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mini-DV Wiki: All You Need to Know About mini-DV

what is mini-dv

Updated: 15.3.2021

What does mini-DV Mean?

mini-DV is a type of camcorder format that records digital video and audio.

The digital AV signals are recorded on a mini-DV cassette tape.

The word mini is attributed to the size of the cassette. At the time of its launch, it was the smallest video cassette.

Mini-DV Cassette

The cassette has a length of 2.6 inches, a width of 1.9 inches, and a height of x 0.5 inches

The tape width is a mere 0.25 inches 0r about 6mm.

The tape thickness is about itself is only 0.25 inches.

Depending on the mini-DV cassette and recording settings video could be recorded from 60 (SP) to 90 (LP) minutes.

The size of the mini-DV cassette allowed manufacturers to produce smaller size camcorders and video cameras.

How Can I Play Old mini-DV Tapes?

You can play old mini-DV tapes through a mini-DV camcorder or a mini-DV tape player or mini-DV VCR (Video Cassette Recorder).

With a mini-DV camcorder, you have to insert the mini-DV tape into it and hit the play button. By doing this you can watch the video through the LCD screen of the camcorder.

If you wish to watch the mini-DV tapes on a larger screen, you would have to connect your camcorder or mini-DV player to your TV. You can do this by using an RCA cable or an S-Video cable. Simply connect the AV out of the camcorder/mini-DV player to the AV in of your TV. Switch your TV display to the AV in which your camcorder/mini-DV player is connected.

Hit the play button on the camcorder/mini-DV player. You should be able to see the video playing on your TV.

mini-DV camcorders and mini-DV player decks are no longer in production. That doesn’t mean you can’t get hold of them. You can buy used mini-DV camcorders and mini-DV player decks that are still in good, working condition.

How do I delete Mini DV tapes?

There’s no way to delete a mini-DV tape. The only way to remove video from a mini-DV tape is to record over it.

The video content in a tape isn’t in the form of a digital video file that can be easily deleted.

Let’s assume that you want to delete a mini-DV tape because you want to reuse it for recording video.

The only way to do it is to record over the tape. Just insert the tape into your camcorder or mini-DV player deck and hit the record button.

When you do this the old video content on the tape will be written over.

Say you have a one-hour tape. You record on it for 20 minutes and stop. The tape will play 20 minutes of the new video you’ve recorded. The remaining 40 minutes will still be the old video recorded on it.

So, to delete a 60-minute mini-DV tape you would have to record on it for 60 minutes to fully delete it.

If you want to delete a mini-DV tape to remove old content you don’t want others to see and just want a blank tape, here’s how to go about it.

Insert the tape into your mini-DV camcorder. Put on the lens cover. Press the record button on the camcorder and let it run until the tape comes to an end.
When you play the tape back, all you’ll see is a black screen.

Note that once a mini-DV tape is written over, the original video content on it can’t be recovered.

Firewire Port

The main attraction of a mini-DV camcorder or video camera is it comes with a Firewire port.

With this IEEE 1394 connection, digital video can be captured directly into a computer that has a Firewire port through video editing software.

How Many GB is a Mini DV tape?

The mini-DV codec uses a 5:1 compression ratio. Full resolution video takes up about 1GB per five minutes.

As such, a mini-DV cassette can store about 13 GB of DV-quality audiovisual data per hour of recording.

What Resolution is mini-DV?

The mini-DV resolution is 720 x 480 pixels (NTSC) and 720×576 (PAL) with interlaced scanning.

Audio is recorded at different levels of sampling with the best quality being 48 0000Hz at 16 bits.

The horizontal resolution of mini-DV when viewed on television is around 500 lines, compared to VHS’s 240 lines and Hi-8’s and S-VHS’s 400 lines.

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