Retro Audio Visual Devices from the 80s – 90s

Retro Audio Visual Devices from the 80s – 90s
Retro Audio Visual

If you, are a child of the 80s and 90s, you would have witnessed the incredible birth and rapid advancement of technologies. It was the time of the Walkman, pagers, and Slow Modems. Although these devices are no longer used today, they will always have a place in our hearts.

In this article, we pay homage to Retro Audio-Visual Devices and media that were widely used in classrooms and homes in our childhood. If you love fiddling with AV technologies or enjoyed watching your teachers and parents fumbling with them, this post is for you.

Overhead Projectors (OHP Projector)

Image Credit: mailer_diablo. Retrieved from Wikipedia

For visitors from Singapore, we’re sure you’ll recognise this. These cool devices are used in every classroom in Singapore. Usually found kept at the back of the classroom, these devices will be hauled to the front of the classroom when needed. And takes around 2 – 5 minutes to properly setup.

The technology is simple. Light is emitted from the high-powered halogen lamp beneath the glass panel and amplified and reflected by a focusing lens and mirror mounted directly above the glass panel. The light is then projected onto a projector screen.

A transparency (plastic transparent sheet) is used as the media. It could be a printed sheet of prepared text or images or a plain sheet for the teachers to write with a non-permanent marker.

Due to the limited range of focus, most find it cumbersome to meddle with the focusing lens. Instead, most choose to simply move the projector back and forth. If you were always asked to shift your table to make way of the projector, we feel you. 😊

We have fond memories for the OHP projector. Not so much for its merits, but for its problems. For example, if you are unfortunate enough to be seated right behind the projector, your view would be obscured by the projector’s silhouette. Or the teacher’s shadow blocking the projector screen when he’s writing on the transparency!

Today, OHP projectors are no longer widely used as teaching aids and are replaced by modern projectors. However, some have found new Creative use for OHP projectors.

Classroom Projectors today are either mounted overhead or portable projector placed on a tabletop. Transparencies no longer needed of course.

Film Projectors

Film Projector

If you remember watching movies with scratches and noise in the picture quality. You were watching a movie projected from one of these.

This device was used in a time before VHS came into the picture. But once in a blue moon, when video is required, students will be marched to the AV room to watch a film projected from one of these. As AV Club members in our youth, we had the privilege to tinker around with one of these.

In the early days, an accompanying audio cassette is played alongside film projection to deliver sound. Otherwise, the projector would not be able to produce sound on its own. Subsequently, film media like the Super 8 format was designed to accommodate soundtrack.

Like the OHP projectors, film projectors are replaced with modern projectors. Today projectors are capable of Video and Audio with 4K picture quality.

Slide Projectors

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

The original Instagram as we like to call it. This projector uses slides instead of a film strip and is attached to a “remote” to that allows you to toggle through the slide deck. Most slide projectors project images using positive films (a type of film that produces positive images instead of negative images).

Slides and film negatives are still widely sued until the late 90s. In schools, you’ll most probably see these being used in a science class. We remember setting this up with our science teacher. And the most difficult part is to arrange the slides in sequence!

In a corporate setting, slides are primarily used as a media library, stock photos and archival images. Slides were the primary modes for storing images. This is because it was not feasible to store a high-resolution image in a digital format in the 90s.

Today, due to improvement in technology such as increasing storage capacity and high-resolution digital cameras, film and slides are rarely used. You can perhaps, still come across these as archival media at the National Archives of Singapore.

PA Systems

Vintage Public Address Speakers
Image Credit: @bymyoldschool. Via Carousell

We were pleasantly surprised to find a Vintage Public Address Speakers and loudhailers for sale on Carousell. This is exactly how we remembered them.

Commonly seen in school’s assembly areas, these loudspeakers are used for outdoor announcements and blasting out the National Anthem. Additionally, loudhailers are used to direct traffic and sometimes used for telling select students to stay back… most likely to receive a reprimand. Ahem.

These technologies are still used today. Of course, with improved sound transmission, range and control. As you can see from the image, these are TOA speakers. These speakers are one of the most durable speakers. TOA was founded in 1934 and TOA has more than 80 years of experience in researching, developing quality PA equipment. That is why, at Optvio Pte Ltd, we choose to partner with TOA to provide state of the art PA systems for Schools.

Conclusion: Projector and PA System Integration

We hope this article gives you fond memories. We are passionate about audio visual technology and devices.

At Optvio Pte Ltd we specialise in providing complete Audio video solutions for Corporations and Schools. And are especially known for expertise in Projector and PA system installations. Contact us for a non-obligatory discussion and quote.