Did you know that VHS tapes won’t last forever? Besides the fact that finding a functional VCR nowadays is becoming difficult, VHS tapes use magnetic strips to record and play back video footage. Those magnetic strips tend to wear out after only 15-20 years.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your home movies are already gone. However, it could mean that the visual and sound quality are starting to fade. The best thing to do is start the digitization process ASAP.
We understand that converting all of your home movies to a digital format can seem daunting. After all, most of us are sitting on dozens of videotapes and don’t quite know where to begin.
Let’s take a look at how you can digitize your home movies without feeling too overwhelmed. Read on for our simple guide to preserving your family memories.
Start With Organization
Whenever possible, we recommend coming up with a system of organization before you start to convert home movies to digital files. This isn’t a necessity, but you might find it easier to put your videos in order when dealing with tangible tapes, rather than digital thumbnails.
If you’re lucky, your tapes will be labeled. (Shout out to moms for thinking a few steps ahead back in the camcorder days!)
Most people prefer chronological organization, although organizing videos by subject matter (holidays vs summer camp vs birthday parties, for example) can also prove useful. Keep in mind, however, that most of us used the same tape until it was full. In other words, you may have a wide variety of videos on the same tape, and it may turn out that organizing by subject matter is only possible after you digitize your tapes.
Should You Watch Those Old VHS Tapes?
If your tapes aren’t labeled well and you happen to have a working VCR handy, should you watch your tapes? That’s up to you, but it’s important to note that those magnetic strips do take a minor toll each time they’re played.
If you need to play your VHS tapes to organize them, consider only playing the first few seconds to catch the date stamp. That way, you can keep things like rewinding to a minimum but still get a sense of chronological order.
Pick Your Format
You do have a few options when it comes to converting old home movies. We’re here to explain why converting them to digital files that you can upload straight to a computer or cloud is best.
Are DVDs or BluRays a Good Choice?
In the early 2000s, we saw a mass conversion of VHS tapes to DVD formatting. When BluRay technology came to light, more people opted to have their tapes transferred to BluRay discs. Why is it that we don’t recommend this today?
The reality is that these forms of media are also becoming obsolete. They do have a much longer shelf life, with DVDs lasting up to 100 years when properly stored. However, there are still a few factors to consider before spending time putting all your memories on discs.
For starters, DVD and BluRay players are becoming hard to find (albeit not nearly as hard as VCRs). Nowadays, most computers do not come with a built-in disc drive. Plus, with the rise of streaming services, fewer households invest in things like DVD players.
The other thing is that when you put all of your videos on discs, you still have to take care of those physical copies. Sharing your footage with friends and family is also more of a hassle. In the end, you may find yourself converting that DVD footage within a few short years.
Why Digital Files Are Best
Digital files do not raise the same concerns as physical forms of media. With a digital file, you can easily save, convert, share, and transfer any videos you want. You can save them to a cloud system to make sure that they’re not tied to one piece of media.
Plus, digital files open the door to all sorts of opportunities. You can edit them together or splice them to access individual frames or a few seconds of footage. You can add filters, music, and other special effects to create fun projects.
Ultimately, digital files are the most user-friendly and the most likely to stand the test of time.
Let Us Digitize Your Home Movies
We know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t this conversion process require a bunch of professional equipment? Don’t you need to possess skills and experience to restore dull footage or fuzzy audio?
The answer is yes, and that’s why we’re not suggesting you go it alone.
Once you’ve organized your tapes and other older forms of media to your liking, we’re ready to take over. Our video transfer services are affordable without sacrificing the quality of your videos. We understand how important your home movies are and we take the utmost care of both the original copies and their digitized counterparts.
And hey, if you want DVD copies of your home movies, don’t sweat it! We can send you everything from DVDs to flash drives to digital files. Our goal is to ensure that you can access your home movies in the format that is most convenient for you.
Want to Know More About Envision Video Services?
If you’re ready to start converting those home movies, we’re ready to help. We can handle media forms ranging from VHS and audio cassette tapes to 8mm film and wire recordings. Whatever you want to preserve, we’ve got the tools and the know-how.
Want to know more about how Envision Video Services can help you? Would you like to discuss pricing options? Contact us today so that we can get started on your next big project.