Avoiding VVS: Get a New Perspective

Have you ever been watching someone’s home video and realised something’s wrong. At first, you can’t quite place what it is. It’s just an unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach, disturbing you to the point of distraction. You can no longer focus on what’s being played in front of you. What is it?!

 

Then suddenly it hits you. It’s shot all wrong. It’s not how it should be. Yep, you’ve just met someone with Vertical Video Syndrome. The poor chump has been shooting videos in vertical format, meaning the image before you is a tall and skinny – like a latte, only far less delicious.

And we have the proliferation of smartphones to thank for this dreaded curse to home movies. Because we tend to handle phones vertically – tapping out a text or making a call, say – some people simply do the same with videos. Point and shoot.

 

Nothing is worse than checking out videos on Youtube, only to discover the amateur Spielberg has opted for a vertical, rather horizontal position. All that wasted black space at either side of the screen makes the videos deeply uninteresting – disquieting, even – because literally half the screen contains no images. They may think they’ve got the best shot of Uncle Ron drunkenly dancing to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, but just imagine being able to see the wedding party’s reaction to it as it happens too!

When shooting videos on your phone, it’s always worth remembering to switch your device to landscape. After all, when was the last time you saw a movie at the cinema playing in portrait? Never, that’s when.  How about on TV? Same deal. And while it’s easy to rotate a photograph from portrait to landscape, that’s just not going to happen with video. Unless we all tilt our heads to one side.

Of course, these days, to quote a familiar advertising slogan, there’s an app for that. Head over to smartphone app stores and you can download apps which will always shoot in landscape, regardless of how the phone is held. Tech-site CNet has even argued that smartphone cameras should be, well, smart, and do it automatically.

But until that’s introduced, the best advice for anyone suffering Vertical Video Syndrome is… don’t. Not only are those videos missing out on a wealth of imagery and magical moments, it also looks pretty unprofessional.

Thankfully, given the way we hold actual video cameras, filmmakers who used old-school cameras rarely suffer from the debilitating VVS. So if you’ve got home movies on video – and want to watch them the way they were intended – we’ve got you covered. Here at Video 2 DVD Transfers we’re experts in VHS to DVD conversion. For more info on what we do, how we do it, and how we can help you, simply contact us on 0800 592 433 or email info@video2dvdtransfers.co.uk and we’ll be delighted to help.

Love Is In the Air

We are now well into January and fast approaching February, the most important month on the romantic calendar. There is of course very good reason for this and it becomes ever more obvious the closer we move to the 14th of February.

Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to give your significant other a wonderful gift that really signifies your connection. One of the most difficult things about Valentine’s Day is picking out the perfect gift, and it’s far too easy to end up giving chocolates… again! In this blog we have put together a list of our favourite 3 gifts that work for both genders and are sure to put you very firmly in the good books;

Day Out

All couples have shared interests and things that they like to enjoy together, and this is a great place to start when looking for a gift. If you have a favourite band, sporting event or even a dancing event then buying tickets and planning a day or an evening together is a perfect way to make sure that you have a wonderful time.

 

Rejuvenated Memories

Here at Video 2 DVD we are experts in converting video to DVD and know that this is a great way to make sure those precious memories can be relived time and time again. Converting your wedding video to DVD or having your favourite picture enlarged and framed demonstrates that you value these memories and want to make more.

 

Clothing

Many partners are far too scared at the thought of getting their partner clothing, and indeed, getting them the right size can be a tricky thing to do correctly. Choose the exact right dinner jacket or little black dress though, and it will show that you are comfortable with them and also hint toward a romantic meal in the near future. A great way to avoid any ill-fitting clothing is to check the label for size and brand of your partners’ favourite clothes; this will give you a great idea of the size to buy and from where.

 

So if you’re struggling for ideas, worry not, as these three options should cover you for the next three February 14th’s. If we have inspired you to convert your old videos then don’t hesitate to contact us today and we will be happy to help.

New Year Round-up: The Best Films of 2014

From the sci-fi epics that had cinema goers clamouring to fill seats to the quieter tales of human life and emotion, 2014 was a year of diverse movies, each with their own magic to share with the viewers. Before we start getting excited about the future Oscar winners and box office smashes that 2015 has to bring, it’s time to take a look at some of the best movies of the past year.

