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A Personal Concord Introduction - Ed Sharpe archivist for SMECC

Thinking back on my High School experiences with a Concord Video recorder in the late 1960's and reading old literature produced at the dawn of the half-inch video revolution, I had an epiphany which lead me to develop a History of Video Equipment display for the museum.

I fondly remember when Rolling Hills High School (now named Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills/ Rancho Palos Verdes California) acquired a Concord Video camera and  half-inch reel-to-reel video recorder in the late 60's. I was the kid  who 'was always into the technical stuff,'  and so Mr. Rice,  the driver's education / health instructor / coach, drafted me to learn how to run this unit.

The prime initial use for this video recording system was to document football games so the coaches could examine the plays. Aside from motocross racing, sports was really not an interest for me.  But the possibilities of the video recorder captivated my imagination. I saw it as a useful tool for recording plays, dance routines and documenting  student life at the high school.

Football was boring, but recording the plays and dance and music was thrilling. The best stunt though was placing the recorder and camera on a tripod in a van with the doors tied back. I had built an inverter so that the equipment could be run on 12 volts. When we thought  we had a clear path we would sneak the equipment  into the van and off campus. I remember tying the side doors of the van open and  running the equipment while someone else drove the old Ford van.  The van had transmission problems,  and I still remember the other guy crawling under the van to fiddle with the linkage.

It was great fun to pull up to a group of people and start interviewing them... I wonder what ever happened to those tapes? I am sure they were over-written many times by folks that followed me.  We even went down into Torrance and San Pedro a few times. The school administrators quickly put an end to  our fun and said "no more playing with valuable school equipment."  I am surprised we did not get busted sooner, but at the school we tried to keep it low-key and did most of our  creative work far from the campus when  we were working out of the van.

Another humorous side-story was the use of old computer tape. Since the school only had the one tape that we were given with the Concord,  we would re-spool surplus computer tape bought at Olsen Electronics. Of course the heads would wear excessively, and we finally were able to get a supply of the real stuff as they tired of replacing the heads...

With all of this being said,  I remember the unit looking similar to the Concord VTR-620 below. As far as the camera goes, though, it remains a mystery to me as which exact model it was.

I was to go into the Air Force (fixed radios and communications equipment after high school)  and about the only contact I had with video equipment was to play around with one of the spare CCTV cameras that was kept on hand by the  CCTV repair folks at the 2037 Communications Squadron at Luke Air Force base located near Phoenix, Arizona.  The most fun we had  with one of these cameras one night was hooking it to a microwave link I had built with old klystrons  obtained from the avionics squadron. I suppose these units were not suitable for use or were out of spec. but they seemed to work fine for  the experiments.

Although I had somehow touched  on the beginning of the 'Half-Inch Video Revolution' I missed out on most of it that continued on into the 70s. Now I have the chance to relive one of the parts of my childhood I missed! -Ed Sharpe



Concord VTR-620 B&W Videotape Recorder/Player


This Concord VTR-620 B&W Videotape Recorder/Player is in superb physical condition.  This is a Pre-EIAJ unit. The unit powers up fine, and when the tape sensing guide switch is made all panel functions operate perfectly. Belts look great, still flexible not dried out, and run both spools with no slippage, motor is strong. We will look forward to testing this unit!


This unit is former university property that I suspect is extremely low use, based on appearance of heads and felt pads, which show almost zero tape residue. Interior is immaculate, pictures show it exactly as it was when I removed the cover panel. This unit has 2 video heads, runs 1/2" tape on 7" reels, take-up reel is included, power cable also. 12 IPS speed with 40 minutes record / playback time. This unit was made for Concord by Panasonic, and as a testimony to this fact it has a NV- designator on the inside and the data plate reads "Precision manufactured in Japan", almost identical to the Panasonic NV-8000 series. Actually this unit is reported to be virtually identical to the Panasonic NV-8100D


One strange thing about this unit is that the "AutoClean" switch hole has been blanked off, and there is no evidence of any switch being installed there. Since all seals are intact and I'm 95% sure it has never been opened up, I would have to guess that this is the way it came from the factory, and that "AutoClean" was an option not installed on this unit, although we have seen Panasonic units with the push button video head cleaner, visible at the top of the head drum. When pressed, a small bristle brush just barely touches the faces of the video head tips...


 The only flaw that  is noticeable is the TV Receiver input jack has the insulation chipped on one side of the jack, but pins are fine and the jack should work no problem, easily replaced if you wanted to. 


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Concord Division of Benjamin Electronic Sound Corp. Farmingdale New York

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