tape blog

VHS / Hi8 video tapes digitised for The Great Hip Hop Hoax

VHS / Hi8 video tapes digitised for The Great Hip Hop Hoax

For a while now we’ve been working with film maker Jeanie Finlay on various projects, digitising archive video footage in varying tape formats and standards.

Her latest project, soon to be premiered in the US:
…is a film about truth, lies and the legacy of faking everything..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 0 comments

digitising tape issues

The main work of Great Bear is to make analogue and digital tape-based media accessible for people living in a digital intensive environment. But once your tape-based media has been digitised, is that the end of the story? Do you never need to think about preservation again? What issues arise for..

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

Collection of obsolete of audio and video tape machines for digitisation

Over a several years, Great Bear has been collecting and restoring old audio and video tape machines. By trawling through the online car boot sale that is ebay, or travelling round the country to visit real ones, the collection has built up over time and now constitutes over seventy working machines..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 1 comment

digitising u-Matic tape: Diagnosing & Treatment

We have recently completed a job for Quarry Faces, the Mendip Hills Community Heritage Project which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Quarry Faces gave us 20 u-matic video tapes that were commissioned for a corporate video in the 1980s.

The Quarry Faces project aims to tell the..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments

The Grain of Video Tape

From U-matic to VHS, Betacam to Blu Ray, Standard Definition to High Definition, the formats we use to watch visual media is constantly evolving.

Yet have you ever paused to consider what is at stake in the changing way audio-visual media is presented to us? Is viewing High Definition film..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, VHS Transfer, Video Tape, 0 comments

Nakamichi 680 Discrete Head Cassette Deck and Music & Liberation

In 2012 Great Bear digitised a selection of audio and audio-visual tape for the Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition, Music & Liberation.

The first job was to migrate a short film by a feminist film making collective called Women in Moving Pictures who were based in Bristol in the early 1980s…

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, Music, Personal and Social History, tape machines, 0 comments

video machine room equipment racks / patchbay rewire

With the work we are involved with we have to use, keep working and store a large amount of old and usually large tape machines and other electronics. With a couple of machines it’s easy to store and easy to connect but as you grow and the variety and scope of machines develops it can soon become..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 0 comments

video tape obsolescence – spares supplies disappearing

Greatbear protects tape-based analogue and digital media from the wave of obsolescence faced by these formats. The speed of technological change in the 20th and 21st centuries has been, and continues to be, breathtaking. Consider the amount of tapes and machines that have been made since the invention..

Posted by greatbear in Obsolescence, Video Tape, 2 comments

VHS-C and full size VHS (NTSC and PAL)

‘We’re not sure what on here’ is a common phrase used by customers who send tape to the Great Bear. Spurred on by curiosity or creative necessity, they contact us to help them solve the mystery.

This is exactly what documentary film maker Jeanie Finlay did when she sent us..

Posted by debra in Video Tape, 0 comments

greatbear at work

A selection of images from the Great Bear engine room on a typical day at the office.

Repairing, cleaning, baking, testing, sorting and transferring are our daily bread. The work is done to the backdrop of miscellaneous audio and audio-visual recordings ranging from early 1990s house music,..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, Video Tape, 0 comments
Digital Betacam tapes

Digital Betacam tapes

As well as analogue tape, at Greatbear we also migrate digital tape to digital files. Digital media has become synonymous with the everyday consumption of information in the 21st century. Yet it may come as a surprise for people to encounter digital tape when we are so comfortable with the seemingly..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 1 comment

Digitising Betacam SP video tapes

We have recently been digitising Betacam SP (‘superior performance’) video recordings, a cassette based component analogue format that is used extensively in the broadcast world. Betacam SP offered fantastic video and audio quality from its introduction in 1986, and a very similar digital..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 1 comment

Sony High Density V-60H video tape digitised for Comhaltas

We were recently contacted Frank Whelan of the Comhaltas Regional Resource Centre who wanted us to digitise a recording of the Fleadh Cheoil traditional music festival in Buncranna, Co. Donegal in 1975.

Frank sent us an EIAJ ½ inch video that was recorded on a Sony High Density V-60H video..

Posted by greatbear in Music, Personal and Social History, reel to reel video, Video Tape, 1 comment

Richard Lewis’ Tapes

At Great Bear we work on a range of digitising projects. Today we received a ¼ inch open reel polyester and acetate based tape from Carmarthen based teacher Richard Lewis. The tapes are a good example of the types of personal material we are entrusted to digitise. The tapes are rare and valuable..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, Personal and Social History, quarter inch tape, 0 comments

V2000 bad frako capacitor in Grundig 2×4 Video 2000

Yet again bad capacitors have reared their electrolytic fluid! This time in a Gundig Video 2000 video tape player, or V2000.

