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GR-C1 camcorder. This Japanese-labelled model features the "Victor" brand (as used in the company's home market), rather than the "JVC" name used outside Japan.
Front view of the Victor GR-C1 camcorder

The JVC GR-C1 was a camcorder released in March 1984 by JVC and was notable as the first all-in-one VHS camcorder, as opposed to earlier portable systems in which the camera and recorder were separate units linked by a cable.

It used a 30-minute analogue VHS-C video tape, which could be played back in a standard VHS VCR using an adapter. The camera was also capable of playback in the viewfinder or through a composite video cable. A separate RF modulator was available to enable connection to the aerial socket of domestic televisions. By comparison, the camera's nearest competitor at the time, Sony's Betamovie, could record but not play back. JVC invented the VHS format and released the first VCR of that type, the JVC HR-3300, in 1976.

Unlike later CCD-based camcorders, the GR-C1 uses a 1/2" Saticon pickup tube.[1]

It was also released under licence and in a black finish by German company Telefunken as the 890 Movie.[2]

The GR-C1 was voted one of the top 100 gadgets of all time.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

The JVC GR-C1 was famous as Doc Brown's video camera (operated by Marty McFly) in the film Back to the Future.[4]

It also featured in Stranger Things season 2 (set in 1984), as the camcorder Bob Newby hands over to Jonathan Byers to use when he takes Will and the other kids trick-or-treating and is used to record the Mind Flayer.[5]

The JVC GR-C1 was the subject of an episode of Marques Brownlee's YouTube Originals series 'Retro Tech'.[6][7]


  1. ^ "First Look: JVC VideoMovie GR-C1U Camcorder". Popular Photography. 91 (9). September 1984. p. 78.
  2. ^ "Kamera Nostalgie - Community - Google+". plus.google.com. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  3. ^ "Rewind Museum. A museum of vintage camcorders. Betamovie, VHS C, first camcorders from Sony and JVC". www.rewindmuseum.com. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  4. ^ "Total Rewind". www.totalrewind.org. Retrieved 2015-07-16. Immortalised in Back To The Future [..] The GR-C1 was still a tube-based camera, and the incredible sensitivity of today's CCD camcorders [..] was still a distant dream.
  5. ^ "Spotern Stranger Things". spotern.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  6. ^ RETRO TECH: CAMCORDER, retrieved 2019-12-02
  7. ^ Desk, TV News. "YouTube Premieres RETRO TECH, a New Learning Series Featuring Marques Brownlee". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2019-12-02.

External links[edit]