tape blog

mouldy tape

mouldy tape

Mould infestation can present a significant problem for the digitisation of magnetic tape. Any evidence of mould growth should be taken seriously and affected tapes isolated…
Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, Video Tape, 0 comments
Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording – interview with Martin Theophilus

Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording – interview with Martin Theophilus

We recently spoke to Martin Theophilus, Executive Director of the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording based in Austin, Texas.

While the Greatbear studio is a kind of museum – it is full of old machines that we maintain and preserve – we wanted to know more about this ‘proper’ Magnetic Sound Recording Museum…

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Gregory Sams’s VegeBurger – Food Revolution

Gregory Sams’s VegeBurger – Food Revolution

‘Watch out: the vegetarians are on the attack’ warned an article published in the April 1984 edition of the Meat Trades Journal.

The threat? A new product that would revolutionise the UK’s eating habits forever.

Gregory Sams’s VegeBurger invented a vernacular..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments

Pre-Figurative Digital Preservation

How do you start preserving digital objects if your institution or organisation has little or no capacity to do so?

Digital preservation can at first be bit-part and modular. You can build your capacity one step at a time. Once you’ve taken a few steps you can then put them together,..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Developments in Digital Video Preservation – CELLAR

Developments in Digital Video Preservation – CELLAR

We are living in interesting times for digital video preservation (we are living in interesting times for other reasons too, of course).

For many years digital video preservation has been a confusing area of audiovisual archiving. To date there is no settled standard that organisations, institutions..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 1 comment
Guest post: The Upright Electric Guitar

Guest post: The Upright Electric Guitar

We recently helped in the digitising of 8mm & Hi8 for the creation of an online video about the following project by Nelson Johnson:..
Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 0 comments
Happy World Day for Audiovisual Heritage!

Happy World Day for Audiovisual Heritage!

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, which is sponsored by UNESCO and takes place every year on 27 October, is an occasion to celebrate how audio, video and film contribute to the ‘memory of the world.’

The theme for 2016 – ‘It’s your story, don’t lose it!’ – conveys..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, Video Tape, 0 comments
Spoking – Treating and Assessing Magnetic Tape

Spoking – Treating and Assessing Magnetic Tape

Assessment and treatment is an important part of Greatbear’s audiovisual preservation work. Even before a tape is played back we need to ensure it is in optimum condition. Sometimes it is possible to make a diagnosis through visual assessment alone. A tape we received recently, for example,..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
The Containers – late ’70s new wave lives again

The Containers – late ’70s new wave lives again

It might be a familiar story to some people. At one point, say the late 1970s, you were in your early 20s and the main songwriter in a post-punk/ new wave band. You tried really hard to get it off the ground: moved to London, met the right people, played several memorable gigs…
Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Monstrous Regiment – Audio Cassette Digitisation

Monstrous Regiment – Audio Cassette Digitisation

Monstrous Regiment were one of many trailblazing feminist theatre companies active in the 1970s-1990s. They were established as a collective very much built around performers, both (professional) actors such as Mary McCusker and (professional) musicians such as Helen Glavin.

Between 1975-1993..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
VHS – more obsolescence threats

VHS – more obsolescence threats

We couldn’t let the news that ‘Japan’s Funai Electric has announced it will end production of home videocassette recorders in July’ go by unnoticed…
Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
Deacon Blue Live – Betamax PCM recordings

Deacon Blue Live – Betamax PCM recordings

Greatbear exist to make obsolete tape recordings accessible in the digital age. We often work with artists and record labels who use our services to digitise back catalogues and previously unreleased material…
Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
VHS – Re-appraising Obsolescence

VHS – Re-appraising Obsolescence

VHS was a hugely successful video format from the late 1970s to late 1990s. It was adopted widely in domestic and professional contexts.

Due to its familiarity and apparent ubiquity you might imagine it is easy to preserve VHS.

Well, think again.

VHS is generally considered to..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
SONY’s U-matic video cassette

SONY’s U-matic video cassette

U-matic made video cassette a core part of many industries. Flexible and functional, its popularity endured until the 1990s.

At Greatbear, we have a significant suite of working NTSC/ PAL/ SECAM U-matic machines and spare parts…

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
The Genesis Archive – ¼” reel-to-reel tapes transferred

The Genesis Archive – ¼” reel-to-reel tapes transferred

The early 21st century has been witness to numerous projects that document and interpret popular music histories. Whether dedicated to regional histories, such as the Manchester District Music Archive and Birmingham Music Archive, or genre specific, like the National Jazz archive or the English..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 1 comment
Motobirds U-matic NTSC transfer

Motobirds U-matic NTSC transfer

Motobirds, a 1970s all-girl motorbike stunt team from Leicester, have recently re-captured the public imagination.