Interstellar

 

With past hits including the trilogy that put a dark twist on comic book legend Batman and the mind-bending dream exploration Inception, director Christopher Nolan is gaining a reputation for crowd pleasing films with thought-provoking hearts. His 2014 offering Interstellar was certainly no exception. By combining the irresistible adventure of space exploration with a warm, human story, Nolan created an epic that was sure to keep its audience discussing the finer points of its plot for days.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Much of the charm of cult favourite Wes Anderson’s latest movie was in its visual style: beautiful architecture and an unusual colour palette ensured that it made a strong impression when viewed on the big screen. With a charming tale of daring escapades and doomed love to back up these impressive visuals, there was no doubt that The Grand Budapest Hotel would find a place in many viewers’ hearts.

Boyhood

 

Scooping up several Golden Globes, including best film and best director, Boyhood is a soft, lyrical film that leaves a lasting impression. A coming-of-age story based on the life of writer-director Richard Linklater, it charts the story of boyhood to adulthood via first love, first heartbreak and first discovery of Star Wars. The film started shooting in 2002, and took 12 years to complete – allowing the story to grow as its actors did.

Unbroken

 

A hard-hitting latecomer, Unbroken tells of the true hardships faced by USA Olympian Louis Zamperini after he was imprisoned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Directed by Angelina Jolie and featuring Jack O’Connell in the starring role, this is a film that challenges its audience to face the horror of war; it also speaks of the strength of human tenacity in the face of experiences that push it right to its limit.

2014 may have been a fantastic year for big name and big budget films, but for many people it will still be their home movies that really take centre stage. Filled with the personal moment that no director can ever recreate, these are films to be kept safe and stored for many future viewings. At Video 2 DVD Transfers we specialise in helping you treasure and share these memories, so when you need to transfer video to DVD in order to keep your home movies safe or circulate them round friends and relatives we will always be happy to oblige. Contact us on 0800 592433 or email us at sales@video2dvdtransfers.co.uk to find out more.

What to Remember When Shooting Your Home Video

We all want those moments we capture on film to be not only beautiful and memorable, but also watchable – again and again and again. And while you could just happily point your camera in the right direction and press record, if you really want to make an impact, there are a few tips you’ll want to remember.

Frame It Right

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve captured the most awesome of awesome moments, only to watch it back and realise you’ve chopped the head off of the bride and groom as they say their vows.Take the time to frame your shot, it might take a little longer, but you’ll regret it if you don’t. This also means you can experiment with your shots, not only to commit every magical moment to film, but also to engage your audience. A good tip is to keep your subject’s eyes around a third of the way down the screen.

Remember the Audio

A picture speaks a thousand words, right? But that’s not the only thing speaking when it comes to home movies. It’s crucial to get the audio right when filming. After all, if you and the viewers can’t understand what’s being said, if it’s inaudible or too loud it can seriously impact the watchability of your film. And be aware that the mic on a camcorder will be able to pick up every little thing – even you reacting to the shots you’re filming. For the best end-product, it might be worth investing in a microphone, to make sure you capture the best audio possible. And if your camera has a headphone jack, make use of it so you can really judge precisely what’s being picked up.

Get Intimate with the Camera

Sure, Hollywood icons know how to ‘make love’ to the camera – but that’s not what we’re talking about here. This is more about actually understanding all the functions that the little black box of magic can perform. There’s no point leaving everything set to auto – auto-focus, auto-lighting and the like – because that means you’re not really in control of what you’re filming.

If there’s a backlight facility, use it so your subject doesn’t end up as a silhouette. And make use of the manual focus, because nothing is worse than watching the picture blur just as the action starts happening. Toy with the various settings, get to know what each does and you’re sure to have even more success with your home movies.

Here at Video 2 DVD Transfers, we know how important those memories are to you, and we want to make them as special as they can possibly be. That’s why we convert video to DVD, so you can treasure those memories for longer. For more information about our services, please contact us on 0800 592 433 or email info@video2dvdtransfers.co.uk and our professional team will be more than happy to help.

Format Wars: No Love for Laserdisc

Previously on our blog we looked at the tragic demise of Betamax – tragic to those who actually owned Betamax players, at least. This time we’re going to look at the history of the laserdisc, why it didn’t take off, and where it is today. Hint: Garages, car boot sales and eBay feature heavily.

 

Give a kid a laserdisc today and they might be forgiven for thinking you’d transported back to the Land of the Giants and offered them up an outsized DVD. The technology for laserdisc was first patented way back in 1958, but it’d be another twenty years before they hit the mainstream. Befitting its 1970’s inception, the laserdisc was first known as the MCA DiscoVision. Say what you will about the name, it’d certainly make video formats a lot more interesting if they were named after genres of music. FunkVideo or DVDrum’n’Bass anyone?

