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Earliest surviving 2″ quad videotape masters

PA
Parker
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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlE5kapeqWg

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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erZeAEbGtTQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2Duo6YlYV8

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.

Good grief, I remember learning how to tell the time with that clock on playschool. Now I do feel old Rolling Eyes
..."at the first sign of danger my pussy's hairs stand on end" Betty Slocombe 27/05/1975
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.


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'm not sure I'd agree. I'd love to have seen the launch coverage from a British perspective. As for the footage being taped in the first place, could have sworn I'd read/heard that the BBC at least had it initially before wiping it? Apologies if I was wrong.

Incidentally a year ago I was sorting out my dad's belongings, and found a box that contained Sunday colour supplements, as well as a copy of the Radio Times from the week of the moon landing. Fascinating to me as I'd never actually seen a copy of a Radio Times older than me 'in the flesh'.
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'm not sure I'd agree. I'd love to have seen the launch coverage from a British perspective. As for the footage being taped in the first place, could have sworn I'd read/heard that the BBC at least had it initially before wiping it? Apologies if I was wrong.

Incidentally a year ago I was sorting out my dad's belongings, and found a box that contained Sunday colour supplements, as well as a copy of the Radio Times from the week of the moon landing. Fascinating to me as I'd never actually seen a copy of a Radio Times older than me 'in the flesh'.


Oh, don't get me wrong. I'd like to see (again) the BBC and ITN studio footage too, but I think both broadcasters opted not to keep recordings, because they considered only thing of historical interest would be the raw NASA footage ?
BH
BillyH Founding member London London
The BBC footage was cleverly "recreated" for I think the 40th anniversary in 2009, with the original sound of Patrick Moore/James Burke's commentary (which existed on tape) matched up with the NASA footage. The following year's Apollo 13 BBC footage exists on 2" colour VT.
Member since 26 May 2001
TI
TIGHazard Tyne Tees Look North (North East)

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'm not sure I'd agree. I'd love to have seen the launch coverage from a British perspective. As for the footage being taped in the first place, could have sworn I'd read/heard that the BBC at least had it initially before wiping it? Apologies if I was wrong.

Incidentally a year ago I was sorting out my dad's belongings, and found a box that contained Sunday colour supplements, as well as a copy of the Radio Times from the week of the moon landing. Fascinating to me as I'd never actually seen a copy of a Radio Times older than me 'in the flesh'.


Oh, don't get me wrong. I'd like to see (again) the BBC and ITN studio footage too, but I think both broadcasters opted not to keep recordings, because they considered only thing of historical interest would be the raw NASA footage ?


Of course, the original high quality NASA footage is lost.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11_missing_tapes

Quote:


The Apollo 11 missing tapes were those that were recorded from Apollo 11's slow-scan television (SSTV) telecast in its raw format on telemetry data tape at the time of the first Moon landing in 1969 and subsequently lost. The data tapes were used to record all transmitted data (video as well as telemetry) for backup.

To broadcast the SSTV transmission on standard television, NASA ground receiving stations performed real-time scan conversion to the NTSC television format. The moonwalk's converted video signal was broadcast live around the world on July 21, 1969 (2:56 UTC). At the time, the NTSC broadcast was recorded on many videotapes and kinescope films. Many of these low-quality recordings remain intact. As the real-time broadcast worked and was widely recorded, preservation of the backup video was not deemed a priority in the years immediately following the mission. In the early 1980s, NASA's Landsat program was facing a severe data tape shortage and it is likely the tapes were erased and reused at this time.

A team of retired NASA employees and contractors tried to find the tapes in the early 2000s but was unable to do so. If copies of the original SSTV format tapes were to be found, more modern digital technology could make a higher-quality conversion, yielding better images than those originally seen. The researchers concluded that the tapes containing the raw unprocessed Apollo 11 SSTV signal were erased and reused by NASA in the early 1980s, following standard procedure at the time.

Although the researchers never found the telemetry tapes, they did discover the best visual quality NTSC videotapes as well as Super 8 movie film taken of a video monitor in Australia, showing the SSTV transmission before it was converted. These visual elements were processed in 2009, as part of a NASA-approved restoration project of the first moonwalk.

8 days later

RI
Riaz
Does anybody know if any Southern TV material existed on 2" quad video tapes? Like with Westward, there is plenty of stuff that has never been released commercially (assuming it was archived) and there might even be a few tapes from 1981 that would normally have been recorded over but weren't because Southern had ceased producing new programmes after their franchise expired.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Riaz posted:
Does anybody know if any Southern TV material existed on 2" quad video tapes? Like with Westward, there is plenty of stuff that has never been released commercially (assuming it was archived) and there might even be a few tapes from 1981 that would normally have been recorded over but weren't because Southern had ceased producing new programmes after their franchise expired.


I'm not sure Southern ever upgraded to C Format 1 inch before their demise? So the answer to your question is probably all of their video achive was native Quad
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
And plenty of it exists, seeing as it still gets repeated and released on DVD.
MS
Mr-Stabby London London
How would one even go about transferring these ancient tapes these days? Are there any archivists who have tape machines from the era in good working order? And would the tapes be in good enough condition to transfer?

I remember watching a documentary about them re-mastering Red Dwarf in the 1990s, and even then transferring the masters from the relatively new 80s VTs was difficult to say the least.
IS
Inspector Sands
How would one even go about transferring these ancient tapes these days? Are there any archivists who have tape machines from the era in good working order? And would the tapes be in good enough condition to transfer?


I remember reading that the BBC had transferred all their Quad off onto newer formats many years ago and all their machines were sent off for use/parts at TV stations in Africa.

The BFI still have facilities for dubbing off, and cleaning Quad:
https://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/archive-content-sales/obsolete-technology-digital-transfers

A quick Google brings up this place in Bristol amongst others:
https://thegreatbear.net/video-tape/2-quad-transfers-new-service-offered/
BL
bluecortina
Riaz posted:
Does anybody know if any Southern TV material existed on 2" quad video tapes? Like with Westward, there is plenty of stuff that has never been released commercially (assuming it was archived) and there might even be a few tapes from 1981 that would normally have been recorded over but weren't because Southern had ceased producing new programmes after their franchise expired.


I'm not sure Southern ever upgraded to C Format 1 inch before their demise? So the answer to your question is probably all of their video achive was native Quad


I think they had at least one BVH1100.

Poor old Southern seem to get a bit of a bashing at times for not being very up to date but in Basil Bultitude they had a very forward looking chief engineer. The only ITV station to have an Ampex AVR1, one of the first ITV stations to introduce the ACR25 in the UK, Basil personally held a patent for repositioning the audio on the mag track of 16mm film to make ‘cut and paste’ editing easier (Although I don’t think it came to anything). Among the first to buy the Marconi MkVIII fully automatic cameras and then the MkIX.
NL
Ne1L C Recently warned Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Technical question: How are the 2 quad tapes that still exist transferred to modern equipment? I'm asking because as far as I know the 1974 general elections that BBC Parliament show from time to time were on 2 quad.

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