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    Could LTO tapes be used as a video tape format?
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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    What I mean is a live recording format. I know you can store video files on them, but could it be used as something like a VHS tape or DVCAM tape?
    I know current machines probably can't, but could the technology in general be repurposed for this?


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    Senior Member Cary Knoop's Avatar
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    Why on Earth would you want to do that?
    We have SSDs for this.


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    LTO tapes operate in a repeated forward and reverse manner. To oversimplify a little, a track is recorded from one end of the tape to the other, then the recording head mechanically moves down a bit and the tape reverses direction to record the next track back towards the beginning. The constant physical starting, stopping and reversing of the tape makes it just about impossible to record any continuous stream of data like video (you'd need enormous memory buffers to cache the data while the tape was changing tracks), although it is no problem for storing static files.

    So I'd say, no, especially when there are so many other technologically easier alternatives.

    More details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Tape-Open

    - Greg
    Last edited by Greg Smith; 04-04-2020 at 08:28 PM.


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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    I'm just trying to figure out if there could be a 4K raw tape format developed. If it was possible. Something you put in a camera. Since tape is generally inexpensive and good for archival.
    Last edited by roxics; 04-07-2020 at 01:23 PM.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    For all intents and purposes, tape is dead for video production at the acquisition level and I would question whether it could even be considered economical at the 4K level at the data rates that would be required. Even if they could adapt tape "formats" that already exist(DVCPro/HDCam, etc.) and move the tape fast enough, the record times would be a fraction of what we got back then and even less than what most of us are used to with solid state media. Plus the economics of using a tape once vs. 1,000's of cycles on solid state media. Not to mention the delicate and expensive tape transport in the camera. The only thing tape really has going for it is it's ease of archiving and just being able to hand it off. I don't miss shooting on tape one teeny tiny little bit. Especially not anywhere with any real humidity. It's not fun telling a producer we can't shoot right now, because the camera shut down and locked the tape deck up for safety, because of the humidity. Or even worse, it not locking up and getting back and the footage is F'd up because of the humidity/condensation on the heads.

    Something like LTO tape for longterm archiving is fine(and probably MUCH better than HDD's), but there is really no reason to ever go back to tape for acquisition.


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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    Thanks. But this is purely a hypothetical scenario.

    The scenario is this. You have to send back (in time) a high quality video format to sometime between 1920-1950. Your choice when. The earlier you send it back, the more content will be generated on that format. The later you wait, the less content will be generated on that format but the higher the likelihood that people will be able to reverse engineer the technology and duplicate it.

    The format should be something good enough to replace film. Since there is a high likelihood people will chose to shoot on this format instead of film.

    You are allowed to send back some kind of camera, player, display and recording media. These will appear in every home in America back then.
    The things you send back need to be real or some kind of combination of technology that already exists today.

    Keep in mind the internet does not exist back then. Your goal is to create both a professional format and a home video format.

    This is why I chose tape. I figure it's probably the easiest physical media format for people back then to reverse engineer. Since they have magnetic tape back then. But my goal was to try and get the highest quality tape format I could find.
    If LTO tape isn't the right technology for that, then my next choice might be some kind of 4K camera that records to D-VHS tape using an H.265 chipset. I don't know.

    This is what I do when stuck and home and bored because of what's going on outside. lol


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    Senior Member James0b57's Avatar
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    I am under the impression that when you finish editing a project you want to archive, print the most essential projects and footage to film. Most motion picture archival methods don't go beyond 50years. Requires a lot of maintenance to archive the recent history of motion images.

    If in your thoughts during this time figure out a better archival method, that is both robust and easily watched with almost any tech, then I'd be very interested in your thoughts.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxics View Post
    Thanks. But this is purely a hypothetical scenario.

    The scenario is this. You have to send back (in time) a high quality video format to sometime between 1920-1950. Your choice when. The earlier you send it back, the more content will be generated on that format. The later you wait, the less content will be generated on that format but the higher the likelihood that people will be able to reverse engineer the technology and duplicate it.

    The format should be something good enough to replace film. Since there is a high likelihood people will chose to shoot on this format instead of film.

    You are allowed to send back some kind of camera, player, display and recording media. These will appear in every home in America back then.
    The things you send back need to be real or some kind of combination of technology that already exists today.

    Keep in mind the internet does not exist back then. Your goal is to create both a professional format and a home video format.

    This is why I chose tape. I figure it's probably the easiest physical media format for people back then to reverse engineer. Since they have magnetic tape back then. But my goal was to try and get the highest quality tape format I could find.
    If LTO tape isn't the right technology for that, then my next choice might be some kind of 4K camera that records to D-VHS tape using an H.265 chipset. I don't know.

    This is what I do when stuck and home and bored because of what's going on outside. lol
    Okay, I've gotcha...

    We're almost going steampunk, in a way.


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    I don't think you could drop any sort of digital technology into pre-WWII society without all the other infrastructure that supports it - computers, software and the entire semiconductor manufacturing industry. We could live without the Internet, per se, although getting digital media from one place to another would be much slower and less efficient. I doubt the capability even existed in the 1920s or '30s to reverse engineer, say, a microprocessor chip - they literally didn't possess the theory and language to describe it, or the materials science to reproduce it.

    A pretty fine medium for image capture and editing already existed in the form of movie film, and it was economics, not technology, that prevented most people from having home theaters for viewing it. Well-preserved movies from the '30s (I'll exclude the era from before the development of sync sound) can still look superb when transferred to 4K digital today. As long as you have some form of gears, lenses and bright light sources, you can view an analog film strip. That would be my choice for sending today's media back to the past (or to another solar system, similar scenario). A competent mid-19th century mechanic would have been able to create a serviceable film viewer, although big screen projection with whale oil lamps might have been a bit dim.

    - Greg


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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Smith View Post

    A pretty fine medium for image capture and editing already existed in the form of movie film ... That would be my choice for sending today's media back to the past (or to another solar system, similar scenario).
    You mean like sending back modern film stock and processing chemicals?

    If so, not at a bad choice at all.

    I don't imagine those folks would have the ability to reverse engineer the computer chips in a digital video system any time soon, they would have to just keep up the maintenance of the machines we sent back. But maybe the tape stock itself could be reverse engineered? Which is why I was leaning toward tape. I was looking for something easy, potentially cheap(eventually) and high quality. Something that also had a decent shelf/archival life.

    One of the other reasons I went video tape instead of something like film, is because film isn't always transferred over. For example Stargate SG-1 which was mostly shot on film (seasons 1-7) never got a blu-ray release. Whereas Stargate Atlantis shot in HD was released on blu-ray many years ago. Probably a decade ago. It just hasn't been financially viable to scan all the film for SG-1 and update the FX for HD. I also know there are plenty of older films from decades past that suffer the same problem or a similar problem. Like the original content creator just going out of business before DVD or blu-ray came around. So the likelihood we'll ever see that content in high quality is slim to none.


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