HI8 – Video8 transfer to DVD

Safe, affordable, fast turnaround, solves your media storage problems, easy to use and navigate Avid Tech DVD.

The Hi8 videotape introduced after the Video8 and was quite popular prior to the release of VHS and the compact VHS-C.

There are still thousands of working HI8 and HI8 Handycams out there and the proof of it’s ease of use popularity can be found in any supermarket videotape section where you can still find HI8 tapes for sale alongside more modern Mini DV videotape cassettes.

JVC trumped Sony with a small sized VHS-C tape that could be played in a VHS VCR via an adapter to playback the tapes.

But of course good old Sony hit back with the HI8 video camera tape which many people argue is better than VHS, all this is fine but of course Mini DV took over and our old HI8 camera is no longer repairable so it is certainly time to look into transfer to DVD.

We offer these service levels for HI8 to DVD conversions.

Standard Video Transfer HI8 to DVD.

This service is for customers who wish to preserve their videotapes in a digital format of DVD.

Basic service includes high quality transfer at high bit rate to DVD featuring chapter points bur without a menu – just insert disc and hit play on your remote.

Feature List HI8 to DVD Transfer Standard Basic DVD Transfer

Hi8 & Video8 have been around 20 years or more old and you should consider a transfer to convert your HI8 & Video8 videotapes to DVD before it is too late.

Videotapes DO NOT last and have a safe shelf life of 10 years in ideal storage conditions.

Preserve your family memories with Australia’s largest transfer facility and the most trusted brand name there is.

You can safely post your tapes to us at Avid Tech by Express Post – Registered Post or if you prefer you are most welcome to hand deliver and meet the team in person.

Avid Tech is about families and keeping our memories safe for future generations to come.

Others charge more for basic transfers. Beware of cheap transfers as what you will get may leave you disappointed.

People trust Avid Tech with their irreplaceable memories.

Standard Basic HI8 DVD Transfer

Edited / Custom HI8 DVD Conversions

High quality capture at high bit rate

The 8 mm video format relates to three videocassette formats for the PAL/SECAM television systems in Australia & Europe.

These are the original Video8 analog format and its improved replacement Hi8 both analog and digital, as a rather more recent digital format known as Digital8.

The user-base consisted mainly of amateur camcorder users, use in the professional field was rare.

The format was created in around 1984 by Eastman Kodak

Kodak had designed a camcorder, but Kodak dropped it very early before it was an established and popular

Home movie maker tool that replaces super 8 film as the mainstream home media.

1985 saw Sony Japan blitzed the market with the Handycam, one of the first Video8 cameras with commercial success.

Much smaller and lighter than the house brick sized and weighted VHS and Betamax video cameras, Video8 became very popular in the consumer camcorder market which is hardly surprising.

HI8 Technical Bits & Bobs

The three formats Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 are pretty much similar, having both the same tape-width and near-identical cassette-shells measuring approximately 95 x 62.5 x 15 millimeters.

This gave a modicum of backward-compatibility in some cases. One difference between them is in the quality of the tape the main differences lay in the encoding of the video when it is recording onto the tape.

Video8 was the earliest of the three formats, and is entirely analog. The 8 mm tape width was chosen as smaller successor to the 12mm Betamax format, using similar technology including U-shaped tape loading, but in a smaller form factor and in response to the small form factor VHS-C compact camcorders JVC started this.

It was followed by a version with improved resolution, Hi8. Although this was still analog, some professional Hi8 equipment could store additional digital-stereo PC audio on a reserved track for this purpose.

Digital8 is the more recent 8 mm videotape format. It retains the same physical cassette shell as its HI 8 predecessors, and can even record onto Hi8 videocassettes. But, the format of video is recorded and stored on the tape itself is digital DV format and therefore quite different from the analog Video8 and Hi8. Some Digital8 camcorders support Video8 and Hi8 with analog sound for playback only, but this is not required by the Digital8 specification and not supported by most Digital 8 cameras apart from one Sony model that can play HI8 as well as digital video.

In all, a length of 8 mm wide magnetic tape is wound between two spools and held within a hard-shelled cassette. These cassettes share similar size and appearance with the audio cassette, but their mechanical operation is far closer to that of VHS or Betamax videocassettes. Standard recording time is up to 180 minutes for PAL.

The cassette holds the same length of tape –tape-speed is different between Hi8 and Digital8 in PAL broadcast standard.

Just like other VCR videocassette recorder systems, Video8 and Hi8 use a helical-scan rotating head-drum to read/write video to the magnetic tape. The drum rotates at high speed 1 1/2 to 2 rotational spins per picture frame, about 1500 or 3000 rpm for PAL while the tape is pulled along the drum’s path. Because the tape and drum are oriented at a slight angle, the recording tracks are recorded as parallel diagonal stripes on the HI8 videotape.

