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The History of Recording Technology

April 30, 2009 Lowell Bradford Blog, News & Articles 0 Comments

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Recording Technology has advanced in great strides over the recent years. One of the most common innovations currently is the use of high tech cameras in video recording. This has come in handy in various ways, notably in surveillance camera systems as well as security camera systems. High definition audio recording technology has made possible the production of distortion free, high quality, crisp sound with accurate and wide frequency level.

 

Attempts at recording sound can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks . In the 18 th and 19 th centuries, serious research was conducted on the nature of speech and sound, and the possibility of producing mechanical devices to repeat them. In 1856, Leon Scott almost succeeded with his phonautograph invention. However it was not until 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the first device which could record and playback the human voice, the tin foil phonograph .

 

10 years later in 1887, Emile Berliner obtained a patent for a new sound recording device known as the gramophone . Unlike the tin foil phonograph, the gramophone recorded sounds on a disc and not a cylinder. In the same year (1887), Edison patented an improved phonograph which used battery powered wax cylinders. However, neither he nor the gramophone creators could produce copies in large quantities.

 

Initially, records were produced acoustically . In 1924, the Bell laboratories produced the first ever electromechanical sound-recording inventions, which produced recordings with electrical amplifier, microphone and cutting head. These recordings contained less distortion and noise, and had better dynamics. In 1931, the Bell laboratories managed to produce the first ever stereophonic sound recordings. In the early 1930s, magnetic tape recording emerged as a feasible method of sound production. The tape had been invented by Valdemar Poulsen in 1905. The quality of records was raised in 1949 with the introduction of hi high fidelity) magnetic tape recordings. Multi channel recording was followed by the emergence of stereo recording in 1959.

 

The improvement of sound recording after World War II led to the beginning of research towards discovering a way of recording video signals magnetically. This research led to the development of the VERA (Vison Electronic Recording Apparatus) by the BBC in mid 1950. In 1956 at a broadcasters convention, Ampex introduced the VRX-1000 , the first practical video recording device. Color video recording emerged soon after, with the first program on video tape being aired by RCA and NBC in 1958. In the 1960s, helical scan VTRs were developed, which were cheaper and more portable. This led to the introduction of cassette/cartridge systems for videotape. This became the basis of today's security camera systems. 1970 witnessed the introduction of the Umatic video cassette recorder ( VCR ) by Sony. This was followed by the introduction of the Philips’ V2000 and JVC’s VHS format. In the 1980s, the video tapes shrank in size as quality improved. Videos cassettes could record up to two hours of video on 8mm tape with stereo sound.

 

Magnetic recording was followed by the introduction of digital versions of video and audio tape. Sony introduced the Digital Audio Tape (DAT) in 1987. These tiny tapes could record four hours of digital audio. In 1988, Sony introduced the D1 digital videocassette format. The computer revolution in the 1980s saw the emergence of various digital optical recording devices systems such as compact discs (CDs), laser disc, MiniDisc (MD) and DVD . Today's inventions are used in conjunction with surveillance cameras provide clear playback of images. Optical recording is also cheaper and allows faster access to programming material. In the 1990s, high definition video and audio recording emerged as the next frontier in recording technology.

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