1″ Videotape Machine


































Photos by Ian Collins, no reproduction without permission.

The photos are of a 1″ Videotape machine, in action.

1″ videotape was introduced in the mid 1970s, and was the broadcasting norm in the 1980s.  1″ machines took up much less space than the earlier Quad machines, and required less maintenance.  You could also spool in vision on them, which was a great advantage when trying to locate a particular clip.

The following comments were on the Pebble Mill Facebook group:

Christopher Hall: ‘It is an Ampex VPR-6, 1″ C Format machine. VPR-2 machines were probably more widely used, and Sony BVH- 3100 machines were the last ones bought. ‘

Mark Davies: ‘Looks like VTF/MFA to me’

Alan Miller: ‘It’s funny to think how much we welcomed the arrival of the first “C” format machines. I seem to remember that we all thoughtt that at last VT could compete with film editing?’

2″ Quad Editing Block

Photos by Ian Collins, no reproduction without permission.

Video Editor, Ian, took photos of outdated kit which was being disposed of when Pebble Mill was cleared, prior to being demolished in 2005.

These photos are of a 2″ Quad tape editing block, used to make precision edits by cutting the tape with a scalpel and splicing the two ends together to make the edit. It was a complicated and expensive process.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Ian Collins: ‘It is indeed a 2″ Quad editing block. The magnetic recording was revealed by applying iron fillings onto the tape and then viewed through a microscope to find the correct place to cut and splice the tape to make a synchronous join.’

Pete Simpkin: ‘Re the 2″ editing, my early engineering days were with an ITV company and the cost of the tape and the time to do all that iron filings sprinkling etc led to directors using a ‘rule of three’ sysytem where they would only even think of retakes or editing after three minor fluffs or production faults had passed! you can still see loads of ‘left in’ glitches in repeats fron the 60s and 70s!’

Alan Miller: ‘If I remember correctly the sound edit was at a different point from the video, making the edit not a straight cut.Also in Scotland the editors cut football matches on a single quad machine using this technique. On play out the tape ran continuously even when we cut back to the studio for links which made studio presenting a hazardous activity. The link simply had to fit the gap in the tape.’

Dave Bushell: ‘It’s thanks to the policy of avoiding editing a 2″ tape that so many early programme programmes have been lost – they were recorded over!’

Pete Simpkin: ‘Exactly! I think if they cut the tape it had to be costed in the programme budgets.’

Ian Collins: ‘It was a very crude, by today’s standards, but fast way of editing a football or cricket match down to time, which was why it was widely used by sport. The audio was indeed recorded in a different place relative to the pictures on the tape but because in sport, the audio was mainly effects, it was not too noticeable if the two cut at different times.’

Countryfile goes primetime

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

This photo was taken at the press launch of ‘Countryfile’s’ first mid-week primetime transmission.

The photo includes, left to right: Michael Collie (reporter), Caroline Jones (producer), Alan Miller (director), John Craven (presenter), Tim Manning, Ann Chancellor-Davies, Chris Bates (press officer), ?.

Thanks to Tim Manning for making the photo available.