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Old August 3rd, 2006, 01:55 AM   #1
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what kind of tape is this?

It looks like a big VHS tape, dimensions are 8.5"x5.5". it's footage from a martial arts exibit in 1965, it's in pristine condition and I need to access it to see if it's usable for a current project. Could it be Umatic?
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Old August 4th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #2
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U-Matic, was developed in 1969, unless the original was some kind of film (35/16/8mm) and then telecine'd to U-Matic afterwards, it seems doubtful.

Is it possible that the tape is just telecine'd footage, run to tape afterwards? You're going to have trouble finding a decent U-Matic VTR, but I'm sure it's possible. If it is BetaSP, which is what is sounds like, then you just need any Beta (SP,SX, or Digi) to play it. But rent one if for the duration, no need to spend $10k+ on a VTR you only use once. I know in a few markets, the local news affiliate will transfer it to DVD or VHS for a small fee, using their Beta VTR, but I doubt it applies to everyone. Most (if not all) news affiliates should have some kind of Beta VTR, whether SP or SX - most dont have a full DigiBeta VTR.

I highly doubt that the tape, is 1965 original. The use of a tape-in-shell design really didnt come about until the 1970's and bloomed with the Sony Beta series. I saw once, a concept tape from BASF, from the 1960's, but because no counterpart VTR was ever created, in order to capture the footage, it had to be wound on a film reel and cranked by hand over the heads of a magnetic recorder. It wasnt pretty...
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Old August 4th, 2006, 08:48 PM   #3
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Umatic is like the cockroach of video formats... it's still in minor use among ad agencies (since they would screen lots of stuff on umatic). There are post houses in Toronto who still have a umatic deck kicking around (and use it just a few times a year).

It could be umatic, it could be betaSP, it could be something else.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #4
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If the size of the actual tape stock is 3/4" then yes, it is Umatic and basically the same electromagnetic system as VHS. Entertainment Press Kits (EPK) were still being distributed in this format to all the news stations up until about 4 or 5 years ago. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a place to do the conversion for you.
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