Vintage AMPEX VR1200B 2″ Quadruplex VTR Unearthed

I occupy a studio space in a building that is a former movie shooting facility turned into an artist hovel. The building itself is wonderfully old but the hallways are also full of ancient audio and video equipment from the movie days. One of the things that got the attention of our RnD and tech geek was the AMPEX VR1200B Quadruplex videotape recorder from 1966. The machine stands about 5′ tall, about the same in width, and weighs ‘under 1000 pounds’ as the spec sheet puts it. This was one of the first machines to use magnetic tape technology for recording video in the form of 2″ quad tape for video, as opposed to film that was used previously.

A couple interesting points about this machine:
– 60PSI Air was needed for air bearings and a Venturi system for holding the 2″ tape in alignment;
– These machines were the workhorses in TV Stations throughout the 60’s and 70’s.  Running these machines required a full time technician!

Here’s the beast in action:

A photoset of AMPEX VR1200B

An Overview of Ampex History: