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What Does MiniDV Stand For?

By Elaine Elliott

DV is a “Digital Video” and audio storage format first launched in 1995. Thanks to the MiniDV consumer camcorder users now had a much smaller digital recording format that could replace the large VHS tape.


Even though professional producers used it for years due to high quality formatting, DV quickly lost popularity with the rise of memory cards and flash drives in the 2000s.


The original DV videocassette format had four sizes: MiniDV, DVCPRO, DVCAM, and DVCPRO HD. Between all the formats, MiniDV became the most widespread.


Depending on the recording format, the MiniDV can hold 41 minutes, 63 minutes, or 83 minutes of video storage up to 11 GB.


The MiniDV was intended for amateur use, but professional producers and cinematographers have used the format in camcorders too. MiniDV also made it possible for manufacturers to drastically reduce the size of camcorders since the tapes are so small.


Out of all the camcorder formats out there (such as Digital8, VHS, and Hi8), MiniDV became the industry standard due to its 500-line video resolution, 640x480 still-picture resolution, small size, and flexibility for video duplication. But even then, formats such as VHS were already more commonly known to the general public because they had been on the market for longer.


MiniDV cassettes may have phased out of the video realm, but they’re still viewed as an important storage device to have footage backed up twice while recording. For example, some cameras still include tape and hard drive storage options, so users can record both formats simultaneously. This means if a hard drive were to ever fail while filming an important event or film, the tried-and-true MiniDV can save the day with its high quality storage format.


If you feel like using MiniDV for your next video project (or maybe you already have some stored away in your closet), Southtree can digitize your MiniDV videotapes onto a DVD, thumb drive, or digital download to ensure your memories are preserved forever!

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