The Evolution of the Camcorder

Today, the camcorder that is used to film home movies and family events holds almost no resemblance to the recorders that began it all. They have gone from being unattainable to the average home hobbyist to being a standard family commodity.


Here’s a look back at the evolution of camcorders; from the barely lift-able straight to the pocket sized.

The Beginning


The first video camcorder was created by a research team headed by Charles Ginsburg at the Ampex Corporation in 1963 – they produced the first video recorder there and it was known as the VR-1500. It was the world’s first home video system and cost an impressive $30,000. It was not portable, weighing over one-hundred pounds, and the camera and monitor were not a reasonable size for home use.

This was a major problem and was addressed later by the Portapack. They were thirty pounds lighter, however they had many drawbacks as each reel only held three minutes of video and had to be put in a lightproof container, and then later developed. These became the tool for photojournalists at the height of their popularity and were used to records all sorts of activities; from cultural events to political rallies.



Convenience became the name of the game for companies and as such JVC entered the game with the rise of the VHS. They produced the hoist on the shoulder camcorders that came to define the market for over a decade, they were popular as you could shoot straight onto a VHS and then put it into a VCR in order to watch straight away.

VHS also produced much better sound and picture quality than the older reel-style camcorders; colour was also introduced and with the rise of colour television became the new norm. The GR-C1 Videomovie camera was released in 1984, becomingan industry favourite due to all of the afore mentioned benefits and holds a cult following to this day. It was the first ‘all-in-one’ camcorder.

Digital Recording


In 1995 the camcorder world was shaken to its very core by the release of the very first digital recording camera available to the consumer market. Soon there was widespread adoption of DV recording and the interface that allowed users to attach their camcorders to the PC for easy playback.

The quality jump was remarkable and was easily the best on the market available to consumers; it eliminated traditional problems such as white noise and tracking issues. The only downside was that you still needed a small DV tape to record and store the digital footage.

The Palm of Your Hand

Today, digital recording has meant that phones can act as the most convenient and smallest option for all of your home movie needs. HD recording is now the norm as a result of vast improvements across the market. Since the turn of the 21st Century every camcorder has gotten smaller, the picture better and the future seems to be heading into 3D camcorder territory. Home movies will be a fully immersive experience, eventually, an astonishing fact considering where the humble camcorder started.

Here at Video2DVD Transfers, we are dedicated to making your home videos come to life on DVD. We make them easy to watch and quick to enjoy with your family again and again.

For more information contact us on 0800 592 433 and we will be more than happy to help!