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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » Did Quad VTR ever have stereo sound?

Author Topic: Did Quad VTR ever have stereo sound?
Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3059
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002

 - posted 07-18-2016 12:05 PM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
was watching something from BBC recorded in 1977 and it had stereo sound on it. Not sure what it was, only saw the last few minutes. I'm pretty sure that this pre-dates 1" 'C' format, but I thought Quad only had a single audio track. Were some machines modified for stereo?

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8146
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-18-2016 01:34 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can think of a few ways that this could have happened:

1" C-type existed in 1976, but someone else would have to answer for its existence in the PAL format or its use at the BBC. The 3/4" format definitely existed then with two audio tracks, although, again, someone else will have to comment on its use at the BBC. Outside of news, 3/4" use would have been rare in the US for broadcast masters.

It is also possible that someone used the "cue track" on a quad machine to record audio.

Is it possible that the soundtrack was recorded separately on a stereo Nagra or something similar and then resolved with the videotape when it was copied to a more modern format? If I remember correctly, the Woodstock film (and album) was recorded on an 8-track system, with one of the tracks used for sync pulses. Perhaps a similar system was used here.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1517
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 07-21-2016 02:01 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The oldest shot-on-video production I've seen with stereo sound was something called "Who's Afraid of Opera?" made in 1973, released in the 80s on MGM/UA Home Video- I have 3 volumes of it on the failed CED videodisc format. I wonder how it was first shown- I know TV did FM simulcasts sometimes even earlier than that. Amazingly the little-known Cartrivision home tape format which came out in 1972 had support for stereo sound!

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 943
From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-21-2016 07:42 AM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The last two quad machines from Ampex, the AVR-2 and AVR-3, had stereo audio as a factory installed option. They swapped out the audio head for a two channel one. Would have been about mid-1978 on to the end of two-inch.

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 07-21-2016 09:38 AM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I worked at a TV facilitiy for awhile in the 1980's.
By then everything was 1" video. We had one AVR-3. I can't recall
if it had stereo audio because I never saw it in operation. It was
literally being used as a doorstop. They had pushed it up against a
set of double-doors that went out into the parking lot to keep anyone
from opening them.

However, Mark is correct about the AVR-3 having dual audio track
capability, as you can see on page 5 of the spec sheet HERE

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7474
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 07-21-2016 10:10 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The BBC did a lot of film origination and broadcast direct from telecine (with audio usually coming from a mag follower, many of which can hold up to siz channels on 35mm), even into the late 1980s. Are you sure that this production was originated on tape?

That having been said, the BBC did not formally (as in, as an advertised service, not unannounced test broadcasts) start stereo audio broadcasting until NICAM in 1991, so whatever the origination and post-production formats were, the final mix of a 1977 production would presumably have been mono.

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