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Type B videotape

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Type B videotape

Type B Videotape
Type B videotape
Type B videotape
Media type Magnetic Tape
Encoding NTSC, PAL
Standard Interlaced video
Usage Video production

1 inch type B VTR (designated Type B by SMPTE) is a reel-to-reel analog recording video tape format developed by the Bosch Fernseh division of Bosch in Germany in 1976. The magnetic tape format became the broadcasting standard in continental Europe, but adoption was limited in the United States and United Kingdom, where the Type C videotape VTR was met with greater success.[1]

The tape speed allowed 96 minutes on a large reel (later 120 minutes), and used 2 record/playback (R/P) heads on the drum rotating at 9000 RPM with a 190 degree wrap around a very small head drum, recording 52 video lines per head segment. Video is recorded on an FM signal with a bandwidth of 5.5 MHz. Three longitudinal audio tracks are recorded on the tape as well: two audio and one Linear timecode (LTC) track.[2][3][4] BCN 50 VTRs were used at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow[5]

The format required an optional, and costly, digital framestore in addition to the normal analog timebase corrector to do any "trick-play" operations, such as slow motion/variable-speed playback, frame step play, and visible shuttle functions. This was because, unlike 1 inch type C which recorded one field per helical scan track on the tape, Type B segmented each field to 5 or 6 tracks per field according to whether it was a 525 (NTSC) or 625 (PAL) line machine.[6]

The picture quality was excellent, and standard R/P machines, digital frame store machines, reel-to-reel portables, random access cart machines (for playback of short-form video material such as television commercials), and portable cart versions were marketed.[7][8]

Echo Science Corporation, a United States company, made units like a BCN 1 for the U.S. military for a short time in the 1970s. Echo Science models were Pilot 1, Echo 460, Pilot 260.[9][10][11]

Type B video Scanner Head
Type B VTR, BCN 20 Tape Desk and video Scanner

Models introduced

  • BCR (BCR 40, BCR 50 and BCR 60)was a pre BCN VTR, made with Philips, the large scanner made it not useful,[12]
  • BCN40 (1976, record unit with no TBC playback)[13]
  • BCN50 (1976, recorder with TBC playback)[14]
  • BCN20 (1976, one hour, portable with no TBC playback)[15]
  • BCWQ ("L" Unit for BCN20/21, added TBC playback to the portable units)
  • Effects control option for digital framestore, for freeze frame, quad spilt and mirror effects (early digital Special effects).
  • BNC51 (recorder with TBC playback, optional Slow motion and visible shuttle)
  • BCN5 (26½ pound, portable cart recorder, 40 min.)[16][17][18]
  • BCN100 (random access 32 multicassette machine, up to 16 hours rec/playback-30 min per tape)[19][20]
  • BCN52 (recorder with Digital TBC playback, with slow motion & visible shuttle)
  • BCN21 (lightweight reel to reel portable with no TBC playback, first Composite material VTR)[21][22]
  • BCN53 (recorder with Digital TBC playback, with slow motion & visible shuttle)[23][24]
  • HR-400 : RCA also sold the BCN50 as an HR-400.[25]

Special BCN units

  • Image Transform in Universal City, co-founded by Ken Holland, in 1970,[28] used specially modified BCNs to record 24-frame video also, but for their "Image Vision" system. The BCN would record and play back 24-frame video at 10 MHz bandwidth, with twice the standard 525-line NTSC resolution. To record this the headwheel and capstan ran at twice normal speed. Modified 24 frame/s 10 MHz Bosch Fernseh KCK-40 professional video cameras were used on the set. This was a custom pre-HDTV video system. This Image Vision recording could then be recorded to film on a modified 3M Electron Beam film recorder (EBR). Image Transform had modified other gear for this process. At its peak, this system was used to make "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl" in 1982.[29] This was the first major use of early electronic cinema technology (using wideband high-resolution analog video technology, predating IT-based DI (digital intermediate) post production for film nowadays) using a film recorder for Film out. Electronovision was also a pre-process like Image Vision. Merlin Engineering also worked on the BCN's Wide bandwidth, 10 MHZ, BCN modification.[30][31]
  • Bell and Howell (later Rank Video Services) used special BCNs for mass VHS duplication. These specially-modified BCN VTRs could play back movies at two times the normal speed. In addition, the sync signals were also were at two times speed as well. For proper playback, the headwheel and capstan also ran at twice normal speed. Specially modified VHS recorders could record this video. In doing this, the duplication plant could output twice the product than normal videocassette duplicating systems.[32][33][34]
  • Some users modified BCNs to fit 2-hour reels of tape on the BCN, so complete 2-hour movies could fit on one reel of tape. Bosch later made this a factory option, and was designated as BCN LP.
  • Bosch also offered SLP BCN, a "long-play" variant of the format. It moved the tape at 1/3 speed so that up to 6 hours could be recorded on reel. The unit has a special head wheel with azimuth head. This was mostly used for time zone tape delay by television networks. With a head wheel change and switch the unit could be returned to normal play.
  • One of the first Digital SDTV VTRs was a non-production prototype BCN deck that could record and play back early type of CCIR 601 digital signals. These three Bosch VTRs paved the way for the later SMPTE D1 VTR standard. In 1985 and 1986 in Rennes experimental digital studio, in France, an experimental all-digital television center was made, it used the two all digital BCN units[39][40][41]

