The tape speed allowed 96 minutes on a large reel (later 120 minutes), and used 2 record/playback (R/P) heads on the drum rotating at 9000 RPM with a 190 degree wrap around a very small head drum, recording 52 video lines per head segment. Video is recorded on an FM signal with a bandwidth of 5.5 MHz. Three longitudinal audio tracks are recorded on the tape as well: two audio and one Linear timecode (LTC) track. BCN 50 VTRs were used at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
The format required an optional, and costly, digital framestore in addition to the normal analog timebase corrector to do any "trick-play" operations, such as slow motion/variable-speed playback, frame step play, and visible shuttle functions. This was because, unlike 1 inch type C which recorded one field per helical scan track on the tape, Type B segmented each field to 5 or 6 tracks per field according to whether it was a 525 (NTSC) or 625 (PAL) line machine.
The picture quality was excellent, and standard R/P machines, digital frame store machines, reel-to-reel portables, random access cart machines (for playback of short-form video material such as television commercials), and portable cart versions were marketed.
Echo Science Corporation, a United States company, made units like a BCN 1 for the U.S. military for a short time in the 1970s. Echo Science models were Pilot 1, Echo 460, Pilot 260.
Image Transform in Universal City, co-founded by Ken Holland, in 1970, used specially modified BCNs to record 24-frame video also, but for their "Image Vision" system. The BCN would record and play back 24-frame video at 10 MHz bandwidth, with twice the standard 525-line NTSC resolution. To record this the headwheel and capstan ran at twice normal speed. Modified 24 frame/s 10 MHz Bosch Fernseh KCK-40 professional video cameras were used on the set. This was a custom pre-HDTV video system. This Image Vision recording could then be recorded to film on a modified 3M Electron Beam film recorder (EBR). Image Transform had modified other gear for this process. At its peak, this system was used to make "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl" in 1982. This was the first major use of early electronic cinema technology (using wideband high-resolution analog video technology, predating IT-based DI (digital intermediate) post production for film nowadays) using a film recorder for Film out. Electronovision was also a pre-process like Image Vision. Merlin Engineering also worked on the BCN's Wide bandwidth, 10 MHZ, BCN modification.
Bell and Howell (later Rank Video Services) used special BCNs for mass VHS duplication. These specially-modified BCN VTRs could play back movies at two times the normal speed. In addition, the sync signals were also were at two times speed as well. For proper playback, the headwheel and capstan also ran at twice normal speed. Specially modified VHS recorders could record this video. In doing this, the duplication plant could output twice the product than normal videocassette duplicating systems.
Some users modified BCNs to fit 2-hour reels of tape on the BCN, so complete 2-hour movies could fit on one reel of tape. Bosch later made this a factory option, and was designated as BCN LP.
Bosch also offered SLP BCN, a "long-play" variant of the format. It moved the tape at 1/3 speed so that up to 6 hours could be recorded one reel. The unit has a special head wheel with azimuth head. This was mostly used for time zone tape delay by television networks. With a head wheel change and a switch the unit could be returned to normal play.
One of the first DigitalSDTVVTRs was a non-production prototype BCN deck that could record and play back early type of CCIR 601digital signals. These three Bosch VTRs paved the way for the later SMPTED1 VTR standard. In 1985 and 1986 in a Rennes experimental digital studio in France, an experimental all-digital television center was made, it used the two all digital BCN units.
^Oscar Technical Achievement Award, Bill Hogan (II) (Ruxton, Ltd); Richard J. Stumpf (Universal City Studios' Production Sound Department); Daniel R. Brewer (Universal City Studios' Production Sound Department)- For the engineering of a 24-frame color video system.
^imdb.com Academy Awards, Technical Achievement Award, Bill Hogan (II) (Ruxton, Ltd), March 29, 1982, Los Angeles, California
^NewBay Media The Top Guns of Digital Intermediate, January 28, 2004, Ken Holland
^epatents.gov SYSTEM FOR DUPLICATING INFORMATION RECORDED IN SLANTED TRACKS, RANK VIDEO SERVICES AMERICA
^audiosystemsgroup.com Page 129, CONSUMER VIDEO TAPE DUPLICATION TECHNIQUES, A TUTORIAL, by Jim Brown, SOUND ENGINEERING ASSOCIATES CHICAGO, ILL., CONSULTANTS TO BELL AND HOWELL/COLUMBIA PICTURES VIDEO SERVICES
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