Quantcast Sometimes your VHS transfer work lands up on network TV! - digitalFAQ Forum
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01-12-2018, 11:55 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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A few months ago, former New York area news anchor Michele Marsh passed away. As a tribune, the WCBS-TV news team compiled a bunch of news clips of Michele over the years. Much to my surprise, a clip from a January 1990 newscast that I had transferred from an old VHS tape appeared in there. Its quite obvious they had a staffer comb YouTube for clips, but it does clearly show the difference between a crap transfer and one done with good equipment.

Video is embedded at the link below. The clip I captured appears around 30 seconds in (look for the IRA title card and red suit)

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/10/...le-marsh-obit/
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01-13-2018, 12:07 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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I am surprised they had to rely on YouTube for archival material. Just shows that even a major news channel in a major city has not digitalized their footage from the analog era.
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01-13-2018, 12:55 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winsordawson View Post
I am surprised they had to rely on YouTube for archival material. Just shows that even a major news channel in a major city has not digitalized their footage from the analog era.
It's a money issue. They won't spend it.

In-house isn't usually possible due to lack of manpower and lack of legacy equipment.

Outsourced isn't possible due to their own divorced-from-reality concepts of what's involved to convert it (and payment thereof). I think too many in charge now are from the digital-only era, and have had their ideas of transfer costs warped by the fly-by-nights ops doing $10/tape quick-and-dirty half@ss VHS conversions.

We've had organizations contact us in the past, wanting to get their huge archive transferred for $5 per tape. Some were news stations. And not even VHS, but S-VHS, U-matic, Digital Betacam, BetacamSP, etc. They thought that saying "bulk order" would somehow magically make it less work or something. It was patently absurd. That's slave wages, about what you'd earn flipping burgers. Maybe less.

So most archive footage still rots away in its non-digital mediums. What is transferred generally is not catalogued very well, unlike the digital asset management systems in place. You'd read about this problem, from time to time, in Broadcast Engineering magazine.

That's the dirty truth of that industry.

I had an in to join a CBS station in a major metro some years ago (pre-recession), but chose not to. I didn't like what I saw.

Quite a few have decided that Youtube is "good enough" for the masses, so it'll have to be "good enough" for them. Low quality and all. It's sad and pathetic how much video has devolved in quality in the past decade.

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01-13-2018, 08:21 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Too bad a part of history will die with those tapes. It's like when the BBC used to reuse tapes to save money. Those prices may be reasonable if they are just looking for someone to insert a VHS tape and let it run without any supervision for 2 hours. The Archival Company charges $10.95 and you get what you pay for. I used them for a friend and they left in large tracking errors and basically digitalized it "as is". Parts of the footage were unwatchable. When I spoke to the woman there to ask if they use Avisynth she said "that's proprietary." I don't think she even knew what Avisynth was (because she did not know what exFat was) or that it is free. And how many trade secrets are you revealing by telling customers what professional software you are using, UNLESS you are using garbage. There are not too many high quality options.

Quote:
I had an in to join a CBS station in a major metro some years ago (pre-recession), but chose not to. I didn't like what I saw.
What didn't you like?
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01-13-2018, 09:22 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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VHS tapes simply need attention. The $5-10 job is "insert tape, walk away" and using cheap VHS VCRs and DVD recorders from the likes of Best Buy and Walmart. Nobody wants that, as it gives you an unusable final product. It cannot be enjoyed, certainly isn't fit for an archive. Waste of time to even spend funds on that.

We tell everybody our "trade secrets" because the obstacle to quality is time and funding. Not knowledge ... though having experience is not to be overlooked. You can buy your own $25 USB doodad or $100 DVD recorder is quality doesn't matter -- though again, why bother spending anything to make bad transfers?

Most of our work these days is redoing what others have screwed up. Usually going back to tape source, though sometimes the digital copy is all that was left. The latter is about 50/50 on whether it can be fixed.

The TV job was too stressful, thankless, and the pay was not much different than a more relaxing studio setting.

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The following users thank lordsmurf for this useful post: Winsordawson (01-14-2018)
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