British Rock Still Lives


British Rock Restoration

I came across this item in a trade publication some time ago about recover and restoration of British rock video. It demonstrates the worth of how you treat those old recordings of an era past.

The writer was watching a TV show on British rock bands of the 1960s and suddenly realised he was watching old video footage he had originally edited. It was recorded on one of the very earliest 2 inch video tape recorders. A format that is very nearly completely extinct now.

The 2 Inch Video Tape System

At one time every TV station would have many of these machines installed. These days they are very rare and mostly only in archival processing facilities.

The recorders were very cumbersome and very difficult to get a clean edit with. The tape itself needed to be cut. In early times of this medium the only way to know where to cut was to dust the tape with a magnetic powder. This was to show the magnetic recorded pattern on the tape and the cutting point between video frames.

Archival Problems

But it also meant a lot of care in the set up of the recorders and even checking the quality of the blank tapes. The tapes mentioned above only survived because the recorders and the recording process was treated very carefully. Many similar recordings of that era have not because of lack of care.

I was told a while back that there were not enough parts available to keep these recorders going. It would therefore not be possible to transfer all video tapes of this type held in archival storage. We will miss out on some of our early television heritage.

The lesson is that no matter what the media, there is still need for care and attention, don’t be lulled into thinking advances in technology has taken care of that. It all still needs a skilled and caring person to operate it.