Every year before the holidays, and before the new year, we have clients who begin to realize that the dozens of family videos - captured on now defunct formats such as VHS, VHS-C, and 8 millimeter video- should be transferred to DVD. There is a perception that occurs that if something is not done soon those old family videos will somehow disintegrate, and all the captured memories of birthdays, celebrations, and a child’s first steps will go up in a burst of oxide dust.
Before panic sets in, and before another year slips away, decide that now is the time to seriously think about what you want to do with your family video tapes.
Transferring your tapes to DVD is a choice that makes sense and should set your mind at ease. While no one can predict whether the DVD format will end up in the trash heap anytime soon, as with the various tape formats, the DVD format is still a solid format choice. Unlike video tape, a DVD can be played over and over without occurring any loss in quality. However, as with any format you choose, keeping you DVDs in good physical shape is key to their longevity: keep your DVDs free from dirt and finger prints, and always be sure to return your discs to their proper cases after each use.
Another important factor in the DVD’s favor is the fact that recordable DVDs cost practically pennies, and stand-alone DVD recorders can be had for a song.
You don’t have to be especially tech savvy to transfer your tapes to DVD yourself. If your tapes have been recorded in the VHS format, companies such as Panasonic still manufacturer all-in-one VHS to DVD recorders. For other formats, such as Digital 8, Video 8, or Hi-8, you can hook up your old video camera (if you still have one that works) to a DVD recorder and do a dupe yourself.
For whatever reason, if you are not inclined to take on the task of doing the work yourself, you can always turn to the many video production companies in your area that offer these services. Most clients who come to our studio simply want to make make a straight-to-DVD copy. This is the easy route.
If you have a large collection of tapes, you can always have your tapes transferred a few at a time - as your budget allows.
From time to time, I may have a client who decides that he or she wants only portions of his or her tapes transferred to DVD, leaving out unimportant footage. While this is not a difficult task for a video production company, the transferring process will now involve bringing the footage into an editing computer where adding and deleting of un-wanted footage takes place. The more extensive the editing of un-wanted footage, the more time will obviously be needed to produce a final DVD.
Most video companies will charge you a flat fee to make a direct to DVD copy, based on the length of your original tape. Editing or removing unwanted footage, on the other hand, will be based on an hourly fee. What each video house will charge will vary. Check around for a price that meets your needs and expectations.
Once you decide that the time is NOW to take control of all your old video tapes, you will need to organize those tapes in some way. If you have a large number of tapes and your budget is a factor, decide which tapes will be duplicated first. Hopefully, you kept brief notes on the tape’s label, identifying the contents of the tape and the year that the taping took place. If you were to catalogue your final DVDs chronologically by year, each DVD could be labeled accordingly and will make sense as the DVDs are arranged in a possible bookcase setting.
So there you are. Now’s the time to do something with your old video tapes. Not only will transferring them to DVD provide you with an opportunity to re-live so many of those precious little moments in your life, but think about the wonderful family history you will be able to pass on to your grandchildren.
We are GATSBY VIDEO PRODUCTIONS. If you would like to learn more about transferring your tapes to DVD or have questions or concerns, give us a call at (401) 231-6830. We’re located in North Providence, R.I.