1976: VHS (Video Home System) - VCR tape
Developed by JVC it was the standard for consumer-level analog video recording on tape cassettes.
1982: VHS-C (Compact VHS) - VCR tape
A shrunken down VHS tape that could be used to capture footage in a handheld video camera then played back in a VCR with an adapter.
1985: Video8 - Camera tape
The first of its kind. Contained an 8mm wide film developed by Sony for their handycam.
1989: Hi8 - Camera tape
The same cassette housing and 8mm wide film except with higher grade film resulting in slightly better video quality.
1999: Digital8 - Camera tape
The last of its kind. Again used the same tape stock and 8mm wide film as the previous two except an even slightly better video resolution than a Hi8 tape.
While there are multiple companies that digitize video tapes they are not all alike.
Almost all have different pricing and pricing structure. Many charge per tape plus an additional fee for longer tapes. This is the most common pricing structure. For example if you have a 3 hour tape they'll charge their per tape price of let's say $25 per tape then an additional $10 per hour of video after 2 hours, a single tape ends up costing $35 or more. We charge a flat rate of $20 regardless of length. Your tapes can all be 6 hours long and it'll still be $20 per tape.
Not all companies care about your tapes!
When any type of video tape needs to be digitized regardless of DVD or mp4, those tapes require a specific player to play them back. Inside those players are mechanical video heads and the physical tape from the housing wraps around these video heads.
Issue is all VHS, VHS C, Video 8, Hi 8, 8mm, Digital 8, Mini DV tapes degrade overtime and will completely erase. These degraded tapes are read by various video heads differently. Some will play them back as if the tape is losing its audio, some will play back as if the tape has choppy video, some both, some none, some with portions. We at Quick Digitals regularly service our professional equipment and modify hardware and software to best suit each specific tape for optimal digitized quality. While some other transfer companies will just convert the tapes on whatever equipment is available at the moment.
In fact Quick Digitals was started because our founder, Alex hiring a "big box" transfer company to convert his tapes and was disappointment in the outcome.
Many digitizing places don't digitize your tapes themselves! They present themselves as a digitizing company but they are really a middle-man. Those companies will accept your tapes then send to another establishment for conversion. Sometimes it's shipped, sometimes it's hand delivered. When you go pickup your completed order you are never told a silent business converted your tapes. The more people and businesses involved in your tape conversion process the risker it gets. In fact we are the "wholesaler" for several of those companies. People take their tapes to them, they bring it to us, and we end up converting the tapes and then we'll see a 5-star review for that company about how great the quality of the videos came out to be not knowing we were the ones who actually processed their video tapes.
At Quick Digitals, we don't send your tapes anywhere. All tapes are converted by us, one by one, in house. They never leave our facility unless it's to get them back to the customer. We focus on speed while providing optimal quality.
You got your video tapes digitized to mp4, great choice! Now how can you cut that section you don't need?
The easiest video editing software we've come across and have been using for years is the Cyberlink PowerDirector 15. This program is also so popular that there's Youtube tutorial videos for just about anything. At the time of this writing is about $50 and it'll beat most free video editing programs because those free programs have limitations such as a maximum video length or even placing a watermark across your video.
For editing mp3 audio tracks we recommend Audacity, this also happens to be free with again plenty of tutorials on Youtube.
Haven't gotten your tapes converted yet? We can help!
Let's say you have a mixture of tapes and only want to convert some and hang onto the rest here's what we recommend...
First of all, every tape will completely degrade and erase eventually so it's best to convert all tapes.
But if there's an order of which type of tape goes bad first then it's the latest in the tape technology, the MiniDV. The narrower and thinner the tape film (the actual black film inside the tape) the sooner it'll degrade. Next up is the Hi8, Digital8, Video8, 8mm tapes. They all used the same cassette tape but was encorded differently. Nonetheless the second to go bad are those tapes. Then we have the VHSC and VHS. VHS will outlast all the ones mentioned. However since VCR/VHS was much older technology than the 8mm and MiniDV tapes, that means it's been sitting in your storage for many years longer. Chances are the VHS tapes are already going bad. You should expect some loss of video and/or audio. Every year and depending on how it's stored, every month counts. Don't wait too long, it's best to convert all your tapes as soon as possible if you want to save those memories. We can help!
MP4 is the most common type of digital video file. It can be played back on most devices such as your computer, TV, phone or tablet. Windows, Apple and Android devices all playback mp4 files. An mp4 file works like any other file and can be copied and pasted from one storage device to another. It’s the JPEG of videos. With mp4 your options are plenty. For example you can edit the video, you can post on YouTube, you can easily make unlimited copies too.
When we convert your tapes to an mp4 file we either place them on a USB drive, external hard drive or email them to you via a cloud service like Dropbox or OneDrive.
DVDs are only playable on devices that play DVDs such as a DVD player. DVDs cannot be edited or electronically shared. It’s similar to a VHS tape. DVD replaced VHS which replaced Betamax and now digital files are replacing DVDs.
Have DVDs and want to convert to mp4? We can help!