The JVC GR-C1 is a true design classic, a certainly an icon of the 1980's. Released in 1984 by JVC, the originator of VHS, it was the first VideoMovie camcorder to use the VHS system and the VHS-C (VHS-Compact cassettes). A very popular camera in its time, the GR-C1 has since become a collector's item as a nostalgia piece and a 'Back to the Future' prop. 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.
The camera offers the most powerful feature of video: instant playback. The viewfinder is electronic, a tiny black-and-white television screen, and is used not only for seeing what you were shooting, but also for watching your recordings. To this end, the GR-C1 is a fully-functional VHS-C deck, with playback, freeze-frame, forward and reverse shuttle search controls. There is also a digital counter with memory stop. One other neat feature is so-called "rehearsal" mode. The camera behaves exactly as if it's recording, except that it doesn't actually roll the tape.
The JVC GR-C1 was voted as one of the top 100 gadgets of all time and it is the same model which was used in one of the 1980s most famous films with "Marty McFly" in "Back To The Future". It also featured in "Stranger Things", season 2 (set in 1984), as the camera 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'.
The VideoMovie GT-C1 had a price tag of $1700 in 1985, that would be around $4400 in today's money.
The JVC GR-C1 was the subject of Episode 4: JVC GR-C1 of Dave's Retro Video Lab YouTube series.
Looking for the instructions?
Download here the GR-C1 VideoMovie manual (PDF).
What's your JVC GR-C1 worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.
|JVC GR C1U Camcorder Extras Back To||11/2021||$375|
|JVC GR C1U Video Movie Camcorder Case||10/2021||$325|
|BACK TO FUTURE JVC Video Movie Camera GR||11/2021||$272|
|BACK TO FUTURE JVC Video Movie GR C1U||11/2021||$203|
|BACK TO FUTURE JVC Video Movie Camera GR||12/2021||$215|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||01/2022||-.--|