Looking for 2" videotape restoration recommendations

Jef Huey Nov 3, 2016

  1. I have a high profile client who needs to have a B&W 2" recording transferred from a museum's archive to a modern format for us to work with.

    The museum has decided to allow the tape to leave their town to increase the options for the highest quality, most experienced archival transfer.

    I want it transferred to an uncompressed digital file or, at minimum, Digibeta so I can work with it from there. It will be made into a US HD broadcast show eventually.

    I am looking for recommendations based on actual experience with a vendor. I have been doing my homework on the web but I need more than that.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. The best guy in North America for 2" restoration is David Crosthwait at DC Video in Burbank:

    DC Video
    3071 N. Lima Street
    Burbank, CA 91504
    (818) 563-1073

    They've done stuff for all the networks, restoration of major comedy series, talk shows, music/variety specials, concerts, the works. They've specifically done high-security, one-of-a-kind transfers for very demanding clients, including The Beatles and many others.

    My advice is go to ProRes 422HQ and avoid any digital tape.
  3. Second vote for David. Spent some time working with him at MVF...
    Marc Wielage likes this.
  4. DC Video was on my list. Thanks for the recommendation.
  5. Dave is a good guy, too, and a solid engineer. I don't think there's anybody alive who knows more about videotape than he does -- analogue or digital. He's also got some customized equipment that can run "problem" tapes that are difficult to playback on off-shelf VTRs.

  6. Hey Marc,

    Curious as to why you recommend ProResHQ over DigiBeta? DigiBeta has a data rate of 90 Mbps and a solid error correction system and ProRes HQ has a data rate for SD of 63 Mbps. Both being 10bit 4:2:2, I would think that I will start with a better product with Digibeta knowing that there will be significant image processing down the line for this material. What is your thought process here?

    That said, I might suggest uncompressed depending on total run time. Yes, I realize that this is "only 2" B&W material". But this may be the last time this asset ever get transferred. And archivists have not really settled on a universal digital file format yet .....

  7. Because DigiBeta is tape and will fall apart over time.

    If you wanna go wild, go with ProRes444HQ, but it's gross overkill for an 8-bit format like 2". I'm positive that Dave at DC Video can give you any kind of file you want.
    Robert Houllahan likes this.
  8. Also don't forget that there's no way to get the actual bitstream off of a DigiBeta tape, it gets decoded to SDI and on ingesting into a computer it's getting encoded and compressed again. So you're adding an unnecessary extra step and not getting any better quality.

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