smallest videotape micromv

I was surprised when a client gave me what looked like a small audio cassette to transfer. It was about half the size of a MiniDV tape. I had to Google it and discovered that it was, in fact, a video cassette. MicroMV was a proprietary videotape format Sony introduced in 2001. It is the smallest videotape format — 70% smaller than MiniDV or about the size of two US quarter coins; It was the first helical scan tape system using MR read head introduced to the market. Each cassette can hold 60 minutes of video.

The MicroMV format does not use the “DV25” codec used by the very popular DV & MiniDV formats. 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). None of this made it very popular.

There were also MicroMV cameras which were sold exclusively by Sony. The format and the MicroMV camcorder models were discontinued in November 2015. Since I had never before been asked to transfer this format, I decided not to buy one of the used MicroMV camcorders I found on eBay.