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Re: Tape Transport Of Choice



At 11:49 PM 4/27/95, Craig Nichols wrote:

>        I thought I would never say it, but I am partial to Ampex DCT.


I've got to agree! There was a time when I swore we would never even=
 consider a compressed format VTR in the place. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Ampex=
 have demonstrated pretty well conclusively that *real* pictures have enough=
 redundancy in them to throw away and still be able to recover the=
 *identical* (not the almost-the-same, but identical) information after the =
decompression.
        Editel was a double-whammy for Ampex. Compression was an obscene=
 word, and we were still smarting after having suffered through three=
 miserable years with the VPR300 D-2 abortion. When Mike Arbuthnot wandered=
 into the facility with his new machine, he practically faced a lynch-mob!=
=20
        Notwithstanding, we took the machine for a week and threw the book=
 at it, (chose a particularly heavy one too!), expecting to smash tape, jam=
 housings, run away servos, crappy pictures, and generally demonstrate that=
 the apparently dying Ampex had produced another total boat-anchor. There=
 were some dim mutterings that maybe they were smarter than we gave them=
 credit for, because they were getting into *data storage*, whatever that wa=
s.
        SURPRISE! The damn thing worked like a champ for the entire week.=
 Pictures locked up in a heartbeat, no errors, and the more we tried to bust=
 it, the more stubbornly it worked. It even worked flawlessly with a Henry=
 (despite some childish "spoiler" disclaimers from Quantel (since retracted)=
).
        We need a good mastering format, pref dual-standard, and we were=
 *totally over* the D-1 / BTS incompatibilty issue. All these PG phase and=
 scanner tach and capstan tach and and and .... problems which had been a=
 bit of a b*gg*r with D-1 and a royal pain in the *rse with D-2 were=
 addressed in *auto-setup* with DCT. We couldnt believe it. We had to keep=
 pinching ourselves to make sure we werent dreaming.
        Then came the issues of Ampex the company. Werent these the guys who=
 had the video world by the nuts with ADO and then just let it slip away?=
 Didnt they have a potentially really great edit system, that kinda expired?=
 Didnt they just lay off a pantload of people at Colorado Springs? Would=
 Ampex still be around in six months time? Back to the data storage thingy=
 again. We found out people, NASA, the Government, those kind of people,=
 were eating up DST by the truckload at $100k a pop. So we decided to take=
 the risk and build a Component Digi-bay around DCT, hedging our bets with a=
 couple of RTDs for good measure. I think its true to say that we never=
 looked back. They still have a habit of occasionally popping a PSU, but=
 replacement is fast and painless, and *there's no alignment*. All the=
 clients who are working on them love 'em, and *everyone* I have spoken to=
 in our post world who has them, loves them. If I have a gripe, it is that=
 Ampex have not got their act together in Europe, so we dont do as much PAL=
 (OK-625 component, smart guy) as we would like, we are still sending boring=
 old D-1 over the pond. I guess the editors over there have two hour lunches=
 to go to while their source machines lock up. In an ideal world, Ampex=
 would have sold a bundle of these to the BBC instead of that whacky D-3,=
 and then we would all be out of a job as tape maintenance spuds, and could=
 do something productive like farming or running a pub.
        Conclusion: Editel, the world's biggest skeptics about the twin=
 evils of compression and Ampex end up building a $1.2M bay around DCT. Mike=
 Arbuthnot, are you one smooth talker or what?







P.S. I guess he must be, he's Pres of DaVinci now!......... Hi Mike!
-MO=20