Sunday, February 28, 2016

the taper

hello there

and here we go, look you see, with one of them sort of, partially quasi technically helpful sets of observations and tips, dressed up and somewhat covered with my random words of passing interest.

following the, if moi may be so bold as to say as such, triumph of a request from one Uncle (no, not that one or that one, the other one) to transform 40 year old tape to CD, another Uncle (actually yes that one) asked if i could do something similar. the answer was, of course, yes. well, yes followed by "let me see if the, as it were, equipment still works".

the request this time was to have a look see, you, if i couldn't transform the wonders of VHS into the format known as DVD. the first aspect of this quest, then, was to see that a TV i happened to have here up in my elevated shed still worked.

yes, it does. well, i expected it to, but you never know. it has, after all, been in storage for over two years, and sailed upon waters past sharks, Somalian pirates and whatever to get to its new, presumably final, home. i had just not bothered to plug it in since we, and our stuffs of stuff, landed.

what's that in the background? it's a smart eroticus homous calendar what Spiros got me off of Greece. very interesting and frequently arousing it is, but that's not important right now.

a working TV is essential to the project so that one, or if you like i, may see exactly what is being fed into a DVD recording device. which brings us to the next stage - with a working tele now all i needed was my smart LG DVD Recorder to be in perfect working order.

as a slice of technology, the DVD Recorder that more or less works like a VHS or (ahem) Beta must hold a record for being so revolutionary and yet dying off so quick. sure, you can still get them (despite urban legends we shall get to), but who does? these days discs are cheap to buy, TV shows that you missed are available freely via official and unofficial internet "streaming" services, and most satellite companies throw you a box that you can "digitally" record shows on.

The standalone DVD Recorder, which this machine here is, has other uses, though. and it is these other uses that i was requested to do and what i would quite like it to do.
oh, i see. after getting the rotation of the first two pictures right, google and apple are fighting once again. there is to be no third time lucky, and sorry that this picture is sideways.

what's this picture of? the back of the LG TV. it's awesome, man. look at all them connection ports. and this is excluding the other side of the back of the tele, where you can add an aerial. no less than three HDMI ports, that's boss that is.

what sort of LG tele is this? the one that was the biggest we could find that was still small enough to fit into the TV stand what Grant had left us for our house in South Africa. 34" or 36" i think, sorry, i do not have a tape measure.

why didn't we just get an absolutely massive TV set, then get rid of the confines of the TV stand that Grant left us? a mix of reasons. sentiment, for sure - Grant did leave it with us, after all. also the cost of getting a new stand. and, if we're honest the fact that my Dad pretty much hacked, drilled, welded and blowtorched the TV stand to fit where it was in our house in such a way that there was no way with ease that it could be removed, let alone replaced.

onwards, then, and the first point at which it looked like the wheels may fall off of this whole project, possibly before it began. the DVD Recorder still had the factory issued moulded two pin plug on it. as would be standard in the Africa of the South, i simply got an adaptor to plug it into, with the intention of plugging the below in and getting on with testing my VHS to DVD conversion power.

did it work? nope. here in England, very much unlike South Africa, they most decidedly do not, in any way, shape or form, f*** around with electrical safety. these two pin adaptors here are locked into a 1 amp fuse, with the intention that you only use them on low electrical use equipment, most commonly razors or if you like shavers.

does the above mean that neither the DVD Recorder, or any other electrically demanding appliance, will not work? not at all, you just need to change the two pin plug to a standard UK three pin one, with the correct fuse inside the plug. 

whereas i quite agree that the above look like boss implements, or if you like instruments of torture and persuasion, i have my screwdrivers and pliers out here to use as part of the action, or if you like ritual, of changing the plug. you can't prove that i, now or ever, did anything else with them.

how do you know the right fuse for the electrical device in the UK? there are some calculations you can do in this respect, but for the most part you do not. new plugs here, as a standard, come with the maximum street legal fuse in them, which is the 13 amp one. most appliances don't need this much amp fusing, man, but it does no harm to use the higher one. live a little, just have 13 amp fuses in all your plugs and then it's not something you ever have to worry about.

