Recognising that full-size domestic tape formats were never going to be genuinely practical for portable use, it was natural for manufacturers to consider entirely new formats designed specifically for this purpose.

Although there were already too many different systems in the market, the reduction in size and weight such a design could provide would give any new system an important edge. And for portable use, the actual format was less important, since the recordings made in the field were likely to be "rushes" - raw shots to be edited together later - and the final edited tape could be in a different, full-size format.

Many prototype formats were demonstrated, but not many made it to the marketplace. One of the few that did was the 1/4 inch CVC (Compact Video Cassette), from Funai in Japan and Technicolor in the US, which was launched in 1980. CVC cassettes were only slightly larger than an audio cassette, and gave up to 60 minutes of colour recording.
Meanwhile, JVC had developed a different solution to the problem - Compact VHS, which they introduced in 1982. This used the same tape as standard VHS, and the same recording format, but in a cassette which was only 1/3 the size. This compact cassette could be inserted into in a full-sized VHS adaptor shell, so that it could be played back in any VHS machine. In this way they achieved the required miniaturisation without compromising compatibility with older equipment.

A selection of miniature cassettes:
CVC, VHS-C, 8mm (top to bottom)
with a full-size VHS tape for comparison
Interestingly, both Sony and Philips had experimented with this compact-cassette-plus-adaptor approach, for Betamax and V2000 respectively, but neither had followed it through to an actual product.
Prototype miniature V2000 systems.
Note the mini cassette, next to a full-sized tape.
Of course, the most successful miniature format of all must be Video8, from Sony. This is covered in more detail in the next room, since it has always been mainly a camcorder format, but some 8mm VCRs were produced - including the one in this room.