VT is dead, long live “Roll VT”
VT or video tape is pretty much dead now.
We’ve moved into digital workflows that no longer rely on tape but everyone still recognises and calls out “Roll VT”.
This harks back to a time when very little in the studio gallery was integrated or automated. There was a VT operator responsible for looking after all the A and B rolls of pre-recorded video tape. The operator loaded the rolls of tape and lined them up to a point where the tape was ready to playout the required video from the deck.
It’s all under control, IP control
Strictly speaking these days “Roll VT” only involves pressing a button on the ATEM switcher’s control panel and IP commands take care of the rest. The required Hyperdeck file then plays into the switcher. However, front panel jog and transport keys are still there allowing old skilled hands to master new media just like linear tape.
PAL tape decks seem like relics now. These professional machines were huge mechanical beasts even though the resolution handled was quite low. Nowadays the opposite is true, the files are huge but the machines much smaller and more elegant like the minute Hyperdeck Studio Mini. Even the media is smaller when considering reels and VHS tapes against 2.5” solid state drives and professional V90 SDXC cards.
Edit ready files
Today’s Hyperdecks may record to new media with a linear tape feel but gone are the days of marking and splicing linear tape. Instead the Hyperdeck’s recordings are transferred as edit ready, H.265, uncompressed raw, ProRes or DNxHD files. Meaning a Hyperdeck opens the doors to a myriad of possible workflows and non-linear editing applications like Davinci Resolve, Avid and Adobe to name a few.
So let us embrace the new Hyperdecks and say goodbye to the old days but please let’s keep on rolling VT.