Since the mid 2000s and the change from tape to file-based recording, it’s become so much easier to record and play back school events. Record and then just put the memory card straight into your computer or large screen TV. Instant.
The issue though is…what do you do with all the old school video tapes that are now collecting dust in a drawer somewhere?
Who still has a VCR/Mini DV Camcorder/Firewire Interface in the 2020s?
Well, that’s the whole point of this service.
If you send us your video tapes, we can capture the footage and return it as digital files that you can play on just about any modern device.
Not only does that make the process an awful lot more convenient even if you do still have the hardware to play them back, there’s no need to worry about the tapes degrading over time until one day they are unplayable.
When it comes to choosing the file format for your footage, you have two main options: AVI and MP4
The files are initially captured as uncompressed AVI files - for want of a better word the "master" format. If you want the best quality file that you can get from your original tape then this is it. Technically they are also a bit easier to edit than MP4 files using programs such as Premiere or Final Cut and so tend to be preferred by professionals.
However...they are absolutely massive!
AVI files captured from even standard definition VHS footage run to around 13-15Gb per hour so they quickly become an issue to store unless you have a lot of spare hard drive or cloud storage space. They are also less likely to play on devices such as Smart TVs and can take days (literally) to upload to cloud storage services like OneDrive or Dropbox.
This tends to be the format that most people prefer for their video conversions.
Since they are converted at a high bitrate from the AVI masters they are still very good quality and have the advantage that you can fit several hours of footage on a cheap USB stick or store them on your PC/Mac/Laptop without taking up all your storage. They are also more compatible with devices like Smart TVs and games consoles, and can be uploaded to cloud storage services like OneDrive or Dropbox in hours rather than days.
The two formats above are the main options, but we are more than happy to convert your footage to most standard formats if you want something specific. Just let us know what you need and we’ll get it sorted for you. Also, if you already have a video file in a format that you can't play, get it to us and we'll convert it to a standard format for you.
Preservation not Restoration
The service offered here is specifically the transfer from tape to digital file, with no post-processing.
It's intended to preserve your footage in a digital format so that you can make endless copies and watch it forever without having to worry about the tapes degrading further or getting chewed by a machine at one point.
This isn't a restoration service. If you need your footage edited or colour corrected, or the effects of any tape degradation removed etc, then services like that do exist, although they don't tend to be cheap. The footage you get back from us is absolutely suitable for such work though, and you can do it yourself if you know what you're doing. Basic editing in particular (e.g. cutting out unwanted footage, splitting up a long tape into smaller sections etc.) really isn't that difficult - it's just very time consuming.
Once the footage is captured we will trim it to remove any blank footage at the beginning and end, but other than that your footage will look like the original recordings, including any gaps.