Video tape under normal conditions is not as robust as cine film. Most video tapes are designed with a usable 10 to 15 year life span. This number can decrease depending on storage conditions or how often the tapes are played. Most people will have video tapes that are between 10 and 30 years old. VHS or the smaller VHS-c tapes, Video8, Hi-8, Digital 8, MiniDV or microMV camcorder tapes are in great need of being digitized ASAP. I offer 6 video transfer services based on DVD discs or computer files and whether you want any editing. All you commit to is the simplest Bronze service and it is your choice whether you want to invest more in the Silver or Gold service.
Dear Chris, Thank you SO much for the DVDs. They are brilliant and we are all very pleased with them. It is refreshing to deal with someone who is professional, efficient and obviously cares about what he is doing. Many thanks again, Lesley Broughton and the Peters family
The simplest way to get things moving is to either give me, Chris, a call (01793-495733) or drop me an email through the contact page.
It does not matter how many tapes or different formats of tape you have and it does not matter how long the physical tape is (30, 60, 90, 180 or 240). It is just the length of your recorded footage that you pay for.
For ALL services, I record your tapes to my PC and top and tail the tapes from the first viewable frame to the last viewable frame. So if a VHS E240 (4 hour) tape has 38 minutes of your footage on it, it is just that 38 minutes that goes into the “Time Pot”. I then record the second tape which might have 49 minutes on it, this gets added to the first tape’s 38 minutes and so on until all tapes are recorded.
When all the tapes are recorded, I will know how many hours your archive lasts for. The basic prices and the service descriptions are on the next pages.
Bronze Video Transfer Package
The tapes are “topped and tailed” so you only get what is between the first and last viewable frame, everything else is trimmed off.
For Bronze Computer File service – Each tape will be a separately named and numbered computer file so you will know which physical tape created which digital file.
For Bronze DVD service – A feature film is created from your archive and recorded onto best quality Verbatim “Datalife” thermal dual layer DVDs. This is the most cost effective way of getting your memories off tape and onto DVD.
Overview of Bronze DVD Service
I can accept your archive in just about any and every format past and present. So, if you don’t know what you have, it doesn’t matter, I can deal with it. This list below is not exhaustive and if you have anything not listed then please do contact me as I might have just forgotten to list it.
Every second of footage that I deal with is irreplaceable so I understand your tapes and films are precious to you. As I work alone only I will ever see the films being transferred. Over the years I have transferred many very private and personal videos or films with a high monetary or sensitivity value. I have digitized many home movies for celebrities and high-profile people and I offer every customer the same total 100% discretion. My hard-earned reputation depends on it. Please do call or email me if you have any specific privacy concerns or needs.
There are several types of VHS format. Whichever you have it does not matter as I can deal with anything that you have. Large VHS or S-VHS cassettes are anything from 15 minutes to 240minutes and are your typical Home VHS tapes from the 80s and 90s.
Small VHS-C cassettes were used in camcorders. They have the same tape as their larger cousins but in a much smaller case. They are usually 30, 45 or 60 minutes long. They can be played on a normal VHS player by using an adapter which is the same size as a large VHS tape.
Most people are now moving over to computer files, either uploaded via wetransfer.com or on a hard drive and I can create these files for you either as best quality DV AVI files at 13GB of data per hour or compressed MP4 files at 4GB of data per hour.
However, many people still want to hold their memories in their hands and would prefer a physical DVD disc. I only use best quality Verbatim “Data Life” Thermal print DVDs. I make them as beautiful as possible by printing three stills from the footage and useful information (Who, When, Where). To do this I have bought the best Thermal printer there is, the Rimage Everest Encore. The labels will never fade or run and will look just as good in twenty year’s time.
If you want your family tapes back as a playable archive that you can use on a normal under-the-TV player then you will want a DVD.
I only use Verbatim “DataLifePlus” Thermal printable discs, these are industry standard, the best you can get and you cannot buy them in the shops. I use these because I NEVER want one of my discs to fail and I am prepared to pay for the best there is. I always create beautiful labels using the title of your choice, the dates of the tapes and cropped, photo-shopped stills from your footage so that the pictures look their best. To do this I use the brand new and superb Rimage Everest Encore Thermal Disc printer.
I NEVER over-compress the images to squeeze more than 90 minutes onto a single layer DVD or 160 minutes on a dual layer DVD. There would be no point in using the best equipment there is, only to compress all of the quality out of those images.
If you want to create your own archive by doing your own editing, I can supply your videos in just about any computer file format.
Standard file format for the PC Standard Definition (720 x 576) files will be in the DV .avi codec at 13GB/hour.
Standard file format for the MAC Standard Definition (720 x 576) files will be in the QT .mov codec at 13GB/hour.
If accessibilty is more important than absolute quality I can also create smaller sized MP4 files (720 x 576) if you feel that is all you need, these will run at 4GB per hour. This smaller file is ideal for steaming, use on tablets or phones, uploading and sending to people around the world with a transfer service.
I capture using a Pure DV connection for digital tapes or a Matrox MXO2 box for analogue tapes.
For large DV archives it is always best to have your computer files returned on a passport sized hard drive so you have everything in one known place.Typically 1TB (1000GB) is where most storage needs are met. You can either include one with your tapes, you can get one sent to me or I can source one for you.
For smaller archives or archives that are transferred to the smaller MP4 file format I would normally use a file transfer service. I use wetransfer.com and pay for the PRO upgrade.
Once I have created your files, I would upload to wetransfer.com. They send you a link in an email. Clicking on that link takes you to a simple download page. This service is doubly useful as not only can I send files to you, you can forward those files to anybody you want, anywhere in the world as many times as you want. So if you have friends or family, anywhere, you can quickly and easily distribute your archive to them.
I have always strived to give the best possible image, whether dealing with Cinefilm, Slides or Videotape. To get the best image from old video tape I use powerful Time Base Correctors (TBC) to make the video image as strong as possible before digitizing. I use professional Panasonic VHS decks and the best Video 8 / Hi8 / Digital 8 deck based machinery Sony ever made and Sony “M” Series DV decks.
I never use a camcorder to capture footage. Camcorders are designed for acquisition of the original filmed image and do not give a good playback image particularly as the wires provided are usually the cheapest available, you will lose half your quality before you even start. So using a dedicated professional deck with a strong TBC will get the image looking a clear as possible. I can alter image Contrast / Brightness / Sharpness as well as Colour Saturation / Balance and Colour shift, this means that when the image is “Fixed” to DVD it can look better than the original tape.
Many customers want to be able to give a copy of their family’s archives away to another family member or they just want it to look the best it possibly can. For this purpose I offer the service of creating a bespoke Cover. To create the cover, I carefully go through your archive selecting 14 of the best stills for the front / back / spine.
I have a lot of experience in successfully choosing these stills. I will pick a good selection of facial close-ups and family groups with a good cross section of older and younger family members across the whole length of the archive. Each still is cropped and photoshopped to get the best possible look for the framed image. As I use top quality Amaray clear DVD cases that can hold up to 6 discs, you won’t need that many covers. A 6 DVD case can hold 18 hours of video. So even a large archive might only need one cover or two at the most.
The cover service will finish off the professional look of your archive and will cost £30 for the master copy and £5.00 for a duplicate copy.