Camcorder Formats Explained - Digital 8

Introduced in 1999, Digital 8 is digital video recorded on Hi8 media using the industry standard DV codec. In engineering terms, Digital 8 and Mini DV are indistinguishable. Digital 8 uses the same cassettes as Video 8, but otherwise bears no resemblance to the Video 8 analogue video system.

Digital 8 features include up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution; a 460,000 CCD imaging device; a Digital Component Recording system that Sony claims divides the chrominance (or colour) signal into separate R-Y and B-Y signals using a colour bandwidth that carries three times as much information as analogue-based video. It also uses ‘time based correction’; an error correction system that detects missing video data in the captured video and fills in the data to provide a seamlessly looking video.

Digital 8 (SP) recordings can be made on standard-grade Video 8 cassettes, but this practice is discouraged. Hi8 metal-particle cassettes are the recommended type for Digital 8 recording and most tapes currently sold are marked for both Hi8 and Digital 8 usage.

A standard-length 120-minute Hi8 cassette will store 60 minutes of Digital 8 video (Standard Play) or 90 minutes (Long Play). A few vendors sell long-duration tapes, with an SP recording time of 90 minutes (or 135 minutes in LP.)

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