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Old 8th Aug 2022, 1:49 pm   #1
trellis
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Default Betamax Alignment Cassettes

I was rummaging through a mountain of old Betamax tapes that had been thrown out from a decommissioned audio lab, and spotted two in nondescript brown cardboard sleeves, and they turned out to be these!

How useful they will actually be I'm not sure, but nice things to have.

Looking at the condition of them, and knowing where they came from, I strongly suspect they have never even been used.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 1:53 pm   #2
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

If you decided you would like to sell one, i would be interested.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 1:57 pm   #3
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Well saved!

I've never dared to replace a head in a Beta, but since the Sonys had a shorter lifespan, it is the sort of thing that will need doing st some stage to keep the machine usable. Those tapes would be very handy for anyone attempting it.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 2:03 pm   #4
trellis
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

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If you decided you would like to sell one, i would be interested.
Unfortunately, technically, they're not mine to sell - although I'm quite certain nobody would ever miss them, I took them from a pile of stuff that was on its way to the skip, and hadn't quite made it there yet. So technically I have only "borrowed" them

Edit: They were among hundreds (literally) of Betamax tapes, the majority of which were high-quality Sony UHG and Pro-X. Broke my heart to see them all going out.

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Old 8th Aug 2022, 2:16 pm   #5
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Surely if there 's a clear intention for dumping, and renouncement of ownership, there's nothing to worry about? I'd have grabbed a load of the tapes and worried about the whys and wherefores later - after all, once they're gone they're gone!
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 2:25 pm   #6
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Surely if there 's a clear intention for dumping, and renouncement of ownership, there's nothing to worry about? I'd have grabbed a load of the tapes and worried about the whys and wherefores later - after all, once they're gone they're gone!
Confession: I did grab as many of the tapes as I could. I reckon I snaffled about 150 odd in total. I wasn't selective, and just grabbed armfuls and lobbed them into cardboard boxes! Haven't even been through them yet to see what I've got.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 3:18 pm   #7
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

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Surely if there 's a clear intention for dumping, and renouncement of ownership, there's nothing to worry about?
I'm not a lawyer but I don't think it's as simple as that. There was a similar case of supermarkets dumping unsold food. Staff were taking it home and were prosecuted for theft. Just because you've dumped something it doesn't mean you've renounced ownership. In the case of a supermarket I suppose it makes sense as if staff are taking dumped stuff for free they are not paying for fresh stuff. In the case of these tapes I can't imagine that anyone would be bothered.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 3:22 pm   #8
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

They do look new, and have consecutive serial numbers.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 4:04 pm   #9
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

What a find! If you intend to sell please drop me a line as I would defiantly be interested. Have been after one for years. I'm ex Sony so know betamax very well.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 4:14 pm   #10
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

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Surely if there 's a clear intention for dumping, and renouncement of ownership, there's nothing to worry about?
I'm not a lawyer but I don't think it's as simple as that. There was a similar case of supermarkets dumping unsold food. Staff were taking it home and were prosecuted for theft. Just because you've dumped something it doesn't mean you've renounced ownership. In the case of a supermarket I suppose it makes sense as if staff are taking dumped stuff for free they are not paying for fresh stuff. In the case of these tapes I can't imagine that anyone would be bothered.
I vaguely recall a few cases picked up by the press, one where people were prosecuted for eating jelly babies from a broken bag or such. But I don't think those cases are the norm, and in fact it could be argued that the store had not yet thrown away the product in question. Had it been scavenged from a bin round the back after closing time, I doubt anything would have come of it. In fact there's a movement dedicated to this very activity.
By renouncement of ownership I was referring to stuff left out for the bin, left near piles of rubbish, dumped in the street, etc.
Sorry to digress!
Glad to hear you saved those tapes in any case
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 4:36 pm   #11
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepilot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben View Post
Surely if there 's a clear intention for dumping, and renouncement of ownership, there's nothing to worry about?
I'm not a lawyer but I don't think it's as simple as that. There was a similar case of supermarkets dumping unsold food. Staff were taking it home and were prosecuted for theft. Just because you've dumped something it doesn't mean you've renounced ownership. In the case of a supermarket I suppose it makes sense as if staff are taking dumped stuff for free they are not paying for fresh stuff. In the case of these tapes I can't imagine that anyone would be bothered.
Oh come on, you're borderline scaremongering there, that's a very different and more complicated situation. I doubt if there's a person on the planet who (let's face it, those tapes were dumped as in no-one wanted them) gives two hoots about them now. I see no reason why the tapes should not be used or passed on in any way by the present owner. Handy tapes for Betamax enthusiast though.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 5:38 pm   #12
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Is it possible to fully line up a couple of machines using these, then make copies of said tapes, and the copies be usable for alignment themselves? Or is it more complicated than that?

