The 8 mm video format refers informally to three related videocassette formats for the NTSC and PAL/SECAM television systems. These are the original Video8 (analogue) format and its improved successor Hi8 (both analogue and digital), as well as a more recent digital format known as Digital8.
Their user-base consisted mainly of amateur camcorder users, although they also saw important use in the professional field.
The format was created and launched in 1984 by Eastman Kodak. Kodak had designed a camcorder based on the format but Kodak withdrew from the market very early before it was established.
In 1985 Sony of Japan introduced the Handycam, one of the first Video8 cameras with commercial success. Much smaller than the competition's VHS and Betamax video cameras, Video8 became very popular in the consumer camcorder market.
Pictured is a Video 8 tape, it can be identified simply by the number 8 stamped in the centre of the tape. Likewise the other two formats of 8mm tapes, Hi8 and Digital8 are marked in a similar way. The number 120 represents the running time of the tape on standard play (SP), on long play (LP) this number is doubled.
DV is a format backed by manufacturers such as Sony, Philips, Thomson, Hitachi, Matsushita (Panasonic) and others. DV cassettes are designed for maximum performance when used with today's digital video (DV) camcorders and VCRs. As the first digital video recording system for consumers, Mini DV represents a significant advance in video quality over conventional analogue recording, with an unprecedented 500-line horizontal resolution-100 lines greater than Hi8 or S-VHS recording.
The DV format has two cassette sizes: Standard/ Full Size (125mm by 78mm by 14.6mm) and Mini DV (66mm by 48mm by 12.2mm). The new DV VCRs will accept both, but the current crop of camcorders accept only the Mini DV.
Micromv was a proprietary videotape format introduced in 2001 by Sony. This cassette is physically smaller than a Digital8 or DV cassette. In fact, MicroMV is the smallest videotape format — 70% smaller than MiniDV or about the size of two 20p coins. Each cassette can hold up to 60 minutes of video.
The MicroMV format does not use the highly popular DV format. Instead, it uses 12 Mbit/s MPEG-2 compression, like that used for DVDs and HDV. Footage recorded on MicroMV format initially could not be directly edited with mainstream DV editing software such as Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut Pro; instead Sony supplied its own video editing software MovieShaker (for Windows PCs only). Later versions of Pinnacle Studio and several freeware applications however could capture and edit from Sony MicroMV Camcorders.
MicroMV has not been a successful format. Sony was the only electronics manufacturer to sell MicroMV cameras. As of January 2006, Sony does not offer any new MicroMV camcorder models.
There are several other formats of tape in the public domain, at Timeless Moments we can transfer them all. Please call for details if you have something you are unsure about.