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1977 - C-FORMAT - Ampex / Sony (IEC 558)

This non-segmented format reflects the third iteration of the SMPTE 25.4 mm helical video recorder standard. Appearing in 1978 this format was designed to provide 'stunt' capabilities such as still-frame, picture-in-shuttle and slow motion that were impossible with 'quad' recorders. C-format was the vehicle for the introduction of AST (auto scan tracking) and the PAL variant was promptly embraced by the EBU.

Signal system
Analogue, composite, non-segmented.
Scanner
Geometry Helical
No. of rotating heads 3 or 6 *  
Scanner diameter (top) 134.62 mm
Rotation speed 50 rev/s
Tracks/revolution 1  
Head-to-tape speed 21.39 m/s
Video track angle 2.56 degree
Track width 160 µm
Track pitch 214 µm
Azimuth Perpendicular  
Tape Properties
Coercivity 650 Oe
Type Cobalt-modified oxide
Width 25.4 mm
Thickness (total) 28 µm
Tape Consumption
Linear 239.8 mm/s
Areal 0.37 m2/min
Shelf volume 952 cm3/h
Electrical Characteristics
Sync tip carrier frequ. 7.16 MHz
Blanking 7.68 MHz
Peak white 8.90 MHz
Shortest wavelength 2.4 µm

* Normal configuration with 3 heads has vertical interval 'dropout' and space for four longitudinal audio tracks. 6 heads option provides continuous recording with space for 3 audio tracks. One variant uses the 'sync' track space for digital audio.           IEC 558

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