Portable 1″ Videotape Recorder (VPR 20)

Photos by Video Editor, Ian Collins; no reproduction without permission.

Ian took these photos before the sale of equipment when Pebble Mill was cleared prior to being demolished in 2005.

The portable 1″ videotape recorder (probably a VPR-20) was a useful piece of technology, meaning that shots could be recorded on location without a full outside broadcast, and before the advent of portable single cameras.

The VT editors shown in the photo are (left to right) Ian Collins, Steve Neilsen, Brian Watkiss, Ivor Williams, Mike Bloore, John Burkill, John Doidge, Steve May.

Peter Poole added the following information on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:  ‘I remember a Clothes Show recording using the Ampex/Nagra VPR5. It was an audition for models in Studio 1. The queues stretched down Pebble Mill road.’

Please add a comment if you remember which programmes used portable 1″ recorders.

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3 Comments

  • Nigel Evans and Ian Dewar spent 3 days and nights trying to repair the beast in Raffles Hotel Singapore – a Pebble Mill at One Summer shoot in 1984 with Donny MacLeod, Paul Coya, Peter Seabrook. Eventually, an Ampex engineer was diverted from Malaysia with chips. The then Video Manager refused to let us take one of the new-fangled Beta portables as back up, so we had to borrow a Singapore TV VHS for the first part of the month. Don Cooper was camera, Roger Casstles directed, Arthur Binney producer, Nicky Barfoot prodn. asst. Dick Bentley E.M. All our credit cards (especially Dick’s) were hammered to pay for facilities not covered by production – especially the Tiger beer.

    Also used on Loch Ness on a Scottish adventure with John Smith – Whisky distillery at dawn: and the “Sealink Cycle Race” with Norman Steemson sitting in the boot of a Rover hatchback from the Isle of Wight to Sheffield.

  • Hi Norman

    Thanks for your comment – I’m going to post it up as a separate comment, because it’s a good story and deserves to be seen! Hope that’s ok with you.

    Best wishes

    Vanessa

  • A short update on the above re: MacLeod’s Singapore – Arthur Binnie(ey) died 2nd February 2016.

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