The days of video tape are long gone. It’s time to convert to DVD. The problem is most people are left with archives of magnetic tape that is useless unless you have a machine to play them. It is important to store tape correctly, always upright or vertical so the tape hangs on the reels and in a cool, dry environment. Tape is very prone to mold and will deteriorate rapidly if not stored correctly. VHS and Betamax are probably the most robust of the domestic formats, but the camcorder formats such as Hi8, DV and digital 8 and very fragile and the slightest bit of moisture or mold can cause severe damage. DVD Conversions specialize in tape transfers and can convert video to DVD. We offer tape restoration and have a process of baking and cleaning tapes that are in poor condition prior to them going into our machinery. Tape gradually deteriorates over time and before long the coatings that protect the metal particles are lost, in this case the tape is rendered useless. It is important to get the material converted to DVD long before the process of oxide shed begins. Sooner rather than later!
There are pro’s and con’s to converting video to DVD. On the one hand DVD is cheap and fairly reliable, on the other it’s highly compressed and easily damaged. MPEG 2 is a compression format which is an in between format in terms of size and quality. The disadvantage is that DVD is prone to scratches and the long term storage of data is questionable. Some manufacturers are claiming 25 years and more, but then what? The tapes are long gone and the DVD goes faulty, you’re stuck. We suggest that any data copied onto any optical media be backed up onto flash or hard drives, and multiple copies of this data be stored in different locations. Cloud is an option, but with a 4.7 GB disc it does not take long to use up your allocated space. If you intend editing from the MPEG2 files we suggest looking at converting to another digital file such as AVI, QuickTime or at the very least MP4. All of the above applies generally to SD formats such as analogue video and digital video in the DV codec.
In the next blog, we will discuss the advantages of converting to digital file types.