What Video Tech Surprised You?

"Isn't that dangerous?" she asked.

"Nah. I've done it hundreds of times before.”

She was right. Cycling down an unlit mountain road at night in the wet was not ideal. It was also a reward I was not going to deny myself. I had cycled up this road that same morning.

I was a TV cameraman, and the TV station I operated from was on top of the highest mountain in the city of Brisbane where I live. I always looked at it as an opportunity to get out of the traffic and get fit at the same time. I would ride up rain or shine. I never minded getting wet but my laptop didn't share my enthusiasm. 

After years of trying imperfect methods of keeping my laptop dry, I came upon a German backpack that is 100% watertight. I never left home without it.

This dark wet evening I put my laptop in my trusty backpack, snapped the waterproof seal shut, slipped my cycling glasses on, waved goodbye to my co-worker.

The rain had stopped. The road was still glassy with water. The air was delightfully cool for this hot summer night. I wasn't going fast, but I wasn't going slow either. The white lines on the road were flicking past quickly. Corner after corner. 

Approaching headlights illuminated me at the same time I hit a pocket of cool mountain air. My cycling glasses fogged over. It was like someone had just spray painted my glasses white. I was committed to taking the corner and couldn't take my hands off the handlebars. I could hear a car coming towards me but I couldn't see it.

Through the gap beneath my glasses, I could glimpse the wet bitumen as I tried to hug the outside white line of my side of the road. I hugged it a little too hard. My bike went into the rough stone-strewn drainage gutter and bounced over stones and small shrubs. Then I saw it. A microwave-oven-sized rock in front of me. I braked. Too late.

As I went over the handlebars my cycling shoes stayed clipped into the pedals so my bike came with me. I was upside down in the air, my bike above, my hands still holding the handlebars. Like a cartoon character who has just unwittingly run off a cliff - and is suspended for a few seconds in mid-air to ponder his demise before dropping like a brick out of sight - I was preparing for the crunching of bones about to come.

Thwump! I landed… into a feather bed. Well, it felt like a feather bed. As my German backpack was 100% watertight it was also 100% airtight. I had my own personal airbag strapped to my back. Save a few scratches, I was fine. My bike was too, apart from the seat snapping off. I was able to ride home. The injuries to my bum - when I forgot I had no seat and sat on the now seat-less seat post - were the worst that night.

I had carried this pack on my pack for years not realising it was so much more than just a waterproof pack; it was useful to me in other ways beyond my understanding.

I had the same aha moment with smartphones. I never realised how good they are for making business videos.

What has surprised you?


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