B E K E R S ' C U R I O U S E V R D O N A T I O N . . .
Maybe the world's only remaining EVR cartridge - actually contains a video I wrote a million years ago on how to use an Abacus
Greg Lukow (right) and me in his office pretending that the EVR cartridge is a flying saucer . . .
(Greg is Chief, Motion Picture, Broadcasting
& Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress'
Campus for Audio Visual Conservation)
SOME RELEVANT EVR HISTORY:
Of all the film-based video formats kicking around or being considered, EVR (Electronic Video Recording)
made the greatest impact, mainly because
of the heavyweight status of
its developers. Head of the technology team was Dr Peter Goldmark,
president and director of research at CBS Laboratories,
who had been
involved in developing the CBS color television that almost became the
US standard and was responsible for the LP disc. CBS retained
American rights and formed the EVR Partnership for the rest of the
world. Members of the EVR Partnership with CBS were Imperial Chemical
of the UK and Ciba-Geigy, the Swiss chemicals firm.
CBS acxtually announced EVR in October 1967. The 750 ft film was stored on a
seven-inch diameter spool in a plastic cartridge. It used a twin-track
8.75mm film onto which signals were transferred by electron beam
recording. It was thus
not an electronic image, not really 'video'
(except in the sense that it player back on a TV set) and certainly not intended for home
recording. The players did feature still framing and manual
frame advance. The first public demonstration was staged at the Internavex
exhibition in London in July 1969. Queen Elizabeth (see below)
came along in her
tiara and decorations to inspect the system. She seems duely impressed . . .
Here's a close-up of the film in the EVR cartridge we donated to the
Library of Congress. The cartridge dates back to the early 1970s.
The film in the cartridge is 8.75 mm wide with audio tracks on each outer side. There
are two side-by-side frames that are read by a flying spot scanner
and create the color image.
One frame (the top side here) has the luminance information (essentially a B/W photographic image); the
matching frame (below it) carries the chroma information. If you
look carefully, you can see frames of an abacus in the top track;
it's from the show I wrote way back when . . .
Here's Motorola's version of an EVR player. It's pure
1970s aesthetic - woodgrain cabinet, big buttons, and all.
Its guts looked like this. That's the take-up reel on the right side.
MEDIA NOTE: CBS created a 13-minute film about EVR worth watching
if for nothing else than its dated, corporate look. It is here.
EVR was probably the last medium in the evolution to today's
DVD/BluRay world that you could actually hold up to the light and see
what's on it (at least you could see the B/W images, the matching chroma frames were not understandable to the naked eye).
One last techno-note. The EVR format was designed to allow either
B/W or color programming. In the color mode, EVR used the
side-by side color/luminance frames just explained above. If you
were using the B/W mode, you could get twice as much running time
since EVR used the color mode's luminance track to carry a
second, equal length of B/W material. Likewise, the color mode
used both of the magnetic audio tracks for stereo while the B/W mode used only one track for each B/W track for mono output.
For those moved to learn more about the whole EVR saga, Click Here for an interesting essay (reprinted by permission)
by Catlin Hammer entitled A Spectacular Failure, The History of Electronic Video Recording.