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How can I convert video tape to digital archives ?

If you have most of your precious memories saved in a library of video tapes, you can prolong its life because tapes are meant to deteriorate. It takes regular attention to preserve a film or a video tape. Paper may last for hundreds of years, but a video tape only last ten years and there are scarce source of video tape-format replacement parts that makes it harder to preserve. You may consider switching to digital if you want your precious tape to last.

If you want to keep your library for playback, you may want to consider digital formats for several frames or compressed frames as in MPEG-2. It is the one used in DVD’s; you will get a full frame every half a second. Next, your source material’s quality, remember that an original VHS tape version is still better, compared to the digitalized version. Analog to digital conversions of video and audio is made by slicing and sampling the original signal in numerical values.

Do not forget to log your sequences along with the date of shooting, key sound bites and camera description. This will help you find certain sequence that you are looking or much faster. It is easier if you store your materials as text file with location and time codes organization. You can ask a local editor to help you or put your own edit system to labor in the process. If you want to convert old tapes, you can rent decks for video source, make sure that you clean the heads of your deck and try to load and unload a regular tape to be sure you can trust it with the valuable ones.

After you digitalized your tapes, play it to check if everything is as expected and to see if the sound is ion synch as well. You can now transfer it to a storage drive where it can stay as it is until you want to retrieve it. You can also make some copies for back up, as soon as your library got digitalized, you are sure that it is preserved for another generation.

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