top of page
Search

VIDEO TRANSFERS F.A.Q.


In a continuation of our Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) series, we will answer the most common questions specifically related to the transfer of videotapes. For general information about all of our services, please refer to our General F.A.Q. post.


MY TAPES ARE OLD. ARE THEY STILL ANY GOOD?

Short Answer: Probably.

Although initial estimates for the longevity of formats such as VHS video were presumed at about 25 years, we have seen tapes almost as old as the format itself (mid 1970s) come in that are still perfectly viable. As with most media, how items were stored and cared for over the years can be just as important as the age itself. At the end of the day, however, the sooner you get your tapes converted the safer they'll be, as degradation of the information stored on the original tape will occur until the tape is truly unwatchable.


HOW DO YOU TRANSFER VIDEOS TO DVD AND DIGITAL?

Short Answer: Tapes play in real time with the output of the VCR plugged into recorder/interface.

Unfortunately, there is no "high speed dubbing" when it comes to video tapes. First, we fast forward each tape until the counter stops moving. This signifies the end of active video on the tape. From there we check the contents of the last few seconds of video. If we see old TV shows or movies recorded from TV, we will search/rewind until we find the end of your home movies and mark that spot. We then rewind the tape, perform the same process to find the start of your home movies, and make a note of the time. We set a timer and play the tape. The VCR/camcorder that plays back is fed into a standalone DVD recorder (for discs) as well as a hardware MP4 encoder box connected to a computer, which stores the file as it records. When the timer goes off, we stop the recording, eject the tape, and finalize the discs, rename the video file. Discs and files are labelled with the 4 digital serial number tat we affix to each tape.


HOW DO YOU PRICE YOUR SERVICES? MY TAPES AREN'T ALL FULL

Short Answer: Our pricing is on a per-tape basis, regardless of length.

Our pricing is based on a per-unit charge. This is because it takes the same amount of work to set up, start, and finish a tape transfer. Once it is running, unless we come across technical issues that need to be addressed, the rest of the process runs automatically. We do, however, provide built in discounts for high quantity orders.


HOW MANY TAPES CAN I FIT ONTO A USB DRIVE OR DVD? HOW MANY VIDEO FILES CAN MY COMPUTER HOLD?

Short Answer: For DVD: 1 Disc per Tape. For USB - All of them

By today's standards, DVDs have a somewhat meager storage capability of only 4.7 gigabytes (GB) for a single layer disc. At high quality, one of these discs can store about two hours of standard definition video, which is the same amount as a standard VHS tape run at the normal SP speed. Yes, we can put up to 6 hours of video onto a DVD, but there is a quality tradeoff, just as there is when recording a VHS cassette at the Slow EP/SLP speed, which also yields 6 hours. By contrast, USB flash drives are scalable, and these days even some of the smallest available tend to hold at least 8 GB of data. Because MP4 files use a more advanced compression algorithm than DVD discs, do, the same level of quality can be maintained for about half of the storage size. On average, an hour of standard definition video from an old tape format will take up only one gigabyte of space. Since USB flash drives can now be purchased with sizes up to 1 terabyte or more (1,000 gigabytes), than means literally thousand of hours of video can be stored on these devices - much more than the average person would need.


HOW LONG WILL MY DVD OR USB DRIVE LAST?

Short Answer: Not forever...back them up!

Unfortunately, we are already seeing the occasional DVD that was burned 10 or 15 years ago become unplayable, either in part or whole. Even discs that have no visible scratches or other signs of wear and tear can experience data loss. Likewise, USB flash drives were never designed for permanent storage. This is why we now convert everything to digital files with DVDs as an add-on. The files we provide are on a USB stick, but this is simply a low cost, convenient way for us to present them back to our customers. The files on USB flash drives should be copied over to a home computer, backup hard drive, or - ideally - cloud storage. The more copies you make, the safer everything will be. Digital files are more convenient than discs, or even the original tapes they were made from, but they are also more prone to loss. In this day and age, everything now is just a matter of ones and zeros - it's all about where those ones and zeros are stored, and having multiple copies - in different locations if possible - to insure against losing your precious memories forever.


MY VIDEO TAPE SNAPPED. CAN YOU FIX IT?

Short Answer: Yes.

In most cases, broken tapes can be spliced. A small portion of the damaged tape will have to be cut away, but most of the time only a few seconds of video will be lost. If the tape has pulled inside of the case, we can open it up in order to fix it. Even tapes with damaged outer shells can most likely be repaired - in these cases we take the reel out of the shell and put them into a brand new one.


MY VHS TAPE HAS MOLD ON THE TOP OF THE REELS. IS IT STILL PLAYABLE?

Short Answer: Most likely.

VHS tapes that have been stored in humid locations can develop mold. In most cases, this is confined to the very edges of the tape, and usually flies off when the tape is fast forwarded and rewound. It will remain on the inside of the tape casing but shouldn't affect the playback of the tape itself at this point. Excessive amounts of mold that finds it's way onto the surface of the tape itself can cause problems, but the tight winding of the tape onto the internal reels usually prevents this.


CAN YOU TURN MY DVDs INTO DIGITAL FILES? OR MY DIGITAL FILES INTO DVDs?

Short Answer: Yes.

We can convert video files from data CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and other storage media (as long as it is not copyrighted material). We can also transfer files from hard disk camcorders, memory cards, and smartphones/tablets, and even create Video DVDs from those files if needed.


I WANT MY TAPES IN A PARTICULAR ORDER. CAN YOU DO THAT?

Short Answer: Yes.

Each tape is given a 4 digit serial number prior to transfer. Your DVDs and digital copies will each be labelled with this same number, so you can identify where that video came from. Digital files can easily be renamed to whatever you desire after the fact. If you would like to have them sort in a certain order (chronologically, for example), then you can sort them prior to dropping them off, or even while you are here at our shop. We will apply the numbers in that same order, preserving the sequence throughout the transfer process.


I HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF TAPES. WILL I GET A DISCOUNT?

Short Answer: Yes.

Most of our transfer services, including those for video, include built in discounts for larger orders. You can view the pricing on our Video Transfer page or contact us for a custom quote.



38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Commentaires


bottom of page