Latest post Sat, Mar 30 2019 1:20 PM by Adrian Redmond. 3 replies.
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  • Fri, Mar 29 2019 8:18 PM

    • Adrian Redmond
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    • Joined on Wed, May 28 2014
    • Channel 6 Television Denmark
    • Posts 176
    • Points 2,475

    Logging/Capture tool control of older VTR's

    I'm doing some capturing of a mass of old 3/4" High Band U-Matic archive footage - about 100 reels - and have noticed a problem with VTR control.

    These old machines are very tricky, especially if they haven't been used for a long time and if the tapes are also old. The mechanism can be stiff and the slightest mechanical jerk can ruin the tape. Obviously I have servioced the machines before this job, changing pinch rollers, brake pads and cleaning and lubricating the threading mechanisim and cassette elevator thouroughly.

    When logging/Capturing from MC via the logghing tool, using J-K-L mainly to control the keyboard, I see that the J-K-L commands are mechanically much more abrupt than using another external serial controller or the VTR jog-shuttle wheel. But I have to use the keyboard to run a timecode precise capture.

    This jerkyness is particularly noticeable when jogging backwards using the J key - it jerks the tape transport far harder than the local JS wheel does, and sometimes creates a loop in the tape.

    Is there any way that Avid can improve the VTR transport interface on MC so that it performs smoothly like a real VTR or analogue editor. (I hate to re-mention the distinct lack of VTR control via the Artist Transport series) :) In the "good old days" the tape handling parameters of many linear editt controllers could be trimmed to suit not only the VTR model, but also the individual VTR, so that the control took better account of the VTR ballistics and thus improved performance and tape handling.

    I really feel that since 2013 Avid has simply overlooked the needs of VTR sourced material for MC :) Working with analogue videotape sources is not simply "old school" it is for some of us a core business, generating income from 40 years of archive materials, that risks getting trashed by bad VTR performance.

    I live and log in hope... :)

     

    Avid Media Composer v. 8.5.3. with Symphony Option on HP Z820 Dual Intel E5-2640 6-core HT 2.5GHz CPU 32GB RAM NVidia Quadro K4000 Graphics on Win7x64... [view my complete system specs]

    Adrian Redmond
    Owner / Producer / Editor
    Channel 6 Television Denmark

  • Sat, Mar 30 2019 4:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Logging/Capture tool control of older VTR's

    Adrian Redmond:
    Obviously I have servioced the machines before this job, changing pinch rollers, brake pads and cleaning and lubricating the threading mechanisim and cassette elevator thouroughly.
    With all tapes, even when they were not particularly old, i made it a habit to fast forward to the end and then rewind to help them have a consistent tension on the reels. 

    What deck are you using?  The Sony BVU 950P here finally died and joined it's Sony U-Matic dub TBC on the scrap heap as the Sony techs here had no experience or access to parts for either of them.

    Alayne

  • Sat, Mar 30 2019 12:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Logging/Capture tool control of older VTR's

    Some of those parameters can be adjusted in the VTR template that you load when detecting the deck.

    Avid queries the deck for a code and then matches that to its list of templates or you can manually select a particular make and model.

     

    But it has to be said no properly aligned deck should throw a loop via a remote command. Any command in any order should be handled by the transport.

    I used to overhaul these decks and its more than just a clean and lubricate.

    Spooling tapes end to end a few times (on a deck that doesn't fully load the tape) is a good first step.

    But I would always capture a whole tape in one hit then sub divide it up. Consoldiate what you need and delete the rest.

    Much much easier and less damaging of the tape.

    It a real shame to see old decks like the BVU 950 being dumped they can be salvaged for parts for other organisations.

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  • Sat, Mar 30 2019 1:20 PM In reply to

    • Adrian Redmond
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, May 28 2014
    • Channel 6 Television Denmark
    • Posts 176
    • Points 2,475

    Re: Logging/Capture tool control of older VTR's

    Thanks Pat for your input!

    I agree on the spooling back and forth - it certainly heps with older tapes, especially the small cassettes that need more torque to spool them.  Also about capturing long sequences at a time and sub-clipping later - this reduces the back and forth operations of clip for clip capturing. I do have to capture severals eparate sequences as the track configuration needs changing sometimes, and there are always some breaks in CTL or timecode which MC will abort on (even if the option to ignore TC breaks is set.

    I had completely forgotten how often we had TC or CTL breaks on the old days - on busy days our old tube cameras and portable U-Batic machines often ran out of battery power - the cameras and VTR's used more power, the batteries were far less durable, and the pressure of live recordings such as concerts meant that one didn't always backspace edit the VTR when startng again. With modern camcorders with longer tapes and better batteries such problems are vey rare today.

    I do suspect however that the J-K-L method with MC offers fewer, less discreet speed steps that the VTR's own JS wheel, which is a particular problem with reverse jogging. I'll admit though that this is not an issue with BVW, DVW, BVH or HDW decks, but with the old BVU's it's pretty endemic.

    Spare parts for older BVU's are getting hard to find. I'm always on the lookout for pinch rollers, break bands, cassette elevators, threading wheel motors and capstan motors. Sometimes they show up on ebay. I have three BVU 800 series, two BVU-950's and a pair of V0-5850's (converted for High band). Whilst the 5850's do not have serial control and are the oldest in my stock, they seem to be the most robust :)

    I have also noticed that whilst MC can use J-K-L to control a VTR, the step forward or backwards one or ten frames keys do not work on VTR's - this is a pity.

    I wish I could find an MC compatible serial controller that would work in tandem with the logging tool, allowing transport controls, jog-shuttle and in/out/log/capture commands to be run from a hardware panel. There are many good serial controllers available, but they cannot work at the same time as allowing Avid to have serial control.

     

    Avid Media Composer v. 8.5.3. with Symphony Option on HP Z820 Dual Intel E5-2640 6-core HT 2.5GHz CPU 32GB RAM NVidia Quadro K4000 Graphics on Win7x64... [view my complete system specs]

    Adrian Redmond
    Owner / Producer / Editor
    Channel 6 Television Denmark

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