TV Tape Players - Island of Sanity

Island of Sanity

Entertainment & Media

TV Tape Players

I recently wrote an article about TV Computers, and how they bear so little resemblance to real computers. But perhaps one can forgive Hollywood writers for not understanding computers: They are, after all, very complicated machines.

So more puzzling is Hollywood's apparent ignorance of tape players.

How often have you seen this scene: The reporter or detective or spy gets an audio or video tape of the conversation between the villians or some other incriminating incident. He listens to a few seconds, then fast-forwards to get to the part of interest. And when he does, from the speakers we hear the sped-up voices of the people on the tape, slightly high-pitched, and making whiz-whub-whah noises.

Have you ever in your life owned a tape player that did that? On any tape player I've ever owned, when I fast forward or rewind, the player disengages the read heads. I presume they do this partly so that the tape will have a straight path as it moves at high speed, cutting out all the twists and turns around the rollers and the read heads, to reduce the strain on the tape and thus reduce the wear and tear and possibility of breakage. And partly they probably do this precisely to avoid having an annoying whining noise.

Don't people in Hollywood ever use real tape players? I mean, if I was going to make a list of places where you might find sound and video recording equipment, I would think Hollywood would be fairly high on such a list.

© 2008 by Jay Johansen


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