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Matsumoto - delivery

Matsumoto - delivery

Video odyssey

With no certainty that we were ever going to see some videos to capture, we left our digs on a wing and a prayer and stood at the bus stop next to this eatery that had a recycled look to it.

Even the buildings that do look perfect, kinda do

On the way, I took possibly the worst photo of the change to the farming areas I could have taken from the bus.

Proof that Japan is not all high-rises and neon lights

The only way to have any chance of capturing the videos in time (if there were as many as stated), would be to configure 2 setups. After an hours bus ride, we arrived at the second hand shop. Where the owner met us on the street and was very attentive.

There were 3 second had NTSC VHS decks in the shop, after a quick look at the heads, I requested to test all three before selecting two of them

Having seen that the smaller SANYO on the top had really dirty heads - it was no surprise that it played the test Japanese metal band “Loudness” video as it it was recorded in the midst of a nuclear detonation… it was junk, the SANYO at the bottom though looked superb (for NTSC VHS).

Thankfully, the other deck - a Hitachi, was pretty good too. As we left the shop, I realised we had no way of testing and configuring a capture setup, so we went back to get the video we had been testing with. So far, so good.

Sho and I looked oh-so-hip walking around the streets with high-tech video recorders under our arms! Leads dangling… Sho was not at all embarrassed

We had enquired with the major electronics chain if they had a capture device and were led to believe they did. So back on the bus for little over an hour and after a 20 min walk we entered the shop to the cacophony of sound inside. It is over-powering, it was almost like every meter of shelf space had an explainer video screen with various noises to attract attention, up beat jingles and ultra positive chirpy voices plying the wares. Altogether it sounded like a fast flowing stream to me almost like white noise as every frequency was saturated.

Two stories of things you never knew you needed (but you keep thinking you do as you walk around)

How about a steaming hanger?

Better than a steaming pile of … smelly clothes, right?

Living in efficient housing, means everything has to either be really small or dual purpose. Like miniature ovens.

Or the lounge light that doubles up as your all round wireless speaker so you don’t have to have floor standing ones.

Or the very necessary combined washer dryer

Even in the urinal, you were encouraged to buy highly versatile hot air blowers

Anyhow, you can see we went round the shop a lot - to no avail, they had neither the encoders, or RCA to HDMI adaptors that I could also use, as I had some HDMI to USB capture dongles with me. Then I had a brain wave, there were security systems downstairs and they use RCA composite video in … and connect to HDMI - that must be a potential solution… Well, kinda, but the price was very steep.

So, getting hungry at this point, we stopped by a country wide fast food outlet for a quick nibble. It was very good too. Miso soup in the capped black bowl and brow rice green tea on top right.

After nosh, I had a gut feeling we may find what we were looking at in the DVD, CD, Video and video game exchange shop… so off we went…

Well, would you believe it - the VERY FIRST thing I saw as I entered the shop was the exact things (2 of them) we had come for…

They said it was only one per person, but… fortunately, there were two of us!

Three hours of testing later, we had a nice solution for capturing the videos…

Setup i configured captured from two decks simultaneously, with 3 audio streams, one for left source, one for right and one for my notes.

And I started to appreciate “Loudness - Black Widow, once and for all”

Now was the small matter of not have any videos to transcode… So, we ate some bits for supper… and then a message came to say that Dr. Matsumoto’s wife and daughter were on their way over with source material! Yippee.

When they arrived, we were so happy… but with one proviso, they had brought only one 24 min video…

Well, I rushed into our lodging and dropped it in the deck and videoed the screen capturing, whilst Sho worked on convincing them to bring more… I went outside and played them my video proving we could do the work needed and re-committed to giving them a full set of videos on a memory stick when we were done. We gave them the book papers back and gifted them a 'SPACE. EARTH. HUMAN. and they implied they would be over later with more tapes.

Nine in the evening came and went and we were getting very worried - when all of a sudden, there was an email to say they were on their way over.

Not 50 videos but potentially 50 hours… however, on assessing each video, we are looking at 33 hours (of course) over 18 or so tapes. So… no sleep for me until the job is done. There may be more, but we can do the ones we have for sure.

Still no word on the negatives, we could do those tomorrow at the same time if they turn up - here’s hoping - but we have already got so much.

Video content preview

The first video sent is the one published below. It was captured with the better of the two decks attached to the better of the two encoders. It is the wrong aspect (should be 4x3, however, it is amazing that we can see this quality from Dr. Matsumotos experiments around 3 decades ago. We thank him for allowing us access to this data.

From trying to establish the workload, we can see there are:

  • Many videos of experiments

  • Videos of witness material inspection with microscope/camera and…

  • even a video of Dr. Matsumoto, presenting his work in the flesh in 1998

Totally stoked… Well, will be when it is all safely in the can… (don’t chew the tapes please decks!)

Thankyou to Dr. Matsumoto and his family.

Remote View
Remote View
“Remote View” is a technology, philosophy and commentary newsletter and podcast by Bob Greenyer, where he ‘Looks back to the future through insight and critical fiction’.