Post by Gareth Randall on Jun 10, 2005 21:23:46 GMT
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.
They have suffered from picture rolling/breaking up, drop outs etc. and squeeling!!-- I have got copies done now of the faulty ones by trying them in another machine, taping one episode, then winding through/rewinding again etc.........tedious but successful. the vhs cassettes are of all makes........................the ones that have given no trouble are Fuji beridox, and earlier Tdks...................................Agfas and Pye/Philips................. some branded ones from about 20 years ago are really poor now--I was shocked. I recommend you all converting to Dvd+R to keep your collections, though how long will these last? ianj
Post by William Martin on Jun 17, 2005 14:47:54 GMT
dvds may only last 20 years or so as well, post in 2025 an tell us.
the tapes sound like a mixture of things, perhaps mould, friction between the spools and casing, exposure to alternate heat and cold or even weak magnetic fields, thats my ideas anyway feel free to ignore them.
I wonder if the ones that survived best used thicker tape. some of the newer ones have an anti mould formular on the tape which could help.
I've had to ditch dozens of VHS tapes over the past twelve months (fortunately nothing interesting or important) because of mould. The tapes were stored in conditions that hadn't caused mould in ten years previously, but a number started showing signs of a white bloom on the edge surface of the tape within a very short period. The bloom managed to gum up the heads of my best S-VHS machine, and I was forced to strip it down and give the heads a good clean with meths.
I'm in the middle of converting my collected recordings to DVD+R myself, and I can't help thinking if this is happening to stuff recorded in the 1990s, I'd shudder to think what condition older tapes stored in less than ideal circumstances might be in.
Having said that, all my old 8mm stuff stored in the attic for nearly thirty years came down in excellent condition in spite of broiling in summer and freezing in winter.
Post by Shane Anderson on Jun 21, 2005 1:31:30 GMT
Ok, technical question here: is there a quality difference between audio and video tape? Does one last longer than the other? I'm thinking about the audio tapes of Doctor Who that were recovered, and the fact that they had survived 30+ years. Would VT last that long generally, or is there some property that would cause it to degrade more quickly?
And am I right in thinking the audio tapes generally came to the BBC in the early to mid 90s? So granted, another ten years have passed, but the audio tape had held up well enough for the sound to be recovered at that point.