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Re: arsclist VHS and S-VHS Tapes


I joined this list and the AMIA list some time ago when realizing I needed
to learn a lot to preserve the audio- and videotape collection that came
with this job.

This archives contains lectures by artists and art critics going back to
1964 and the lecture series is ongoing.

It was recommended to me that we should be making our new originals on S-VHS
tape.  Our VHS camera broke some time ago (before my time) and we have been
making originals on mini-DV for about a year.

I found new S-VHS equipment hard to find.  B&H only carries one model of
S-VHS camera and, due to fiscal crisis this summer, was out of our price

I thought I'd make S-VHS copies of the mini-DV originals on hand so far, but
it sounds like this is not really useful since the digital original does not
have the carrier strength.  Correct?

The lab I use for making tape copies charges more than twice the usual cost
for S-VHS ($50) as opposed to VHS ($20) and tells me S-VHS is a format on
its way out.  Any comments on that?

(P.S. I only have copies made on demand as I want to save the money for
equipment!  I have no equipment for playing or copying the mini-DVs--just
that darn camera.)

Mary Habstritt
John McEnroe Library
New York Studio School
8 West 8th Street
New York NY 10011
212-673-6466, ext. 18
----- Original Message -----
From: "Copeland, Peter" <Peter.Copeland@xxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 4:34 AM
Subject: RE: arsclist VHS and S-VHS Tapes

> Dear All,
>     This discussion is becoming somewhat prolonged, largely my fault I'm
> afraid.
>     Mike Richter raised the very real point that the audio Hi-Fi tracks
> reciprocal noise reduction. (I insert that word "reciprocal", because when
> everything works well, you get back the original undistorted sound, as
> opposed to other noise-reduction processes which *aren't* reciprocal, such
> as the second and third stages of "The Packburn", or the Philips DNL ( =
> Dynamic Noise Limiter)). When the carrier-levels of the hi-fi tracks
> very strong, the dBx-type expander can emit added noise from the
> head-switching circuitry (or from a poor playback head, or one slightly
> off-track), which it cannot hide. This is because the video is recorded
> using analogue FM (frequency modulation) principles, like a local radio
> station. Conventional hocus-pocus suggests that FM radio is only
> so long as the carrier-level is about double any interfering noise. That
> the main argument in favour of using S-VHS tape for preservation purposes;
> when something isn't right, you've got about double the carrier strength
> play with.
>     A second consideration (as you may guess from the last paragraph of my
> original posting) is that we're often handling music broadcasts. The
> dBx-type noise-reduction is always upset in the presence of unwanted
> outside the audio frequency-range. In Europe, broadcasters generally (but
> not always) bandwidth-limit their transmissions to prevent such
> side-effects. As an anecdote to explain my meaning more clearly, the worst
> hi-fi track I have had to deal with was of a Wagner opera from the Royal
> Opera House here in London. Normally, Wagner's music will drown anything;
> but there was a moment where a solo soprano was singing softly and without
> orchestral accompaniment, lamenting the death of her lover. The
> of the out-of-band noise from the Royal Opera House's air-conditioning,
> quietness of the wanted sound (very close to the head-switching noise on
> hi-fi track), and the vibrato, meant it was very difficult to get the
> clear of the noise. It's some years ago now; but I believe we had to buy a
> new machine with new heads and perfect mechanical alignment to cover the
> noise!
>     But, had it been on S-VHS tape, there wouldn't have been a problem.
>     With regard to Brian Levy's note below, I would only back up CD-Rs
> digital methods, and I would only use VHS or S-VHS if you have enough Sony
> PCM-F1 processors (or equivalents) to get you through the next fifty years
> or so. I believe *we* have. You would also need something called a PCM-601
> to convert from SP-DIF into the digitised-audio video domain. We've only
> one; if anyone would like to sell me another, I'm open to offers!
> Peter Copeland
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brian Levy [mailto:xernaut@xxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: 28 February 2002 06:40
> To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: arsclist VHS and S-VHS Tapes
> Dear Peter,
> What about the possibility, as suggested to me by someone working at one
> the places I purchase  blank CD-R media for our Indian language
> preservation projects here in Oklahoma, of using S-VHS to store analog
> back-ups to all our CD-R's in our archive, just in case the digital
> strategy fails?  Since quarter inch reel is expensive, especially for a
> smaller archive with little funding, like ours, might'nt this be a smart
> choice?
>                 Thanks for your posting,
>                            Brian Levy
> At 06:40 PM 2/27/2002 +0000, you wrote:
> >Dear All,
> >     My apologies for being late entering this discussion, I was on
> >holiday" (last week and the week before!). I should like to contribute
> >something from the *audio* point of view.
> >     For the purposes of long-term preservation of the audio accompanying
> >both VHS and S-VHS tapes, we "clone" onto blank S-VHS tapes.
> --------------------------------------------
> Robert Brian Levy
> Executive Director
> Kiwat Hasinay Foundation
> P.O. Box 305
> Binger, OK 73009 USA
> 1-580-515-6011
> kiwat@xxxxxxxxxxx
> http://www.ahalenia.com/kiwat
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