In the early 1980s, camcorders began to appear in the marketplace as the interest for recording video onto VHS tapes grew. As video cassette recorders were gaining popularity, a new method of capturing live events needed to follow the technology. They worked by recording analog signals onto a magnetic tape. Innovative developers added more to the experience by providing audio/video-out ports in order to connect directly to televisions and/or other VCRs in order to play back the material and even record it onto a separate tape.
The popularity that ensued from these devices encouraged additional development as Sony and JVC lead the market for a great deal of time. During the span of 20 years, camcorders had evolved including the developments of VHS-C and Video8 formats. During this same time, Panasonic and various other developers created the Full-size Super VHS system that accommodated for a three-hour recording time. In response to the development of S-VHS, Sony released its competing creation of the Hi8 – which was an eight-millimeter taping system that had comparative quality in recording value.
During the 1990s, camcorders evolved yet again, this time including the development of digital signals. Technology had boosted the quality of imaging and the way recordings were made. Digital video technology allowed for a much clearer development and eventually included 16-bit 48kHz audio. The recording capabilities were beginning to surpass the medium that video was being recorded onto.
As camcorder technology continued to evolve in the early 2000s, the DV codec was developed in order to support high-definition. This provided a yet more detailed and alluring look for personal videos with nearly film-production quality. By this time, the recording methods and mediums had separated incredibly as magnetic tapes could not keep up with the high-definition DV codecs that were being implemented. At just over 20 years from the first implementation of recording video on magnetic tape, a medium-less innovation became far more appealing.
For a brief time, some camcorders were capable of recording video onto recordable compact disks. This allowed the camcorder to store far more hi-def, digital information than the predecessor, and some were compatible with most DVD players. However, the onset of solid-state media cards put an end to the brief design of recording onto DVDs. This new form of media was more ideal for it had far more capabilities and could store even more information than recording mediums of the past.
As digital recording capabilities have all but become a necessity in the lives of many, this aspect was incorporated into the development of the smartphone. Thanks to the innovations of technology, these pocket devices can record in amazingly clear detail at an incredible frame rate compared to the “shoulder units” of the 1980s. If not for the superior features and recording qualities of the camcorders of today, smartphones could very well have been the recording medium of choice. However, the development of broadcast-style technology is too much to be incorporated into such a small device – for now.