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Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?

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Todd TerryAnyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 16, 2012 at 9:31:34 pm

So, I've been up to my elbows in spaghetti for the last two or three days... 934 miles of cables...

We bought a new editing system for our "A" suite... a new Matrox MX02 system replacing an aging Matrox AXIO LE system. This is the smaller of our bigger suites and the one that I personally call home when I'm in house.

We've had the new system for a month or so but I'm just now getting around to putting everything in place... it has been running, but set up on a folding table in our conference room. Now everything is getting put in place and permanently cabled as it should be.

As I am putzing around with cables back behind the suite, I realize I'm cabling into racks of decks that HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN TURNED ON in, well, I can't even remember the last time I made a dub or had to injest anything from tape. There are multiple Beta machines, DVcam decks, and even a couple of Umatic machines. Ah, and a VHS.

So I'm beginning to think... why bother? If a need for Beta (or other standard-def or any analog format) were to come up I could still do it in one of the other suites.

So just curious... are any of you guys still maintaining tape decks?

I also noticed that we had several unopened cases of Beta stock in storage. We have big shelves behind the cyc in our studio that tend to become graveyards for things we don't need anymore, and I didn't even know they were there. Probably should do something with them.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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John DavidsonRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 16, 2012 at 9:59:39 pm

So funny you posted this. We did our first HDcam layback in 4 months yesterday and had almost completely forgotten how to do it. I would love to offload this HDCam deck, but I know as soon as I do we'll get a huge request for it.

I think in another 2 years nobody will be using tape. And that will be glorious. Hopefully UVerse will increase speeds by then though, the 3MB upload speed is getting a little bottlenecky.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Herb SevushRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 16, 2012 at 11:04:17 pm

[Todd Terry] "I can't even remember the last time I made a dub or had to injest anything from tape. There are multiple Beta machines, DVcam decks, and even a couple of Umatic machines. Ah, and a VHS."

Got rid of my 3/4" deck 2 years ago when I moved. Still have VHS, DV, DVCPRO and Betacam for analog - the one client that still required Betacam has just notified me that they now want HD only - so the answer on the SD side is no, I never use any SD decks anymore. Of course the moment I toss them all I'm sure a client will have need of it - oh well.

On the HD side I still get use out of my DVCPRO HD deck, both ingest and mastering.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Steve KownackiRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 16, 2012 at 11:25:12 pm

No decks in the edit rooms since the move a little over a year ago, but they are in a rack in what's basically a 'catch all' closet with a spare mac for capture. None of them are hooked up, just do that as needed a few times a year. They used to run thru a really nice Sigma router. I'll keep them because they aren't worth the time to sell. PVW2800s on ebay are $75-300. If any of them get use, it's mostly a Pany S-VHS. Sigh.

Steve






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Nick GriffinRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 17, 2012 at 1:40:52 pm

We did our last SD project four and a half years ago and only finished it in SD because it was begun in SD a year and a half before that. So the trusty old Beta deck has sat around un-touched since early 2008… until a couple of weeks ago.

A very long-term client decided that after 11 years a project we'd done needed to be updated, not the whole thing, just a very few scenes and they were only close-ups too boot. The master, needless to say, exists only on Beta. 11 years ago saving the finished digital file was a much bigger deal than it is now. Anybody remember when the biggest removable was the DVD-ROM disk? When hard disks cost $15 to $20 a gigabyte?

So in firing up the Beta deck I (very fortunately) thought to insert a tape I knew had nothing of value on it. At first it played for a few minutes and all seemed OK. Then after a brief pause and re-start WHAM, Error Code XYZ and the deck was frozen. After a cool down and re-boot the deck worked again for a few more minutes before WHAM, Error Code ABC. This time no luck getting it to re-start and it had the tape. Googled the error code, popped the lid, jiggled tension arms and the capstan assy, before realizing that the guts of this complex a machine were WAY over my head.

I flirted with the idea of buying one of the many used Beta decks for sale -- did you know that a BVW series deck can be had for around $2k? But decided that then I'd just be buying somebody else's service problems so, after some searching, found a company still willing to work on our deck.

A $190 worth of parts, labor and, I suspect, mostly lubrication later viola a working deck and I was able to capture the show.

