Ampex Corp. introduces the VR-1500, a “portable television tape recorder”. It only weights 130 pounds, and the company claims that it is one-twentieth the size of previous models. It’s also much more affordable, with a price tag of less than $12,000. That’s less than one-fourth the price of its predecessor models. It should be noted however, that in 2012 dollars, it would cost about $360,000.
From labguysworld The VR-1500 is a simplified version of the Ampex VR-660 professional VTR. The 660 had tighter servos, electronic editing (VR-660B) and even color operation (VR-660C). The VR-1500 uses two inch (5 cm) wide tape, configured in what is called the B-wind. B wind tape feeds from the right side of the reel, with the oxide side facing out. This is the opposite of A-wind tapes which feed from the left and have the oxide side facing in. Tape speed is 3.7 inches per second, providing up to 5 hours of recording time.
Operation of the 1500 and 660 VTRs is by means of the four position joystick control. This was a huge innovation which simplified operation of the VTR as well as the control circuitry inside the deck. The joystick switch was made by General Electric. The controls for recording are sophisticated as well. Audio and video tracks can be recorded simultaneously or separately, as well as re-recorded, after the fact. Click on the photo to read about the joystick controller.