60 VT recordings-best hope for lost episodes? Jun 10, 2005 21:23:46 GMT
Post by on Jun 10, 2005 21:23:46 GMT
darrg said:I believe the tapes were tremendously expensive, too: they were marketed as a way to record programmes while you were out to watch later, rather than to archive. I suspect the few people who had machines rarely had more than a handful of tapes to go with it.
FWIW, I think I'm right in saying that the machines from the 60s didn't even have timers on them - a human being had to be there to start and stop them.
You're right that the tape was expensive (the machines themselves cost about as much as a family car). The guy who had recorded The Space Pirates off-air was wealthy enough to buy the VTR, but even he had to resort to using audio tape instead of proper video recording tape to try and save money... this means that many of his tapes are now unplayable.
It doesn't help that there was little, if any, thought given to tape interchangeability on those old machines. The manufacturers basically assumed that, given the cost of domestic video recording and the consequently very small market for it, any given recording would only ever be played back on the machine it had been originally recorded on - you wouldn't be lending it to your friends, because the chances were that your friends didn't have a VTR. Hence there aren't any tracking controls on those old decks.
This can make achieving a decent playback difficult, since whenever a stash of old tapes is found, the original VTR they were recorded on has usually either long since disappeared or is fit only for spares or scrap. There are various techniques that can be tried to get a playback on a working machine, but they can't be relied upon completely.