Scott Stirling, February 1, 2012
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For generations, tape and video have worked hand in hand. Since the very first video picture was seen on a black and white monitor, we’ve needed a way to record and store the images we create. Live shots are great, but when we developed the ability to play them back later, we opened the door to tremendous freedom and creativity.

Since I started in the television industry over 8 years ago, I've dreamed of a day that tapes would be a thing of the past.

So in the early 1950’s, videotape recordings began. Since then, videotape has changed in many ways. As the technology of tape (and recording methods) evolved, the quality increased and the size of the tape decreased. Any veteran of TV production can recall the whirl of 2” reel-to-reel Quad machines as they shuttled to their next cue. Next was the mini-DV tapes that can hold an entire hour of video in a pocket-sized shell, and now, no tapes to be found in linear editing systems. It's like another world.

Each new leap seems like we’ve finally reached perfection, but the progress doesn’t stop. Technology is once again changing the way we record, store, and play back our media. Since video has transitioned into the digital realm, the ability to store gigabits of ones and zeros on ever-evolving media is growing rapidly.

The reasons are pretty obvious. High capacity media like hard disks, thumb drives and SD cards are much more affordable than tape. They are also faster – instead of copying footage in real-time, digital storage allows transfer of files at much higher speeds. Speaking of saving time, when the media is in a digital file form, media can now be edited immediately—goodbye capturing. And of course, there’s no need to purchase expensive equipment like extra VTRs.

Serveral years ago, we started a television network in Canada and knew there just had to be a better way than to run the programming from deck after deck of beta sp. After many exhaustive hours, we came up with our own digital work flow not only to process the content, but to deliver the network to the BDU's in Canada. Back then it was virtually impossible for us to receive our content in any other form than tape...Fast forward to today, we not only deliver our networks (2 of them now - Wild TV and The Cult Movie Network) to Canada and internationally using a heavily morphed version of the original digital broadcasting system, but receive all of our content in a digital form. The storage media listed above has been the norm, but with ever increasing bandwidth and faster internet connections, we're now starting to receive our content through IP delivery. This will be the norm very soon!

"A Sony factory in Miyagi, Japan was the sole manufacturer of high-quality HDCAM-SR tapes used extensively in TV and film production. But it was badly damaged in the quake and tsunami, causing an industry that relies heavily on the tapes to panic. The pricey tapes that usually go for $280 now cost $1,000 or more -- and many shelves are empty."

The above is a snippet from an article published in March of 2011 shortly after the Tsunami in Japan. Who knew that ONE factory provided the whole world with that type of tape and that a natural disaster would practically cripple an industry for a short time. If we all worked with digital delviery, you wouldn't have had any issues and it would have been business as usual.

GigEcast handles digital delivery of content for many of our clients...most recently we encoded and delivered assets that we had to convert from NTSC to PAL, encode in a specific format and deliver the high res files using our fibre connection. All totaled...3 days from start to finish. Where did we deliver? Italy. Total tape and shipping costs to the client? ZERO!

At this point, I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with Closed Captioning. With the ability to deliver your content to MOST television networks in a digital form, the cost of dubs and master tapes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With GigEcast being at the forefront of captioning and workflow technology, we deliver the closed captioning directly to the television networks that you air on via a small file and you in turn send them 1st generation digital video files with no quality loss (televison just looks better now). Did I mention NO TAPES!?

Hopefully all television networks stop requiring delivery of content in the old fashioned ways and get up to speed in the new digital realm.