September 13, 1947…The RCA Kinescope Machine Debuts

September 13, 1947…The RCA Kinescope Machine Debuts

In association with Dumont, Kodak and RCA announced the developed a special film camera to shoot directly off a TV screen. This was the first “time shifting” technology to come to television. Nine years later, video tape would become the second.

Officially titled, the “Eastman Kodak Television Recording Camera”, a Kinescope recorder was basically a special 16mm film camera mounted in a large box aimed at a high quality monochrome video monitor. All things considered the Kinescope made high quality, and respectable TV recordings.

The Kinescope was quite the clever device. It’s film camera ran at a speed of 24 fps. Because the TV image repeated at 60 fields interlaced (30 fps) the film had to move intermittently between video frames and then be rock steady during exposure.

The pull-down period for the film frame was during the vertical interval of less than 2 mili seconds, which was something no mechanical contraption could do at the time.

Together, Dumont, RCA and Eastman Kodak found various ways around the problem by creating a novel shutter system that used an extra six frames of the 30 frame video signal to move the film. This action integrated the video half-images into what seemed like smooth 24 fps film pictures.

Of course, the kines were played back on air using film chains running at 24 fps, so the conversion to film was complete and seamless. Until videotape recorders made their debut, the Kinescope was the only way to transmit delayed television programs that were produced live.

For much more on the history of kinescope recording, go to this link. -Bobby Ellerbee


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