Dolby E and Multiple Tracks

Asked to deliver 8 tracks of audio on HDCAM tape? Tough luck, but there may be a way.

Video tape recorders (VTRs) support different numbers of audio channels based on the format.

HDCAM 4 tracks

HDCAM SR 12 tracks

D5 8 tracks (older ones up to 4 tracks)

DVCPRO HD 8 tracks

VTR formats not listed here are not likely to be requested as delivery formats. Most common mastering format at this time is D5 and 8 channels is adequate although not perfect.

HDCAM’s 4 channels may not be enough in some situations. If you need to deliver 5.1 mix on an HDCAM tape how do you record 6 channels on a 4 channel tape? Dolby E process allows you to squeeze 6 digital audio channels into 2 channels.

Once encoded you can not play such audio back without a Dolby E decoder. The master can not be easily downconverted or run through standards converter while maintaining the integrity of the Dolby E tracks.