handling VRs and their portability make them the preferred recorder for
b. The most popular VRs used are the 3/4-inch tape format.
combined with special image-enhancing devices, 3/4-inch machines can deliver
pictures acceptable for broadcast. Some of the 1/2-inch cassette recorders,
originally made for home recordings, are now used successfully for
Some ENG cameras have a small 1/2-inch cassette
recorder attached to them, so that the operator no longer has to carry a
As you can see, the trend is towards extremely small,
portable, high quality videotape recording equipment.
c. Some important features of portable VRs are tape format, track
arrangements, system standards, and tape speeds. Tape format refers to the
width of the videotape required to operate the recorder. All quad machines
use 2-inch tape; helical machines use 1-inch, 3/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and even
1/4-inch tape. The 1-inch is generally used for high quality productions.
The 3/4-inch tape is the format for standard cassette VRs.
There are no
3/4-inch reel-to-reel recorders. The 1/2-inch format was designed for home
use as in the beta and video home systems (VHS), some broadcast field
production units, and aboard navy ships.
d. Almost two decades after the development of the first helical scan
VR, one could easily distinguish between broadcast quality and nonbroadcast
VRs. Only the 2-inch quad VRs were considered broadcast quality. Helical
scan, which used smaller format tapes (1-inch, 3/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and 1/4-
inch) were not. "Small format" became synonymous with more or less portable
low quality nonbroadcast equipment.
Today the 1-inch VR has all but
replaced the 2-inch models as the industry standard, and the 3/4-inch is the
standard for ENG/EFP systems.
However, some ENG/EFP operations even use
1/2-inch tape, which with high speed tape recorders produces broadcast
The old formula, "the wider the tape the better the
quality" no longer applies.
e. Tape is the recording medium used by both audio and video recorders.
Tape is a very thin layer of polyester which is coated on one side with a
smooth layer of oxide which is capable of magnetization by the recording
heads. The oxide is most commonly iron, though some newer and high quality
tapes consist of chromium dioxide, cobalt xxxxx(5X) metal evaporated tapes.
improvements in picture quality and recording density. The tape will also
have a higher polished coating on the emulsion side to protect the heads and
the emulation pulse to improve the tape to head contact.
f. There are two basic types of video tape recording formats found in
use today; quad-head recorders and the helical scan recording systems.
g. Quad-head recorders got their name because of the four heads they
have mounted in a wheel-type system for recording and playback of the video
These four heads are used to record and play back the video
information onto and from the video tape.