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Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

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    42   Jeff’s movie list                                        307   Nixon Resigns Picture               364   CIA the Second Recorder                    455   Nagra II  Video

 

   146   Meet Jeff (Youtube)                                 319   The JBR experience                  373    The Nagra Story, as I see it.                478   The Third Covert recorder

 

   151   My VPR-5                                                  325   My Nagra Source                       400   The Nagra SN  (Copy )                            479   The 1966 Covert recording

 

   220   A different kind of Soundman                333   A Special Gift                             404    There’s only One, Nagra I                   480   The Fourth Recorder

 

   225   What I found out about the Nagra I        335   The DH Difference                     405    The Vienna Collection                         482   Finally Fifth and Final Recorder

 

   232   Conversation with Stefan Kudelski       337   The Yellow Recorder                 422     An appropriate answer                       430    What happened to - Serie Noir?

 

   252   The First Nagra III                                    347   CIA issued Recorder                 425     Early Nagra SN serial #'s                    363   Dating & "NEW" Reverse Record 

 

   268   The Sony and the Telefunken                                                                                                                                                       576   The Nagra IS Differences  by dela 

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My name is Bond, Joseph Bond. I collect tape recorders, yes, "Tape" recorders, from toys to spy to professional movie recorders of the past.
Some of you know me as undercover. Today I'm JBOND 

 
I’m interested in this site and your profession because many of you recorded many great movies on the Nagra recorders I have in my collection. Reading a thread earlier about the movie The Shining, I’m sure that was recorded on a Nagra. Which one, anybody knows?

I want to keep those stories alive before they are gone forever. These were the recorders many of you started with, primitive by today's recording standards, yet still, some of the greatest movies ever made were recorded on these recorders. I'm hoping, if I supply the pictures it will jog one's memory of the good and bad days using these recorders and some will supply the historical stories to go with them, stores that only the people that used them know, Stories that only you guys can share.

Stories about,
I hated using them, loved using them, they were a pain in the ass to use, to the changing out the tape in time, dropping the tape while everyone waited for you etc. dropped it off the top of a building recording such and such movie.
We all saw the movies anything happen in a particular movie using a particular Nagra recorder that you can share?

Whats your vintage Nagra story? What movie did you record with your Nagra and which machine did you record it on.

Or what girl, actor or actress kept your attention while your tape spooled under the lid?

The following pages are the Nagra stories sound men will never tell.


3XOEjeD.jpgPhotos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.4t0YJwo.jpgPhotos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.q0vPshO.jpg

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John Coffey wrote a great & funny article about his only experience as a "run & gun" mixer with a Nagra, covering a boxing match in Las Vegas.  But I can't find the article.  It's in one of the "Sound and Picture" periodicals.  

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Some vintage Nagra equipment never used.

Nagra III Playback unit.

Nagra III, This one without pilot tone. I have both with and without the pilot in the same condition.

This one from 1962

I take it this one would not be used in movies?

 

AY1Bz9D.jpg

 

 

szBcSXw.jpg 

 

IA7CDEO.jpgAll Photos marked RJWare copyrighted. Any use other than private with or without the RJwatermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

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I will be happy to get some stories together for you. In terms of what was used on any given movie, I can give you some guidelines: the first model of Nagra that was used on a motion picture would be the Nagra III (the Nagra I and II never made it to the movie world). The Nagra did come into general usage on feature films until around 1964. It is safe to say that any movie done from 1965 to 1989 would have used some model of Nagra. The year 1989 is significant because that was the year that I used a DAT machine to record production sound on a motion picture --- no one else had tried this relatively new format but I gave it a go on "The War of the Roses." Many, many movies were recorded using the Nagra well into the 1990s even as DAT became a very common format.

 

I owned and used just about every model of Nagra except for the Nagra I, II, and the Nagra-D. I owned a Nagra III, Nagra 4L, Nagra 4.2, Nagra SN, Nagra-IS, Nagra 4S, Nagra 4STC. Also used a Stellavox on 2 documentaries (but never owned one).

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I will be happy to get some stories together for you. In terms of what was used on any given movie, I can give you some guidelines: the first model of Nagra that was used on a motion picture would be the Nagra III (the Nagra I and II never made it to the movie world). The Nagra did come into general usage on feature films until around 1964. It is safe to say that any movie done from 1965 to 1989 would have used some model of Nagra. The year 1989 is significant because that was the year that I used a DAT machine to record production sound on a motion picture --- no one else had tried this relatively new format but I gave it a go on "The War of the Roses." Many, many movies were recorded using the Nagra well into the 1990s even as DAT became a very common format.

