Did you know that 76% of Americans take up spring cleaning every year? 60% do so to give their home a thorough cleaning, while 22% want to remove clutter. Can precious memories be considered clutter? 58% of Americans still have a VCR to watch home movies or favorites memories from their childhood. These tapes are significant but easy to forget about. They often get stored away and take up unnecessary space. And they are slowly deteriorating away.

The best way to prevent this is to convert your videos into digital files. Read on to learn why you should digitize video tapes as part of your spring cleaning process and how to do it.

Benefits of Digitizing Video Tapes

Spring cleaning is the perfect time to digitize your video tapes. They take up storage space and gather dust when they’re left in a forgotten drawer or cabinet. Turning them into digital files will save you plenty of room and preserve their contents.

Digitization is important for preserving the footage the tapes hold. They degrade over time and most only last 15-20 years.

Digital video is easier to share between devices and platforms. Every member of your family can view them whenever they want from anywhere in the world, even if they don’t have a VHS player.

Digitizing video tapes cleans them up and improves their resolution and quality. You can even put them into an editing program. This allows for color correction, cutting unnecessary footage, audio balancing, and more.

How to Preserve Video Tapes

Don’t forget to preserve and care for your video tapes before digitizing them. It’s as worthwhile as any other item on your spring cleaning to-do list.

Rewind your video tapes before storing them. If you don’t, the magnetic tape inside them may stretch out and degrade sooner.

Cleaning the tapes helps them last longer, but can be a difficult and lengthy process. This is one part of your spring cleaning that you may want to let a professional handle.

If your tapes are in an area where they may be at risk of damage, move them somewhere else. Make sure the temperature is between 50-70° and the humidity is 30-50%.

Organization is an important part of spring cleaning and a necessary step to take before digitizing video tapes.

Start by getting rid of tapes that you don’t need or want. The rarer ones sell for a pretty penny on sites like eBay. You can also try selling them at a traditional yard sale instead.

Once you’ve determined which tapes you do want, it’s time to organize them. Sort them by time, category, or whatever system you prefer. Keep them in labeled boxes off the ground to prevent water damage.

Be careful if you decide to watch your video tapes before deciding which box to put them in. This increases the risk of wearing out their magnetic strips. Try to watch only the first few seconds to remind yourself what’s on the tape. And don’t worry if the first few seconds are poor quality, a professional transfer service may be able to clean this up.

How to Digitize Video Tapes

Start digitizing your video tapes by determining what format they’re in. A few common types include:

  • VHS / VHS-C
  • Digital or Hi8
  • MiniDV
  • Betamax
  • And don’t forget about your film reels and audio cassettes

You’ll also need to decide what format you want to convert the tape to. You could opt for a DVD or BluRay, but these once-popular formats are dying out.

Most modern computers don’t have a disc drive to play a DVD or BluRay on. Only 81% of homes have a DVD player. That’s higher than the percentage that has VCRs, but you’re out of luck if you’re not part of that statistic.

Digital files are a better choice because they’re easier to share, edit, and transfer. They also provide you with a wide range of formats to choose from, including:

  • AVI
  • FLV
  • WMV
  • MOV
  • MP4 (Currently the most popular format)

Having the right tools is essential for any spring cleaning job, including video tape conversion. You’ll need a computer and a compatible VHS, camcorder, or adapter.

Plug the red, yellow, and white cords into your VHS and the USB section into your computer. Rewind the VHS to the spot you want to start at, press play, and hit record on the conversion software on your computer.

A device known as a video converter changes the tape into a digital format. The video plays in real-time, and the process can take a while to complete.

The average American hasn’t cleaned their desktop in 3 years. 50% would rather clean their whole house. It may be tedious, but organizing your new video files will make them easier to find.

How to Choose a Company to Digitize Video Tapes

The process to digitize video tapes may sound simple, but it can be more complex than it seems. Trying to complete it on your own is risky. You might damage your tapes or get low-quality digital files. Especially if you are using consumer grade VCRs.

Attempting to digitize VHS tapes can also be time-consuming and expensive. It involves finding and paying for several high-tech tools.

Relying on a professional video transfer company is a better and more affordable option. Make sure to ask the right questions to find one you can trust.

Make sure that the company works with the format of your video tape and the format you want to transfer it to. Ask if they do transfers in-house to lower the risk of shipping errors.

Determine the company’s reputation before handing over your memories. Check their ratings and reviews to determine what past clients thought of their services. (Some great 3rd party review sites are Trustpilot and Google.)

Make sure to talk to the company on the phone or in person before trusting them with your tapes.  Get to know the people who will be handling your irreplacable memories. Ask for advice about digitizing VHS tapes.

Where to Get Your Video Tapes Digitized

Spring cleaning removes the dust and dirt that covers up your prized possessions. It often reveals what’s most important, including a VHS of your favorite childhood film or an old home movie.

You don’t need to throw these memories away as part of the cleaning process; convert them to a digital format instead. A professional can digitize video tapes so they last longer and are easier to share.

Envision Video Services is ready to transfer your treasured video tapes into any format you need. Contact us today to get started.