Camcorders are often considered a portable device which is a combination of a video recorder and video camera. Video cameras were normally used for television broadcasts, but they were very heavy and bulky. There were also very difficult to use because the wiring had to be placed in a separate room.
However, when technology slowly improved, compact video cameras and video recorders were introduced but it was still difficult to record audio without a separate recorder. Specialized video cassette recorders were then introduced in the 1970s by companies like JVC and Sony to usher mobile recording and stop the necessity of recording in film.
By 1982, the Betacam system was introduced by Sony which increased recorder mobility and reduced cables attached in the camera. The Betacam used cassettes similar to Betamax when recording videos.
Following the release of the Betacam, Sony released the Betamovie BMC-100P in 1983, a shoulder-mount camcorder which used Betamax cassettes to store video clips. JVC followed with their own VHS-C camcorder that same year, which remained popular even when Sony released the Video8 format in 1985 to make video recording more compact.
In the 1990s, digital technology slowly introduced new opportunities for developers in improving camcorders. Sony introduced the first digital camcorder with the D1. The D1 recorded videos in uncompressed format but it needed a huge bandwidth for time.
By 1995, the top three brands, Sony, Panasonic and JVC, introduced the DV format, which became the standard video format used for home videos and individual recording. It was the brand Ikegami which released the first tapeless camcorder which they called the Editcam.
Digital video cameras became more advanced with the introduction of HD or High-Definition quality. Panasonic first introduced HD quality videos with its DVCPRO HD in 2000, which modified the DV codec standard to support HD recording.
At first, the HD format was only for professional camcorders and it would still use full-sized DVCPRO cassette tapes to record clips, but Sony, Canon, Sharp and JVC revised the DV format even further and introduced HDV in 2003.
This new video format reduced the necessity in using full cassettes for recording and made HD recording cheaper as users would only need to purchase MiniDV cassettes for their video clips. At the same time, Sony also introduced the first version of tapeless camcorders with the use of a Professional Disc to record videos.
After a year, Panasonic also released its own tapeless camcorders with the use of memory cards instead of disks.
With the popularity of the HD format, developers slowly looked into expanding the HD format to give life-like video quality.
In 2010, this became a reality when full 1080p HD 3D camcorders were introduced. Many loved these 3D camcorders especially after the production of the 3D film Avatar, as it provided an idea as to how much detail is possible for recorded media. It was Panasonic who introduced the first 3D camcorder with the HDC-SDT750, which can shoot both 2D and 3D videos.
However, in Panasonic’s camcorder, one has to purchase a separate conversion lens to shoot in 3D. Sony took a step closer to the technology and introduced HDR-TD10 which does not have a separate conversion lens to shoot in 3D.
Panasonic did follow up with other releases with the HDC-SD90, HDC-SD900, HDC-TM900 and HDC-HS900 capable of taking 3D shots without the necessity of external lenses. However, there were already developments for 2D Camcorders that have optional 3D settings in the works.
In recent years, the Full HD camera range is now being improved with the development of prosumer camcorders that can record 4K Ultra HD or videos with 3840×2160 resolution. However, such cameras are currently around $2,000 each, but companies like Sony and Panasonic are developing cameras below $1000 with 4K capacity.
Today, digital camcorders are now used in all types of electronic media for any subject or topic. The entertainment industry has greatly benefitted from the introduction of video cameras, allowing independent movie makers to also make world-class shots.
Schools are also using digital cameras to prepare short clips and lessons for students. Of course, many families also now have their own video cameras to document important family events.