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Betacam is a high capacity videotape format. It consists of magnetic tape that is half an inch wide, spooled within cartridges that come in two different sizes. The format has been used for both professional and personal use, however it has been largely phased out of the consumer sphere with the rise of high quality compact video recording devices over the past few decades. Nevertheless, Betacam has continued to evolve as a professional video recording and storage format (Digital Betacam remains in wide circulation in video broadcasting and post-production).
Although somewhat bulky and inefficient by modern standards, Betacam is notable for its improved efficiency over previous tape recording formats. Compared to older television cameras, the newer Betacam format that replaced them was much lighter, slightly smaller, and featured significantly improved quality and functionality.
Introduced by Sony in 1982, Betacam gave camera operators the ability to play back recorded video in color, while previous video formats could only display black and white playback. The format evolved into several others, such as the Betamax consumer format and the much later Betacam SX, which offered cheaper equipment and improved video compression.