MiniDV (1995 – late 2000s)

MiniDV was a digital video tape cassette format, based on the DV standard for storing digital video. It was launched in 1995 through the joint efforts of  leading producers of video camera recorders. MiniDV was a popular format for camcorders, and allowed manufacturers to reduce the size of their video cameras significantly.

DV cassettes came in four different sizes, and MiniDV was the smallest of those. All cassette sizes used ¼-inch wide tape, and MiniDV used metal evaporated (ME) tape. Technically, any DV cassette can record any variant of DV video.

MiniDV cassettes had been intended for amateur use, but become accepted in professional productions as well. The first consumer MiniDV camcorder was available in 1996.

A MiniDV tape could hold up to 120 minutes of digital video when recorded at LP (long-play) speed, but was half the volume of a Digital8 tape (its main digital video tape competitor)

MiniDV cassettes could also have a small 4 KB memory chip referred to as memory in cassette (MIC) that could be used to record a contents list, times and dates of recordings and the camera settings used.

By 2011, no consumer camcorders used video tape.

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Preservation / Migration