Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 7, NO. 9 / JANUARY 1989


Tape Time

Will the whole movie fit?

By Paul Shannon

TapeTime tells you how much recording time you have left on your VHS or Beta video cassettes, no matter how many different speeds you used onvarious sections of the tape. You'll never again lose those climactic movie scenes. This BASIC program works on all 8-bit Atari computers of any memory size, with disk or cassette.

Wouldn't you know it? You wait months to see "HeebieJeebie Hotel," possibly the scariest movie ever made, and they decide to show it at 5 a.m. on cable. So you find a tape that appears to have enough room on it and you set your video cassette recorder. But the next day, guess what? You have all but the fmal 10 minutes of the film – the tape ran out. Now you'll never know who skinned those poor people alive with a potato peeler.

If you use your VCR a lot, undoubtedly you have a lot of video tapes. Many of these tapes still have room at the end – but how much? If you recorded two 30-minute progrnms on a VHS tape in high-speed mode, it's not too difficult to figure that since a VHS tape has a total time of two hours in this mode, you have an hour left.

But what if you recorded one program in extended play mode, the slowest speed, and another program at standard speed? Now you have an 84-minute movie you want to record. Which speed could you use and not lose part of the movie?


TapeTime enables your 8-bit Atari to compute the amount of time left on a video tape, in all commonly used speeds on VHS or Beta formats. This is the first program I wrote and it has proven to be a great help in organizing my video collection.

Type in Listing 1, TAPETIME.BAS, check it with TYPO II and save a copy before you RUN it.

TapeTime computes for both VHS and Beta formats. After you choose one or the other, TapeTime will ask for the length of the tape you're using-T-120 or T-160 for VHS, L-750 or L-830 for Beta. These are the most common tape lengths.

Next, you're prompted to enter the times for each program in each speed. VHS video tape recorders usually have three recording speeds. SP (Standard Play) is the fastest and gives best picture quality. Slower LP (long Play) has slightly less picture quality EP (Extended Play) gives the least picture quality, but has the most recording time. NOTE: Some VHS recorders don't have LP and on some machines the EP speed is called SLP (Super long Play). Most Beta recorders have two speeds: BII is the fastest and has best quality, while BIII yields the largest amount of tape time.

Suppose you have a T-120 VHS tape that has 10-minute and seven-minute music videos in SP three 30-minute situation comedies in LP and a 104-minute movie in EP TapeTime will first ask you to enter the minutes SP. So you'd type 10 and press [RETURN], then type 7 and press [RETURN]. When you're done entering programs for one play mode, type 0 and press [RETURN] to go to the next speed.

Now enter 30 and [RETURN] for each LP sitcom. Type 0 to move to EP enter 104, press [RETURN] and type 0 again. Then you'll be told that you have 23.33 minutes left at SP 46.67 minutes at LP and 70 minutes at EP. Now you can either continue timing more tapes or print these results.

TapeTime converts the time in each play mode to meters of tape. If you enter too many minutes for a tape, the result will be a negative number – you'll know you have no room left. If you need to carry over a program to another tape, this feature will tell you how much time the program will take up on the next tape. Also, because of differences in machines, you still may find a little tape left over.

So rest assured, you won't miss the exciting climax to that next late-night movie. Let's see, tomorrow at 3 a.m. they're showing "The Boogens II"...


Can you write a short simple patch making it possible for TapeTime to print titles, speeds and times on the different-sized labels for VHS and Beta Cassettes? Antic would be interested in publishing the best add-on labeler we receive. – ANTIC ED

Paul Shannon, a freelance artist from Martinsvile, Indiana is making his first appearance in Antic.