Video: The Fandom of the Opera

A lecture by Mark Schubin on how a 400-year-old art form helped create modern media technology.
Believe it or not, electronic home entertainment was invented for opera audiences. So were consumer headphones, movies, newscasts, and pay-cable. The first sportscasts were in opera houses.

The first wireless broadcast? The first commercial digital recording? The first live subtitles? All opera.

The idea of transmitting opera motion pictures and sounds live to theaters worldwide appeared in print in 1877, to homes in 1882. Without opera, there might not be communications satellites. And, according to pioneering radiologist Percy Brown, “No opera, no X-rays!” The first opera recordings were made 17 years before Edison’s first phonograph, and 76 years before that an automaton played opera music for Marie Antoinette. In the 21st century, labs around the world are working on ultra-high-speed communications systems for opera and have discussed neutrino communications and quantum entanglement. Galileo, Kepler, Lavoisier, Matisse – all had opera-technology connections. Stereo sound? The laryngoscope? Broadcast rights? All for opera. Really. Watch and be amazed.

Video: Why Television Research Began in 1877 (and Why No One Knows it)

Another incredibly researched talk from Mark Schubin, documenting the early history of Television and ending on why the earliest work is so poorly documented. With restored videos from 1930s ‘Baird Disks’, newspaper & journal extracts, this is a fascinating history.

Prior to 1877, there was no hint of a television camera — not even in science fiction or fantasy. In 1877, eight people, in five countries on both sides of the Atlantic, began working on television systems, and there has not been a year since without television research (though the word “television,” itself, wasn’t coined until 1900). Why the “vision barrier” between 1876 and 1877? How did it get broken? Why don’t television history books discuss it? After extensive research, Mark Schubin has found the answers.

Watch now to find out!