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[AV Media Matters] The late - not so great - M format
>By the way Panasonic had an "M" format and an "MII" format neither one
>really caught on although MII was more popular. Ampex marketed the "M"
>format as an OEM for a while but opted for the Betacam SP format when
>it came out.
For the Necro Media fans - a few more tidbits about M format.
Another company was very heavily involved in the M format, and in
fact held some of the patents on the basic technology which
Panasonic licensed. Can you guess the company?
OK - it was the late great RCA. It was toward the end of the
companies existance, but RCA actively marketed the format - and in
fact I purchased one from them. I purchased it specifically to do
single frame (and field) animation which all concerned felt it shoud
be able to do - unfortunately it was not able to to do it
consistently. To RCA's credit they had a technician virtually
camped out at my company at that time (The Fantastic Animation
Machine) as we tried to make it work. Eventually they gave up and to
their credit gave us back our money - every penny of it. I believe
that RCA marketed it as the "Recam" format and it was also known as
the RCA Hawkeye format (camera and recorder combo).
M format tapes are very difficult to identify in an archive because
they look exactly like VHS tapes - and in fact some people would
mistakenly use M tapes for VHS recording (a VERY expensive mistake -
no you could not use a VHS tape for an M recording unless you very
carefully drilled some holes in the shell). The M format is
definately obsolete, but there are probably a great many tapes out
there that have content - probably broadcast quality content because
the format was relatively expensive (although cheaper then 1" C).