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Nagra Tape recorders How many here actually have used them before digital.


JBond
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Wow! Richmond Film Services (UK) is an active company I guess, renting a timecode slate that I thought was completely out of service. I wonder if the rental rate listings for the slate and even the slate itself is just still up on the website from many years ago?

 Nigel Woodford who runs Richmond Film services with his wife Valerie is a notorious hoarder. I have been using them to rent and buy equipment from for at least 25 years. He only got the website up and running in the last year or so. I assume he is still renting the slate.

 

I know that he has an old bank safe with at least 40 Nagras of different vintages living in it.

 

I found this old Nagra II in reception

post-3136-0-00020200-1360776061_thumb.jp

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A Nagra memory I have is riding on the back of a ATV wearing a 4.2 on a Ferco harness which carried the Nagra at almost chest level. I had one hand holding an 816 in a zepp and the other hand holding on. We went over a bump and the Nagra flew up and hit me square in the chin. After that there's about 45 seconds of the ride that I didn't remember.

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A picker of nits??  Rightfully so!!!!  I think in my almost 40 years of production here in Dallas, we have had ONE woman pass thru our ranks in the sound world.  She is out in LA doing well, last I heard!

 

I wish I still had my Nagra III and my 4.2 for that matter.  I used it for many a video job early one as a mixer only!  Boy was that a monster to carry just to have a mixer!!!!

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Wow! Richmond Film Services (UK) is an active company I guess, renting a timecode slate that I thought was completely out of service. I wonder if the rental rate listings for the slate and even the slate itself is just still up on the website from many years ago?

RFS are the UK's leading rental house.

I spole with Nigel Woodford who owns RFS this morning and he tells me that he still has a couple of the slates although he hasn't had a hire enquiry for a while. He said that they are a very heavy unit.

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Hi Folks, love reading this thread.

About the shoulder and back damage from lugging a 4.2/IV-S on too many shoots: how many of you gave consideration to using the later model Nagra IS to alleviate the pain and fatigue? 

It's considerably lighter than a 4.2 (hence its name "intermediary size"), but doesn't have all the features that came with a 4.2 (extensive set of filters, 15 ips, etc.) plus could only be used with 5" reels.  From what I've heard, it's not as resilient as a 4.2, so may not have fared as well on a grueling film shoot.  I was told on another forum that Nagra in part designed the IS with female news reporters in mind, who were complaining about having to lug a 4.2 (or even Nagra E) all day. 

 

Another couple of questions that come to mind:

1. was most or all of the film sound recording done at 15ips?

2. what are some of the more memorable "Nagra survivor" stories? (i.e. it took a licking and kept on ticking!)

 

Thanks.

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what I would like to know - what are the last (bigger) pictures recorded on a Nagra? I know that the German movie "Life of others" was recorded on a Stereo-Nagra in 2004. The director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck liked the idea of using sound equipment that would fit his movie time wise. The production sound mixer Arno Wilms was the only one I knew at that time still using a Nagra.

 

So what pics were recorded when after year 2000?

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what I would like to know - what are the last (bigger) pictures recorded on a Nagra? I know that the German movie "Life of others" was recorded on a Stereo-Nagra in 2004. The director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck liked the idea of using sound equipment that would fit his movie time wise. The production sound mixer Arno Wilms was the only one I knew at that time still using a Nagra.

 

So what pics were recorded when after year 2000?

 

Good question, Matthias, I don't know the answer. I assume you mean analog Nagra because both Lee Orloff and Chris Newman recorded some pretty big movies on their Nagra D.

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Hi Folks, love reading this thread.

About the shoulder and back damage from lugging a 4.2/IV-S on too many shoots: how many of you gave consideration to using the later model Nagra IS to alleviate the pain and fatigue? 

