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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

Old Tapes Made New Again

As thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of videotapes deteriorate in libraries and archives around the world, one San Fernando Valley company decided they could be put to better use. Media Distributors Inc. started a new program this summer to take videotape used by film and television studios and production and post-production houses, wipe them clean of their content and have them re-used rather than end up in a landfill. The Green Partners Program is a way for media companies to be environmentally friendly and save money by not having to purchase factory-sealed tape, said Tom Evans, senior vice president of marketing for Media Distributors, which has an office in Studio City. “The level of acceptance and the number and type of customers range from movie studios, television studios, post-production and production companies and even into government and the Fortune 500,” Evans said. As companies move from analog storage to digital and high-definition storage, something has to be done with all the tape. Media Distributors takes the tape and puts it through a nine-step process to erase the content, and remove flaws, labels and ink. The re-used tapes are just as good if not better than brand new tapes with the cost savings to studios and production companies at about 50 percent, Evans said. Additionally, unlike new tapes that create greater friction across a tapehead, a re-used tape is smoother and cuts down on maintenance to VTRs and Camcorders, Evans said. Video Mail Service United Online Inc. launched in August its new Video Mail service for users of its NetZero and Juno e-mail services. Now a personal video can be added to an e-mail without the recipients having to download the video. The video mail service is available to both free and paid NetZero and Juno members. The new program eliminates sending videos as e-mail attachments meaning recipients can forego the lengthy amount of time they take to download, said United Online President and CEO Mark Goldston. “With our video mail feature, you upload the video through your browser, or shoot a new one with a webcam, and send a link that the recipient clicks on to view the video,” Goldston said. “The player is in the browser so there is no downloading involved.” Steve’s Blog Starnet Data Design Inc. CEO Steve Marks joined the corporate blogosphere with “Steve’s Thoughts on Technology” at the Westlake Village-based company’s website. The personal blog allows Marks to use his 20 years of experience to comment on the benefits and challenges that varied technological advances present to small and medium-sized businesses. He has received good feedback from colleagues and customers on his thoughts on technology published at other websites, Marks said. “With the availability of the refreshed company website and the growing communication potential of corporate blogging, I figured there must be a wider audience who may find my thoughts interesting if not helpful,” Marks said. Distributor Agreements Ceramic chip manufacturer Johanson Technology Inc. signed a distribution agreement with Digi-Key Corp. The deal between Camarillo-based Johanson and Digi-Key puts Johanson’s inductors, capacitors and filters in Digi-Key’s print and online catalogues. Sister company Johanson Dielectrics Inc. in Sylmar also has a distribution agreement with Digi-Key for its ceramic chip capacitors. The agreement allows Johanson Dielectrics to expand its sales throughout the world, said Tom Blaskovich, vice president of sales. New Technology The corporate research group Thomson showcased some of its new tech products for digital content workflow at IBC 2007 in Amsterdam earlier in September. Demonstrations included video fingerprinting technology used to identify copyright-protected content and track distribution of illegal copies; content preparation library software streamlining the formatting and organization of AV multimedia content for use in various applications; and automatic vision modeling-video pointing technology enabling new video processing applications to deliver a high-quality viewing experience from large to small screens. In addition, the corporate research group presented three papers. The corporate research group is part of the Thomson Technology Division based in Burbank. Clean Storage Also taking part in IBC 2007 was Nexsan, a Thousand Oaks-based developer of storage systems. Nexsan used the tech show for the European debut Assureon, an archiving system for the television and film industries. The Assureon SA Searchable Archive Appliance stores up to 20 million files with a browser-type search engine for rapid retrieval of audio, video, music, blogs and streaming content. Nexsan also used the show to feature how environmentally friendly their storage systems are. Nexsan systems have up to 25 times better consumption than their competitors. For example, the AutoMAID product allows its extreme-density storage systems to power down disc drives to an idle state to conserve energy yet provide quick access to data. The explosive growth in rich media and its substantial long-term access and storage requirements makes power saving storage a necessity, said Gary Watson, CTO of Nexsan. “Every Nexsan storage solution is designed to help our customers reduce their power needs and save money while ensuring they have the most advanced and reliable storage solution available today,” Watson said. Staff Reporter Mark Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at mmadler@sfvbj.com .

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