- This article is about a piece of equipment. For more information on what it is for or how to use it, try its documents wiki article.
Coupled with the MS4
During the latter half of 1994, the Panasonic MS4 was coming under heavy use in the field, in the studio and for dumping down to the Umatic. At times these roles were competing and in some cases to the detriment of the camera. In order to save the tape mechanism it was decided to look for an SVHS recorder. In January 1995, Owain Davies pitched the PRO entry level JVC SVHS SRS-368E machine to the station, in a manner, as some people commented at the time, akin to a double glazing salesman. The JVC SVHS was not a cheap option (in excess of 1000 pounds), however it was hoped it would save the life of the MS4's mechanics and allow programmes to be archived with minimal degradation, while also offering the long lifetime befitting a piece of PRO equipment.
The machine saw good service, and its light weight allowed it to form part of the two camera cable system.
Coupled with an SRS-365U
When the Sony Umatic edit suite was sold off by Chris Ward in following the introduction of the Mac digital editing system, there was an obvious hole in editing capability for programmes that required only simple cuts rather than complex editing.
This prompted the purchase of a second JVC SVHS recorder. The original model had been discontinued so a comparable model was bought, the SRS-365U, which also featured an RS232 link through which it was envisaged that BBC Schedula could play out material out of hours - this wasn't implemented.
Finally, at great expense, the original PRO machine and newer recorder were renamed as VTA and VTB and joined by an RMG800U edit controller. Initially this caused great problems as the tape tension was wrong on the PRO machine after a recent servicing at Savilles in Nether Poppleton. This took several more trips back to get corrected. Both Lolita and Vanbrugh Paradise made use of the new kit, partly because the version of Adobe Premiere on the Mac tended to lose lipsync with longer clips.
The shuttle controller behaved much like the Sony Umatic one which had preceded it, only this controller used a single jog controller and A/B switch rather than two jog controllers. However, the firmware in the RMG800U was missing one glaring feature: the ability to do subtractive edits (where the two out points are set, then one in point is set). Fortunately the controller used an NEC 78k clone (78214) so its ROMs were extracted and disassembled by Rob Sprowson, but time ran out and the patch was never finished before graduation.
Coupled with a DV combo
In the SRS-365U was serviced by Savilles , but was still not entirely reliable. It would periodically fail to record a viewable picture on the tape due to gross mistracking, but the fault was never repeatable - at Woodstock 2005 two tapes were unplayable but the third to be recorded was fine. This lead to a fairly rapid retirement from active use, especially once the JVC SVHS/DV combined deck was bought in late 2003.
Today the older JVC SVHS machine remains in use as VTB (after a small but vital pulley was glued back into its insides in early 2004), with the JVC SVHS/DV as VTA. The edit controller is still around but is no longer in use.