Pub quiz question – what was the first laserdisc ever produced and sold in America? Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. That’s a pretty strong start, and it certainly had tons of benefits over VHS. The picture was of superior quality, and much sharper. And they were even cheaper to make given they have fewer moving parts, with a far greater longevity than the now classic video. The trouble was partly due to the extraordinary cost of laserdisc players.

 

And there was another problem. And that problem was DVD. Yep, as soon as the ol’ Digital Versatile Disc hit the market it was game over for laserdisc. Sure, laserdisc might have allowed a greater amount of control when playback movies, and the fact is that, unlike DVD, it wouldn’t become unplayable when the disc was scratched – it would simply skip the damaged area – but the real issue was the image. The format might have had a better quality of analogue video, but it was no match for the mighty digital.

Storage was a problem for laserdisc too. Its size was comparable to an LP vinyl, and having your entire film collection on such a bulky format meant that not only was storing them at home no good. Then there’s the cold, hard fact that stores didn’t want to give up shelf space to so few products, preferring to cram shelves with the tinier DVD.

 

Videophiles still debate the relative merits of laserdisc – some reckon the quality of the audio is much better than anything else on offer. And the picture quality, it has been argued, is a lot more true to the cinematic feel of the big screen. But none of that could prevent the laserdisc going the way of the Betamax.

Here at Video 2 DVD Transfers we’re passionate about audio-visual technology. That’s why we specialise in video to DVD transfer. For all your conversion needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 592 433 or email info@video2dvdtransfers.co.uk and our team of experts will be more than happy to help.

6 Films to Look Out for in 2015

Last year was a great year for cinema. And yet, already, 2015 looks set to be even better. So let’s take a cheeky gander at the 6 films you need to keep an eye on this coming year.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Bringing together 6 super heroes, 4 of who already had a film, could have easily been an overhyped flop. But when The Avengers was released in 2012 it quickly became the third-highest grossing film of all time with a worldwide box office taking of $1.5 billion. The long awaited sequel will finally be flying into cinemas in 2015 and is set to be even bigger than the first. Director Joss Whedon has introduced several new characters from the marvel world as well as a sombre storyline.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

The hope that many Star Wars fans lost after the announcement that Disney were acquiring Lucasfilms returned when the official announcement was made for the seventh star wars film. With JJ Abrams as director, many are expecting this film to be as big. When a teaser trailer for the film was released last year it got everybody excited, but not much about the plot was released so nobody really know what to expect.

Fifty Shades of Grey

When the 2011 erotic romance novel was published, it quickly gained popularity and became one of the most talked about books of all time. When it was announced that a film adaptation was being created, many questions were asked about how the content of the book would even be able to shown in a cinema, but somehow it has been managed and the film is being released this year.

Spectre

When it is released, Spectre will be the 24th instalment in the James Bond Saga. Featuring Daniel Craig in his penultimate Bond flick, the film will have Bond up against a sinister organisation called SPECTRE. Christoph Waltz, best-known for Inglourious Basterds and Django, has been recruited as what some are calling possibly the best Bond villain to date. Aston Martin have even designed a new special edition car, alongside the film’s production team, that will only be used in Spectre and won’t be available to the public.

Jurassic World

Despite all the mishaps that occurred in the previous 3 films, somehow Jurassic Park has still not shut its gates and the park will be shown again in the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Set 22 years after Jurassic Park, the story will revolve around the creation of a mysterious new attraction that ends up backfiring completely. With a cast featuring actors like Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, the film is anticipated by many who are wondering what it will turn out like.

Child 44

Based on the 2008 multi-award winning book with the same name, Child 44 will be a Stalin-era USSR based thriller that follows the investigation of a curious chain of murders by detective Leo Demidov as the state works against him. The film has a brilliant story behind it and actors such as Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman portraying it so this film should be one of 2015’s best.

These might be the films we’re looking forward to in 2015, but for some, it’s the home movies that are really the ones we’re looking forward to seeing. If you’ve videoed your own old classics you haven’t seen for yonks, we’ve got you covered. We can convert VHS to DVD and allow you to relive those memories. For more information about our services, feel free to contact us on 0800 592433 or email us at info@video2dvdtransfers.co.uk and a member of our team will be happy to help you.