Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Today the term is more commonly used to refer to a kinescope recording, kine for short, also called a telerecording in the UK: a recording of a television program made by filming the picture on a television monitor . Alternatively it can refer to the equipment used for this procedure: basically a movie camera mounted in front of a TV monitor, specially synchronized to the monitor's scanning rate.
Around 1947, kinescope came into use to store live TV programs for later rebroadcast. Even though the quality of these recordings left much to be desired, they were initially the only way for nationally broadcasting the New York live performances of early television.
As new technologies for storing video became available, kinescope slowly began to fade in importance: In 1951, singer Bing Crosby's company introduced the first magnetic video recordings and RCA and Ampex would soon follow.
Around the same time, the stars of I Love Lucy, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, decided to shoot their show on conventional film, which was necessitated by their insistence on producing their show in California. In retrospect, this was a good idea, since reruns would not suffer from degraded quality. With much of the TV industry moving to the West Coast in later years, kinescopes practically fell from use. For as many as twenty years after, however, kinescopes were used to preserve live broadcasts of soap operas. This process continued well into the pre-recorded era, as videotape was expensive and reused. If an episode was to be saved, this was the way it was done, and many episodes from the 1960s and 1970s only survive through kinescope copies.
For information on the use of kinescope recordings in Britain see Telerecording.
A kinescope image looks less fluid than an original live or videotaped programme, because film has only 24 frames per second (when transferred to 30 or 29.97 frame video systems including NTSC), or 25 (when transferred to 25 frame video systems including PAL and SECAM), as opposed to the original 60, 59.94, or 50 (respectively) half-frames or fields used by video. In recent years the BBC has introduced a video process called VidFIRE, which can restore kinescope recordings to their original appearance by interpolating video fields between the film frames. In view of this it is perhaps unfortunate that for commercial reasons few black and white programmes are considered worth repeating today.
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