The group re-united for an appearance on BBC One’s The One Show which aired on 1 April 2016. They hadn’t seen each other for forty years.

The Motobirds travelled..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments

Going CD-R-less – digital file-based delivery

Often customers ask us to deliver their transferred sound files on CD, in effect an audio CD-R of the transfer.

Although these recordings can still be high resolution there remains a world of difference—in an archival sense—between a CD-R, burnt on a computer drive (however high the quality),..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Philips N-1502 TV Recorder

Philips N-1502 TV Recorder

The front page of the Philips N-1502 TV Recorder catalogue presents a man peering mournfully into a dark living room. A woman, most probably his wife, drags him reluctantly out for the evening. She wants to be social, distracted in human company.

The N-1502 tape machine is superimposed on this..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments

Guest post: Refurbishment of Magnetic Recording Heads – Terry Summer

Below is a guest post written by Terry Summers from Summertone Ltd. We first encountered Terry because of his expertise refurbishing analogue magnetic tape heads.
As one of the few, if not only, specialist UK-based company working in this area, we wanted to know more about Terry’s work. We..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Grundig C 100 and the early history of the Compact Cassette

Grundig C 100 and the early history of the Compact Cassette

The recent arrival of a Grundig C 100 cassette in the Greatbear studio has been an occasion to explore the early history of the compact cassette.

The compact cassette has gained counter-cultural kudos in recent times, and more about that later, but once upon a time the format was the new kid..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments

Greatbear 2016 Infomercial

Greatbear have just produced our 2016 ‘infomercial’.

The 4-page document includes details of our work and all the formats we digitise.

We are in the process of sending printed copies to relevant organisations.

Please contact us to request a copy and we will pop one..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, Video Tape, 0 comments

Hands On History Conference

Media scholars, tinkerers and ‘thinkerers’ gathered in London last week for ADAPT TV’s Hands on History Conference.

ADAPT is a five-year research project based at Royal Holloway, University of London that aims to capture and analyse the complex histories of TV production from..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Deaf School ½” open reel video tape transfer

Deaf School ½” open reel video tape transfer

At the end of 2015 Steve Lindsey, founding member of Liverpool art rock trailblazers Deaf School, stumbled upon two 1/2″ open reel video tape recordings of the band, tucked away in a previously unknown nook of his Dublin home.

2016 is the 40th anniversary of Deaf School’s first..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
Digitised Found Video Clips

Digitised Found Video Clips

Check out this selection of analogue video clips from problem tape sources such as VHS, Betamax, CV2100, Low Band umatic, PCM audio.

The video was compiled by Joe Johnson, who works in the Greatbear Studio.

digitised-analogue-found-video-clips from Adrian Finn on Vimeo.

..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
Dr Spira and the Human Beings – BASF LGR 50 tape on AEG DIN Hubs

Dr Spira and the Human Beings – BASF LGR 50 tape on AEG DIN Hubs

The latest in a long line of esoteric musical recordings moving through the tape transports in the Greatbear studio is a collection belonging to Dušan Mihajlović.

Dušan was the main song writer in Yugoslavian new wave band Dr Spira and the Human Beings / Doktor Spira i Ljudska Bića.

Dr..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments

Video Tape Preservation – The Final Frontier

The UK’s audio collections have Save Our Sounds.

The BFI recently launched Film is Fragile to support film preservation in the UK.

Yet something is missing from these impassioned calls to preserve audiovisual heritage.

As 2015 draws to a close, there is no comparable public..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
Video and Technologies of Consciousness: An Interview with Peter Sachs Collopy

Video and Technologies of Consciousness: An Interview with Peter Sachs Collopy

We first encountered the work of Media Historian Peter Sachs Collopy during research for a previous blog article about video synthesizers.

His work was so interesting we invited Peter to do a short interview for the blog. Thanks Peter for taking time to respond, you can read the answers below!

We..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies Audio Cassette Transfer

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies Audio Cassette Transfer

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is widely heralded as a classic of 20th century English literature. The book adorns English Literature syllabuses throughout the UK, its provocative events continue to inspire debate about the nature of humanity and ‘civilisation.’

We recently..

Posted by debra in Audio Tape, 0 comments
Red Beat: uMatic Low Band Transfer and Video Synthesizers

Red Beat: uMatic Low Band Transfer and Video Synthesizers

The latest eclectic piece of music history to be processed in the Great Bear Studio is a uMatic Low Band video of ‘Dream/Dream Dub’ by Red Beat, a post-punk band that was active in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite emitting a strong wax crayon-like odour that is often a sure sign..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments