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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:08 am   #21
rambo1152
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

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Originally Posted by beamcurrent View Post
Now I'm no expert on tape, I'm a camera person.

But it may be that if you "dust" the tape with a VERY fine iron or iron oxide you might be able to see the magnetic tracks and determine if it is quad, helical, linear audio by the direction of the tracks.
I don't think there was a 2" helical format and I think we can rule out multi-track audio, that only leaves quad in my opinion.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:36 am   #22
PaulM
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

You beat me to it (and with more detail)! 'Scott Free' rings a bell with me too - some sort of current affairs show, I seem to recall. I'm sure that others will do better!

It certainly looks like Quad wear patterns to me and 2" Helical was super rare. Rank made a machine in the UK but not many were sold as Quad was so dominant and 1" was just starting to appear.

I have two German made Quad tape analysers (complete with CRT waveform monitor) which would certainly reveal what it is but the surest and quickest way is to run it (carefully) through an actual machine.

A special fluid was used in the dim dark past of Quad to 'see' the tracks for editing purposes and a modern equivalent is here: http://www.magneticdeveloper.com/product/dropper-2oz

Related to this, I have been working on and off with an ex-Marconi colleague who has come up with an idea to 'read' the FM on a videotape without physical contact. The idea works - a proof of principle test bed has been made - but it needs substantial (I mean, substantial) investment. Anybody out there with a million or two to spare to develop it? The test rig would certainly reveal the pattern. If anybody is interested, PM me and I will explain how it works.

Best regards,

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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:44 am   #23
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

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Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
I don't think there was a 2" helical format
The unusual and complex IVC9000 machines used a 2" helical scan format, but it sounds as if this has been discounted here. I wonder if any examples exist in working order?
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:48 am   #24
PaulM
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

The Rank machine I just mentioned was a UK 'version' of the IVC9000 machine. It was rumoured a few years ago that there were two for disposal in north London. I tried to track them down and failed. It was too much to hope that they might have survived . . .

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Old 12th Jan 2019, 12:52 am   #25
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

I wondered if that was the case! I've heard of quite a few cases of "badge-changing", political or otherwise, in the industry....,

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Old 12th Jan 2019, 1:18 am   #26
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

In the 1980s there was a TV programme called 'Scott Free' which featured the one time media darling - but sadly now almost forgotten Selena Scott, traveling around her native Scotland interviewing various characters and viewing interesting locations.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 1:57 am   #27
rambo1152
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

I remember her, and she did indeed present a programme called Scott Free,

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2178617...nm_flmg_slf_32

But doesn't the team think that Quad was beginning to be a legacy format by 1986?
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 5:04 pm   #28
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

Quad was very much on the way out in 1986. Ampex and RCA, the two main manufacturers, had long stopped production of their last Quad machines and 1” was firmly in the ascendancy.

“Scott free” also brings up references to a Ridley and Tony Scott production company with references going back to the 1970’s. A hunch tells me that “20 to Saturday” is the key phrase here but I cannot find anything pertinent myself.

I do not think ‘the team’ should put too much emphasise on the cross tape creases seen in the original pictures - that looks to me like simple tape creases which are (were!) quite common on the end of a quad tape.

Edivue was the common material used to develop the magnetic tracks on video tape, nasty stuff by reputation - it was, as others have outlined, fine metal particles held in a solvent suspension.

The IVC 2” helical scan format was introduced too late to compete with Quad. It was, by reputation, superior to Quad technically but few machines existed in the UK. I knew of only one and that was in a television facility house in London (Maybe Rank Video Services if Rank badge engineered them?). I have seen references to a working machine but that was in the USA.

Edited to add. The original Quad format was developed in the US as we know and the linear tape speed was set at 15ips. When the format was altered to suit European standards the tape speed had to be increased to 15.625 ips to accommodate different EU specs and the mechanical parts of the original design. Therefore for any given running time a reel of EU tape had to be longer than it’s equivalent US tape as it runs faster. No tape manufacturer was going to set up to do that! As a consequence quad tape lengths were manufactured to suit the EU market meaning our US colleagues got longer running times out of any particular tape than their EU counterparts. Not many people know that!

Last edited by red16v; 12th Jan 2019 at 5:15 pm.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 7:07 pm   #29
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

An alternative to Edivue (post #28) was marketed as the "Vulture Video Verifier" and was a small bottle containing the metal particles which was mixed with alcohol then applied to the tape.The particles aligned themselves with the video tracks and the liquid evaporated leaving the visual pattern of the tracks.I never tried mechanical editing of tapes but did use the method for teaching purposes after using a fixative spray.I still have a bottle of the stuff.Peter.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 9:14 pm   #30
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

When I started working at Leeds University Television Service in 1974, we had a pair of Ampex 650
2" helical machines, (the Euro version of the 660).
These machines ran at fairly slow linear tape speed of about 3.3/4ips as far as I can remember
and took large reels that could record over 3 hours on one reel.
They had a really nice solenoid controlled smooth transport, much better than the transport on
the later Ampex 1" type A machines that we also had.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=am...=1547322871207

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Old 28th Jan 2019, 1:17 pm   #31
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

hello all
Just to keep the ball rolling gently. I have been in discussion with PaulM and Beamcurrent. B is lending me an empty reel so I can inspect the tape for damage and P is hoping to play it for me. I will report back when I know some more. Thanks to everyone for their help.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 8:29 pm   #32
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

Update. I borrowed a reel from Brian (beamcurrent) ‘thanks’. Wound the tape through to inspect for damage and found none. Took up Paul Marshall’s kind offer of a trip to the ‘Freezing North’ his words not mine, to play the tape on his Quad machine. Paul has a most splendid collection of outside broadcast equipment including vintage vehicles and is looking to find a million or two to secure the collection in perpetuity for the nation, preferably before all the necessary expertise has gone. It is a mystery such a working museum does not exist already. The UK has a uniquely rich history of TV broadcasting.
I learned that many video machines play the shiny side of the tape to prolong the head life so the marks originally observed on the tape are not on the correct side. Paul played the tape but there seemed nothing but noise on the picture and a continuous tone on the sound. We tried reversing the tape using a vintage Studer audio machine and playing the other side. Still nothing, so it would appear the tape has been erased.
Thanks to Paul for sacrificing some head time on his splendid Quad machine. At least the beeb will not be beating a path to my door for a long lost episode of Dad’s Army. I’m glad I didn’t take the tape to the BFI who charge £250 just to look. The 400 mile round trip to Lincoln was an education, with two nights at a B and B and sundry meals worked out at about £250! Worth every penny.
It has since occurred to me, what about VR 660 helical scan? That would show as noise on Quad, wouldn't it?
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 8:48 pm   #33
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

Just thought it might be worth mentioning, in case you find any more reels, that I now have a working 2" audio machine which would allow you to quickly check for any linear audio and I'm only a few miles down the A31 from you.
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Old 10th Mar 2019, 10:35 am   #34
red16v
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordondav54 View Post
Update. I borrowed a reel from Brian (beamcurrent) ‘thanks’. Wound the tape through to inspect for damage and found none. Took up Paul Marshall’s kind offer of a trip to the ‘Freezing North’ his words not mine, to play the tape on his Quad machine. Paul has a most splendid collection of outside broadcast equipment including vintage vehicles and is looking to find a million or two to secure the collection in perpetuity for the nation, preferably before all the necessary expertise has gone. It is a mystery such a working museum does not exist already. The UK has a uniquely rich history of TV broadcasting.
I learned that many video machines play the shiny side of the tape to prolong the head life so the marks originally observed on the tape are not on the correct side. Paul played the tape but there seemed nothing but noise on the picture and a continuous tone on the sound. We tried reversing the tape using a vintage Studer audio machine and playing the other side. Still nothing, so it would appear the tape has been erased.
Thanks to Paul for sacrificing some head time on his splendid Quad machine. At least the beeb will not be beating a path to my door for a long lost episode of Dad’s Army. I’m glad I didn’t take the tape to the BFI who charge £250 just to look. The 400 mile round trip to Lincoln was an education, with two nights at a B and B and sundry meals worked out at about £250! Worth every penny.
It has since occurred to me, what about VR 660 helical scan? That would show as noise on Quad, wouldn't it?
What a pity. If you master erase a tape on the VT machine itself then both the video and audio will naturally be erased. Same obviously if you bulk erase it too. The fact that there appears to still be audio on the tape is therefore rather odd as you would be going some to erase just the video and not the audio - you generally only get into that situation if you are intending to perform a video only edit on a tape. Was Paul able to determine if there was any actual RF on the tape or control track, I believe Paul has TR70 machines, were you able to try high band and low band playback? Just some random thoughts.
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Old 11th Mar 2019, 11:54 pm   #35
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

There was nothing there other than what appeared to be a control track, but even that wasn't quite right (too 'lumpy' looking on the waveform monitor).

Not a trace of sound, cue track sound, or video (high or low). Even tried 405 and 'opposite' way round. It can't have been bulk or machine erased, as red16v says, so what was going on, I don't know. The only thing I've thought of (but not investigated), is perhaps it was prepped for 'RF Copy' where the actual FM is dubbed from one machine to another, but then abandoned or didn't work. Without reading-up on it, I'm not sure how the 'RF Copy' facility works on these machines (never had anything to do with it), so it's a bit of a long shot and, in any case, why might the process have been abandoned half way through?

The tape is well worn, but not shedding, so just for the heck we recorded a few minutes of Test Card F (in low band black and white). The RF level coming back was a bit low, but it worked. Good to know that the TR70B still records and it will puzzle any future investigator even more!

One day - when there's time (huh!) - I would like to make one or more of my Ampex machines fly again. The VR1200 is quite close to working but it's an old machine. The AVR2 was 'pulled' hot but hasn't worked for a decade. Of the two AVR3s, one has had power in the last couple of years, but not the other. So much to do!

Looking at this 'mystery' tape was quite interesting, even though there was nothing on it in the end, and it was great to put a face to the name - and it turned out that we have mutual (ex)work colleagues in common!

Best regards,

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Old 12th Mar 2019, 9:53 am   #36
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

No sound? I was posting based on the fact the Op said "noise on the picture and a continuous tone on the sound"? Not to worry, at least you had good go at it.

BTW, I never saw anyone try direct RF dubbing even though our machines had the facility. I have had a quick look in my 'Bible' of all things Quad (Ennis) and he does go into direct RF copying in some detail. It would be a bit difficult to scan and copy the relevant section (4/5 pages) but if you want a copy I will try (the book is not very flexible and does not open out flat very well to go on a flatbed scanner). It is a bit specific to a specific circuit rather than general principles so I'm not to sure it would be of much use or interest to you especially as you are never going to use it.
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Old 13th Mar 2019, 10:52 am   #37
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

The video 'noise' was just the normal FM hash. As first presented, the audio was what appeared to be control track buzz.

We then tried the tape 'the other way up', as the wear on the tape was inconclusive. With it the 'other way up' there was no audio and the suspect looking control track appeared on the waveform monitor, as would be expected. We also tried it 'inside out', but there was nothing then, either.

For anyone interested, the Quad tape track format is here:

http://www.quadvideotapegroup.com/im...0TRT1-03-C.jpg

I think that the RF copy is academic - there seems to be nothing on the tape and it's just speculation as to how this came to be as it is. Even if it was helical (which the wear pattern doesn't support), I would expect to have seen some random(ish) shash going through the FM demod output. There was nothing.

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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 11:18 pm   #38
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

Not wanting to 'hijack' this thread, but I've just aquired a 2-inch reel of what I believe is videotape.

Like Gordondav54 I have no way of playing this, so I've come here for advice. From the listing it appears that the tape originated from a college, and was salvaged when the VTR broke. I don't have particularly high hopes about there being anything particularly interesting on it, but it would be neat to find out.

I haven't yet looked at it in much detail (there are a few pictures on the ebay auction, will take some later) but I think that the dull side of the tape is facing outwards, if that indicates anything to anyone? (The label has also been torn off the container, but I can make out 'VTR' so I'm guessing it is video.).

I like jamesperrett's idea of playing back the audio on a 2-inch audio machine - except I don't have one of those. If james is willing there is a chance I'll be down in Southampton in late May, but otherwise I suspect that this will be a longer-term project.
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Old 23rd Mar 2019, 1:47 am   #39
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Default Re: Quadruplex 2 inch tape

It's advertised as a 14" reel which will limit the number of machines which will accept it.
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Old 23rd Mar 2019, 2:01 am   #40
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It could be a reel of audio tape - 14" reels were often used by TV companies as you could fit an hours programme on a single tape. In fact, they were sometimes run at 7.5ips to give 2 hours running time. I wish they had shown the back of the reel to see if there were any stickers on there to give some clue as to the tape type. I can certainly play 14" tapes on my machine - in fact I've just been playing a very similar looking tape from Michael Ball's Christmas show in 1995 just to check a new head out.
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