It’s no secret I’m a bit of a packrat. I mean, my apartment is literally stuffed to the gills with crap. One of the items I just cannot bear to throw away is this:
This is a box of old VHS & SVHS tapes from years past. From the first short films Jeff and I made from about age 10 to the submaster of Sean’s SVHS promo reel showing off our improv troup circa 1992, this box has been sitting in the various apartments I have lived in, gathering dust the whole while. I’ve got this great edit suite with this super cool swiss-army knife capture card that can pull from any deck on earth (the Decklink Extreme); all I need to do is find a decent SVHS deck that has component video outputs & RS422 device control and i’ll be able to digitize this box of crap, stick it on a DVD, and preserve the embarrassing moments contained therein forever!
But c’mon, component SVHS decks? They only came out during the setting sun of the 1/2″ tape era. Now and then, when the fancy strikes me, I check Ebay or Craigslist for such an animal, hoping that there is the off chance that one will surface and I’ll be able to pick it up.
200 bucks and three years of searching later, I’ve got myself one of the last SVHS decks ever produced – a JVC BR-S622U. A dude from the CBC had it in his home suite and it’s been sitting in a box for years; he finally decided to list it. It’s nicely maintained, the heads are clean, the picture is mint and now it’s sitting in my apartment, ready to one again spring into action. Final Cut talks directly to it via the Decklink card, so I can control it straight from the Mac; it’s got BNC component video out, XLR audio; this thing is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! It’s sitting on top of my Umatic deck (which I bought a couple years ago for a hundred bucks to capture my old demo reels). What a crazy pile of antique formats!
Ooooh, there’s gold in that there box o’ tapes, I’m sure of it. If anyone else from my past has some old embarassing footage laying around (Gio; whatever happened to the Europe travel footage?!) this thing takes BOTH VHS-C and full size VHS (and, of course, SUPER VHS! Whoo!) c’mon over and we’ll capture that crap!