videotape formats

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(n.) The analog tape standards used in recording video, informally differentiated by the width of the tape.

  • 1-inch: Format used for professional broadcast-quality video recording and editing. This format is stored on open reels.
  • 0.75-inch: Sony U-matic format. This format is stored in thick cassettes.
  • 0.5-inch: Cassette-based format. VHS and Sony Betamax produce low-end consumer videotapes of this width. S-VHS and Super Beta produce higher-quality video in the 0.5-inch format.
  • 8 mm: Consumer format that provides good-quality recording on small tape cassettes. This format is popular in handheld camcorders. An enhanced version called Hi-8 has improved resolution and is comparable to S-VHS in quality. Hi-8 and S-VHS have 400 lines of resolution and S-video (Y/C video) separation, but the greater width of S-VHS tape makes it less prone to dropouts.

Many professionals prefer Sony Betacam SP for shooting and D-2 (digital composite) for editing masters. Professional studios use two digital formats: D-1 (digital component) by Sony and D-5 by Panasonic.