This is such a great story; why pay for a service to do this for you when you can make the solution yourself?! Interesting hack using the LDR to sense when the reel machine is in operation.
My grandfather had a bunch of these reel to reel tapes from the 60’s. I thought it would be a good idea to digitize them to preserve the audio incase the tape began to deteriorate. Conveniently enough, my aunt gave me this reel to reel player a few months ago. I should have everything I need to manually transfer these audio tapes into digital format now.