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Earliest surviving 2″ quad videotape masters

TM
ToasterMan Granada North West Today
I've been thinking back since the development and release of Quadruplex videotape by the American electronics company Ampex in 1956, which set a new standard for television broadcasting operations. Yet sadly, some of the earliest examples of this breakthrough in videotape recording are extremely rare, especially in Britain.
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Coronation Street is one of the few British television shows in which all episodes have survived, yet, with few exceptions, all pre-1969 B&W episodes only exist as 16mm film recordings, the few B&W videotape examples include this one from October 1969, (a few weeks before the series switched to colour filming) and the episodes filmed during the ITV Colour Strike of 1970-71, the audio quality difference is like night and day compared to the 16mm masters:


The BBC was, of course, notorious for it's wiping practices of programmes that lasted well into the 1980's, all surviving William Hartnell and Patrick Throughton episodes of Doctor Who today exist only as telerecordings on 16mm film, where the optical audio tracks have suffered from noticeable degrading. Despite the Corporation utilizing Quad 2" tape since 1958, it was deemed too expensive and not thought of as a preservable medium, hence many programmes, such as the aforementioned Doctor Who, receiving 16mm telerecordings for overseas release.

Surviving examples of BBC Quad VT masters include the 1000th edition of Play School from February 1968, which was going through a transition period to colour, Blue Peter also wasn't produced in colour until September 1970, and even then was partially filmed in B&W until June 1974, here's the Stolen Daleks appeal from 1973, around the time the Doctor Who story, Planet of the Daleks, was transmitted:



Another early example I can think of are for certain episodes of The Twilight Zone, the more studio based episodes, such as one from 1960 were filmed on videotape as opposed to 16mm, though I'm not sure about other shows across the globe at the time.
Last edited by ToasterMan on 30 July 2020 11:25am - 6 times in total
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
There's surviving videotape footage of the ITN coverage of the 1959, 64 and 66 elections.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member Central (West) Midlands Today
Note that a lot of what "now survives" on film may not have been made on film at all, telerecording was quite common for international sales - a practice that came in quite handy after the videotapes were introduced to something like this:



A lot of Dr Who was telerecorded to film and sold abroad, and was later recovered as (I believe) 16mm film recordings, as it was easier than faffing around from PAL to NTSC or SECAM or whatever.
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RI
Riaz
Good question.

Take into account that material on ageing analogue media is transferred to modern digital media, then the analogue medium thrown away as it takes up space, so what was the earliest 2" quad recording in the early 2000s might not be the earliest today.

I suspect that many early 2" quad video tapes lurking in archives today contain programmes that haven't been released commercially or material used by broadcasters - such as idents or promos.

Are there any 2" quad video tapes in the Westward / TSW archive?

What about old public information films?
WW
WW Update
This 1958 recording is apparently the oldest surviving color videotape master; the switch to color happened just after the 1:20 mark:

JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
There's definitely earlier surviving black & white videotapes. "The Edsel Show" from 1957 survives, for example.
TM
ToasterMan Granada North West Today
There's definitely earlier surviving black & white videotapes. "The Edsel Show" from 1957 survives, for example.

This is apparently the earliest surviving videotape in existence:
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JW
JamesWorldNews Central World News
That Coronation Street clip in the op is of remarkably good quality. Both sound and vision. Betty Turpin as a goalkeeper! I've seen it all now.
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JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
That Coronation Street clip in the op is of remarkably good quality. Both sound and vision. Betty Turpin as a goalkeeper! I've seen it all now.


It's on the Network DVD. It's a revelation compared to all the preceeding episodes which are telerecordings, none of which are particularly good quality. They do look like modern, high quality film transfers (apart from a handful of episodes, all of which were repeated or released on video in the 80s, so are probaly using the transfers made back then), but the TRs were clearly not great quality to begin with, especially the audio which is very hissy and crackly.

I'd be interested to know exactly how many 60s Corrie episodes do exist on VT. That 1/10/69 episode is the only B&W VT one on the Network box set (plus the 3/11 and 17/12 episodes which are in colour. The 29/10 episode was made entirely on film to begin with, so is better quality than any of the telerecordings).
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
One interesting thing is I beleive the entirety of the short lived mid-60s Anglia soap Weaver's Green survive on videotape (certainly the two episodes I've seen do), which gives it an even better survival status than Corrie seeing as they mostly only exist as telerecordings.

Worth pointing out there is actually a missing episode of Corrie, from 1972: https://coronationstreet.fandom.com/wiki/Episode_1202_(24th_July_1972) . Appears to have gone missing accidently not soon after broadcast seeing as they had to record new bridging material to fill the gap to attach to the following episode when they sold the show abroad. Also two pairs of episodes (one pair from 1983 and another from 1984, I'm presuming they had two episodes on each tape, which is why it's two pairs of episodes that are affected), that only exist as timecoded VHS copies. When Granada Plus ran them, they showed them zoomed in to cut the timecode off (one is also on the Network DVD, also zoomed in).
Last edited by james-2001 on 6 August 2020 11:40am
VM
VMPhil Granada North West Today
Still, compared to most shows from the ’60s and early ’70s, hats off to Granada for keeping as much as they did. Not even the moon landing coverage was considered important enough not to be wiped.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Still, compared to most shows from the ’60s and early ’70s, hats off to Granada for keeping as much as they did. Not even the moon landing coverage was considered important enough not to be wiped.


I don't think either the BBC or ITN actually recorded their own coverage it all, they just assumed that the NASA pictures (that were recorded many times over, all over the rest of the world) would be fine. (Which they are) ?

I do recall the filler film of James Burke putting on a space suit being shown over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, almost more than the event itself !

If anyone thinks server loop footage on news channels is new idea, think again.

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