Magic Memories


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Different Types of Vintage Video Formats

You may or may not ever have seen a videotape in the flesh but they look a bit like this (see below image) and you may have caught a glimpse of them in your grandparent’s or relative’s house. Although they are old, those videotapes may contain fantastic home movies or old production projects – you can digitise these on to USB drive or DVD and make sure the footage lasts for generations to come (and it takes up less space!). 

Old videotapes come in several different formats, so make sure before you digitise them to know which format you have. We have included the rough dates that these formats became available so you can scrub up on your pub-quiz knowledge too! 

VHS – 1977

Let’s start on one file type that most people will know. VHS (Video Home System) was the most beloved and popular video format of all, the chunky, black, book-sized tape that you would have to lovingly rewind every time it finished for the next person. 

VHS was the ruler of the video market, and virtually the only format anyone used for home movies. It was the dominant format for two decades until it was finally toppled by DVD in the late 1990s. It was the Home Video format bringing us the tagline “Be kind, Rewind”.

BETAMAX – 1975

Betamax was the first home videotape available for purchase and use by the general public in 1975. Unfortunately,  this was short-lived. This is because VHS was launched just a few years later and has continued to be popular. This is partly because it was much cheaper.

 VHS-C – 1982

This videotape format was the small, more compact version of the VHS. Since the VHS-C camcorders converted from a heavy piece of equipment to smaller, portable cameras, this video format made filming home videos much simpler.

MINIDV – 1995

At about the mid-’90s, because technology had gotten a lot better and the storage size got bigger – the videotape began to take its course in getting smaller and smaller (about 20% smaller than its predecessor the VHS-C, to be precise).

VIDEO 8/HI8/DIGITAL 8 – 1984/1988/1999

8mm film was revived by the introduction of Hi8 and Digital 8 in different years. Video 8 quickly became a popular format thanks to the Sony Handycam that was released a year later in 1985. 

Later Hi8 was released in the peak of the 1990s which offered better resolution and more storage. 

Finally, by the eve of the new millennium, Digital 8 was released which provided customers with digital recording options and storage. You may find these formats are the holder of precious home video memories from the past. 

MICROMV – 2001

Lastly, but by no means least, Micro MV came out with the smallest ever video file format. If you can’t imagine how small the Micro MV was, then you can imagine it was 70% smaller than the Mini DV and that was small! This was the best thing until digital formatting came onto the scene as the most popular (DVDs and memory sticks and thumb drives).

Where can I get my vintage Video format converted to digital?

When considering how to convert VHS tapes to DVD or digital, one must consider that the video formats above are mostly outdated, with the exception of some that are still used for professional use. As a result, you run the risk of losing all the content on your old videotapes/cine films.

Videotapes did not last forever and were not designed to last forever. A great way to store those videotape memories permanently, or at least much longer, is to digitise them. 

Supaphoto can digitise your videotapes by converting them to high-quality video and audio files. If you are not sure of the tape formats, we can help you determine what you have and ensure that they are safely transferred to digital and/or DVD files. What to do with old videos UK is often the forefront of people’s minds. By preserving your videotapes, we can ensure that those memories will last for generations.