For me the lesson is to not let the deck sit un-used for years at a time, but I'm left to wonder if something like the need to access ancient footage will occur again. My partner asked why we don't just digitize the existing Beta masters, but I have to question if that could ever be worth the time as this was the first time anyone has ever asked for anything that old to be re-edited.


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Ned MillerRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 17, 2012 at 3:58:12 pm

Timely thread. Yesterday I visited a client/friend in his early seventies, he is 90% editor (brought the first Avid to Chicago) and his 10% producing I do the shooting for him. He now only produces and edits fundraising videos for mainly large non-profits, usually with a religious bent.

His wife wants him to give up the office and move it home so he has to get rid of a LOT of stuff, very retro: racks and racks of gear with a zillion cables in back. Many tape decks of all flavors. I tried giving him some advice as to what to sell on CL and Ebay and the point he made, and the reason I am writing this, is that since he has all these old tape decks he is able to use "legacy footage" that the usual modern editor can't deal with. The clients who are now half his age grew up with digital editing, yet they see boxes and boxes of old tapes in their organization's storage that they'd like to view and use but can't.

I noticed a set of rewinds and a Moviescope (know what those are?) and he told me that some clients want him to tell them what's in the 16mm cans!

So I'd say if you have the room you can use your legacy tape decks as a marketing tool by approaching large organizations to work their cool old imagery into their modern videos. The older the exec is and the longer they have been with the large company, the more they will appreciate their history and tradition. That's what I learned from visiting him.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Shane RossRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 17, 2012 at 7:01:54 pm

Captured from HDCAM two weeks ago. Still capturing from HDV for many companies who refuse to give tape up (Deadliest Catch also still shoots on HDV). Captured from DV two months ago...and BetaSP at the same time.

In the world of documentary filmmaking, tape will always be there, as the archives are on tape. WE shoot tapeless for a lot of the new stuff, but the old stuff still has tape.

Oh, and when I was at Disney, and we needed footage from ABC shows for promotional pieces, they all delivered HDCAM tapes to us. Only one show gave us a file. Even though we asked for digital files.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Scott SheriffRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 17, 2012 at 8:47:40 pm

I've got hours of archive stuff on various tape formats including quad, 1", betaSP and SX, 3/4, D2, 16mm and HDV. In fact I still shoot HDV on tape. I don't imagine I'm the only one.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Rich RubaschRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 18, 2012 at 1:55:06 am

I think a lot depends on what your client's needs are. We do have plenty of clients with Betacam sources. We upload from them once in a while. In our setup, all our machines have Kona cards and are hooked to the Blackmagic Studio Hub. All decks and other sources are connected and routable. So for us it doesn't matter what the system is...it gets put on the router and it has access to all the decks.

Not taking them out until I close down shop!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Todd TerryRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 18, 2012 at 4:49:46 am

Thanks for the observations, gang....

I won't put the decks out beside the road (yet)... but I might not be so ambitious about getting them all cabled in right away. As I said, if I need any legacy footage we do have identical decks in another suite.

My problem is I can never bring myself to get rid of anything. I have countless cans of 35mm film stored, with footage that will never see the light of day again. I keep thinking I might just someday need that some obscure piece of that footage again, and most of it is from projects from back in the standard-def days, so the negatives were digitized to SD only. They'd have to be telecined again if I needed the footage in HD. Of course that need will never come. Until the day after I toss the footage.

Slightly interestingly, back when we were still physically sending out tons of tape dubs of commecials to television stations (although not too long ago), we actually had a television station (somewhere in the midwest, don't remember where) ask us to send them a one-inch dub rather than the Beta we had sent them. When I explained we couldn't make a one-inch dub because we didn't have a one-inch machine, they asked "You don't? Why not?" Of course we said "Ummm... because they haven't even made those machines in something like twenty years." They were genuinely suprised to learn that. Weird.

We also got a one-inch request from the local NASA center here just a few years ago. Their media department was looking for a facility in town with a one-inch machine, since they had recently disposed of the last couple of Ampexes they still had... right before realizing "Hey, how would we ever play these warehouses full of 1" archival reels?" Hmmmm

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Scott SheriffRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 18, 2012 at 9:08:31 pm

I wouldn't mind having a 1" like a Hitachi HR series, or a Sony 2000. Neither have a huge footprint, and are both pretty reliable if treated well.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Bill DavisRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 18, 2012 at 6:03:29 am

[Rich Rubasch] "I think a lot depends on what your client's needs are."

