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Videotape

Videotape (or magnetic based videotape) is a very popular item now because it was used in such quantities over the last few decades.  These are the most common types you will encounter:

 U-matic Tape

U-matic is the name of a videocassette format first shown by Sony in prototype in October 1969, and introduced to the market in September 1971. It was among the first video formats to contain the videotape inside a cassette, as opposed to the various open-reel formats of the time.  The tape itself is 3/4 inches in width and the cassettes are much larger in size than VHS tape.  It’s primary use was for commercial TV.

 Sony BetaMax Tape

Betamax (colloquially termed Beta) was a home videocassette tape recording format developed by Sony, and released on May 10, 1975. The cassettes contained 1/2 inch wide videotape in a design similar to the earlier, professional 3/4 inch U-matic videocassette format.

 VHS (or Video Home System) Tape

A half-inch, analog videocassette recorder (VCR) format introduced by JVC in 1976 to compete with Sony’s Betamax, introduced a year earlier. Its ability to record an entire movie caused it to supersede sales of Betamax units for the home market almost immediately. By 1980, VHS had 70% of the video recording market and became the standard for consumer entertainment as well as for industry training and product promotions.

 S-VHS (Super VHS) Tape

 This was a subsequent format that increased resolution from 240 to 400 lines, but was not widely used by consumers. In 2002, sales of VHS players were superseded by DVD players for the first time.

 VHS-C Tape

 VHS-C is the compact VHS format introduced in 1982 and used primarily for consumer-grade compact camcorders. The format is based on the same videotape as is used in VHS, and can be played back in a standard VHS VCR with an adapter.

 Sony 8, Hi-8, and Digital 8 Tape

 These are videotapes that were developed in the 1990’s to replace the larger, more cumbersome VHS tapes.  They are approximately .25 inches wide and slightly larger than Mini DV cassettes in size.

 Mini DV Tape

 Most camcorders today are already digital and record video and audio on a Mini DV tape. The cassettes measure 2.6 x 1.9 x 0.5 inches (L x W x H), while the tape itself is only .25 inches thick. A Mini DV tape that is 65 meters long can hold an incredible 11GB of data, or 80 minutes of digital video.

 The small size of Mini DV tapes has helped camcorder manufacturers reduce the size of their video cameras significantly. Some consumer cameras that use Mini DV tapes are smaller than the size of your hand. Because Mini DV tapes store data digitally, the footage can be exported directly to a computer using a Firewire (IEEE 1394) cable.

How much Videotape does the client have?

Videotapes may be full or partially full.  It is impossible to tell how much recorded tape the client has by simply looking at their cassettes.  The following list shows the different types and their approximate lengths:

Back to Chapter 2:  What Do Our Clients Bring?

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