Image Processing Reference
If you are ingesting from reel-to-reel formats, make sure the head arrangement is correct
for the tape you are playing back because there are several ways the tracks could have
been organized and some very old tape may not yield the audio you expect.
Back in the days of “steam-driven-wireless,” radio news-gathering reporters used
2-track, open-reel tape formats. The portable kit only recorded on one track, which allowed
the tape to be turned over. The tape reels were 5.25 inches and carried 15 minutes of tape
running at 7.5 inches per second (ips). Using both sides allowed 30 minutes to be recorded
in the field.
Back at home base these tapes could be played back on a 2-track machine but the “B”
channel needed to be switched off to avoid playing back the other side in reverse while lis-
tening to the “A” channel. Turning the tape over was discouraged since there was often
some cross-talk between the tracks when it was played back in the studio. The best-qual-
ity solution was to dub the tape while it was played back on the exact same machine as it
was recorded on. This avoided any problems with head alignment and azimuth adjust-
ment between decks. Cutting tape that was recorded on both sides was impossible any-
way, so there was always this delay inherent in getting content to air.
It is only since the turn of the millennium that open-reel tape has been eliminated in
favor of mini-disk formats. These transfer into a PC very easily and allow the content to
be edited and aired almost right away. In the days of open-reel recording, editing in the
field was always possible if the reporter had a razor blade and some splicing tape. These
days, that is only possible if you have a laptop to download the mini-disk audio into so
you can cut it with a sound editor.
If you are ingesting multiple audio tracks, you must be clear about what multi-track audio
format you are using. Historically, reel-to-reel decks supported a variety of formats with
1, 2, 4, and 8 tracks of sound being recorded on a single quarter-inch tape. Studio formats
on half-inch, 1-inch, and even 2-inch tape yield many more tracks. High-end studios have
48, 96, 128, or even more tracks.
Actually, number of tracks is no longer the problem it was in the past. These days,
simply reversing the order of the samples and bouncing the tracks around in something
like Bias Peak, Deck, or E-Magic Logic corrects a lot of that sort of thing. Pro Tools and
Cubase are also candidates for this sort of work. Even those old news-gathering tapes could
be ingested as a stereo pair and then split very easily with the sound editor. Figure 7-5
shows how to do this.
When equipping yourself for audio editing, look for products that allow you to use
VST plug-ins on the PC. On the Mac OS X operating system the favored approach is now
Audio Units. VST plug-ins also work on the Mac OS but are deprecated in Mac OS X while
they are the preferred solution for Classic Mac OS. If your audio workbench supports VST
or Audio Unit plug-ins, then obtain some shareware, freeware, or commercial tools to
process all your audio tracks to remove undesirable artifacts.