Got 4 beta-5-tapes from a customer yesterday. I have a Sony CL-20 betamaxplayer. When i play these tapes, all of them seems to go too fast. And distorted picture.
Is there several types of speed on betamax? SP and LP? And if there is, are there any players that can handle both these?
The tapes where homemade. I found after some googling that at some point here where cameras that could record twice the speed what a player could play....?
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What is 'Beta-5' ? Maybe you meant Betacam.
If so the actual tape cassette is the same but the recording was different and incompatable with consumer Betamax recorders/players.
Betamax has 3 speeds, βI, βII and βIII, In addition βII and βIII can be SuperBeta or ED Beta, So in total there are 7 formats of Betamax, A ED Beta player can playback all of them and costs over $1000 in the used market. The professional SD Betacam has 5 formats, Betacam, Betacam SP, Digi-Beta, Betacam SX and Betacam MPEG IMX. First identify the tapes and find the player that can play them back.
Nitpick as a former Betaphile to reduce confusion. Betamax refers only to Sony Beta VCRs. Beta, is the format. This is why it's SuperBeta, ED Beta, Betacam, etc.
The consumer market also had βIs(High Band) which I think was introduced in the prosumer SL-HF1000 and βI-SHB (Super High Band) which was introduced in the SL-HF2100. Only machines, usually high end, could playback these recordings. Here's a list of types and speeds from mrbetamax.com https://mrbetamax.com/ModelByFeaturesList.html.
IIRC, a consumer βI recording would playback fast on a machine not supporting that speed. And the playback of the high band recordings would be distorted.
It's been a long time and I only tried it once, IIRC a ED-Beta recording would barely playback on non Ed-Beta machine.
For the past few years, there have been a number Japanese ED-Beta machines being offered on e-Bay. Many under $1000, though shipping from Japan may kill the deal. Ed-Beta was much more popular in Japan, where they have always been quality conscious and there were a number of home models other the Prosumer EDV-7500/EDV-7300 and EDV-9500/EDV-9300 available in the U.S. and Canada.
Ok. But the inference here is that the OP is in a non-NTSC country and none of the info relates to this.
To the OP. Upload a pic of one of these Beta-5 tapes. Might well help to identify the appropriate player.
TL;DR. Some of the following isn't necessarily related to the OP, but I feel that sharing info about my once beloved format may be helpful others. FYI out of the 20+ Betamax machines I had since 1981 died off one by one and by the mid 2000's I switched to digital video for most of my viewing. Sadly, when I had to move in 2017, I literally couldn't give them away and i had to trash them all along with hundreds of tapes. *SIGH*
Ok. But the inference here is that the OP is in a non-NTSC country and none of the info relates to this.
True in that the I don't believe any of the high end Betamax machines had European versions. but AFAIK, the industrial Beta formats were used overseas. At least Betacam SP was: Despite the format's age Betacam SP remained a common standard for standard definition video post-production into the 2010s. The recording time is the same as for Betacam, 30 and 90 minutes for S and L, respectively. Tape speed is slightly slower in machines working in the 625/50 format, increasing tape duration by one minute for every five minutes of run time. So, a 90-minute tape will record 108 minutes of video in PAL.
Here's a site that lists all the PAL Beta machines: https://www.palsite.com/tech.py?model=slc30tech.html
The SL-C20 is a basic machine from 1983 that probably doesn't support Beta I and definitely doesn't support Beta Is, Beta I SHB and ED-Beta.
Rereading the OP, I think he/she meant 4-5 Beta tapes, not Beta-5.
Thinking about it, the too fast speed may be caused by a damaged control track and the picture distortion may be caused by the incompatible SuperBeta or SuperBeta High Band recording.
Edit: If the OP opens flap and sees the bottom of the tape is crinkled, the control track is very likely damaged, which would also distort the picture since it can't be tracked properly.
Interesting. DB83, have you ever seen a box like that?
I think the 5 refers to the ~5 hour recording time at Beta III PAL. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax
The good news is that it's definitely a regular Beta tape. Though that doesn't mean it couldn't have been recorded at any of the BI variations or with one of the professional formats.
Could you slightly fast forward the tape and open the lid (push the button on the side to release the catch) and show the tape? My suspicion is the that bottom edge is damaged and is messing up the tracking.
I've never seen a box like that.
I did chose Betamax over vhs for my initial home-recording format (even built up quite a library of commercial stuff) but do not recall ever seeing a NEC blank tape over here.
Other than the suggestion to open the tape, I think the OP needs to ask his customer the source of the recordings (original labels might have helped as well)
The OP needs more gear if he is doing this for an income, A S-Video Super Beta HI-Fi is the least he should have, I will be pissed if I pay someone to transfer my tape using a top loader or low end machine over composite or TV RF.
