tape blog

Climate Change, Tape Mould and Digital Preservation

The summer of 2008 saw a spate of articles in the media focusing on a new threat to magnetic tapes.

The reason: the warm, wet weather was reported as a watershed moment in magnetic tape degradation, with climate change responsible for the march of mould consuming archival memories, from personal..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

Digitising Stereo Master Hi-Fi VHS Audio Recordings

The history of amateur recording is peppered with examples of people who stretched technologies to their creative limit. Whether this comes in the form of hours spent trying things out and learning through doing, endlessly bouncing tracks in order to turn an 8-track recording into a 24-track epic..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments
‘Missing Believed Wiped’: The Search For Lost TV Treasures

‘Missing Believed Wiped’: The Search For Lost TV Treasures

Contemporary culture is often presented as drowning in mindless nostalgia, with everything that has ever been recorded circulating in a deluge of digital information.

Whole subcultures have emerged in this memory boom, as digital technologies enable people to come together via a shared passion..

Posted by debra in video tape, 0 comments

2″ Quad Video Tape Transfers – new service offered

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to support the transfer of 2″ Quadruplex Video Tape (PAL, SECAM & NTSC) to digital formats.

2” Quad was a popular broadcast analogue video tape format whose halcyon period ran from the late 1950s to the 1970s. The first quad video..

Posted by debra in video tape, 2 comments

Digitising Low Band U-matic Video Tapes – The resurgence of Philip Jap, pop icon

Philip Jap came from a time when mime, dance, slapped bass lines, mascara and techno-dystopic anthems were staple parts of a successful popular music career. Cut from the same new wave goth cloth as Gary Numan, Human League and John Foxx, sporting mesmeric dance moves like a male Kate Bush, Jap lit..

Posted by debra in video tape, 2 comments

Open Source Solutions for Digital Preservation

In a technological world that is rapidly changing how can digital information remain accessible?

One answer to this question lies in the use of open source technologies. As a digital preservation strategy it makes little sense to use codecs owned by Mac or Windows to save data in the long term…

Posted by debra in audio tape, digitisation expertise, video tape, 0 comments

Early digital tape recordings on PCM/ U-matic and Betamax video tape

We are now used to living in a born-digital environment, but the transition from analogue to digital technologies did not happen overnight. In the late 1970s, early digital audio recordings were made possible by a hybrid analogue/digital system. It was composed by the humble transport and recording..

Posted by debra in audio tape, digitisation expertise, 4 comments

Digital Records of the First World War

Across the world, 2014-2018 will be remembered for its commitment to remembrance. The events being remembered are, of course, those related to the First World War.

What is most intriguing about the centenary of the First World War is that it is already an occasion for growing reflection on..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 0 comments

Digital Preservation – Establishing Standards and Challenges for 2014

2014 will no doubt present a year of new challenges for those involved in digital preservation. A key issue remains the sustainability of digitisation practices within a world yet to establish firm standards and guidelines. Creating lasting procedures capable of working across varied and international..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

End of year thank yous to our customers

What a year it has been in the life of Greatbear Analogue and Digital Media. As always the material customers have sent us to digitise has been fascinating and diverse, both in terms of the recordings themselves and the technical challenges presented in the transfer process. At the end of a busy..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

Voice Letter – Analogue Reel-to-Reel Tape Transfer

What can the packaging of a tape object tell you?

Even before a tape is played back prior to transfer the packaging can tell you a lot about how and where it has been stored, and what it was used for.

Whether the boxes include sparse notation or are covered in stamps from countries across..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 0 comments

Digitising NAB radio broadcast cartridges

The NAB Cartridge (named after the National Association of Broadcasters) was a mainstay of radio broadcasting from the late 1950s-1990s. It was replaced by the mini disc and computerised broadcast automatons.

NAB Cartridges were used primarily for jingles, station identifications, commercials..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 0 comments

Jack Hollingshead’s lost Apple recordings on reel-to-reel tape

Digital technologies have helped to salvage all manner of ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’ recordings. Whole record labels, from the recently featured Bristol Archive Records to institutional collections like Smithsonian Folkways, are based on the principle of making ‘hard to access’..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 0 comments

Transfer Digital Betacam (DigiBeta) to Quicktime or AVI now, one day they will be obsolete

Even relatively recent born-digital formats like Digital Betacam (or DigiBeta, as it’s often referred to) should be viewed as a potentially obsolete format. This Standard Definition (SD) format while very popular for many years is not the preferred delivery format now the industry has embraced..