Video8 & HI8 Genesis

Video8 was born into a market dominated by the VHS-C and Betamax formats.

In 1983 Sony Betamax released the first camcorder called Betamovie. Ta dah! JVC kicked back with the compact VHS-C format which enabled the first handheld rather than shoulder-mounted camcorders.

Sony’s answer to these small cameras came in 1985 when they adopted the tape format created by Kodak the previous year that used Betamax-style U-load technology, but reduced the tape width from 12 millimeter to 8 millimeters, and the Video8 format was created.

Kodak in the creation of this format is credited with the Video 8 invention.

On video quality, Video8, VHS/VHS-C, and Beta-II offered similar performance in the SP mode; all were rated at about 240 horizontal lines, quality of tape are other factors. In terms of audio, Video8 generally outperformed its older rivals. Standard VHS and Beta audio was recorded along a narrow linear track at the edge of the tape, where it was vulnerable to damage. Along with the slow horizontal tape speed, the sound was comparable with that of a low-quality audio cassette. By contrast, all Video8 machines used “audio frequency modulation” AFM to record sound along the same helical tape-path as that of the video signal. This meant that Video8’s standard audio was of a far higher quality than that of its rivals, although linear audio did have the advantage that unlike either AFM system, it could be re-recorded without disturbing the underlying video. Betamax and VHS Hi-Fi rarely appeared on camcorders, except on the high-end models. Video8 later included true stereo, but the limitations of camcorder microphones at the time meant that there was little practical difference between the two AFM systems for camcorder usage. In general, Video8 comfortably outperformed non-HiFi VHS/Beta.

Video8 had one major advantage over the full-sized competition. Thanks to their compact-form factor, Video8 camcorders were small enough to hold in the palm of the user’s hand. Such a feat was impossible with Betamax and VHS camcorders, which operated best on sturdy tripods or strong shoulders. Video8 also had an advantage in terms of time, because although VHS-C offered the same “palmcorder” size as Video8, the VHS-C tapes only held 40 minutes of time SP. Thus Video8’s 120-minute capacity served well for most users. Both machines included longer playing modes at 120 and 240 minutes respectively, but at the cost of reduced quality images of only 220 lines resolution. Longer sessions generally required additional infrastructure AC power or more batteries, and hence longer recording-times offered little advantage in a true travelling environment.

Video8/Hi8’s main drawback was that tapes made with Video8 camcorders could not be played directly on VHS hardware. Although it was possible to transfer tapes using the VCR to re-record the source video as it was played back by the camcorder, this inevitably led to lower than reasonable analog signal which looked as a bad dupe and it was.

In the end, Video8’s main rival in the camcorder market turned out to be VHS-C, with neither dominating the market completely. However, both formats along with their improved descendants, Hi8 and SVHS-C were nevertheless very successful. Together, they dominated the camcorder market for almost 20 years before they were eventually blown away by digital formats MiniDV and DVD recordable.


To counter the introduction of the Super-VHS format, Sony introduced Video Hi8 short for high-band Video8. Like SVHS, Hi8 used improved recorder electronics and metal coated tapes to increase video quality. In both systems, a higher-grade videotape and better recording-heads allowed the luminance-carrier to perform at a higher frequency, increasing luminance bandwidth. Both Hi8 and SVHS were rated at a luminance resolution of 420 horizontal TV/lines 560×480 in today’s digital terms, a vast improvement over 240 lines and roughly equal to laser disc quality. Chroma resolution for both remained unchanged at approximately 30 lines horizontal. All Hi8 equipment supported recording and playback of both Hi8 and legacy Video8 recordings. Video8 equipment cannot play Hi8 videocassettes.

S-VHS and Hi8 retained the audio recording systems of their base formats; VHS HiFi Stereo outperformed Video8/Hi8 AFM.

Late 1980s, digital PCM audio was introduced into some higher grade models of Hi8 but never SVHS recorders. Hi8 PCM audio operated at a sampling rate of 32 kHz with 8-bit samples — far higher quality then the monaural linear dubbing offered by S-VHS and VHS VCRs. PCM-capable Hi8 recorders could simultaneously record PCM stereo in addition to analog AFM stereo audio tracks.

The final upgrade to the Video8 format came in 1998, when Sony introduced XR capability extended resolution. Video8-XR and Hi8-XR offered a modest 10% improvement in luminance detail, while retaining full backward compatibility with older non-XR equipment. XR recordings were fully playable on older non-XR equipment, though without the benefits of XR. We do not recall an XR format tape in our transfer suite but as stated it will be OK to DVD.


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