Conversion of reel-to-reel videotape to DVD/CD, etc.

Kevin Vahey
Fri Sep 21 02:15:43 EDT 2012

First need to know if we are talking one inch tape or two.

I suspect it would be one inch helical that they have. I know people who
own the machines who happily will convert to digital at no charge - but
everything hinges on what machine it was recorded on in the first place.

On old 2 inch quad - RCA and Ampex machines could playback each other. The
later helical machines however were another story.

However as a rule helical tapes are easy to salvage -  quadruplex tapes are
much trickier as the heads on the VTR can destroy the oxcide of an older 2
inch tape. I have had the joy of saving a 1967 Red Sox game tape and the
sorrow of losing a 1966 Bruins game.

The VTR's of the late 50's into the early 70's were the most complex
equipment in the history of broadcasting. Sadly very few tapes before 1972
have survived - the Sony U-Matic (3/4 inch format) changed everything from
1971 on.

2 inch tape was expensive and limited to about 40 passes on a machine. A
one hour reel cost $300 in 1969 ($1900 today) - NBC erased virtually
everything from the 60's in NY ( most of Carson's first 10 years are lost )

Most of what survives from TV in the 60's are *Goodson*-*Todman game shows
as they kept everything in case there was another game show scandal. *

On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM, Larry Sochrin <> wrote:

> I was at a meeting tonight about the history of a religious sanctuary when
> someone there said that he had a reel-to-reel videotape taken there with at
> his wedding using an old  system before the advent of betamax, VHS, other
> cart systems.   The architects would like to see what it  looked like at
> that point, before a major redesign, but he's not been able to find a way
> to convert the tape to something useful., be it a DVD or some other
> solution.   It occurred to me that one of you guys might know of an
> easy/cheap or free way to get that done?  Thanks!

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