Research shows that magnetic tapes such as VHS, if stored well, will start to experience signal loss after 10 years. Magnetic tapes older than 15 years could be in serious jeopardy!
Do not delay in transferring your treasured family movies into a digital format. Any tape that you have recorded your home movies to back in the day is magnetic.
Do magnetic tapes degrade?
Over the years the magnetic part of the tape literally comes away from the base of the tape. Initially this will be visible to the viewable tape as flickers, or white snow on the screen, but leap ahead a few more years and your memories are literally falling away from you. It is definitely never too early to get your memories preserved forever.
Do it yourself tape transfer is risky
You can't always retain quality when transferring your old camcorder tapes into a digital format via your computer.
There are many devices listed on eBay that purport to helping you achieve VHS tape transfer, normally costing anything from £30 to £90. These devices connect your camcorder or VHS player and take the signal into to the USB socket of your computer.
Many people discover that the end result flickers or "rolls", therefore the quality will be sub-standard and the sound out of sync.
Professional VHS to digital transfer
What quality can you expect if you use a professional tape transfer company?
Described below is the process and equipment that we, AG Studios, use to successfully retain the very best tape transfer quality possible. This description will allow you to decide whether to go down the DIY tape transfer route or use a professional.
Firstly, we start with dedicated and high quality machines to play your tapes. We have a wide range of video tape playing machines in our studio:
- Betacam SP
The signal from these machines, as we play your tapes, firstly passes into a Time-Base Corrector (TBC). This device smooths out the signal, reduces or eliminates the flicker, standardises and enhances the colour and quality of the image, and keeps the sound completely in sync with the visual footage.
Our TBC machine, which costs around £2,500, is used by all TV production companies worldwide to achieve the above advantages.
The signal from the TBC then reaches a digital transfer device that converts the signal into a digital format. The final video feeds into our edit suite computer where it is captured.
If required, we can then take the digital file into our editing software and tidy up the beginning and end, lift the volume and quality and convert to your preferred format.
The most common tape to digital conversion choices are:
- Convert VHS to DVD
- Convert VHS to computer file suitable for editing
- Convert VHS to AVI
- Convert VHS to MPEG
- Convert VHS to MP4
Which computer file should I ask for?
There are several files that will work on your computer to edit with or simply view. An AVI file is used by a Windows PC. An AVI however will not play on a Mac, the operating system simply doesn’t to have any recognition of this codec at all. The AG Studios suggestion is to request an MP4 file. It is superb quality, a relatively small file size and best of all plays on either PC or MAC. We can drag the file either onto a portable hard drive, a memory stick or send you a link to download the file online, which sometimes works well if you’re sharing with other family members who may want to also download.
Rest assured that here at AG Studios, all tape to digital transfers are done in-house using our dedicated transfer studio with a huge amount of care and personal attention. We will ensure the best possible results are achieved and the highest level of care is given to your precious memories, preserving them digitally forever.
We can arrange collection UK wide. All parcels and deliveries are fully insured and signed for and we offer the same for the delivery back to you. Alternatively, we are based in St Albans, Hertfordshire and our shop is open weekdays for you to hand the tapes to us in person. The prices are incredibly cost effective for the amount of work involved, we only ever charge for what is actually on your tape, not how long it actually takes us.
Questions about tape to digital transfer:
How do I transfer old camera tapes to memory stick?
We recommend a professional transfer service with conversion to a digital format such as MP4. An MP4 can then be copied to a memory stick.
How can I edit Sony Mini-DV tapes?
The original tapes should be converted to a digital format. Once digital, you can use software such as iMovie to edit your family videos.
Sound out of sync when my VHS tapes were transferred to my computer?
This problem usually happens when using poor quality tape playing and tape transfer machinery. A professional service will provide synched voice to footage.
How to transfer video from an 8mm or Hi8 camcorder to a computer running a windows operating system?
Our article above provides the answers to this question, we essentially recommend a professional service to avoid losing those precious family moments.
Can you connect an old camcorder to computer?
It depends on the connection, and you won’t always achieve the best quality using either a direct transfer, or the camcorder software.
Convert camcorder tapes to DVD near me?
If you are looking for a local tape to digital transfer company, look no further, AG Studios in St Albans offer both a local and UK-wide service.