Camcorder – Sony releases the first handheld video recorder
A camcorder is an electronic device combining a video camera and a video recorder. Although marketing materials may use the colloquial term “camcorder”, the name on the package and manual is often “video camera recorder”. Earlier, the term camcorder exclusively referred to a camera with a recorder. But almost all of the electronic cameras built in the 21st century provide recording capability essentially making them a “camcorder”. The term camcorder is now exclusively used for a particular camera range which provides advanced functions over more common cameras.
Today mobile video-recording technology must fit into the palm of the hand or be integrated into the back of a mobile phone, before anyone would consider paying any money for it. But before the camcorder was invented, anyone wanting to capture moving footage on film had to use an incredibly unwieldy two-part machine. Worse still, the camera itself was all that one person could reasonably carry, so a partner had to be persuaded to carry the video cassette recorder (VCR) alongside.
The older equipment also had no playback screen, so whatever it was necessary to watch recently recorded material, a television screen had to be available nearby in which to plug the VCR.
The cumbersome equipment was troublesome, particularly for broadcast journalists, movie makers, students and others working in the field. However, advances in technology and design meant that soon various pioneers of video-recording equipment were shrinking down the basic component parts and creating a one-piece camera/recorder combinations-what is now known as the camcorder.
The first commercially available camcorder was designed by Sony in Japan. Making use of Beta-max video technology, the Beta-movie model was unleashed upon the general public in May 1983. Even then there were no playback functions on the camera and anyone wanting to watch or rewind a section of footage still had to eject the tape and insert it into a home Beta max player and watch it on a separate television screen. Really, though, the roving reporter’s lot had improved immeasurably.