Kinescope was the only way in history to record television broadcasts before the introduction of videotape in 1956. It was a little like taking a picture of a live television screen with a movie camera.
The first kinescope was created in September 1947 by Eastman Kodak in cooperation with DuMont Laboratories and NBC. The device was called the Eastman Television Recording Camera. It was marketed under the trademark “Kinephoto.” Kinescopes became the standard way to record television programs in those times.
In the early days of television, a consumer had to be present to see the show live or miss out. Some enterprising individuals may have gotten the idea to use their home movie camera to record a television show for later viewing. It did not work, because the picture on the resulting film would flicker or incur picture roll. Also, most home movie cameras didn’t have sound.
Kinescopes avoided flickering and picture roll by using a special camera that was synchronized with the video monitor. The camera scanned the monitor at the same rate as the monitor was refreshing itself, so the image on the film was not interrupted. This prevented flickering and picture roll, which are common problems with other types of film recording.
The camera used for kinescope recording was called a “flying spot scanner.” This type of camera uses a beam of light that scans the image on the monitor. The beam of light is synchronized with the monitor’s refresh rate, so the image on the film is not interrupted.
Flying spot scanners were expensive and complex devices, but they were essential for kinescope recording. Without them, kinescopes would have been plagued by flickering and picture roll.
Kinescopes had a number of limitations, however. The quality of the image was not as good as a live broadcast, and the process was time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, kinescopes could only be played back on film projectors, which limited their distribution.
Playback of kinescopes was essentially like taking an already imperfect movie with scan lines and subjecting it to a new television image consisting of even more scan lines. Additionally, kinescope images were often slightly out of sync with the audio, as the film projector and the video monitor were not always perfectly synchronized.
The time it took to produce a kinescope recording from a live television broadcast varied depending on a number of factors, including the length of the program, the availability of equipment, and the skill of the technicians. However, in general, it typically took between 30 minutes and 2 hours to produce a kinescope recording from a live broadcast.
The first step in the process was to record the live broadcast onto film using the flying spot scanner.
Once the film was recorded, it had to be processed. This involved developing the film and then transferring the image to a magnetic tape. The magnetic tape could then be played back on a television monitor, and the kinescope recording was complete.
It typically took between 30 minutes and 2 hours to produce a kinescope recording from a live broadcast. This was a significant amount of time, and it meant that kinescope recordings could not be used to broadcast live events in real time.
Video tape appeared in 1956. The time it took to produce a recording from a live broadcast was significantly reduced. Videotape recording was a much more efficient process than kinescope recording, and it could be used to broadcast live events in real time.
With the introduction this new technology, kinescopes began to be phased out. Videotape recording was much more efficient and cost-effective than kinescope recording, and the quality of the image was much better. By the early 1960s, kinescopes had been completely replaced by videotape.
- Year Started: 1947
- Year Ended: 1960
- Origin Of Name: from “kinetic” and “scope”, kinetic range of view
- Location Sales: United States
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Eastman Kodak
- Owner While In Use: Eastman Kodak
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Digital Recording
- Naics Code: 512191
- Location Headquarters: Rochester, New York USA