Some BCN users

  • ABC-TV at MCF [1]
  • AME – Hollywood, California
  • Aquarius Theater –Hollywood, California
  • Astin Moore, Los Angeles, California; see John Astin
  • ATC–Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Audio Plus Video – Los Angeles, California and Northvale, New York
  • Bell and Howell, (Rank Video Services) – Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Bell and Howell Data Tape – Pasadena, California
  • Cinema Video Processors – Chicago, Illinois
  • Complete Post – Hollywood, California
  • Cossey Studios – Santa Cruz, California
  • Dash Motorcars – Santa Cruz, California
  • DC Video – current user – Burbank, California
  • Editel – Hollywood, California
  • Eesti Televisioon
  • Glendale Studios (Outpost Video) – Glendale, California
  • Image Transform – Universal City, California
  • KCPT – Kansas City, Missouri
  • KPAZ-TV – Phoenix, Arizona
  • KTBN-TV – Costa Mesa, California
  • KTBO-TV – Oklahoma, Oklahoma
  • KTBW-TV Tacoma, Washington
  • Laser Pacific – Hollywood, California
  • Leon Russell – Burbank, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • 4MC – Burbank, California
  • Measurement Analysis – Torrance, California
  • Merlin – Palo Alto, California
  • Modern Video Film – Hollywood, California
  • National Institutes of Health- Bethesda, Maryland
  • Oral Roberts University – Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • ORF-Austrian Broadcasting Corporation – Vienna, Austria
  • Premore (see Solo Cup Company) – Culver City, California
  • Ruxton – Burbank, California
  • Spin Physics – San Diego, California
  • Starfax  – Burbank, California
  • Technicolor – Newberry Park, California
  • The Video Tape Company – North Hollywood, California
  • The Videography Studios – West Los Angeles, California
  • TV2 in Framersheim, Germany
  • VDI – Hollywood, California
  • Video Business – New York, New York
  • Video Pack – New York, New York
  • Video Tape Company – Burbank, California
  • Vidtronics – Hollywood, California
  • WHFT-TV – Pembroke Park, Florida
  • WJYL-CD – Louisville, Kentucky
  • WTVY – Dothan, Alabama
  • ZDF in Mainz, Germany

See also


  1. ^ SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal page 289-299, 1981
  2. ^ Magnetic recording: the first 100 years, page 174-175, By Eric D. Daniel, C. Denis Mee, Mark H. Clark
  3. ^ BNC recorders
  4. ^, BCN Patent
  5. ^ SMPTE, Aug. 25, 2008 Issue, page 2, BCNs at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics Moscow
  6. ^ Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, The BCN System for Magnetic Recording of Television Programs by Heinrich L. Zahn1
  7. ^ The History of Television, 1942 to 2000, page 196, By Albert Abramson, Christopher H. Sterling
  8. ^ Charles Bensinger, 1981, The Video Guide, page 101
  9. ^ Arvin/Echo
  10. ^ 1975 – Bosch-Fernseh BCN 20 / BCN 40/50 1" tape
  11. ^ Echo Science Corp., located in Mountain View, California was a subsidiary of Arvin Industries, Inc., based in Columbus, Indiana, from 1974 to 1981. It was also known as "Arvin/Echo" for short.
  12. ^ The Bosch/Philips BCR 1" helical scan TVR that was shown in 1973 and preceded the BCN.
  13. ^ broadcasting101.w BCN 40 (right side and BCN 50 left side
  14. ^ BCN 50 deck
  15. ^ Prototype BCN 20 with a Bosch KCR camera
  16. ^ The history of television, 1942 to 2000 By Albert Abramson, page 183
  17. ^ BCN 5 and BCN 20 add
  18. ^, BCN-5 photo
  19. ^ .SMPTE, journal page 744, The BCN 100,Oct 1979
  20. ^, BCN-100 photo
  21. ^ BCN 21, with specs
  22. ^, Reel To Reel COLLsite BOSCH BCN 21 Gallery
  23. ^ German page on BCN53,
  24. ^ Eng. translation by google on BCN53
  25. ^ RCA TV Equipment Section of The Broadcast Archive, Maintained by: Barry Mishkind, a RCA HR-400
  26. ^ Oscar Technical Achievement Award, Bill Hogan (II) (Ruxton, Ltd); Richard J. Stumpf (Universal City Studios' Production Sound Department); Daniel R. Brewer (Universal City Studios' Production Sound Department)- For the engineering of a 24-frame color video system.
  27. ^ Academy Awards, Technical Achievement Award, Bill Hogan (II) (Ruxton, Ltd), March 29, 1982, Los Angeles, California
  28. ^ NewBay Media The Top Guns of Digital Intermediate, January 28, 2004, Ken Holland
  29. ^ Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  30. ^ Tech Review with Al Sturm, April 2011
  31. ^ 24frame BCN history at Image Transform
  32. ^ Billboard Nov 17, 1979 VHS duplication
  35. ^ Sypris Company on Bell and Howell's Data Tape division
  36. ^ Computerworld Nov. 12, 1975 on Bell and Howell's Data Tape division
  37. ^ Computerworld May 7, 1975 on Bell and Howell's Data Tape divisio
  38. ^ SMPTE Page two on the Lake Placid (1980)
  39. ^ An Experimental All-Digital Television Center, by D. Nasse1, J. L. Grimaldi2 and A. Cayet3
  40. ^ The History of Television, 1942 to 2000, By Albert Abramson, Christopher H., page 209.
  41. ^ The World's First All-Digital Television Production,by Michel Oudin, Jan 1, 1987
  42. ^ Live Production, A Brief Review on HDTV in Europe in the early 90’s
  43. ^ HDTV at 1992 Expo
  44. ^ Analog HDTV
  45. ^ The World's First All-Digital Television Production, by Michel Oudin, 1987

External links

  • BCN Pictures
  • The history of television, 1942 to 2000, page 197, By Albert Abramson [2]
  • DC Video BNC page, Current user
  • BCN Specs
  • BCN studio demo
  • BCN20 demo
  • BCN 51 PAL studio demo
  • Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl at the Internet Movie Database
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