Restoration Tips & Notes Working with audio media (mostly tape) restoration

2012-12-12

The Digital Cliff and HDMI

Filed under: audio-video systems design,video — Richard L. Hess @ 20:06

I was at a church today where I struggled to get a video to play properly in advance of an event in a few days. There were issues with the application of a TRS phone plug (another story).

The church had a PC and two 60-inch diagonal video monitors plus a smaller monitor for the choir. There appeared to be a powered splitter/amplifier at the balcony console to split the HDMI to the two big monitors, with one cable running down each side of the church. I believe there must have been a second two-way splitter (hopefully another powered splitter/amplifier) to tap off the feed from the right main monitor for the choir monitor.

When I arrived, the PC was set up for 1024 x 768 display with the HDMI output mirroring the laptop built-in display. The laptop built-in display was capable of 1366 x 768. The slide show was a 16:9 WMV file. I tried expanding the display to the widescreen resolution and it was fine on the PC, but the monitors would not sync.

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The Phone Plug—Uses and Misuses

Filed under: audio,audio-video systems design,video — Richard L. Hess @ 18:06

The ubiquitous phone plug, especially in the 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) size, is extremely confusing to the uninitiated. I was at a church today where I struggled to get a video to play properly in advance of an event in a few days.

The church had a PC and two 60-inch diagonal video monitors (another story). The audio was fed to the good-quality 16-input mixer (Allen and Heath, I think) from the PC’s headphone output.

In the video, there are two places where there is speech and the music is faded into the background. When played in the church, the voice disappeared! This created some angst coupled with erroneous assumptions. I hope this post will perhaps help solve this problem for others. (more…)

2011-11-22

Obsolete data formats

Filed under: archive operations,audio,computer/data,history,video — Richard L. Hess @ 19:19

This is a reminder that data formats come and go just like audio and video formats. On this, the 48th anniversary of the JFK assassination, this article was posted at the Library of Congress website. It talks about first locating and then converting research data held on IBM 80-column punch cards. I remember working with those my first summer job back in 1967! I guess I have a penchant for obsolete formats, as I learned a good deal about IBM’s unit record equipment, including the amazing 407 (introduced in 1949). That certainly was not as useful as knowing about analog tape now.

The punch cards were found and converted. This is a much happier fate than that suffered by the original IRIG 14-track 1-inch tapes of the Apollo Moon Walk from 1969! I am currently digitizing 14-track 1-inch seismic tapes surrounding the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. (more…)

2011-02-17

Updates posted for “winding tapes for long-term storage”

Filed under: archival practices,reels,storage-care-handling,Tape Aging,video — Richard L. Hess @ 09:49

There was yet another discussion about winding tapes for long term storage. This time it was on the Society of American Archivists list. While it was focused on VHS tapes, where it was decided that it was more important not to leave the tape in the middle with active content exposed, some discussions of the mechanics arose and I have added them as comments to the original post, which is available here.

2009-07-17

40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moonwalk and the loss of data

Filed under: archival practices,data storage,history,oral history,video — Richard L. Hess @ 13:50

There has been much discussion over the last few years about finding and saving original tapes of the Apollo 11 Moonwalk videos downlinked from the moon. There is also an exciting project going on to restore and digitize the Lunar Orbiter tapes from more than 40 years ago.

The Lunar Orbiter tape digitization folks have just posted a commentary that bears reading by all archivists who are holding tapes. You may link to it here. The main site is www.moonviews.com

NASA, in their press conference yesterday held at The Newseum, admitted that the original 14-track 1-inch instrumentation (IRIG) tapes that contained the slow-scan video direct from the moon were most likely recycled and reused for later missions. Apparently, over 350,000 reels of instrumentation tape were recycled by NASA over time. No one apparently thought to preserve the 45-odd reels of the original moon walk. (more…)

2009-01-03

ARSC Journal Tape Degradation article available online

Filed under: archive operations,audio,computer/data,Tape Aging,video — Richard L. Hess @ 22:47

My paper on “Tape Degradation Factors and Challenges in Predicting Tape Life” that was published in the Fall 2008 issue of the ARSC Journal is now available online. Click here.

2008-03-04

Digital storage file systems and topologies

Filed under: archival practices,audio,data storage,video — Richard L. Hess @ 17:12

Once again, an interesting post on Jill Hurst-Wahl’s Digitization 101 Blog. She started by discussing tape backup issues. In the comments, I discussed my solution of using multiple spinning disks. Another commenter, Ike, provided an extensive review of file system options and his opinions on what works (and doesn’t) for long-term storage. Ike’s comment is fascinating and has lots of food for thought. Here is the post. (more…)

2006-03-17

VCR Repair Information

Filed under: parts,video — Richard L. Hess @ 22:34

Thanks, Jim, for pointing out this site that offers repair notes and replacement parts for VCRs.

http://www.fixer.com/

VCR Tracking and Cleaning—A guest article by Jim Wheeler

Filed under: archive operations,digital,video — Jim Wheeler @ 22:17

There was an off-line discussion about VHS-Hi-Fi tracking and breakup in Hi-Fi playback and how to correct it. I brought Jim Wheeler into it, and he agreed to write this article. —Richard

I invented the automatic tracking system in 1976 but it is pricey. If you want to pay about $2,000 for a pro-VHS machine, you can get true auto-tracking. Manual tracking works for most tapes. If not, there was a problem with the recording VCR. Alcohol is not good for cleaning heads and tape guides. I always use Xylene and you can buy Xylene at hardware and paint stores. Do not use Xylene on a pinch roller! Have your window open when you use it. I sniffed Xylene for over 30 years and am still okay–okay–okay….I recommend using Xylene for cleaning all components in the tape path except the pinch roller. I recommend Isopropyl alcohol for cleaning pinch rollers. [Some of us are using Formula 409 on pinch rollers—it depends on the pinch roller and its application—Richard] (more…)

2006-03-13

U-Matic 3/4" Cassette Removal Procedure When Normal Ejection Is Not Possible — Guest Article

Filed under: video — Andreas Weisser @ 17:38

This is a guest article from Andreas Weisser who runs Restaumedia in Germany. Neither Andreas nor Richard can take responsibility for the work that you do based on these instructions which are provided on an as-is basis. Any risk of using them is solely your own and not Andreas’s, Richard’s, or anyone else other than you, the person undertaking to use these instructions. If you have any questions, please contact Andreas. — Richard

This is a step-by-step guide for the removal of U-matic Cassette from a Sony VP 7040/9000 U-matic Player by hand.

1 —  Turn the power OFF.

2 — Remove the Upper-Case of the video player. Use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the fixing screws. Then pull the Upper-Case in the direction marked by the red arrows shown here in picture 1.

Picture 1

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