¼ inch Akai b/w reel-to-reel

Akai VT-110 & VT-120 quarter inch open reel monochrome video tape
Plastic tape spool labelled Akai, wound with black quarter inch video tape

Akai quarter inch video tape on 5 inch original spool

introduction to ¼ inch Akai b/w reel-to-reel video transfer

Quarter inch video tape is an unusual format, developed by Akai in 1967 with the aim of producing a light-weight portable VTR and camera system.

We offer a range of delivery formats for our video transfers. Following International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives TC-06 guidelines, we deliver FFV1 lossless files or 10-bit uncompressed video files in .mkv or .mov containers for archives. We can also produce Apple ProRes mezzanine files for ease of editing. We provide smaller viewing files as H.264 encoded .mp4 files or on DVD. We're happy to create any other digital video files, according to your needs.

We can provide the appropriately-sized USB delivery media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

¼ inch reel-to-reel video recordings can vary both in duration and in the extent of physical tape degradation, so we always assess tapes before confirming the price of a transfer.

We offer free assessments - please contact us to discuss your project.

For an introduction to our assessment and treatment processes, please see our guide to "what happens to your video tape".

¼ inch Akai b/w reel-to-reel video machines

  • Akai VT 110
  • Akai VT 120

¼ inch Akai b/w reel-to-reel video format variation

very dark brown or black quarter inch magnetic tape on plastic spool

close up of Akai quarter inch video tape

Akai VT-110 video recorder with built in monitor screen and 2 reels of tape

Akai VT-110 portable reel-to-reel ¼ inch video tape recorder

Akai quarter inch video tape on clear plastic spool with rulers indicating diameter 5 inches (12.7 cm)

Akai ¼" video tape on 5" (12.7cm)* diameter spool *maximum spool size for Akai VT machines

¼ inch reel-to-reel video tape risks & vulnerabilities

¼ inch Akai b/w reel-to-reel video history

In 1967, Akai introduced the first (and only) portable open reel video recorders that used ¼" tape. It was the lightest-weight of the all the portable video recording systems, and had a detachable monitor.

Aimed at a domestic market, the narrow width of the tape (all other portable video recorders of the era used ½ inch tape), reduced the quality of the output. It is a rarely-seen format.

See the Akai VT-100 reviewed in Radical Software Vol 1. Nr 3.