 

I owned and used just about every model of Nagra except for the Nagra I, II, and the Nagra-D. I owned a Nagra III, Nagra 4L, Nagra 4.2, Nagra SN, Nagra-IS, Nagra 4S, Nagra 4STC. Also used a Stellavox on 2 documentaries (but never owned one).

Wow, you owned everything I have shown, What about the SN transfer unit. How was that used?

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Wow, incredible pictures in this thread! Those were such cool machines. The tactile response and feel of the controls was second to none, just amazing Swiss engineering. And we loved, loved, loved the Nagra T in post. That thing was a tank.

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Jeff the DH is a nice one. I was very lucky to get it in this condition, usually, these are all beat up from use. In fact, everything Nagra III seems to be beat up from use, no feet on the bottom didn’t help as this Nagra III shows

 

FOjBxYQ.jpg

 

 

The DH was in a shop in Amsterdam, I was told it was never sold.

And I believed him.

 

 

a0jxVuY.jpg 

 

 

TdPIC5R.jpg 

 

ZG2Au3N.jpgAll photos marked RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

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Since you are into Nagra IIIs (still my favorite of all the Nagras I had, III, IV-L, 4.2, IV-SL, then conversions of that IV-SL to time code first by Bill Ruck ("Q-RUCK") then by Harvey Warnke ("Timecode Systems")), you should look out for the special AC resolver  made for the III.  I'm not talking about the SLO, that came later. This a very old-fashioned unit with 2 meters, about 4 RU tall in similar paint to the Nagra III  (ie black over silver metal).  This resolver only worked with the Nagra III, not with any later versions.  I had one for my III but cannot recall the model number.

 

phil p

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Philip its called an SLP. (I had to go look and see what it was called) I didn't have to look too far, just had to go upstairs and snap a picture.

I still have to take off the fast and slow stickers, except for the stickers its like new also.

These days I don't buy much anymore. I past on anything that is not in very good condition.

If something comes along that is in better condition then what I have I buy it and sell mine.

Its a slow process but over time it makes for a better collection.

 

OeKbQiI.jpg All photos marked RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

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Mr. Bond,

 

Do you collect ephemera related to the Nagra? If so you might be interested in a book by Jim Tanenbaum, C.A.S., Using Time Code in the Reel World, 3rd edition. In this work Jim states that his original edition was published and distributed by Nagra Magnetic Recorders, Inc. Jim’s manual is subtitled “supplementary instructions for various versions of the Nagra 1/4 inch reel to reel analog recorders.”

 

Thank you for sharing your collection.

 

Mark

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I believe that the first film to be recorded with a Nagra was Black Orpheus.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Orpheus

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053146/

 

The film, directed by Marcel Camus, is an update of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. It was released in 1959.

 

I believe that it was recorded with a Nagra III. Since the Neo-Pilot version of the Nagra wasn't introduced until 1962, it was most probably not a machine employing modern synchronization circuitry. But a servo-controlled motor was available for the Nagra in 1957 so some synchronous work would have been possible even without Pilotone.

 

There are many scenes with music; not only is the action set during Carnival but the Orpheus character is a musician. I expect those scenes were probably done to playback and may not have used a Nagra. But I believe that all of the dialog was recorded with the Nagra and there are several scenes with impromptu singing by the main characters that were probably also recorded with the Nagra.

 

The film holds up quite well and is still a charming movie.

 

David

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I have not been able to ever truly verify what movie first used the Nagra for production sound recording. I do have very clear insight regarding the process of adopting the Nagra as the main machine, replacing the industry standard magnetic film recorders. A very good friend of mine from New York served as the picture editor, sound recordist and associate producer of Peter Brook's movie "Lord of the Flies". Gerry suggested using the Nagra for this feature film that was to be shot in a similar fashion to documentaries (which had just started using the Nagra for its portability). The movie began shooting in 1960 but was not released until 1963. Gerry also was instrumental in convincing Stefan Kudelski to provide a sync system (which ultimately evolved into fitting the recorder with a sync head and the neo-pilot system). The Nagra used on "Lord of the Flies" was fitted with an early prototype sync head assembly. Later, Kudelski offered Gerry the exclusive US dealership for the Nagra III as Kudelski was convinced at that time that the Nagra could be a real contender for mainstream filmmaking. Gerry declined the offer and wound up eventually with Loren Ryder at Ryder Sound Services.

