A New Trick For Digitization Of Old Beta Tapes

Categories: Tricks & Tips

We have a new project at Movico – help digitize a video archive (nearly 10k plus hours) and build a digital library supporting in-house productions and web-based portal plans.  We started with a 100 hours of samples to develop a strategy for the larger project. Here is some key learning we have observed from this project so far. Hope it is useful for folks who are starting similar projects of their own.

Midway into the tape capture, we started seeing red & green bands on the video. We sent the Sony Beta player to the service station – thinking it was a mechanical issue. After servicing the player, same problem! Went back to the service center – could reproduce the problem. We noticed a different player at the service center and tried the tape on the new player – no problem!

A secondary analysis showed that the new player had manual settings for alignment. This was actually an older tape player than what we use. The modern players use automatic alignment technology, but for older tapes this starts to fail.

Conclusion: if you have old beta tapes, it is better to use the older Beta player with manual alignment options or you may have to change alignment each time with new tapes.