAB, John Molinari was asked to report to Data Translation’s Board of Directors. As General Manager of the MultiMedia group, he knew that the Media 100 editing product was far from being a shipping product. He recalls:

I was sure, after that, the project would be cancelled. I thought I was going to be fired, and being the boss’ son wasn’t going to save me. 

TThe monthly excerpt from John Buck’s book, ‘Timeline’. Available at iBooks and Amazon
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