Posted by debra in video tape, video technology, machines, equipment, 0 comments
UNESCO World Audiovisual Heritage Day – 27 October

UNESCO World Audiovisual Heritage Day – 27 October

In 2005 UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) decided to commemorate 27 October as World Audiovisual Heritage Day. The theme for 2013 was ‘Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation’. Even though we are a day late, we wanted to write a post to mark the..

Posted by debra in audio / video heritage, audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

Digital Preservation and Copyright

Most customers who send us tape to digitise own the copyright of their recording: it is material they have created themselves, be it music, spoken word or film.

Occasionally customers are not so sure if they own the full copyright to their recordings. This is because a single piece of work..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

Digitise VHS Tapes – Bristol’s Meet Your Feet

We recently digitised some VHS tapes from when Bristol-based band Meet Your Feet performed on HTV in 1990. Meet Your Feet
‘formed in 1988 as a result of three of the women getting together to start a women’s music workshop, Meet Your Feet played its first gig in June 1988, when asked..

Posted by debra in video tape, 0 comments

Bristol Archive Records – ¼ inch studio master tapes, ½ inch 8 track multi-track tapes, audio cassettes, DAT recordings and Betamax digital audio recordings

Bristol Archive Records is more than a record label. It releases music, books and through its website, documents the history of Bristol’s punk and reggae scenes from 1977 onwards. You can get lost for hours trawling through the scans of rare zines and photographs, profiles of record labels,..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 1 comment

1/2 inch EIAJ skipfield reel to reel videos transferred for Stephen Bell

We recently digitised a collection of 1/2 inch EIAJ skipfield reel to reel videos for Dr Stephen Bell, Lecturer in Computer Animation at Bournemouth University.

CLEWS SB 01 from Stephen Bell on Vimeo.

Stephen wrote about the piece:

‘The participatory art installation that..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

7″ 8 track reel to reel tapes recorded on a Fostex A8

We were recently sent a collection of 7″ 8-track reel-to-reel tapes. All the 8-track tapes were recorded using Dolby C noise reduction on a Fostex A8 machine. They hadn’t been stored in optimum conditions and as many were recorded on AMPEX tape, we did need “bake” them prior..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 1 comment

Digitisation strategies – back up, bit rot, decay and long term preservation

In a blog post a few weeks ago we reflected on several practical and ethical questions emerging from our digitisation work. To explore these issues further we decided to take an in-depth look at the British Library’s Digital Preservation Strategy 2013-2016 that was launched in March 2013…

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

Remembering Ray Dolby pioneer of analogue noise reduction

We have already written about noise reduction this week, but did so without acknowledging the life of Ray Dolby, one of the inventors of video tape recording while working at Ampex and the inventor and founder of Dolby Noise Reduction, who died on 12 September 2013.

An obituary in The Guardian..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments

Audio Noise Reduction and Finn’s World War Two Stories

We get a range of tape and video recordings to digitise at the Great Bear. Our attention is captured daily by things which are often unusual, interesting and historically significant in their own way.

Last week we received a recording of Pilot Officer Edwin Aldridge ‘Finn’ Haddock talking..

Posted by debra in audio tape, 0 comments

Measuring signals – challenges for the digitisation of sound and video

In a 2012 report entitled ‘Preserving Sound and Moving Pictures’ for the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Technology Watch Report series, Richard Wright outlines the unique challenges involved in digitising audio and audiovisual material. ‘Preserving the quality of the digitized..

Posted by debra in audio tape, digitisation expertise, video tape, 0 comments

Curating Digital Information or What Do You With Your Archive?

Today is the first day of iPres 2013, the 10th international conference on the preservation of digital objects held in Lisbon, Portugal. To mark the occasion we want to reflect on an issue that is increasingly important for the long term management of digital data: curation.

Anyone who has..

Posted by debra in audio tape, video tape, 0 comments