VHS
VHS is the most used of all tape formats.  Most everyone has knowledge of the VHS vs Beta war of the early 80's.  The format is not a good acquisition format, but is a very good delivery of viewing format.  Due to the high number of VHS VCR's, you can view one of these tapes most anywhere.  The format has about 240 lines of horizontal resolution and the third generation looks real bad.  Full size camcorders are too large and cumbersome.

S-VHS
Super VHS is an excellent format with 400 lines of horizontal resolution.  It has been the prosumer workhorse for many years.  Equipment is economical and the format is robust.  Tapes are still expensive after being on the market for years.  Consumers did not switch to this format even though the picture was much better.  Consumers are actually satisfied with VHS picture quality.  This format will suffer as more people see the new digital formats.  Camcorder use is bulky and usually used by professionals with tripods.

VHS-C
VHS-C camcorders are the most economically priced.  The format is based on one half inch tape,  but due to the small size of the cassette the tape stock is very thin.  This is the most fragile of all formats and accounts for most of our tape repair work.  Quality is about the same as VHS but must be transferred quickly before stretching occurs.  The first thirty seconds should be recorded with the lens cap left in place. We recommend the JVC adapter to play these tapes.  Copy and then store the tapes immediately.

8mm
This format has about the same quality of VHS tape, but its compact size and two hour length make it the format of choice for camcorders based on economy.  These tapes will also damage easily if improperly handled.  They are especially sensitive to dust and heat.  We advise copying as soon as possible and store the masters.  Use plastic cellophane tape to seal their plastic storage cases from dust.

Hi8
This format was a big winner with professionals for several years.  It has about the same resolution as super VHS but is more sensitive to dust.  Editing and drop outs were often a common problem..  Other factors are the same as 8mm, except for cost.  Prices for tapes are much higher.  We still recommend this format for camcorders.  The tapes will be available for many years at a good price due to digital 8.

Digital 8
This is a great new digital format with a horizontal resolution close to 500 lines.  The tape used is Hi8 and burns the standard 120 minute tape in just 60 minutes.  We now have a machine and support this format.

U-Matic
This 3/4" tape format has been around for years.  Its is considered by most to be obsolete.  We duplicate from this format but do not recommend it.  We do not record to this format.

1 inch type C
This is an obsolete format still used by some TV stations.  Machines must be kept at a stable temperature.  We do not support this format.

Betamax
Beta tapes should be copied as soon as possible.  Most of this format is showing age.  We still have a super beta machine that produces high quality copies.  Many good football games were recorded in this format.

Betacam SP
This is a professional format (analog) and requires knowledge and training to properly use.  It is still the standard for TV and commercial work.  It transfers well both to and from digital formats.  We do Mini DV to Betacam SP and Betacam SP to Mini DV conversions daily.

MII
We feel Panasonic had a great product but it went the same route as Sony's Betamax.  Not widely accepted.  We do not support this format.

Mini DV
The best word to describe this format is resolution.  500 lines of horizontal resolution and the tapes are already economical.  Their small size makes them extremely fragile, but easily shipped cross country.  Camcorders are small with a high resolution and the component picture is great.  VHS dub quality from this format is absolutely great!

DVCAM
Uses 12 micron heads and is more stable for editing.  Picture quality is the same as Mini DV.  Same great results.  Better sync audio is characteristic of this format.  Editing results are great with no loss when using the firewire or i link cable in and out of the computer.  We do not recommend the use of an S or Y/C line due to picture degradation.

DVCPRO D-5
The higher speed DVCPRO 50 is even better quality.  Much more expensive and did not support firewire for a long time.  We now have a firewire card but find the Codec to not be compatible with other DV footage Codecs.  TV news crews are the main users of this format.

Digital S D-9
I hope this format is not allowed to suffer the same problems as MII.  It is robust half inch.  It is closer quality to Digital betacam.  If the price and low number of users keep the format from being popular we all will lose.  I hope JVC will see a market for an economical player/recorder.

MICROMV
Sony's miniature MPEG-2 based video camcorder.  The 70% smaller tape will hold a one hour program.  It can do both still shots and full motion video.  It has the ability to search your video on-screen using thumbnail images.  Bad news, no real machine support from Sony.  Output is not a standard firewire link and will only work with a same type camcorder or Sony's Movie Shaker software.  Great for spys but not for video professionals. 


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