It's considerably lighter than a 4.2 (hence its name "intermediary size"), but doesn't have all the features that came with a 4.2 (extensive set of filters, 15 ips, etc.) plus could only be used with 5" reels.  From what I've heard, it's not as resilient as a 4.2, so may not have fared as well on a grueling film shoot.  I was told on another forum that Nagra in part designed the IS with female news reporters in mind, who were complaining about having to lug a 4.2 (or even Nagra E) all day. 

 

Another couple of questions that come to mind:

1. was most or all of the film sound recording done at 15ips?

2. what are some of the more memorable "Nagra survivor" stories? (i.e. it took a licking and kept on ticking!)

 

Thanks.

 

I had a Nagra I-S which I used for all "over the shoulder" work. It was a finicky machine but the first portable Nagra with solenoid (electronic) switching for some of the transport control. I think it also had more than one motor so it did have lightening fast forward and rewind. After using for several years I sold it, I'm not sure why, but I did enjoy using it while I had it.

 

Your mention of female reporters and heavy recorders is sort of right but you've got the wrong machine. One of the prime motivators for Kudelski to do the very first Nagra recorders came from his gorgeous girlfriend at the time. She worked as a reporter and had to carry a very heavy Telefunken recorder all day long. Stefan was concerned for her and the weight but was particularly incensed by the unsightly bruise marks the recorder strap left on her otherwise perfect body.

 

As for the speed of the recorder, almost all projects were recorded at 7.5 ips.

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This was back in 1967 at the Phoenix Raceway in Arizona on a job for Firestone tires racing division.. There's a Nagra 3 on the ground doing it's thing after the shoulder strap broke and the Nagra fell to the ground, the p/u reel got stuck and the tape was snaking it's way all over the place. After the interview I wound up the tape on the p/u reel and all was good.

post-22-0-10119400-1360856810_thumb.jpg

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Jeff, I think the IS had extra motors whose sole purpose was to get repaired, but I recall it had 3 motors. IS evidently stood for the German "Idiotensicher" or foolproof in English. I think that's being pretty generous. But it was small and light and sounded great when the transport worked correctly.

Best regards,

Jim

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Classic, Eric! I wasn't doing sound yet in 1967 but I did spend a lot of time at the Raceway with my father and his race cars. You could have been interviewing me in the pits and I'm sure I would have been fascinated by your Nagra III.

 

Well maybe but as an FYI, the guy in the blue shirt was the star of the Firestone Racing Team. A very young (27yo) Mario Andretti.

post-22-0-95764400-1360858759_thumb.jpg

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Jeff, I think the IS had extra motors whose sole purpose was to get repaired, but I recall it had 3 motors. IS evidently stood for the German "Idiotensicher" or foolproof in English. I think that's being pretty generous. But it was small and light and sounded great when the transport worked correctly.

Best regards,

Jim

Indeed, the IS has three motors: capstan and each reel.  I bought one locally a couple of months ago for a few hundred $'s, works very well.  But I can see that in a day-in day-out production work outdoors etc, it would not hold up like a 4.2 (or even a III, back in the days).  Still, a very neat machine, and pointing the way to new directions for analogue Nagras, until digital took over.  I read an interview with Kudelski in which he was saying there were plans to come out with a stereo IS, even one using 1/2 inch tape.  None of that materialized.  I think the form factor and weight of the Stellavox had something to do with the smaller design of the IS.  Bit of competition between Quellet (Mr. Stellavox) and Kudelski (Mr. Nagra).

But the Nagra E's (same form factor as 4.2, but single channel single speed) seemed to dominate the reporter market (in Europe anyway), and the IS probably never really made a niche for itself.  But it's a Nagra through and through, and a nice little machine of which I'm glad to own one.

post-7331-0-67019300-1360877899_thumb.jp

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I had a Nagra I-S which I used for all "over the shoulder" work. It was a finicky machine but the first portable Nagra with solenoid (electronic) switching for some of the transport control. I think it also had more than one motor so it did have lightening fast forward and rewind. After using for several years I sold it, I'm not sure why, but I did enjoy using it while I had it.