a sideways, thanks to blogger vs apple on rotation, look at my most beloved pliers? for sure.

long term readers of this blog will know all about it, but for everyone else, man i f*****g love my pliers. they are awesome, and can be used for everything from basic dentistry to assisting with drilling and smoking and, indeed, opening and closing a car window when the handle breaks off.

anyway, back to the matter at hand. did the DVD Recorder, now resplendent with a shiny new English plug, work? sure, as the below picture shows, and after i worked out which of the many ports on the back of the TV (see above) i needed to use to connect it.

when was the last time i actually used this DVD Recorder? December 2013, not long before we were all packed up and moved. i know this because, as you can partially see, the last thing i recorded before leaving SA was the memorial service for Mr Nelson Mandela. the awful, awful, lack of skill or ability broadcast by SABC, granted, but also unedited, so you can hear all the boos and abuse which greeted Zuma as he disgraced the event with his horrid, self-centred speech.

know this of the Mr Mandela memorial -  i am aware of the fact that many Americans do not like him, or what he has done to their country. but, for me and for many others, the speech with Barack Obama gave at this memorial was not only moving and poignant, but all that we wanted to hear from a world leader at that time of great grief. for his speech alone, for giving the care and the strength the world needed when one of the planet's most loved children passed away, i will be forever grateful to the man, and indeed shall always admire and respect him.

some video of the DVD Recorder doing a high speed dub from its 320GB hard drive onto a blank disc, just to see if it does indeed all work as it should? sure, but even by the low down standards of video on this blog, it's not really interesting footage.


why would i wish to record VHS onto DVD via a standalone DVD Recorder? if you are asking this then i assume it's with reference to the fact that you can get all sorts of devices to record such things directly on to a PC. i am aware of this, and all my experiences with them say that this route is the better one.

recording VHS, or any external source, onto a PC is a lot of arsing around. there are dozens of settings - ratio, sound, etc - that you have to experiment with, and even then what you settle on doesn't always come out in the quality you either expected or wanted. also, many times i have seen VHS to PC conversion end up with sound either out of synch, or just missing.

with a standalone DVD Recorder, what you see is what you get. no settings to mess with other than picture quality. just plug, play, record and do.

a picture of a video file being dubbed from the DVD Recorder onto a disc? sure, but once again they have elected to rotate the picture sideways, sorry.

oh yeah, the "urban legend" of DVD Recorders like this, i nearly forgot sorry. i am not sure about the rest of the world, but in South Africa a story started that DVD Recorders were declared illegal at the request of DSTV, then then at the time only satellite / pay TV provider. whilst they vanished off the shelves, i don't think it was so much for that reason as it was that the technology, as mentioned, became pretty much obsolete more or less as soon as it hit the market. why, after all, would the courts make something illegal just for the sake of the profits of a company which had a monopoly on services? a quick google search says you can quite happily, and presumably legally, purchase DVD Recorders like this one, both here in the UK and in other corners of the world.

as for the DVD Recorder functionality, it's smart. if you record to the hard drive first you can, as seen above, dub straight on to a disc - and at high speed to, so long as you've not edited the video. and trim or edit the video is something you can do, in a user friendly way, on the device with what you have recorded.

whilst with a DVD-R disc you simply record and go, with a DVD+R disc you have to "finalize" it so that it will play on other machines. i generally find +R discs are more reliable, so try to only use them and, on the instances when i am recording, try to remember to finalize, as you can sideways see here.

so, phase one of this taping project is done. the equipment works and is ready. now i just need my Uncle (you know which one, see above) to turn up with an armed and fully operational video machine, and the tapes to make into discs.

what will be on the tapes that i am transforming? home video mostly, i would imagine. i mean, of some of the tapes have illicit or suppressed footage that governments would kill to keep buried then nice one, but i think for the most part it's going to be family and friends having fun.

splendid be it if any of the technical stuff in this blog post has been of use or interest to anyone!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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