If you are part of the small majority of Americans that still have a VHS player in your home, chances are you have some classic home videos on VHS tapes as well. While your player may not survive into the next decade, you can preserve VHS tapes that will.
Learning about storing VHS tapes, copying them, and digitizing them are all crucial skills for preserving precious memories. If you are wondering how to get the most out of your aging collection you came to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, we discuss how to store video tapes, preserve them, and digitize their contents. The most important part of your VHS tape collection is their contents. Read on to learn how to preserve them.
Store VHS Tapes the Right Way
The best way to preserve the contents of your VHS tapes is to preserve your originals before digitizing them. If you store VHS tapes under ideal conditions, they can last for a very long time without being degraded.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when storing your VHS tapes. If you do the following then your tapes will remain in good condition.
Rewind Your Tapes
Before storing your tapes make sure you rewind them to the beginning. Not only will this make your viewing experience seamless in the future, but it will also prevent damage to the tape.
Half-wound VHS tapes are more susceptible to tape damage as the tape is under more pressure and easier to stretch. It only takes a few minutes to rewind your tapes. It is also easy to check if they need to be rewound.
Moderate Temperature and Humidity
Your VHS tapes will be at a greater risk for degradation if they are subject to wide fluctuations in temperature and humidity. It is in your best interests to moderate temperature and humidity where they are stored.
Avoid excessive humidity or temperature. A moderate 30-50% relative humidity should suffice for storage. Keep the temperature between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit as well.
Avoid Sunlight, Dust, and Water Damage
Sunlight will destroy the quality of your VHS tapes’ film. Dust will affect their playback quality as well. Clean VHS tapes will digitize and play better. Limit the amount of sunlight and dust in their storage area for the best results.
What may first come to mind as a storage area may be your basement. If you can moderate temperature and humidity here this is great. However, you should elevate your tapes off the floor on a shelf to avoid water damage.
Clean Your VHS Tapes Before Storing Them
A clean VHS tape will handle the long years of storage much better than a dirty or dusty one. It is paramount that you clean your VHS tapes before putting them into storage. Cleaning your VHS tapes the right way is worth it.
It can however be risky. It is not advisable to clean precious VHS tapes yourself. You are much better off calling a professional. A professional video service may be able to clean and digitize your tapes at the same time.
Organizing Your Tapes
Depending on your storage space situation you may want to box your tapes or put them on some shelves. Either way is fine as long as you get them off the ground where they won’t be subject to water damage in the event of a flood.
Next, you should arrange and organize your tapes. This will make the digitalization process easier when you get around to it. By organizing your tapes you can go through them and throw out the ones you no longer need.
Transferring Your VHS Tapes
No matter how well you care for VHS tapes, eventually, they will degrade beyond the ability to function. If you truly want to make the memories on your VHS tapes last forever, you need to transfer them.
There are quite a few mediums you can transfer your tapes onto. Here are some options you have.
Make a Copy
In the old days, this was your only option to replicate your VHS tapes. Making a copy tape was done in the past on archaic machinery then today but the result is the same; You get an identical copy of your VHS tape.
If you still want a physical VHS medium, making a tape copy is an excellent option. However, keep in mind that the life span of a VHS tape is less than that of a DVD, and is not infinite like digital cloud storage. Plus, you lose some quality with every new generation.
Burn a DVD
A more modern option is to transfer your VHS collection into DVD format. DVDs will last much longer than a traditional VHS and are also easier to store.
Not only that, you can upload the content from a DVD to your computer. You can also watch a DVD much easier than a VHS as DVD players are more available and many game consoles and computers play DVDs.
Digitize Your VHS Tapes
Your best option is to digitize your VHS collection. While having some hard copies in DVD or VHS form may not be a bad idea, with digitalization you can store your VHS content indefinitely.
You can also restore it through editing software, or share it on the internet. If you want the memories on your VHS to be eternal and enjoyable by all, your best option is to digitize them. Otherwise, over time, they will degrade and be lost forever.
Preserve Your Precious Memories Forever
VHS tapes may be a relic of the past, but the memories they hold are a cherished part of the present. Ensure that your VHS tapes stand the test of time by storing, and transferring them the right way.
If you need help digitizing or transferring your VHS collection, make sure to contact us today. We can handle the cleaning and transfer process with a professional quality that you can’t replicate at home.