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Digital Video (DV) is a video format launched in 1996, and, in its smaller tape form factor MiniDV, became one of the standards for consumer and semi-professional video production. The DV specification (originally known as the Blue Book) defines both the codec and the tape format. Features include intraframe compression for uncomplicated editing, and good video quality, especially compared to earlier consumer analog formats such as 8 mm, Hi-8 and VHS-C. DV now enables filmmakers to produce movies inexpensively, associated with no-budget cinema.

DV uses DCT intraframe compression at a fixed bitrate of 25 megabits per second.




DVCAM TapeDV-Cam is Sony's variation of a theme, sitting somewhere between DV and DVC-PRO. DV-Cam still utilises ¼" tape and compression ratio of 5:1 at 25 Mb per second with signal sampling rate of 4:1:1.

The tape speed and track width was increased from DV format and metal evaporated tape is used rather than metal particle tape. DV-Cam produces excellent quality pictures and is frequently used within the media industry.


HDV (High Definition) Tapes

HDV TapeHDV is an inexpensive high-definition video recording format which uses MPEG2 compression to fit HD content onto the same DV or MiniDV tapes originally developed for standard definition recording. The compression used results in some quality compromises compared to higher bandwidth HD recording formats.

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Digital8 TapeDigital8 (or D8) is a consumer digital recording videocassette for camcorders based on the 8 mm video format developed by Sony, and introduced in 1999.

Sony was once again the first manufacturer to introduce this format, which is far superior to either Hi-8 or 8mm. Basically aimed at the domestic user, the format is backwards compatible. This means that Digital-8 camcorders will also play previously recorded 8mm and Hi-8 tapes. It also employs the same tape format but will only record 60 minutes on a 90 minute Hi-8 cassette, with both digital video and sound. Camcorders are generally the same dimensions as those of 8mm and Hi-8.

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Micromv tapeMicroMV was a 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 quarters across.


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.

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Digital Betacam

Digital Betacam tapeAKA Digibeta or D-Beta, was introduced by Sony in 1993 as a replacement for the analog Betacam SP format. Digital Betacam was superior in performance to DVCam and DVCPro, while being cheaper than D1. Digital Betacam attracted a fair amount of professional support but didn't go as far as to become an industry standard like it's predecessor. Cassette sizes are the same as other Beta versions: S (small) tapes record up to 40 minutes, L (large) tapes record up to 124 minutes. Cassettes are light blue. Digital betacam records component video with 10-bit YUV 4:2:2 compression. PAL resolution is 720x576, NTSC resolution is 720x480. The bitrate is 90 Mbit/s. There are 5 audio channels — 4 main channels (uncompressed 48KHz PCM) and 1 cue track.


Betacam SX

Betacam SX tapeIs a digital version of Betacam SP. Launched in 1996, Betacam SX served as a transitional format which was cheaper than Digital Betacam. It also had the advantage of being compatible with Betacam SP tapes. Betacam SX uses MPEG 4:2:2 compression with 4 channels of 48 KHz 16-bit PCM audio. Betacam SX cassettes come in the same S and L sizes as other Beta formats, coloured yellow. S tapes have a recording time of approximately 60 minutes; L tapes record up to 194 minutes.


MPEG IMX tapeWas designed as the ultimate realisation of this AV/IT vision. It was also critically affected by the needs of major broadcasters in Germany, Italy and Austria who already had a huge installed base of Digital Betacam equipment. Tomorrow’s networked production environment had to match Digital Betacam picture quality as well as integrating the entire Betacam family archive.


Picture quality equivalent to Digital Betacam

50Mbps data rate

MPEG-2 based, non-proprietary codec for maximum interoperability

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