The video Guy...


 

 

 

 

 

I've been fortunate to have had a front row seat to the changes that have occurred in television since that first blurry flickering image appeared on a kinescope tube so many years ago. 

I was first exposed to the technology of television as the son of a chief engineer of a CBS affiliate back in the 1950s, the Golden Age of television.  I was more fascinated by those hypnotic moving waveforms on the oscilloscopes than by the antics of Lucy and Uncle Miltie in front of the camera.  

By the age of 12, I was running a camera, a TK-11, on high school football remotes and Sunday morning church services.  Then I moved behind a Gates Studioette, from camera to audio, and finally . . . to where I really wanted to be in the first place . . . to the camera control unit . . . watching and controlling those green oscilloscope images that had so captivated me.

I later added quad videotape recording and editing to my interests, first on an RCA TRT-1B, next on a TR-4 and then on an Ampex VR-2000 . . . and then came color.

I was in awe of color television . . . from my first experience setting up those Marconi Mk VIIs in 1968 to this day, as video engineer/camera shader doing multi-camera studio and sports shoots using the latest HD cameras.  It's an honor for me to work for networks like ESPN, NBC Sports, CNBC, Comcast, CBS College Sports, Raycom and many others out there on the road. I never tire of trying to get the best images with the equipment at hand. 

While television technology has marched on, I still maintain a connection to its roots.  It's a visceral thing for me . . . the sights, sounds, and even the smells of vintage video equipment never cease to stir my soul. 

In the mid 1970's, I decided that I wanted to go farther . . . I wanted some reason, well, an excuse really, to own and keep some of these machines that created that desire.  The logical way to do that was to start my own video production company.  I began with two secondhand Marconi cameras and an old RCA TR-22 quad recorder installed in a converted motor home.  This was before the TK-76 and other "minicams" that were still a few years away.  If someone wanted a commercial shot on location, film was the only choice at that time.  I thought I could offer that service, shooting video on quad tape, as simply a reason, or really an excuse, to own and play with my toys.  It worked out better than I ever imagined, and for almost 20 years, I started up and engineered one of the most long-lived and successful video production companies in Virginia.  BES Television in Richmond survives and thrives to this day in the very capable hands of Bill Meade and the rest of the crew.  

The first real serious piece of equipment that I added to my meager little remote truck operation in the 70's was an RCA TR-70 quad machine that I purchased in 1974 from a defunct UHF station in Cleveland.  This enabled me to do some primitive editing and to make dubs for distribution to the stations.  I didn't have room for the 70 in the truck, so it lived in my garage.  I'd string cables from the truck to the garage after a shoot, and edit away!

A couple of years later, I added a studio facility as a place to park and work on my truck.  That TR-70 became my workhorse . . . day in and day out.  I loved that machine and cared for it fanatically, as it certainly took care of me.

And now, that very machine and I have been reunited.  I brought it home in 2004, and have lovingly brought it out of hibernation and back to life.  Even though it's been 35 years since I first saw it, the feelings that it stirred in me are back. 

In the summer of 2007, I added a TR-70B from Illinois, and in the spring of 2009, I acquired three TR-70Cs and another 70A....so now, I have six of them.  The sound and the fury of a vintage quad machine are visceral, and if you were ever exposed to them, you never forgot it. 

I've posted a few videos on YouTube on the resurrection of these recent additions under my username there..RCAquadruplex.  Here's a link to the first one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFWY2JzrrM4

So now, I can offer the ability to transfer your quad recordings onto just about any format you need.  In addition to my beloved TR-70s, I've also begun collecting other vintage video equipment.  My latest project is to recreate a “state-of-the-art", circa mid 80's, post production edit suite.  This quest has led to what has become a virtual Ampex "museum.”  Except for my RCA quads and a TK-76 camera, my production company was all Ampex in later years, from my first Type C one-inch machines in 1981, to the VPR-300 D-2 machines I added in 1991.

I developed a fondness for all things Ampex from my very first professional audio tape recorder, a 350 that I bought when I was 16.  Now I'm surrounded with the products that bear that proud name.

I've added an ACE editor, an AVC switcher, ESS-5 still stores, a couple of AVR-2 quads, a VPR-5, VPR-6s, VPR-80s, and most recently, VPR-3s and VPR-300 D2 machines.  So I have the vintage professional video formats pretty well covered and can do about anything with them.

I also have collected a bunch of one of the most coveted pieces of video equipment from the 80s . . . the Ampex Digital Optics . . . ADO.  This Emmy Award winning device still amazes me, with its responsive feel and its incredible smoothness of motion . . . and the fantastic video performance that came to be synonymous with the name Ampex.

I've also become fascinated with VPR-3s...never having worked with one in their heyday.  I have six of them now and they are simply masterful pieces of machinery. The VPR-3 set the standard as the ultimate Type C video recorder and is considered by many to be the ultimate analog video recorder.  

I have three of them online, with the Emmy award winning Zeus processors, ready to help you with any of your NTSC Type C transfer needs.

Additional information about my transfer services can be found on other pages of my website.  Feel free to contact me regarding your needs and I'll try to help you any way that I can.  You can email me at:

Guy "at" GuySpiller.com

(please replace "at" with @)

or leave a voice message on my phone:

804-379-2050

Thanks for checking out my website!