I agree with this BUT...

The big problem is that the clients have no clue that at some point in the near future, their thinking will evolve to reflect the new reality no matter how entrenched their thinking is today. It won't be a gentle transition, it will be sudden - and it will be forever.

So they'll order their last DVD, or Tape, or whatever. That day will likely be unnoticed. It'll be a regular tuesday or thursday or saturday just like all the others. But it will mark the last day you'll need a particular format and you'll be left with a machine and some stock and a vague sense of nostalgia.

It's Toy Story for Video Professionals. The shelf of things that were once important - and that we have feelings for - but who's times are largely gone.

I literally threw away a Tektronics WFM/Vectorscope about six weeks ago that I originally paid thousands for - sic transit technology.

And I'm holding on to my antique wire recorder to remind myself that this is the way it's ALWAYS been.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Andrew RendellRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 18, 2012 at 7:36:28 am

Well, yes I'm still delivering tape to some broadcasters, but I don't own any decks, I go to a facility for that.


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Todd TerryRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 18, 2012 at 9:36:49 pm

[Andrew Rendell] "Well, yes I'm still delivering tape to some broadcasters"

That's interesting. Maybe that means I'll still be able to find a buyer for these boxes of useless Beta stock :)

We haven't delivered a physical tape to a broadcaster in probably a couple of years now... we produce mostly television commercials and they are just FTP'd to wherever they need to go. Weirdly enough though one station in our home market (the NBC affiliate) still gets standard-def NTSC uploads... and they are the only one of the several dozen stations and cable outlets that we regularly send to. Every other one gets 1080i or 720p. Even stranger is that this holdout station was the first one in this market to go HD... first to have an HD signal, first to pass on network in HD, and first to broadcast local news and other programming in HD. For commercials though, it still has to be NTSC and they don't know when that's gonna change ("Oh we hope we can take HD someday").

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 19, 2012 at 4:27:32 pm

I'm with Ned and Todd.

We still acquire on tape, in DVCProSD and HD. We just this year got P2 cams over my strenuous objections, and the adaptation to that is an ongoing process. Meanwhile we have TONS of legacy tape we've been transferring off to DVD-R. Like Todd, we figure much of it will never be seen. However, we feel a strong duty to the future to preserve things that might be useful to some future documentarians.
One of the requests for historic footage we get a lot is for footage of President Obama when he was a first-term state senator. Well, back then who knew that any of that stuff was ever going to be needed after it originally aired. You can't know what the future is going to find very important, and in a way it's not your business to judge.


As to formats goting out from here: we're trying to do more and more FTP and posting to the web, however, we still get requests for Betacam dubs. We still have working betacam and umatic gear. We got rid of our two one-inch machines, but I was able to help arrange an outside consultant to acquire a good used one just like our old ones, and he got to transfer off our one-inch masters. Just this week we found another one we'd missed, so though he thinks about getting rid of the beast, he holds on because there's lots of institutions that have legacy tape needing a bump into the future.


The broadcast world isn't as monolithic as some folks think: not every place updates on the same time frame. Old gear has a way of hanging on, often for pure reasons of economics, where it's amortized and cheaper to keep on paper than to dispose of it and upgrade. And upgrades often come incrementally, working their way back from the "stick", to the transmitter, to the things that feed into the TX, to the things that feed the things... you know how it goes.

Bottom line: tape will continue to exist for years yet. It won't all die in one day, but rather slowly fade over the next decade.


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Todd TerryRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 19, 2012 at 9:43:25 pm

[Mark Suszko] "We still acquire on tape, in DVCProSD and HD."

We did too until just a few weeks ago, when we started shooting with the C300PL. Tapless and and LOVING IT!. If I never have to capture anything from tape again, it will be too soon. I think my senior editor feels even more strongly about that than I do. Of course I might change my attitude the first time an important file goes corrupt.



[Mark Suszko] "...we still get requests for Betacam dubs."

Hey Mark, make you a sweet deal on a few cases of Beta stock :)

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 20, 2012 at 3:01:59 am

Todd, you know the joke about the accordianist that remembered too late he's left his instrument visible on the front seat of his parked car?

