More video tapes & DVDs!






After our successful efforts to copy the Club’s VHS video tapes, Mel asked me to look at a collection of old video tapes which had been bequeathed by Ron Bliss, but never viewed. They were a mixed bag of Hi8 digital video tapes from the 1990s and Mini-DV digital tape cassettes from the early 2000s. There were also a few regular VHS tapes but these turned out to be mainly partially edited version of material transferred from the digital tapes. Unfortunately most of these VHS recordings had degraded over time and were un-viewable.


But, how could I view the digital tapes? They can only be played-back from a camcorder. Ron used a Canon Handycam in the 1990s for the Hi8 recordings and a more modern JVC digital camcorder in the early 2000s for the Mini-DV cassettes. Old technology; where did all those old cameras go? Well most them seem to be on E-Bay: it didn’t take long to track down a vintage Hi8 Sony Handycam and a flashy JVC camcorder for the Mini-DV tapes. It was surprisingly easy to connect to the TV recorder and then transfer to DVD.


Ron’s life as secret film director is revealed in the eight Hi8 tapes covering a period 1991-96 and six Mini-DV cassettes for 2001-2004. There are several short videos of walks in the local countryside which focus on nature, flowers, birds and animals. His camera technique gradually developed with close-ups, faded transitions etc., later he starts to add commentary and narration and in some of his later productions uses a cameraman (or woman) to film himself in action. Several Club members are employed to play their part as stunt-actors. Many of the recordings took place around Bull Pot Farm and RRCPC activities such as the Golden Jubilee celebrations, fireworks, repairing the roof, building the cesspit, snow scenes, local cave digs etc. There are also a number of specific projects which Ron must have spent many months recording and editing. During the early 1990s he recorded ‘Environs of Ease Gill’ – a tour of all the cave entrances with historical narrative and music. Later he made several trips to record his ‘Tour of the Three Peaks’ – a video battle against the weather and wind-noise! In 1995 he produced his third video tour, ‘The River Lune, from Source to Sea’.  The final versions of these topographies were carefully edited from several shorter videos made at different times of year and then narrated and dubbed with musical accompaniment. Several copies of the ‘The Lune’ were sold to raise funds for the Club. A few of Ron’s VHS tapes were still in good condition including the master copies of his ‘Ease Gill’ and ‘The Lune’. There is also a good copy of a BBC TV programme, ‘Beneath the Pennines 3’ (1977) which stars George Cornes, Jim Eyre & Ron Bliss conducting a tour of Lancaster Hole & Ease Gill Caverns – Ron relives his historic climb of Poetic Justice too.  (no knee pads or gloves of course.)


All these tapes are now safely on DVD and in the RRCPC Library. Ron’s tapes are just great to watch, full of nostalgia & Red Rose history. Moments from the past, which were well worth capturing. Use your Library.


Zig & Zag



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