Oddly, someone with a very similar issue with a very similar Betamax VCR posted this thread a couple months ago.
These problem tapes might be NTSC format recorded in another country years ago. But since the likelihood of finding NTSC format βI or βII tapes in PAL countries like Norway and Australia is practically nil, the most probable cause of this speeded audio/distorted video issue is the tapes either having edge damage as suggested earlier, or being in professional broadcast Betacam format.
If you're primarily doing work for consumers bringing in their personal family camcorder videos, it may be best for you to simply decline the occasional pro Betacam clients. Finding a compatible, well-functioning PAL Betacam VCR today would be difficult and expensive with very little payoff in usefulness for your business. Unless of course you are mostly doing transfer work for pro-level clients who would often ask you to digitize Betacam tapes: in that case, investing in a Betacam VCR to supplement your standard consumer-format Betamax would be a practical necessity.
Last edited by orsetto; 23rd May 2021 at 17:47.
Interesting. I remember that thread, but didn't read it. Quite a coincidence!
Unfortunately, Beta never did well in Europe, IIRC being even less popular than V2000, so there were no high end machines sold there. Making the possibility of play any Beta I tape even more difficult.
Edit: Out of curiosity, do VHS tapes with a damaged edge have the same issue with not playing back at the speed and picture? My experience with VHS machines is very limited compared to my Beta usage.
Last edited by lingyi; 23rd May 2021 at 18:23.
Like Svhs vs vhs, pro Beta shells each have different notches in their shell to designate intended format. So that tape should be checked for a notch. Without it, it could NOT have been recorded on a pro deck or camcorder in a pro format, which would eliminate that avenue of conclusions.
According to this https://mrbetamax.com/BetacamCassettes.htm, Betacam tapes are don't have the β symbol like the cassette the OP shows. Also, assuming [the] box is [for the tape], AFAIK, Betacam boxes would show the running time, e.g. 20 Min or 30 Min, not the tape length.
I once saw, I think, 30 Min Betacam tapes next to the ED-Beta tapes at my favorite audio/visual store. I confirmed with the salesperson that it was compatitble with my ED-Beta machine and would record 3 hours at ED-Beta βII. I excitedly bought two at $28 each exclaiming what a great buy it was because branded ED-Beta tapes were limited to 2 hours (L-500). My girlfriend just laughed. When I asked her why, she said I could buy two L-500's for the price of this single tape. I explained..."But, but it's 3 hours at βII!"! She didn't get it. LOL!
Edit: As I recall, there wasn't a notch in the ED-Beta cassette because on a lark I tried recording on in my regular Betamax. Of course it didn't work. ;-p. I'm sure the Betacam tape did have a notch.
Last edited by lingyi; 23rd May 2021 at 19:35.
Gah... just realized I mis-read the OP problem description. He said the audio is sped up, not slowed down as would be the case with a Betacam incompatibility. Tape playing too fast in a PAL Sony CL-20 would perhaps be caused by the tape being recorded in ultra-slow NTSC Beta III mode in another country, then brought to Norway and forgotten about until now. Or, edge damage to the control track of the tape leading to the CL-20 failing to lock on normal PAL playback speed. The tape being recorded in a Betacam unit would be a distant third possibility, unlikely given the consumer β logos on the tape shell as lingyi noted. Unlikely but possible: the oldest original Betacam format used ordinary Betamax tape formulation, so some Betacam pros occasionally made do with consumer Betamax blanks when proper Betacam blanks weren't on hand. The symptom of sped up audio would be unusual: if it played at all in a CL-20, a Betacam tape should have slowed audio (not sped up, unless edge damaged).
Betacam tapes have additional holes, I have a bunch of them here and as far as I know a Betacam machine will not record on a consumer tape, Not sure about the first generation Betacam decks though.
No they will not. Not unless you custom cut the notch/hole. Some have done so, but it would be obvious in this case.
I am in agreement that it is more likely beta3 ntsc.
Did some checking and βI SHB was introduced with the SL-HF1000. I tried it once on my SL-HF2100 and wasn't impressed, even with the best source I had a the time, Laserdisc. When I got my ED-Betas, I was definitely impressed!
I swear I read somewhere, maybe in a Japanese magazine (could only drool over the pictures and make out some English specs) that the Japanese EDV-9000 could record ED-Beta at β1! Probably just my wishful imagination. *SIGH*
ED Beta at βI speed, Man that's like HDV. I had the EDV-7500 and made some recording on a digital Betacam metal tape but the tape formulation wasn't compatible so had some chroma artifacts, I guess the tape was too thin for the βII speed, It would've worked better if the machine was capable of βI high speed but I know it's not. I sold the machine for over $500 on ebay and now I regret it.
