Mastering techniques

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Even in the old days of home video, special techniques were used for producing masters.

Film chain[edit]

The oldest trick in the book, this was used to produce television prints of motion pictures up until the 1970s. It involved aiming a video camera at a projection screen and capturing the footage projected onto it. Though obviously primitive, it produced decent results for its time, and was just fine for the average home viewer.

IVC 9000[edit]

This technique was used to pre-master many DiscoVision titles until 1982. Using a flying spot scanner, MCA transferred films to videotape one frame at a time at what was considered at the time to be high quality, and certainly better-looking than the film chain method. Unfortunately, this technique was well ahead of its time, and IVC went bust in the early '80s, resulting in MCA and Pioneer junking a lot of valuable materials they now considered worthless.

1-inch videotape[edit]

This was used for a lot of mastering in the 1980s. Type C was the preferred format for pre-mastering for laser videodisc, CED, and VHD, though videotape duplicator Bell & Howell more often used Type B videotape in the mastering process for tapes that went through its facilities.

Digital tape[edit]

Beginning in the late '80s, digital tape became the preferred mastering format for home video, with D2 in particular taking over from Type C videotape as the preferred mastering material for laser videodiscs.