 

Additionally, I was present at a meeting at Columbia Pictures with my father during the pre-production on "The Best Man". This meeting was in 1963 and in attendance were the post-production supervisors and engineers at Columbia (the movie was a United Artists picture), Jack Solomon, Loren Ryder and my father. Jack was interested in using the Nagra on this major motion picture but to convince the production that it would work. After the demonstration of the Nagra III, every one of the engineers and studio post people said it was a marvelous piece of engineering and most probably a really useful tool for reporters and documentarians, but feature films will never use it because feature films need to be recorded on film (magnetic film recorders) not ¼" tape! Well, they were wrong, in both the short term and the long term (obviously) as Jack Solomon did use the Nagra III for "The Best Man" and the Nagra recorder went on to become the standard for production sound recording.

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Adding to the above long winded post, I had to wage my own battles with major studios when I was the first to propose using DAT for feature film recording. Everyone, to a T, insisted that the only standard for motion picture sound recording was the Nagra! After winning the battle for DAT (a format I never really loved or trusted), I was faced with wanting to move on to the next great thing, file-based production recording with the original Deva I. Ran into the very same resistance from the major studios: we don't want you to use anything new, just stick with the tried and true standard, use a DAT machine. Well, they were wrong, again, and fortunately for all of us file-based recording has become the standard and for all the right reasons. 

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post-1-0-92850700-1422565790_thumb.jpg

 

What is pictured here I believe is one of the recorders that was designed for surveillance and security work that used a special cassette to hold the tape. The unit did not have playback capability so to access the material on the tape the unit was docked to a playback machine, the tape was pulled out of the cassette and run through the transport on the playback machine. I do not know the names or model numbers of either.

 

 

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Thanks for the SLP pic--yours is in much nicer shape than mine was.  I eventually built mine into a case because I used it on location--it served as a playback machine on lots of commercials etc in the 1980s.  In operation it was a little slower to settle down than an SLO or the built-in resolver of my 4.2, but otherwise worked very well and people were always impressed with the retro look!  The Nagra III is the only one of the great many tape recorders I've owned that I regret selling, mostly because it looked so cool.

 

philp

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My first Nagra was a III that was a non-pilot-to-pilot conversion, done by the US distributor I think (I bought it used).  The exact location and type of "Maltese" as well as the circuit board installed appeared to be different from that in my 2nd Nagra III, which was an "NPH" machine from the factory.

 

philp

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On 1/29/2015 at 7:29 AM, pverrando said:

JBond, did you end up with that "unopened" Nagra package that appeared on ebay a year or so ago?

No, I didn’t buy it. I remember it though, didn’t they want like 9500.00 then 6500.00 they were all in white crates if I remember right. That’s out of my price range. I have no desire to buy anything that expensive. Just for the condition, Not like it was some rare item.

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Mr. Bond,

 

Do you collect ephemera related to the Nagra? If so you might be interested in a book by Jim Tanenbaum, C.A.S., Using Time Code in the Reel World, 3rd edition. In this work Jim states that his original edition was published and distributed by Nagra Magnetic Recorders, Inc. Jim’s manual is subtitled “supplementary instructions for various versions of the Nagra 1/4 inch reel to reel analog recorders.”

 

Thank you for sharing your collection.

 

Mark

Thank you Mark for the info, I will look into that.

Thanks

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My first Nagra was a non-pilot Nagra lll that I traded for a cassette machine from Scripts Institute of Oceanography.I had Ryder put a pilot head on it.I used it for several years with no problems and then bought a new 4.2 .the 4.2 fell apart while 4 wheelin' to a mountain location.I pulled out the Nagra lll and it worked fine---saved me.During lunch,I put the 4.2 back together and switched back over and held it in my lap when we went back down the mountain.Always gotta have a back-up.

 

                                                                                                                                                   J.D.

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Beautiful collection, Joseph. The nicest I've ever seen (even compared to the collection I've seen at the Nagra factory).

 

Thanks for doing this, because otherwise I might feel the need to do it myself.

 

gt

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Only one Nagra story so far.

Thank you jrd456 The Nagra III saved you that day.

 

Who can tell me for a certainly what movie was recorded on this late model Nagra III? (one like this of course not the unit I have)

It’s a 1967 so the movie has to be that year or later. Anyone remember a movie they personally worked on with this model recorder?

 

The big cosmetic difference between an early Nagra III and a late Nagra III is the meter, maybe someone knows of other differences?

 

Wd3QlCl.jpg

 

 

Later model meter.1967

WtIuh6C.jpg

 

Early model meter.1962 which I believe went from 1957 up to 1967 I could be wrong.

F5eh1KD.jpgAll photos marked RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

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