We go back to the age of Betacam video capture (1980’s and 1990’s) – 0.75 inch U-matic tape format – via VHS copy and – eventually transfer to DVD.
At the same time, PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) from Sony introduced the first digital audio recording format.
Yet all of this was tape-based, with all of that media’s imperfections and susceptibility to deterioration of signal and readability.
Looking back now, the interim was a time to say ‘thank you’ for the existence of DVD storage and the DVD recorders which enabled transfer of many old tape-based video recordings to digital format and to inexpensive, easily-available, digital media.
In this post we introduce the story of “Europe 1992” – from a Swiss perspective.
The vote was so close [49.7%/50.3%] by the Swiss – 6th December 1992 to NOT join the ‘EEE’ European Economic Area (Espace).
What has this to do with media and archiving?
Well these video documents are from conferences organized from 1989 to 1992.
We used Betacam technology, cumbersome video editing equipment, U-matic playback machines, and made distribution copies on VHS tapes. We stored our copies in cellars, and transferred them to latest media as the years passed.
For the story itself, we have been encouraged to look further back, to the beginning of the United Europe concept.
Formally it was kicked off by the Treaty of Rome (1957), yet it was actually at the end of the second world war when Winston Churchill presented his ideas and encouragement for a united Europe – in several speeches, like this famous one in Zurich 19.September.1946.
Two months before the vote, we invited René Schwok as specialist on European affairs, and Patrick Nussbaum, journalist with the Swiss national radio, as moderator – for an internal company conference entitled, “La Suisse et l’EEE”.
Prior to that, the company had developed an in-depth process to understand the “Europe 1992” implications (the EU would be created in 1993 with or without Switzerland – finally of course without).
During the voting year (1992) Mr.Blocher and the UDC/SVP party inundated (physical) mail boxes with anti-Europe propaganda.
On the other hand, the government, pushing for a ‘yes’ vote, were far behind – too late in producing mailing material that could have matched coverage obtained by the Blocher party.
Within our company, when the government printed material did finally come through, we were occupied in ordering large quantities of the many documents and finding ways to get them in the hands of everyone in the organization.
However, the influence of the UDC party was seemingly not so widely understood – interesting to hear René Schwok’s response during our October 1992 conference to the question of “who in Switzerland is in favour and who against joining the EEE?” Surprising at such a short interval before the vote – although the significant differences between the French-speaking and Swiss-German-speaking parts of the country are clearly mentioned. Video from our archives.