Latest acquisitions – Sony EIAJ 1/2″ Helical VTRs

One of the earliest non-broadcast video tape recording formats to find popular use in business, education and social media settings is the 1/2″ EIAJ Helical Reel-to-reel video format. We now have three such machines!

As a user of this format in the early/mid 1970s, I’ve always wanted the opportunity to digitally capture recordings made on the ageing black-and-white reels of 1/2″ tapes that I shot both as a student and also as a community programmes producer at the Milton Keynes (UK) Channel 40 community cable TV station between 1976 and 1979.

Image of our Sony AV-3620CE EIAJ Half-Inch B&W VTR

Our recently acquired Sony AV-3620CE EIAJ Half-Inch B&W VTR

Unfortunately, the VTRs capable of reproducing tapes are extremely rare – and properly functioning examples of the Sony “CV” and “AV” series machines are an even greater rarity!

For over 30 years, I’ve had a Sony AV-3670CE Helical VTR but, unfortunately, it developed a fault long before I got round to digitising my analogue tapes. Recently, I was lucky enough to be offered two more machines capable of reproducing tapes such as the Sony V-60H 1/2″ “High Density” Helical Scan videotapes pictured here. Sadly, neither the Sony AV-3620CE nor the earlier Sony CV-2100CE VTR are yet in a fully serviceable condition.

Thankfully, we now have service manuals for two of the three machines, so there’s the hope that we’ll be able to get them restored to full working order – and when we do we’ll be able to offer our clients the service of transferring (via Timebase Correction and video processing adjustments) Sony half-inch videotape reels to digital tape or editable files.

Watch this space!

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