I spent the better part of a day prepping and screening part of a very large archive of video tapes recently and after Instrgramming this photo of a Sony 3/4″ U-Matic tape deck it became quite obvious that there are a lot of youngsters who have never seen (or heard) the wonders that is a big, loud, clunky 3/4″ videotape deck. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to spend much time with them myself. Check the video for what you’ve been missing.
Of course this tape thread and load is a bit louder than usual we the top had been removed from this deck for head cleaning purposes. If you’ve never seen one of these tape decks operate look closely at how the tape is unspooled and pulled out by the mechanicals of the arm as it has to thread around the big, rotating video head. There’s a lot of moving parts in these things, not just to run the tape but also to load, eject and operate the tape itself. Seeing all the stuff that could break in one of these things really makes you thankful for SSD drives.
And that spinning video head coming into contact with the video tape means it could become dirty. It wasn’t as easy as popping in a head cleaning cassette:
So how did you actually edit with these things? It often involved a controller similar to this:
If you want to learn more about the good ‘ole world of 3/4″ tape then check out the videos below. YouTube is good for so many things.
If you want to buy your own then Broadcaststore.com has them. Though you can probably find one cheaper on eBay.