Pictured above is a X2 mains film cap in the power supply of the video machine, made by Frako. This brand of capacitors are German and used in many Studer audio tape..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 0 comments

Sony V60H half inch reel to reel video archive baked and digitised

 We’ve recently had an interesting archive of poorly stored and initially unplayable half inch, EIAJ, black and white video reels dating from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

This format was commonly used in education and in industry and was much cheaper than the u-matic..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 1 comment

broken DAT / degraded mouldy tape

Early tape based digital formats such as DAT, Tascam DTRS and ADAT, etc are often problematic now, partly with tape issues and also reliability and spares availability. In 20 or even 10 years time these machines will be much less serviceable than the analogue tape machines of the previous generation..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 1 comment

how to transfer video to dvd

So how do you do it?

Contact us, of course! No seriously, how to transfer video to dvd or any other digital format is a very simple concept but the reality can be pretty complex. As with much mature technology, the domestic video formats and machines were often made pretty straightforward..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 0 comments

Repair Teac A3440 4 track Multitrack Reel to Reel

The Teac A3440 is a classic reel to reel tape recorder from the late 1970’s, early 80’s significant in that you could use it to make 4 track multitrack recordings at 15 inches per second, the professional tape recording speed. At the time there was precious little else around at the price..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 6 comments

Quarter inch reel to reel tape audio archiving

We’ve been a bit quiet since last year on our blog here primarily because we have been processing large, ongoing audio archiving digital migration job for Mood Media Ltd

In essence audio archiving, digital migration, transfer or digitisation, whatever term you prefer, is conceptually..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 0 comments

8 track cassette capstan motor tascam 238 syncaset

We specialise in tape transfers, especially cassette tapes.

Tascam, Fostex and Yamaha sold cassette multitrack recorders in the golden days of home recording in the 1980’s and 90’s. The 4 track format was especially popular but an 8 track format was also developed that squeezed..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 8 comments

copy tape to cd, convert video to dvd, is it a good thing?

Digital formats are great and the ease of access and distribution that an Audio CD and a Video DVD offers is fantastic at the moment with cheap players, recorders and personal computers. In the audio and video tape transfer business, getting your business website to rank well in the search engines..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 1 comment

Convert, Join, re encode AVCHD .MTS files in Ubuntu Linux

One of our audio and video archive customers has a large collection of AVCHD video files that are stored in 1.9GB ‘chunks’ as xxxxx.MTS files. All these files are of 60 minute and longer duration and must be joined, deinterlaced, re encoded to a suitable size and bitrate then uploaded..

Posted by greatbear in Video Tape, 0 comments

azimuth adjustment when you transfer and convert cassettes to cd

Cassette tapes run at a very slow speed of 1 7/8’s inches per second (ips) with a very small track width of 1.59mm

Cassette decks when they left the factory or a service centre should have been aligned to a standard reference for the position of the record and play heads. Unfortunately..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 1 comment
repair of snapped DAT

repair of snapped DAT

We often get sent Digital Audio Tapes or DATs for transfer to .WAV computer files. As these recordings are already digital or ‘born digital’ the process should be straightforward. Our audio interface cards accept the SPDIF or AES digital audio stream from the DAT machine and record this..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 2 comments

Sony PCM 7030 DAT repair

We have several of these large, wonderful machines. It’s not often we need or want to get involved in DAT repair as generally they are not easy to service machines and many key transport parts are becoming unavailable. The Sony 7030 DAT though has been designed with easy servicing in mind. There’s..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 4 comments

Tape baking of unreleased Shoes for Industry studio master

In amongst a batch of very mouldy quarter inch master tapes we were recently asked to look at was this unreleased recording by Shoes for Industry, the Bristol band on Fried Egg Records.

Like much late 1970’s and 80’s studio recordings, this was recorded on Ampex branded tape that..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, quarter inch tape, 1 comment

Quarter inch reel to reel tape transfer of Jack Hawkins band archive

We were contacted recently by Jack Hawkins, the renowned arranger and band leader to consult on and digitize personal quarter inch open reel recordings of his band.

In case you don’t know, The Jack Hawkins band are probably best known for their performance of the track 30-60-90 made famous..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, quarter inch tape, 0 comments

Replace pinch roller on Sonifex NAB Cartridge machine

Once a common sight in Radio stations around the world, the NAB Cartridge machine or Fidelipac was used for short jingles and announcements, sometimes even for longer recordings. Using a similar sized cartridge to a domestic 8 track machine the NAB cartridge was different in that the pinch roller..

Posted by greatbear in Audio Tape, 6 comments