suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

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Nebuduck
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby Nebuduck » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:50 am UTC

wing wrote:I could *PROBABLY* manage to pull off the reading-the-VHS thing if, any only if I had the support of the entire village to fabricate things and search for resources - it would be fairly elementary to output something resembling a composite video signal even using exceptionally crude implementations. However, making it viewable would be MUCH more difficult, because manufacturing a display device would require tolerances way, way smaller than I could achieve using the same crude methodologies - I'd have to bootstrap everything up to mid-20th century technology and metallurgy - which would take WAY more than my lifetime. So I can read the data off of it, but I can't make it visible.


If you can pull the data off, you can make it visible! How, you ask? Simple. You write the data out in human readable format. You then figure out how to interpret that data (shouldn't be too hard given that VHS is analogue). Big pad of paper, and you draw out every individual frame from the VHS (this requires making paper and drawing implements, but that's not so tricky compared to television manufacture). Big-ass flipbook. And there you have it.

I think the original poster was a little non-specific - he never specifically stated it had to appear as it would shown on a tv screen, simply "can you make it viewable". I would argue that drawing out every frame is making it viewable.
Last edited by Nebuduck on Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:30 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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EdgarJPublius
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:30 pm UTC

are you crazy! You think Drawing out each frame of the video will somehow take less time than getting up to a technology level where building VCRs is possible?
at 24 frames a second (IIRC that's standard) 30 minutes of film is 43,200 frames, At the highly optimistic sketch rate of one frame per minute, that would take four and a bit weeks of continuous sketching without counting n=time needed for eating, sleeping and and actually reading and interpreting the information off the tape for a typical baseball game from 1987 (~2.5 hours loosely according to wikipedia) that's nearly half a year at a continuous 1 min per frame.

More realistically this task could take anywhere from two to thirty years. it may be an exaggeration to say that it would take longer than recreating the technology to make an actual VCR player, but that's still a lot of sketching.
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wst
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby wst » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:43 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:but that's still a lot of sketching.

And a lot of paper. A loooot of paper.
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Nebuduck
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby Nebuduck » Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:32 pm UTC

Nonetheless, if you insist on getting images off the VHS, it'll take less time than actually producing a TV. Also, there's no way we can flick pages to get 24FPS - maybe go down to 6FPS and only sketch every fourth frame from the VHS. Jerky, sure, but given that I'm about the least good artist I know of, that's probably the least of our quality concerns.

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choginga
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby choginga » Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:34 pm UTC

I would assume that the gods left a solvable puzzle. The point of the tape is to get a reference for the day of the week. Presumably the date and day of the week are mentioned on it. You then have to figure out the current date and count it out.

This data would most likely be on the audio track, and that data would be the easiest to extract. Amplification of the signal would be the most prohibitive factor though. You would have to go through the previously stated messy business of creating valves. Also, isolating the audio track could be difficult. I do not know anything about vhs audio compression, but if it is just a plain old strip of magnetic audio tape on the side then you could fashion a device to play that. A speaker is not too difficult to make, a big waxy leaf could make a decent cone. The problems of magnets and copper wire are still there though.

It would be difficult, but with a whole lifetime and my faithful tribe I may be able to do it. Sadly though, I do not know enough about astronomy to make use of what I learned from the tape.

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Nebuduck
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby Nebuduck » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:44 pm UTC

I imagine that VHS audio is basically uncompressed, but I could well be wrong...

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wst
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby wst » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:49 pm UTC

I just realised that the Amish have such an advantage as far as this idea would go...
Instead of going for the VHS, the 'high-tech', they'll just make some houses, some carts, and catch some horses. Grow some veg, eat some beef, so famring implements, fire, and transport basically...
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Re: suppose... [ITT: LOW TECH]

Postby wing » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:23 am UTC

You actually don't need much in the way of copper wire to be able to pull this stuff off. any conductive metal will do, and you could easily deal with clunky busbars instead of mucking about with making fine wires.
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