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Weather Coverage Through The Years

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My recording rig!  Left and Right monitors for tape and DVD viewing.  DVD player/recorder on top.  Beta deck below. My recording rig! Left and Right monitors for tape and DVD viewing. DVD player/recorder on top. Beta deck below.


It's no secret we've covered a lot of tornado events here at News 9.  Hours upon hours of cut-ins and wall-to-wall (continuous) coverage to make sure you stay advised and have the latest and most important information during a severe thunderstorm, blizzard, or a tornado.  What you might not know is that all of our coverage of these events are recorded.  Kept.  Saved to look at, share, and learn from.

Physical media has no doubt changed over the years, so has the methods of recording these events.  One of the most popular forms of said media over the past several years was the Beta (or Betamax) tape.  You won't find them actively used much anymore, if at all, but they were used abundantly to record our severe weather events.

One of the projects I'm currently working on is taking the proverbial mountain of Beta tapes filled with weather coverage, stormtracker video, and even News 9 specials, and transferring it all to DVD.  You don't realize just how many tapes there are until you have to go through every one of them and record all the content to a DVD.  The picture on the right is my setup here in the weather center.  The two monitors show me what's on the tape and, once I record everything, what's on the new DVD.  The top deck is a standard DVD player/recorder.  The monster rig on the bottom would be the Beta deck.  A beast of a rig to hold a beast of a tape.  The Beta tapes can hold anywhere from 10-90 minutes of footage, easily fitting inside the 2-hour limit on the DVDs.

So what will we do once the DVD catalog is complete?  The possibilities are endless!  Just one example: if we need video or even just information from a particular tornado event, we just look up the date, check the log, put the DVD in and find what we're looking for.  Growing up in north Texas and having only worked at News 9 for a couple of years, this process allows me to learn how we handled past weather events and how I can improve now that I'm part of the best weather team in Oklahoma.


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