First Color Videotape 1958

This video is the oldest surviving color videotape recording. A camera crew recorded this on May 22, 1958, and even though the cold war was raging, these were simpler times. In the video President Dwight Eisenhower dedicates NBC’s WRC-TV new color television studios in Washington D.C.

The color is turned on at 1:23. They used 2 inch wide videotape which played in a two-inch quadruplex videotape machine. Quad employed a transverse four-head system which scanned the two-inch tape across its width. Separate linear heads recorded the sound track.

Before Videotape

Before videotape the only way to record a TV show was with a kinescope which was a film recording. The film was broadcast using a live video camera focused on the film screen. The invention of 2 inch videotape led to a much better way to record and save a performance. Many kinescopes of early TV shows have been preserved and are available on YouTube. The next color videotape format would not come until 1976-78. This was 1 inch videotape.

Today videotape is rarely used for recording, editing or playback, but it is still used as an archival medium. Tapeless machines now record video as computer files to hard disks, optical discs and to solid-state memory such as SD cards which is the current market leader. Tapeless machines have many advantages, one of the chief advantages is that there is much less mechanics. This makes them more reliable as there are no tape mechanisms to jam, break or go out of alignment.

Tape is still used by filmmakers and TV networks because it is inexpensive, reliable and it lasts. Masters of TV shows and other productions are often stored on tape for these reasons, but tapeless formats like DVCPRO P2, XDCAM and AVCHD, are gaining broader acceptance for production and storage. However, the high cost of solid state and the limited shelf life of hard-disk drives makes them less desirable for archival storage. The last VCR was manufactured in July 2016.


Keep Reading...

Light Painting With A Quadcopter

Make Night Art with a Quadcopter

Photographing light trails at night has been a popular technique of both still photographers and videographers. We’ve all seen the light trails of night traffic in a time lapse video. Light painting in still photography can be done a couple of ways. One way is to take a long exposure and move the lights during […]

Read More

Canon EF to Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Active Metabones Speed Booster

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera now has an Active Speed Booster for Canon EF lenses. This opens up a vast array of great lenses.

Read More
NASA 4K Video

NASA 4K Video from the International Space Station.

Change the settings on your player to 2160p (4K) Need some great background for a title sequence or other use? NASA footage is in the public domain because like all government video, this NASA 4K video was produced with U.S. taxpayer dollars. The footage is easily available on the NASA website and on YouTube. And […]

Read More
Selling Video Content - a better way

Selling Video Content

YouTube videos can make much more than they get from advertising. Patreon is a new business model for video content.

Read More


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Forbes Magazine calls VideoUniversity one of the best business-to-business sites for digital video production.
  • WINNER
    Videography Magazine's
    "Website of the Month" Award
  • WINNER
    PC Magazine Online "Best Desktop Video Site" Award
  • WINNER
    CyberFilm School's "FOUR STAR" Award