Frederick M. Remley Papers
Frederick Remley is best known for his work in negotiations concerning standards for video tape recording. In June 1959, he joined the Video Tape Engineering Committee of the National Educational Television and Radio Center (NETRC). This committee had the duty of deciding how to spend a multimillion dollar grant from the Ford Foundation and eventually decided on the Ampex 2 inch videotape recorders. The Papers of Frederick M. Remley describe his work both on the Video Tape Engineering Committee of the National Educational Television and Radio Center and as part of the efforts to standardize videotape format internationally.
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Frederick M. Remley Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
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Frederick Marion Remley was born on May 20, 1929 in Washington, Pennsylvania. From 1947 to 1948, he did engineering work for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company while attending classes at the University of Michigan. He also worked at WKMH AM-FM (now WNIC AM-FM) as a part-time radio engineer during the summer of 1951. He received a B.S. in Physics at the University of Michigan in 1951. Remley had planned to pursue a career in nuclear physics, but in 1949, while still an undergraduate, he became involved with the then-new university radio station WUOM (FM). He met his future wife, Anne Gardner, while working in radio program production in 1950. They were married in 1952.
Remley's engineering career at the University of Michigan continued for many years. After graduating, the University hired him to install its first television studio, and he remained there until his retirement in 1993. From 1952 to 1958, he worked successively as senior television engineer, studio television engineer, television studio supervisor and television studio technical supervisor. Then, from 1958 to 1988, he served as Technical Director of Broadcasting for the University of Michigan. From 1982 to 1986 he was also Director of the Media Resources Center. From 1988 to 1993 he served as Staff Video Specialist for the Information Technology Division of the University, working with digitized images and computer networks.
Remley is best known for his work in negotiations concerning the much needed standards for video tape recording. In 1959, National Educational Television and Radio Center (NETRC), then housed at the University of Michigan received a multi-million dollar grant from the Ford Foundation to purchase videotape recorders. After considering RCA and Ampex, the Video Tape Engineering Committee decided to purchase forty-three 2-inch Ampex videotape recorders (VTR's). Remley joined this committee in June of 1959, having been appointed by Jack White and Howard Town. This committee had the charge of selecting the make of machine to be purchased and to specify conditions to be met before the machine would be granted to a member station.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Remley helped establish an international standardization of video tape format. During this time Remley also served as United States delegate to and held key roles in international standards organizations including CCIR and the European Broadcasting Corporation. From 1966 until 1979 Remley chaired the CCIR committee concerned with Standards for Video Tape and Film Recordings for the International Exchange of Programmes. In 1966, he attended the Eleventh Plenary Assembly of the International Telecommunications Union International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) in Oslo, Norway. There, Remley chaired the Television Standards Committee of the Video Tape Recording and the Use of Film for International Program Exchange group. His experience with the NETRC videotape recorder purchase and his technological competence made him a good choice as chair of the Video Tape Recording Committee of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) from 1966 to 1970. He later chaired the SMPTE Standards Committee and the Committee on New Technology.
By the late 1970s, there was a definite need to agree on a standard for 1" video tape. American, Japanese and European companies were competing for an estimated $500 million market and were placing incompatible recorders on the market by 1976. Remley, helped by a strong backing of broadcasters, successfully encouraged committee members to reach agreement by mid 1977. Indeed, in June 1977, he participated in the International Television Symposium and Technical Exhibition in Montreux, Switzerland. Here, the one-inch Sony and Ampex VTRs were displayed in production models built to European broadcast standards. The one-inch standard videotape agreed upon became known as SMPTE Type C Format. In 1979, Remley, on behalf of the SMPTE, received an Emmy citation for the standards effort.
Remley's work in video recording standards continued with chairmanship of Subcommittee 60B (Video Recording) of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Committee) from 1981 to 1995. From 1984 to 1986 he chaired the committee that standardized the first digital video recording system, the 19mm SMPTE Type D-1 format. Between 1965 and 1995 Remley served as an SMPTE vice president, a member of the Board of Governors and, for many years, Chairman of the Board of Editors of the SMPTE Journal. He has been awarded the SMPTE Progress Medal (1990), the Eastman Kodak Gold Medal (1995) and is an Honorary Member of the Society (1991). He currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Frederick M. Remley Papers describes his work both on the Video Tape Engineering Committee of the National Educational Television and Radio Center and as part of the efforts to standardize videotape format internationally. The materials date from 1957 to 1973 with some undated material. The majority of the documents are dated 1959. Significant topics include the consideration of video tape recorders by the NETRC as well as video tape standardization issues. Types of documents include correspondence, blueprints, photographs and reports.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The Frederick M. Remley Papers was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Frederick M. Remley in April 1993.
Processed by Karen E. King, June 1995
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Chris Stoner, February 2006.
Arrangement of Collection
Organized as one series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Videotape Recorder Issues, 1957-1973, undated (1.75 linear feet)
This series is comprised of two sections. The first section contains material Remley acquired as part of NETRC's decision to purchase 43 Ampex videotape recorders in 1959. Materials include proposals from both RCA and Ampex, and the committee's notes and final decision. The second section focuses on international standards and contains material relating to the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Type of documents include reports and articles.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame||Item|
|National Educational Television and Radio Center Purchase -- National Association of Educational Broadcasters Reports, 1957, 1966||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|Angus, Robert. Directory of Video-Tape Recorders||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 1.0|
|Southworth, Glen. "Kinescope Recording"||series 1||box 1||folder 1||item 2.0|
|National Educational Television and Radio Center Purchase -- Proposals -- Ampex, 1959||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|National Educational Television and Radio Center Purchase -- Proposals -- RCA -- Reports, Correspondence, 1959||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|National Educational Television and Radio Center Purchase -- Proposals -- RCA, 1958, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|National Educational Television and Radio Center Purchase -- Video Tape Engineering Committee, 1959, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|International Standards -- International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) -- RCA. Colour Television for the World, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 6|
|International Standards -- International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) -- Department of State, Office of Telecommunications. Report of the United States Delegation to the Eleventh Plenary Assembly of the ITU International Radio Consultative Committee. Oslo, Norway June 22-July 22, 1966, June 22-July 22, 1966||series 1||box 1||folder 7|
|International Standards -- Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) -- Progress Reports, 1959, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 8|
|International Standards -- Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) -- Tettemer, Clair R. et al. The Fourth Annual Users Report on Helical-Scan VTRs and Videocassette Recorders (1973); [Diagram]: Proposed SMPTE Video Tape Standard Track Dimensions 9-3-58 [see box 2], September 3, 1958, 1973||series 1||box 1||folder 9|
|NETRC Purchase -- Blueprints (oversize), 1958||series 1||box 2||folder 1|
|International Standards -- SMPTE Diagram (oversize), September 3, 1958||series 1||box 2||folder 2|
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- National Educational Television and Radio Center.
- Remley, Frederick M. (Frederick Marion), 1929- -- Archives.
- Video tapes in education -- United States.
- Video tapes -- Standards.