My early memories of camcorders usually consist of my dad not understanding the technology and taking shakey, overexposed and unfocused videos of me and my sister playing in the garden.
Let’s find out some more about camcorders…
Invented in the early 80s, they presented a massive improvement on previous technologies. This was due to their user-friendly operating system and their economic price tag. It was perfect for documenting the life of a family and helped in remembering the precious moments of life.
Nowadays, camcorders are everywhere, in fact, almost everyone has one. Being a handheld recording device, smartphones with cameras can also be considered camcorders although you won’t get a lot of agreement from people if you discuss that point with them!
Through the years there have been several types of film cameras, let’s take a look…
In the early days, you would require a heavy goods licence to be able to use camcorders due to their massive size. The early editions of VHS camcorders would sit on your shoulder and there would be a viewfinder to see what you were filming. The big benefit of the VHS tape was that you could record directly onto the tape and have a fully functioning and ready to go video. Unlike most other tapes you didn’t have to get it developed you could simply put the video straight into a VHS player.
The S-VHS was very similar to the regular VHS however the clever people who designed it simply put ‘super’ in front and increased the storage capacity without increasing the size of the tape. This meant that you wouldn’t have to reload the tape all the time and you could have hours of happy filming.
VHS-C was a further development of the S-VHS. It had the same storage capacity but was a fraction of the size, meaning it was a lot easier to carry more of the smaller tapes meaning you were able to have hours more filming time. To watch the tapes back, you would put the smaller VHS-C into a full-size VHS tape in order to watch the footage back.
The Hi8 format was a game-changer in the world of camcorders. I combined traditional analogue tape and recording methods, and the Hi8 recorded onto the film digitally creating a hybrid format. This meant higher quality video on a more compact format.
The Hi8 and video 8 were both very similar formats with only mild changes in them, they looked identical and technically are the same format. However, the Video8 had vastly improved image quality and better audio too, making it far superior to its predecessor.
One of the OGs of the videotape world, Betamax was a competitor of the VHS format. On the whole, the two standards are very similar with the Betamax recording onto a slightly smaller tape. A lot of people argue that the Betamax was a superior format, including myself, due to its higher image quality. However, due to the VHS being a free licence product, the Betamax fell off and the VHS reigned!
Have you ever considered having your old VHS or Betamax tapes converted into digital fies? Here at Supaphoto, we offer digital conversions at reasonable prices so you don’t have to worry about losing your precious memories to the fate of tape decay!