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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goodbye Beta SP

Ok, stop laughing...

all of you !  for everyone who has never shot tape at all, never mind beta SP,  you can just skip this little lesson in history. When your P2 / CF / SD card becomes yesterday's door stop, you'll not notice history repeating itself !
betaSP tapes waiting to be digitized
Today is a landmark of sorts around the studio. Beta SP is officially going away. Several months ago, I went through several large boxes of beta tapes and loaded them to hard drive via my laptop with a Matrox MXO2 plugged into it. I captured it all to my NAS. My NAS is  a linux DIY box I built so the material is actually far more accessible now to all editing systems rather then sitting on tape in the closet. Since this burst of tape digitizing a few months back, I've found about 20 more tapes  hiding in various places. With them all rounded up this week, he last ones are going through the machine today.
There are some really practical considerations here too. The space occupied by all that tape was about half of an average size closet. All of those tapes loaded as ProRes 4:2:2 SD fit onto a single 1Tb hard drive. Back up for all of that material cost another $70 1tb drive. Just as a pure business decision, the space occupied by that tape cost for a year is what the drives cost to buy. The rest of the gear was sitting around, so the capture time really didn't cost me anything. Any day things where quite, I'd load a couple of tapes.  I've also gained back a lot of storage space, and sent a whole bunch of plastic to be recycled. 30 minute beta tape cases actually hold a 3.5 drive pretty nicely, once you cut and glue some foam into them so the drive can't slide around. Its too bad I only need a few for recycling this way.>
A couple of months ago I pulled out of my racks the old but still working 3/4" machine, and the last VHS machine. The 3/4 machine was there for the rare legacy tape, and I haven't run a VHS TC burn in I can't remember when. Beta SP had also gotten to the same level of use. I certainly wasn't making any master tapes with it, and rarely was I loading anything from it. With a flaky reel motor in the mix, it wasn't even worth fixing. I just bought a used player for 1/4 what it would of cost to repair the recorder. Its funny how my edit system used to fill 3 racks, now its down to a single 48" high oak unit. I wouldn't say it would be unreasonable that in a year or two, the bulk of that gear may well also be for sale as I get rid of the last of things analog. We'll see !
Good Bye Beta SP !
Now did I mention I have about 20hrs of Hi8 tapes ? guess I'll be cruising yard sales to find something to play the tapes in.