Author Topic: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape  (Read 620 times)

Offline apollo16uvc

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Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« on: July 06, 2017, 07:55:17 AM »
I found someone that seems to have several Quadruplex tape reels with Apollo live feed video. They appear to be a compilation of the most notable events. I have seen some screen recordings of the playing tapes and their quality seems to be excellent. It was a colour recording.

From what I heard, most live video we have now has been recovered from tape copies and telecine film and home recordings.

Because these tapes were most likely used by a TV station, they contain footage before it was degraded by sending it to homes with TV cables. So there is a good chance these recordings will be better than home-made recordings.

He was playing the tapes with a AMPEX VR-2000B recorder he was refurbishing.

I am trying to get in contact with the owner and ask if he could digitize the complete tapes for us and upload the files. Even if it is most likely footage that has already been digitized in some form, the more sources the better.

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Offline Obviousman

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 05:32:30 PM »
That sounds great! Do you recall what missions they were from?

Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2017, 10:15:59 AM »
I think Apollo 17

But there were multiple reels, big and small. So it could be more than one mission.
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Offline Obviousman

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2017, 06:28:06 AM »
Hopefully we can all see them.

Thanks for your efforts!

Offline ka9q

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 07:23:22 PM »
In 2013 I visited the 20 meter ground station in Bochum, Germany, now operated by the German branch of the AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite) group, of which I am a member. I was surprised to see an old RCA TR-70B quad VTR on display; in my college years I'd operated this same model as a summer broadcast engineering intern at WMPB-TV in Baltimore. Judging from the English and the crowfoot power outlets, it appeared to be an Australian or New Zealand model; they used PAL as did Germany.

I learned that during Apollo this site had recorded video directly from the moon; the tape on the machine was labeled Apollo 16. However, both it and the machine were in terrible shape and would obviously require a lot of TLC to make functional again. And I don't know if the tapes would be recoverable. I think I was told that additional tapes were in storage. If anybody ever wanted to investigate reading them, I'm sure they'd be happy to help.

Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2017, 08:55:08 AM »
In 2013 I visited the 20 meter ground station in Bochum, Germany, now operated by the German branch of the AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite) group, of which I am a member. I was surprised to see an old RCA TR-70B quad VTR on display; in my college years I'd operated this same model as a summer broadcast engineering intern at WMPB-TV in Baltimore. Judging from the English and the crowfoot power outlets, it appeared to be an Australian or New Zealand model; they used PAL as did Germany.

I learned that during Apollo this site had recorded video directly from the moon; the tape on the machine was labeled Apollo 16. However, both it and the machine were in terrible shape and would obviously require a lot of TLC to make functional again. And I don't know if the tapes would be recoverable. I think I was told that additional tapes were in storage. If anybody ever wanted to investigate reading them, I'm sure they'd be happy to help.

Could you go to them and ask someone, and send some emails?
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Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2017, 06:47:08 AM »
The owner of the tapes and recorder has replied, he is on vacation at the moment but will digitize the tapes in 4 weeks.
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Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 12:06:24 PM »
Screenshot of playing tapes on work-in-progres refurbishment machine:
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Offline Obviousman

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2017, 05:23:23 PM »
 ;)

Offline ka9q

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 02:29:34 AM »
Screenshot of playing tapes on work-in-progres refurbishment machine:
Excellent. I'm hoping that the "banding" effect you see on the monitor isn't the best that can be done. On the RCA VTRs I operated, the video monitor could be switched to any of several points along the signal processing chain, and the raw signal off even a good tape looked much like what we see here. The rotating video head assembly spun at roughly 240 rev per second, with four heads at 90 degree intervals each providing 16 scan lines before the next one took over (hence the name "quadruplex"). Because the geometry could never be exact, there was always a small timing jump as the heads switched, and electronic "time base correction" was then used to line them up more precisely. This video looks like it was taken from the raw head output before that correction.

The image looks to be in monochrome, but machine monitors often were. (I don't know about that particular Ampex model.) Was the video recorded as raw, sequential frame color, i.e., as a monochrome signal as far as the recorder was concerned? I see what looks like a color burst on the waveform monitor below the TV, but that doesn't actually mean the image was in color. If it's raw frame sequential, I think we could probably now produce a better final color product than was possible with the scan converters used at the time.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 02:33:01 AM by ka9q »

Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 06:20:16 AM »
Screenshot of playing tapes on work-in-progres refurbishment machine:
Excellent. I'm hoping that the "banding" effect you see on the monitor isn't the best that can be done. On the RCA VTRs I operated, the video monitor could be switched to any of several points along the signal processing chain, and the raw signal off even a good tape looked much like what we see here. The rotating video head assembly spun at roughly 240 rev per second, with four heads at 90 degree intervals each providing 16 scan lines before the next one took over (hence the name "quadruplex"). Because the geometry could never be exact, there was always a small timing jump as the heads switched, and electronic "time base correction" was then used to line them up more precisely. This video looks like it was taken from the raw head output before that correction.

The image looks to be in monochrome, but machine monitors often were. (I don't know about that particular Ampex model.) Was the video recorded as raw, sequential frame color, i.e., as a monochrome signal as far as the recorder was concerned? I see what looks like a color burst on the waveform monitor below the TV, but that doesn't actually mean the image was in color. If it's raw frame sequential, I think we could probably now produce a better final color product than was possible with the scan converters used at the time.
Pretty sure it is colour, video later in the YT video clearly shows colour. Not sure about the parts on the moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdpMaTzwIg0

A lot of work has been done since that video, it should show no banding today.
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Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 01:32:45 PM »
I do not know how colour was recorded. You should ask the YT uploader.
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Offline smartcooky

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2017, 06:23:07 AM »
I do not know how colour was recorded. You should ask the YT uploader.


I expect dwight and/or ka9q will be able to answer that question?
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Offline bknight

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2017, 09:11:22 AM »
...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdpMaTzwIg0

A lot of work has been done since that video, it should show no banding today.
Is there a English version available?
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Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: Apollo live video on AMPEX VR-2000B quadruplex tape
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2017, 03:56:19 PM »
I do not know how colour was recorded. You should ask the YT uploader.


I expect dwight and/or ka9q will be able to answer that question?
The picture with the banding was from a youtuber, not dwight and ka9q.
The picture with the banding is an other recording, not from the one from Germany. It most likely belonged to a Tv station and contains the most notable events from a mission. Just guessing that though. I have not seen the complete recording yet.

There are two reels, a big one and a small one. The small one is what you see in the video. A big one belongs to someone else but Zdenek Houska has asked if he can borrow it.
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