I still recall, back about 1992, when my next door neighbor was having a garage sale. He had a box of Beta movies, and a Betamax deck. Nobody bought it. He offered it to me, either for a few bucks, or for free, and I passed. Why would I want a failed format? Why would I want inferior Beta copies of movies we already had as VHS? <sigh> Hindsight. I think he trashed it shortly thereafter. No idea what the model was. He was a older gym teacher, so probably not an impressive model.
That was the closest I ever got to owning a Betamax.
It was 1982 and I was looking into getting into home recording. I read all the video magazines of the day and had my heart set on Betamax due to the better picture quality. I was about to pull the trigger on a Sony SL-5800, a beautiful BII, BIII recorder and the ability to play BI by flipping a slider switch on the back of the machine. It was at this time I started looking around and noticed basically everyone else had VHS including a friend of a friend who had an impressive collection of VHS tapes, pre-recorded and recorded off a newer channel of the time, HBO. In the end I ended up purchasing a new RCA VFT-650, 2-4-6 hr. with a very new feature of the time, a IR(wireless) remote! The Sony had a very nice remote, with a volume knob which controlled it's scan speed up to some crazy fast speed but it was wired and I really liked the wireless.
Anyway about a year later I wanted to get into copying some of my friends tapes as well as commercial tapes so I ended up purchasing a new Sanyo Beta-cord VCR. I figured it would be the best of two worlds, better Beta quality and about half the cost of a similar VHS deck of the day. See I couldn't afford another $1000+ VFT-650 nor the $500+ of a cheaper VHS deck but figured I could swing the <$400 the Sanyos were going for. The Sanyo was inexpensive but a pretty decent deck and it had the advantage of actually having acceptable quality on it's slowest speed, BIII. I was never impressed enough with VHS's SLP(EP) mode to use it, audio quality(pre HiFi) was atrocious and video quality wasn't much better, I was basically an SP guy with VHS and BIII guy with Beta with the occasional BII for something I really cared for and musical things as again audio quality with BIII wasn't the best due to it's linear format, again pre HiFi.
A little while later I ended up finding a cosmetically damaged floor model Magnavox VHS, exact same as my RCA for <$500 and picked it up so I could copy VHS onto a VHS and a bit after that another Beta, my first love, a used Sony SL-5800 for cheap, I believe around $200 which included the fantastic Sony Beta-stacker that stacked 3 beta tapes and would automatically switch them with the 1 tape already in the machine, giving me the ability to record up to 20hrs unattended (5h using BIII x 4 tapes).
Quite a few years later I picked up my first VHS HiFi deck, a nice Mitsubishi U57 and also picked up another SL-5800 for little to nothing as well as it's earlier cousin the SL-5600.
So ya I had/still have but never use anymore, quite a few early Beta's, I sold my Sanyo I believe when I got my first SL-5800 but still have almost all my original VCRs, just sitting on shelves nowadays. Switched to DVDRs back in '05 and currently mostly using my Tivos to timeshift and Avermedia 310 for the occasional HD archiving, and I still use my DVDRs for the occasional SD archiving or to give to relatives of something I think they might like.
Last edited by jjeff; 25th May 2021 at 16:58. Reason: correction
Loved mine, but as many of us did I mostly gave up on Beta by 1984. After my elegant SL-5800 was stolen, I replaced it when Macys had a fire sale on the then-new SL-5100 Beta HiFi model. Huge, heavy, clunky and ungainly VCR with phenomenal audio and excellent video. Unfortunately none too reliable, after its third expensive repair trip in two years I caved and went all-VHS with the first Panasonic VHS HiFi PV-1730 (gorgeous VCR with terrible HifI tracking interchange and mediocre video recording quality, but reliable). I kept a single Betamax on and off over the years, mostly for archival dubbing of VHS SP>Beta II (VHS>VHS was noticeably poorer). Ironically, my Beta tapes have aged far far worse than any of my VHS (dropout city), so whatever gains in PQ those tapes originally had over VHS were destroyed by time (while 95% of my "mediocre" VHS tapes display no signs of age deterioration whatsoever).
Amusingly, Sony eventually recycled the 5600 and 5800 model names for a couple of really superb studio-grade SP-only SVHS decks in the late 1990s. Not as elegant in appearance or feel as their Beta predecessors, but extremely well made with super-clean transparent frame TBC built in. I managed to snag the SVP-5600 player deck last year for a bargain price: it will be the last SVHS I ever get rid of.
Last edited by orsetto; 25th May 2021 at 15:48.