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VHS-C Camcorder Tapes

A compact version of the video cassette, VHS-C camcorder tape is mainly for use with consumer-grade compact analog recording camcorders. The format is essentially the same as the VHS video tape , but created as a smaller version. It is inexpensive and with the use of an adapter, videos can be played back in standard VCR . The adapter would replicate a full size VHS. As technology has advanced they have now been taken over by digital video formats and are often only bought for nostalgia and as collectibles.

It is now possible to convert your videos from the VHS-C format into digital. This is particularly useful if you don't own the correct player or adapters to watch the videos.

How it works

The magnetic tape is wound on one main spool and uses a gear wheel to move the tape forward. It is larger than the Video8 cassette but is compatible with VHS tape records through the use of a special adapter cassette. The adapter has a standard full-sized engagement hub for the VCR's take-up sprocket, which is connected to a gear train that drives the VHS-C cassette take-up gear. A light and sensors in the VCR detects the end of the tape. The width of the VHS-C is narrower than a full-sized VHS cassette and does not align with a full-sized end of tape sensor, so the adapter includes a guide roller swing arm to pull the tape out of the cartridge to the far right edge.

To reduce the size of the cameras, the VHS-C mechanism used a 41.3mm diameter head drum with a wrap angle of 270 degrees. The drum rotates at a proportionately higher speed and four rotary video heads are used to trace out exactly the same helical recording path as a standard sized VHS drum.

Later versions

Based on the S-VHS , a higher quality version was released and called the S-VHS-C in order to compete with the Hi8. This led to modern VCRs having SuperVHS Quasi-Playback (SQPB). However, they did not make an impact on the market due to the MiniDV, which was a standard, low-cost, digital, near-broadcast quality video.

The quality of the video was similar to Video8 but it had a shorter run time of 30 minutes at SP speed, and 60 minutes for longer running modes. The later Hi8 and S-VHS-C cassettes had a quality that was on a par with the laserdisc system.

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