I know this tutorial got a little long, but there was a lot of material to cover. I can recommend a couple of books if you are interested in learning more. They are:
- 'NAB Handbook', National Association of Broadcasters.
- (ISBN various) The standard reference book on the subject of broadcast engineering. Contains much useful information on videotape technology. The sixth or seventh edition are the best editions to study if you are learning videotape theory 'from the ground up'.
- 'Television Broadcast videotape recording systems, Harold Ennes, 1973
- Howard W. Sams, ISBN 0-672-20933-0 (First edition). An extremely good book on quadruplex and early helical scan VTRs. Exists in at least three distinctly different editions. I am looking for the later editions.
- 'Television Engineering Handbook', K. Blair Benson, 1986, Mcgraw Hill
- ISBN 0-07-004779-0. The most comprehensive book on the subject of television engineering available. The videotape recording chapter contains large excerpts from the Ampex book mentioned elsewhere in this listing. A new edition of this book is out, called 'Television and Video Engineering'. It is now edited by Jerry Whittaker, with much credit to the late Blair Benson.
- 'Videotape Recording', Various authors, 1986, Ampex Corp.
- (No ISBN #) A book on videotape theory written by many of the people that built the first practical VTR. A very rare and hard to find book.
- 'Digital Videotape Recorder', John Watkinson, 1994, Focal Press
- ISBN 0-240-51373-8. A good basic book on digital videotape systems. Covers most systems up to consumer DV. This author also has a series of books dealing individually with the most popular digital formats. Highly recommended, although rather expensive.
There are other good references out there that aren't listed here.
Tim Stoffel, October 2004