tape blog

V2000 bad Frako capacitor in Grundig 2×4 Video 2000

Yet again bad capacitors have reared their electrolytic fluid! This time in a Grundig 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, video technology, machines, equipment, 2 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 1970s and early 1980s.

This format was commonly used in education and in industry and was much cheaper than the U-matic and one inch formats.

We..

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 1970s, early ’80s 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 to..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 7 comments

8 track cassette capstan motor Tascam 238 Syncaset

We specialise in tape transfers, many of which are multitrack cassette tapes.

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

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 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

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 digitisation expertise, video tape, 0 comments

azimuth adjustment when you transfer and convert cassettes to cd

Cassette tapes run at a very slow speed of 17⁄8 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 they..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 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, 8 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 machine 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..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 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 1970s and ’80s studio recordings, this was recorded on Ampex branded tape that suffers..

Posted by greatbear in audio 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 digitise 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, 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, audio technology, machines, equipment, 10 comments
St. Pauls Carnival 1968, Bristol

St. Pauls Carnival 1968, Bristol

Celebrate What? is a documentary we transferred and created DVD access copies for its director recently. He only had a VHS copy of the 8mm original unfortunately but it’s still a great piece of history about St Pauls, the St Pauls Carnival and Bristol.

If anyone can recognise themselves..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, 0 comments

U-matic transfer and video preservation of Bristol reggae band Black Roots

2 U-matic video tapes were discovered of a Black Roots live performance in Bristol in the 1980s. We were able to restore, digitise and make the umatic transfer of this recording as a high quality, uncompressed Quicktime file then encode and author a DVD for future release by Bristol Archive Records.

Some..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, 0 comments

NTSC U-matic transfer of The Members – Solitary Confinement

Unseen to 32 years, although there could possibly be other tapes in the vaults at Abbey Road.
This NTSC U-matic transfer to uncompressed quicktime files was a damaged tape that at some point in its life had been ‘eaten’ by a greedy U-matic machine! The tape shell also had some plastic..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, 0 comments

reel to reel tape transfer of rim drive or capstan free recordings

The capstan drive tape recorder is (or was) very common and was used in a huge range of cassette tape audio, video and open reel machines from cheap domestic to very expensive broadcast tape machines.

Occasionally we receive quarter inch tapes, always on small 3 inch spools, that reproduce..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 1 comment

Video time base corrector self destructing mains socket

We have several time base correctors and frame synchronisers at our disposal. One recent addition is a new old stock (NOS) CEL Tetra. This is an early 1990s motion adaptive Standards Converter for PAL, SECAM, NTSC 3.58 and NTSC 4.43 systems. A very flexible unit with composite, Y/C (S-Video), U-matic..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, video technology, machines, equipment, 1 comment

tape repair and restoration

We often receive enquiries about audio and video tape that is not in the best condition having been stored in humid conditions, suffering from binder hydrolysis (sticky shed) or not wound on its reel well, but we were surprised when we received this tape recently.

It literally is a bag of tape!..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, 2 comments

Switch mode power supply (SMPSU) repair in For-a FA-310P time base corrector

We use time base correctors and frame synchronizers all the time in the transfer and digitising of analogue video tape.

One of our more flexible and high quality units had recently developed an annoying and very obvious fault on its video outputs. While the unit was working there were faint..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, video technology, machines, equipment, 1 comment

Audio data recovery from external USB drive using ddrescue

High resolution audio and video digital tape conversions can use large amounts of computer storage. 8 bit uncompressed Standard Definition (SD) PAL video runs at 70 GB per hour and 24 bit 96 kHz audio files at 2 GB per hour.

As a result of this many of our analogue to digital tape transfers..

Posted by greatbear in digitisation expertise, 0 comments

Powerful tape conversion tools using SoX, LAME and Bash Scripting

One of our recent and ongoing jobs is a very large, over 2000, NAB 10.5 inch reel to reel archive of quarter inch professional tape recordings.

To fit into the budget but maintain quality we needed to find a way to streamline our workflow in converting the high resolution 24 bit 96 kHz master..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, 1 comment

Replace Tascam BR 20 Capstan Belt

We have two of these excellent machines in addition to our Sony APR 5003s and Studer A80s. The Tascam BR-20 was Tascam’s last and top of the range 1/4 inch reel to reel tape machine and available in two track stereo and stereo with centre timecode option.

The capstan drive in the BR20..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 2 comments

Tascam BR 20 reel to reel new in box (not for sale)

This is something you don’t see everyday! An almost unused and boxed 1/4″ 2 track reel to reel tape machine, a Tascam BR20 one of their highest quality machines sometimes installed with a Timecode head for broadcast and editing applications.

This machine somehow turned up at an..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, audio technology, machines, equipment, 12 comments

JVC PV-4800E 1/2 inch EIAJ colour portable video recorder

A recent addition to our video arsenal is this rare 1976 vintage 1/2″ colour reel to reel machine.

This has needed some work to get it functioning well such as new belts, hardened grease cleaned off the mechanism, etc but is now able to transfer colour recordings made in this format of..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, video technology, machines, equipment, 0 comments

Information Terminals M-300, cassette tape transport alignment gauge

The regular service of analogue machines which will involve the mechanical alignment then electrical alignment / calibration is really important if you’re attempting to get optimum transfers and reduce any risk of damaging the potentially fragile tape.

While some of our machines are serviced..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, 12 comments

U-matic transfer to DVD, Uncompressed Quicktime and Digi Beta

We’ve been honored recently to have won a large contract to help in the digital migration of an extensive educational video archive by the transfer from U-matic archive copies to uncompressed video files.

While the archive had been stored in an suitable environment and rarely if at all..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, 12 comments

DVD video restoration / editing helps convict serial Bristol flytipper

Greatbear recently helped the Streetscene section of Bristol City Council in an investigation in a serial flytipper.

DVD footage of the flytipper had been taken by a member of the public of flytipping activity but this DVD had other unrelated footage on that needed removal. The DVD was also..

Posted by greatbear in video tape, 0 comments

Microcassette Transfer to CD helps Crown Court case

We’ve recently been involved, with Mobray Woodwards Solicitors,  in the audio transfer of important evidence in a  local Crown Court case.

Even given the poor quality or the recordings, made on the slowest tape speed of 1.2 cm/s we were able to make transfers to CD which were clear..

Posted by greatbear in audio tape, 0 comments