 

Your mention of female reporters and heavy recorders is sort of right but you've got the wrong machine. One of the prime motivators for Kudelski to do the very first Nagra recorders came from his gorgeous girlfriend at the time. She worked as a reporter and had to carry a very heavy Telefunken recorder all day long. Stefan was concerned for her and the weight but was particularly incensed by the unsightly bruise marks the recorder strap left on her otherwise perfect body.

 

As for the speed of the recorder, almost all projects were recorded at 7.5 ips.

Thanks for that (7.5).  I suppose the higher quality of 15ips wasn't a big concern for most recordings of that type (even the nice Nagramaster on the IV-S).

 

I had never heard that about Kudelski's girlfriend being a motivator for the first Nagra.  I had read that he originally designed portable recorders for factory machine control, but that market dried up and he then got the idea to turn it into a sound recorder, winning a competition recording some church bells, and the rest is history.

 

Someone HAS to write a decent book on Stefan Kudelski, now that he is gone.  Fascinating story of this war refugee whose creations created a new market and a large company.  An even better book would be to contrast his story with his Swiss contemporaries Georges Quellet (Stellavox) and Willi Studer, who between them produced arguably the finest tape recorders we have seen (or will ever see!).

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A couple of "Nagra survivor" stories I've come across recently:

 

I remember a review in Audio (I think) about 40 years ago. The reviewer, while making a recording, deliberately dropped the machine from waist height onto a concrete floor. He said that, during playback, you could not tell when the drop occurred. If this is true, it says a lot about the transport's stability. (William, rec.audio.pro)

 

I have a recording made with a III that dropped about 20 feet and indeed you cannot hear any flutter.  It is staggering.
My drop was not deliberate, it was caused by a gaffer.
(Scott, rec.audio.pro)

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Does this count as a Survivor Story?

 

I was once cleaning a mint Nagra and put a nick/scratch on the battery Compartment release screw, it was designed and sized  to be used only with an American nickel, I used a screw driver. :(  It dosent bother me unless I look at it

 

It bothers me just hearing you tell the story.

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what I would like to know - what are the last (bigger) pictures recorded on a Nagra? So what pics were recorded when after year 2000?

 

I know that M. Night Shyamalan's 2007 film Lady in the Water was recorded on a Nagra (by mixer Chris Munro). The director boasted about this on the "making of" documentary, saying that it had been shot on film, recorded on analog tape, workprinted on film, cut on film, assembled on film, color-timed in film, and mixed on mag tracks (unless I'm mistaken about the latter). 

 

 

1. was most or all of the film sound recording done at 15ips?

2. what are some of the more memorable "Nagra survivor" stories? (i.e. it took a licking and kept on ticking!)

 

I can tell you that from the post point of view, we really hated it when the client used 15ips, because that meant sound roll changes about every 20-25 minutes. This was cumbersome and time-consuming for dailies. Most of our colorists much preferred 7.5ips jobs, and I think the vast majority of feature films, TV shows, and commercials were recorded at this speed. (You 1980s and 1990s guys correct me if I have this wrong.)

 

As to Nagra Disaster stories, I can recall an anguished early morning phone call in the 1990s from a documentary mixer asking me to let him know if I heard any flaws with the track. Apparently, the take-up reel had failed to take up at some point, so about 500 feet of tape just spun loose inside the plastic cover without his noticing it. Immediately following the take (last one of the day), he spent hours meticulously hand-winding the spaghetti back on the reel, but was concerned about the possibility of drop-outs or garbled sound. All the sound I heard was flawless, much to everyone's relief. 

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My Nagra III still works. Not to be a nit picker, but some of us old farts who used Nagras in the old days were chicks. Oh. Darn. That comment for sure makes me a picker of nits. Jan Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Absolutely.  One of the people who got me into our dinky SF NABET local as a soundie was Kris Samuelson, a formidable soundie in those days and now a filmmaker and a professor @ Stanford.

 

philp

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