Lesley Schissell and Ron Meyer were reporter/anchors for WTVT.
Ron started in 1967 and Lesley joined the station in 1972.
Both asked the station for air-checks over a period of years.
In the summer of 2004, BIG 13 learned from Lesley and Ron
that they had retained some quad tapes and would make them available to BIG 13's
web master Mike Clark for duplication. Lesley
sent six reels while Ron shipped nine. Only one of the reels was still in its own cardboard box.
Mike took the tapes to one of Los Angeles' top firms for
video restoration: Research Video in North Hollywood. Paul Surratt is the owner of Research Video and has spent
the last decade restoring quad tapes. Some
of his clients have included the estates of Dinah Shore, Perry Como, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. NBC, CBS, and ABC
have also used Research Video services.
The WTVT tapes were examined by Surratt and his associate
Bill DiCicco, who was confident that the quads would play back with a minimum
threat of head clogging.
Research Video's Bill DiCicco with an Ampex VTR
At Research Video's North Hollywood facility, a 1970's era Ampex VR-2000 (the standard VTR used at WTVT) is
situated near a rack of newer Betacam recorders at the Research facility.
The older quad tapes are copied to the Betacams for the new
master recording. One treats the Ampex machine with respect in preparation for dubbing the spot reels.
|DiCicco explained that the heads and guides of the Ampex must
be cleaned before and after every tape.
Using a lintless piece of white cloth soaked with Isopropyl
Alcohol, DiCicco carefully wiped the audio and video heads and the
guides before putting one of the Schissell reels on
the source hub.
DiCicco spoke of the many times that older quad tapes had clogged the machine, requiring a head clean. It once took him nine hours to transfer a thirty-minute reel due to the excessive head clogs!
|The Ampex machine made the old familiar whine as the heads revved up to speed.
A green waveform monitor and series of oscilloscopes told DiCicco
what mechanical and electrical adjustments were necessary for each reel.
A picture with uneven stripes of color is called 'banding', a
result of the quad format. Four video heads are used to record
the entire television picture, and each head must be in alignment for a steady
picture and uniform color.
A picture with uneven stripes of color is called 'banding', a result of the quad format. Four video heads are used to record the entire television picture, and each head must be in alignment for a steady picture and uniform color.
Color variations in the picture above are called 'banding'
As the video tape passed the setup color bars, DiCicco tweaked
several control knobs and switches to reduce banding and maximize the signal
coming off of the tape. The
first images came through on the color monitor…Pulse anchor Paul Hoffman
introducing Schissell as the new Sunday evening news anchor. The picture was rock-solid and the colors were true to the
day the tape was made. The WTVT
engineers had done a good job making Schissell's air-check and the results were
paying off more than thirty years later.
1970s edition of Pulse
Tape after tape was loaded onto the vintage VTR and successfully played and copied
onto Betacam stock. Only one tape
caused some clogging, and that was easily dealt with by cleaning the head.
We were extremely lucky.
1972 Pulse Newscast/Director Jim Benedict/Anchor Hugh Smith
Through the courtesy of Meyer's and Schissell's videos, a
window opened up to allow a view thirty years into Channel 13's past.
It was a clear, colorful window showing the old Pulse set, some 16mm film
shot around the station, an interview with then-Governor Claude Kirk, some early
color tape of Hugh Smith, and other rare gems.
The Meyer/Schissell videos were shared with other WTVT
employees at the Channel 13 Employee Reunion held on April 2, 2005.
Thanks to Lesley and Ron, the attendees were given an extra special
Special Thanks to Paul Surratt and Bill DiCicco of Research Video
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