Its like that with your tapes:-)

No thanks- we're good.


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Steve EisenRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 20, 2012 at 3:26:47 am

Have not used tape in a year. That was to make a Beta SP dub of a VNR.
For broadcast, I export to KiPro. Most OB trucks are using more and more of them.
I still have 2-3/4" and 3-Beta SP decks. I got rid of my DSR-11 four years ago when I started shooting P2.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Mark RaudonisRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 20, 2012 at 3:39:48 pm

Every network that we deliver to STILL expects a videoTAPE master. Usually HDCAMsr or HDCAM. Some (up until last year) still wanted an SD Betacam copy.

I will also add: Every network that we deliver to now accepts a DIGITAL file but they haven't eliminated the tape requirement. So there we are. Stuck in the middle with a tape requirement AND a digital file requirement. Can't quite get rid of the tape machines... but they're getting less and less use as time moves on.

I call our machine room the museum of ancient tape formats.

Mark



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Scott SheriffRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 20, 2012 at 3:47:49 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "I call our machine room the museum of ancient tape formats."

At the rate and direction the industry is going, they'll be calling the edit bay, or perhaps production companies something similar next year.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Mark SuszkoRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 20, 2012 at 6:13:59 pm

My intro to our tape/machine room:







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Andrew KimeryRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 27, 2012 at 8:43:28 pm

Still lots of tape action in my neck of the woods. Certainly for delivery and a surprising amount of DVCPro HD used for acquisition. I guess if you already bought the gear you might as well use it until it's no longer useful.




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Alex ElkinsRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Nov 28, 2012 at 9:59:33 pm

We sold our DigiBeta deck about 3 years ago and now just rent when needed. That said, we still do a fair amount of capturing and layback on tape, both SD and HD - I'd estimate around 50 hours of machine time a year in total. Certainly not enough to ever even contemplate owning a professional deck again though.

We actually just bought a used DSR-11 DVCAM deck for a project we're working on that involves capturing a load of archive material, but will sell it again when we're finished. It was so cheap I wouldn't be surprised if we made a small amount of profit on the sale of the deck.

If you feel like your decks are a waste of space I'd sell them sooner rather than later as they still fetch a reasonable amount. Renting is quite cheap, especially for SD. HD still has a slight premium because most of the bigger broadcasters here in the UK now only accept HDCAM.

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
Post Blue showreel
Latest work: Greyhounds in Motion at 500fps
My Vimeo Pro page


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Stephen SmithRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:16:33 am

I had to capture a Beta tape a few months ago and forgot how to do it. We set up a computer in our server room to capture from our decks. I think that seems to work much better. All of our edit bays our connect so you can access the footage from any other room.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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walter biscardiRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Dec 13, 2012 at 1:50:08 am

[Todd Terry] "So just curious... are any of you guys still maintaining tape decks?"

Yep. Two Panasonic AJ-1400's, dual Sony HDV decks, Sony J3-902 Beta player and yes, we still use the trusty UVW-1800 from time to time. With documentary editing, we're constantly using them.

Also, we provide digital transfer and archive services for clients now too so the decks are pretty priceless for that. I send in all my decks every year around NAB time. It's a good yearly reminder to send the decks in. Fortunately we have a great service facility not far from the shop.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Mike CohenRe: Anyone still using any tape decks? Beta? Or anything standard-def?
by on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:23:33 pm

Reading this thread is amusing. Based upon industry advertising and articles in the few trades remaining you would think the world had gone 100% tapeless. But reality is sooo much different. Just watch local used car commercials to see how SD is alive and well.
We finished our last DVCPRO25 project this year. Nearly everything else is HDV, xdcam or p2.
We have about 1000a dvcpro25 tapes on a shelf and a few decks in a closet. About 75%a of these tapes were dumps from BetaSP, Umatic or 1" and captured to AVI at the same time.
The history of surgery going back to the early 80's. Not ancient but not recent either.
We have some films from 50's - 70's also on dvcpro and AVI.
Mike Cohen

Ps. In Southington and Bristol, CT, about 15 min away we have several post houses who primarily service ESPN, and these folks have nearly every type of deck.


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