Digital Transfers Service has recently converted analog video libraries and catalogs to digital file collections for many businesses and institutions. Our service has been utilized by public libraries, college libraries, casinos, universities, tv stations, public broadcasting systems, law offices and by thousands of consumers with VHS tapes.

After ten years images start to fade off mylar videotapes and the sound quality also begins to degrade. The same is the case with film whose colors fade and grow brittle over time. Most of us have videotapes, audio cassettes, super 8 films, record albums and maybe even broadcast videotapes lying around that probably should have been transferred decades ago. The good news is if these recordings have been kept in a respectable climate control environment the decay may not be too bad. For most of us our videotapes have outlived the lifespan of the tape deck we use to play it on. So the questions become, “Can my VHS or broadcast tapes be converted to DVD or a digital computer file?”

The answer is yes.  DTS transfers over 95 broadcast, professional and consumer video, audio, film and computer file formats to the digital format of your choice.

For broadcasting entities like TV stations, colleges and public broadcasting systems, they all have used professional video formats of higher qualities for their programming. We are currently seeing three formats that are experiencing high decay rates and we would encourage anyone with these formats to have these tapes digitally converted as soon as possible. They are ¾ umatic, 2 inch and ½ inch helical scan video tape.

The ¾ Umatic videotape format used in the 1970s through the 1990s can sometimes be a straight-forward project transfer if the tapes have been stored in a climate controlled environment over the years and only minor deterioration has occurred. Some brands have been far superior to others holding their integrity over the decades.  We find the Sony UCA brand to be the worst of the bunch and always needing additional prep to play.

In general after thirty to forty years the ¾ format is showing a lot of particle breakdown of the tapes. The problem with this is that any tape showing these characteristics will constantly clog the videotape playback heads preventing playback until the head is cleaned. On bad tapes they can constantly clog and damage the heads of the videotape player.  If this is the case they would need to be put through a process called baking which will stabilize the tape enough so that the particles do not continue to flake off the tape.

After forty to fifty years the 2 inch & ½ inch helican scan format has lots of particle breakdown of the mylar tape. These  tapes will have to be baked and cleaned before they are transferred. Ten to fifty hours of baking will be required to make these tapes stable for playback.

Digital Transfers Service offers special quantity pricing and packages for collections of one-thousand to ten-thousand tapes.  Included in the price will be the transfer of the tape to the digital pro-res .mov file format H264 wrapper, cleaning, de-molding, baking and any repair of tapes whose leader has separated from the spool as needed.

DTS uses state-of-the-art technology to transfer all those outdated broadcast analog tape formats to the highest quality digital format possible. Each tape is initially tested, then the exact tracking for the way the tape was originally recorded is set. Second the tape is played and the audio levels are set to the correct level so that the audio is not too low or over-distorted. The video portion of the tape is run through a time base corrector to correct and enhance all the visual elements such as luminance, black level, chroma and hue. The audio is run through an audio mixer and distribution amp to enhance and provide the best sound possible.

TIPS ON KEEPING YOUR VIDEOTAPES IN THE BEST CONDITION:

Never put a videotape on or near a magnet – It can erase the footage right off of the tape.

Keep videotapes away from television sets and other appliances that can demagnetize the tape.

Always keep your videotapes in a climate controlled area that is low with humidity.

Always rewind and fast-forward your videotape at least once a year.

Always leave your videotapes standing upright preferably on a bookshelf when not in use

Try to record things in SP mode – EP or LP recordings tend to degrade much faster.

Avoid dust and smoke at all costs.

When taking tapes from a cold to warm place – wait two hours until they reach room temperature before playing them.

Malfunctioning machines are the biggest cause of tape catastrophe. Test the machine using a tape that will not be missed. If a tape is damaged, do not reinsert it in the videotape recorder; the tape may damage the machine.

Digital Transfers Service provides the highest quality conversion for residents of the Greater Philadelphia area in addition to a mail-in service to serve customers around the country. Our techs have over forty years of experience in analog & digital file conversion. Digital Transfers Service preserving, restoring, and transferring all file formats from the 1950s through the 2020s. Call 1-856-387-8500 to get your price quote today.