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Old 8th Aug 2022, 5:48 pm   #13
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

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Is it possible to fully line up a couple of machines using these, then make copies of said tapes, and the copies be usable for alignment themselves? Or is it more complicated than that?

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Yes and no as you get degradation with any form of analogue tape copying. Just like test tapes for tape recorders, the first generation tapes as produced in laboratory conditions on the best, in tip top condition machines will always be the best. Saying that, a copy's better than nothing I guess.
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Old 8th Aug 2022, 7:16 pm   #14
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

The usefulness of such a copy would depend entirely on how well the "B" (recording) machine was set up. If you were going to do this you may as well use a pattern generator as the source rather than going down a generation with tape.

The geometry of the helical track laid down on the tape is crucial, get it slightly wrong and it will play its own tape perfectly, but exhibit tracking errors on tapes recorded elsewhere. You need an accurate reference tape.

Back in the day when we unboxed a new Hitachi I was pretty confident that the recordings made on one were accurate enough to adjust other machines in the field.

And don't forget the linear audio record head azimuth. With the popular LP tape speed running at half that of a Compact Cassette, it needs to be checked against an accurate reference.
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Old 12th Aug 2022, 9:44 pm   #15
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Quote:
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Is it possible to fully line up a couple of machines using these, then make copies of said tapes, and the copies be usable for alignment themselves? Or is it more complicated than that?

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The monoscope pattern on these tapes has the head switching point recorded in approximately the middle of the picture. That was done for making back-tension and video head dihedral adjustments easier. Only a modified machine can record this way.
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Old 15th Aug 2022, 12:31 pm   #16
trellis
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

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The monoscope pattern on these tapes has the head switching point recorded in approximately the middle of the picture. That was done for making back-tension and video head dihedral adjustments easier. Only a modified machine can record this way.
I'm probably being really dense here, but I'm struggling to see how this would work. If you switch away from one head when it's only half way through the picture, surely the next head wouldn't have come into contact with the tape yet so you'd only get approximately half a picture?
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Old 15th Aug 2022, 9:51 pm   #17
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Quote:
Originally Posted by trellis View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj_fivos_sak View Post
The monoscope pattern on these tapes has the head switching point recorded in approximately the middle of the picture. That was done for making back-tension and video head dihedral adjustments easier. Only a modified machine can record this way.
I'm probably being really dense here, but I'm struggling to see how this would work. If you switch away from one head when it's only half way through the picture, surely the next head wouldn't have come into contact with the tape yet so you'd only get approximately half a picture?
That's a good question. As far as I know, head switching occurs 25 times a second (30 times for NTSC) in order to provide a seemless picture. The PG shifter and REC shifter controls (using Panasonic terms here) adjust when head switching should take place.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 8:57 am   #18
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

I did the dihedral adjustment on quite a few of the first Sony Betamax machines when they were first released in Canada.

In the link below the drawing on the left is from the service manual:

https://mrbetamax.com/Dihedral.htm

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Old 17th Aug 2022, 10:34 am   #19
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Quote:
Originally Posted by trellis View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj_fivos_sak View Post
The monoscope pattern on these tapes has the head switching point recorded in approximately the middle of the picture. That was done for making back-tension and video head dihedral adjustments easier. Only a modified machine can record this way.
I'm probably being really dense here, but I'm struggling to see how this would work. If you switch away from one head when it's only half way through the picture, surely the next head wouldn't have come into contact with the tape yet so you'd only get approximately half a picture?
Just a thought.

I suspect that section of the monoscope signal was recorded with around a 90 degree shift to the drum phase. Therefore on replay with normal drum phase head "a" will reproduce half of both odd and even fields. Likewise for head "b" and so displaying the dihedral error.
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 11:06 am   #20
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Default Re: Betamax Alignment Cassettes

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepilot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben View Post
Surely if there 's a clear intention for dumping, and renouncement of ownership, there's nothing to worry about?
I'm not a lawyer but I don't think it's as simple as that. There was a similar case of supermarkets dumping unsold food. Staff were taking it home and were prosecuted for theft. Just because you've dumped something it doesn't mean you've renounced ownership. In the case of a supermarket I suppose it makes sense as if staff are taking dumped stuff for free they are not paying for fresh stuff. In the case of these tapes I can't imagine that anyone would be bothered.
If true, what a wonderful way of fostering staff loyalty.

But back to the tapes. Since Betamax is a long-dead format, I cannot see that this is a problem, regardless of renouncing ownership. If they were to go into landfill - is there a legal transfer of ownership? I think not.

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