Video Digitization

Quick Pricing

$25.00 per tape.


Pricing

$25.00 flat fee per tape.

Each tape is transferred to it's own DVD.

We really discourage putting multiple tapes onto 1 DVD. It doesn't work well with our process, and it can necessitate encoding your videos at a lower bitrate, therefore degrading the transfer. If you insist, there will be an extra charge.

If you have VHS video that was recorded in LP (long play - 4hours) or EP (extended play - 6 hours) it will have to be encoded with a lower bitrate due to the limited capacity of DVDs.


The Importance of Digitizing Your Video Tapes.

VHS and other magentic video tape formats have a very limited lifetime.

After only a few years, the tapes start to lose color and sharpness.

Heat, light, age, and humidity all work at destroying your video.

Just view an old VHS tape of your own and see for yourself. It is an urgent problem.

Digital video does not have these problems so have it digitized and safely preserved for the future



Formats accepted
  • VHS - SP (standard play - 2 hours), LP (long play - 4hours), EP (extended play - 6 hours)
  • VHS-C (VHS Compact)
  • S-VHS
  • S-VHS-C
  • Hi8
  • Video8
  • Digital8
  • MiniDV

Wikipedia Article: VHS

Formats we do not handle:

  • Mini-DVD: A terrible technology. If you're stuck with them, you have to make sure the disks are finalized in the camcorder they were shot in. Then you must copy the Title Set (VIDEO_TS, AUDIO_TS folder/file structure) to your computer, then de-mux the files to MPEG-2 and AC3. It's not a fun process.
  • Beta
  • Umatic

Deliverables
Standard

TV DVDs

DVD-Video disks for playing in your DVD or Bluray player.

Each DVD comes in a standard DVD case.

For projects involving lots of individual DVDs, we may provide them back in up to 8-disk cases, or disk wallets.

h264 Filess

Depending on the project they will come on data-DVDs or a USB Thumbdrive

Each video tape digitized as an h264 file. .m4v files for your iTunes library and AppleTV or other properly equiped TV.

Optional

External Hard Drive - Highly Recommended

The AVIs and h264 files on a external hard drive.

This is the only way to obtain the master files of your video tapes. The files run about 15GBs (gigabytes) per hour of video.

We prefer Seagate or Western Digital Drives.


Process

3-step Process

Master Creation - Encoding - DVD Authoring


Master Creation

We start by using professional decks and time-base correctors (TBCs) to digitize your video tapes to AVI.

This first step, the master creation, gets the truest digital reproduction of your tapes possible.

The master is a standard DV-AVI video. This first step is very important to ensure the best signal possible from your fading tapes.

Encoding

Using the newly created master we encode your video into two formats

MPEG-2 for TV DVDs

The DVD Video spec mandates that the video on DVDs is in the MPEG-2 format.

We use high-quality software encoders to encode your video at the highest bitrate possible to use all the storage on the DVD.

h264 for Computer Viewing, Sharing, and Preservation

This format is very useful for viewing on your computer and also for keeping copies of in the cloud for sharing and long-term preservation.

Again we use high-quality encoders, but since the encodes aren't limited to the size of a DVD, we use a constant quality bitrate.

This allows for a high compression but high-quailiy video file.

These files can also be trimmed and uploaded to YouTube of put in your iTunes library and streamed to your TV or other devices.

Notes:

Because of these steps, your digital copies of the video will look better than when you played them on your VCR.

We don't do any enhancement per-say, we just use high quality equipment and processes.

Enhancements like you may see in a TV show like C.S.I. don't really exist. They are figments of creative minds in Hollywood. :)

DVD Authoring

DVDs themselves have become obsolete with the rise of HD video. But for your standard definition video tapes, they are still the medium of choice for popping a disk in a DVD or Blueray player. They also play on any computer with an optical disk drive.

There is no way to convert video tapes into High-Definition. You can't increase the actual resolution of video. We just make sure to get the truest reproduction from your tapes as possible.

The process of making a high-quality intuitive TV DVD is complex. The process is known as DVD Authoring.

Our TV DVDs, start playing the video as soon as the disk is inserted into the player. There is also a scene selection menu. It is simple, but attractive, and very straightforward.

What we do not do

We do not use appliances to create DVDs. These are the devices where you put a tape in one end, and a blank DVD in the other and it will do the transfer for you. These do a very poor job of the transfer, and they do not provide you with the files you really need.

DVD was never intended to be used as a real-time recording medium. Some vendors have tried to implement solutions that make this possible, but the technology just doesn't work right.

Hardware encoders are sometimes referred to as real-time or broadcast encoders. However, this only refers to the ability to produce results right away, not as much for final quality.

These hardware encoders sometimes have failures in the MPEG stream. This often results in severe pixelation or a fractured scene.

If you have a Tivo or DVR type device, you may have noticed that once in a while the picture will fracture. This is because the hardware encoder in your DVR can't always encode the video it is given in real time, so it gives up, producing the fractured picture.

This is OK for recording TV, but when preserving your home movies, this is unacceptable.

Software encoders don't have this problem because they can work longer on hard-to-encode parts of video and have the benefit if being able to virtually see into the future of the video to be encoded.


Preparation

Organize your tapes chronologically as best as you can. It's not necessary, but it makes sense to.

Please make sure that your tapes actually have video content on them. We have to charge your for tapes if they are blank. Most of the work is already done on our part if the tape turns out to be blank.

We digitize the entire tape. We will not digitize parts of the tape. If you need that, you can get the AVI files on an external hard drive and edit them yourself. See Video Editing

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