Part Five Opening

This is the opening of part five of restore and repair. Now I have to do the program!

What is EIAJ?

Back in the late 1960s, the Japanese electronics manufacturers wanted to standardize the VTR  so all the manufactures would be able to interchange their tapes and all recorders would have the same format. That became know as EIAJ or Electronic Industries Association of Japan.  The thought was everyone would be more successful if they made compatible VTRs and would conquer the world.

Sony tried to make a color EIAJ VTR but was not successful at the time since their VTR did not conform to the EIAJ format.

The U-Matic 3/4″ VTR came next as a home recorder but was more successful as a broadcast format.

EIAJ-1 ½-inch open reel video tape (1969 – early 1980s)

Cost of transfer

Yep, it does cost to transfer analog tape to digital files. Our prices are very competative and we can beat our competition. Our quality is great and you’ll love our customer service.

It’s expensive to keep our analog VTRs up and running. Parts are no longer being made and it takes some skill to do repair and maintenance. We have several “donor” machines to draw parts from and engineering contacts around the world to help with difficult repairs.

All in all we try to keep our charges reasonable. If you compare, you’ll see we offer great rates.

Danger! Phishing for your tapes

I received an email from someone who had a different email address than the company she was supposed to be representing. Her return is “” They want you to send your tapes and photos to them for transfer. And after you send your valuable media to them, only then would they tell you how much it would cost.

In this email, it looks like you would send your media to a fake company and they would get the transfer fee from you and never return your materials. It looks dangerous.

Clicking on her link takes you to a web site that is NOT the advertised company. WARNING.

Only send your materials to a known supplier. Get a guaranteed price up front.

Caring for Videotape

Here is a funny look at caring for videotape. After watching this short video, you’ll never look at tape the same way again!

Videotape Preservation Handbook

Here is an excellent guide by Jim Wheeler on how to preserve videotape.  Jim Wheeler is one the great resources on magnetic media. Retired from Ampex, he is still active, preserving magnetic tape and working on preservation initiatives. I’m sure you’ll find it valuable.


Where the Rubber Meets the Road


Most all VTRs have pinch rollers. These little tires pinch the tape against the capstan and pulls it through the machine. They get hard and lose their grip over time and can cause tape damage by changing the geometry of the tape path. You can sometimes clean and renew the rubber but the attempted repair doesn’t last long. The only real solution is to replace the roller. Average cost for a small cassette VTR is around $75, Some 2″ audio decks may run up to $250. Just a small example on how expensive it is to properly take care of old machines.

Our VPR-3s don’t use a pinch roller but a vacuum capstan. This provides better grip. The capstan actually drives the tape through the machine and the reel motors take up the slack.




Laminates I.D. Credentials


If you need to get anywhere, you need a “Lammy”. These I.D.s are always worn by media people while on the job. The expensive ones have the user’s photo and some even have an RFID chip. The Oscars are very cautious in keeping their credentials safe and do not allow any photos of the current I.D. In fact, if photographed, the Academy will pull the credential and remove you from the event and you will not be allowed to cover the show.


New VTRs Added

Yes, the finest S-VHS VTRs have now been added to The Transfer Lab. This Sony S-VHS VTR does a fantastic job playing back VHS material. Far superior to home units, it contains a built-in TBC that has noise reduction and image enhancement, something home units do not offer. Since this machine is interfaced to our system, it must be able to genlock. Another feature lacking in home units.