The Concerns of Archiving Videotape

The subject of the shelf-life of previously ubiquitous storage formats is worth considering if you have any sort of archive. If you have any familiarity at all with these various formats you’re likely to have read the storage instructions at some point in the small print on the cases and labels. Don’t store tapes next to magnetic sponges in a damp cellar, or loose out of their cases on the veranda where you usually sunbathe. The general advice is store in a dry, cool, dark place, in their case and vertically. And for the most part that’s likely to be where you have stored them. However, consider that even under the best of conditions things like VHS tapes are generally considered to start degrading in quality within 10-25 years. Other tape formats have a slightly better shelf-life but the same considerations apply.

 

 

Whilst we recommend, and are set up to provide the service of, transferring your old video cassettes over to digital format it may be the case that you’ve got such a large archive that it’s going to be expensive and time-consuming to transfer everything you need to preserve. Whilst that 10-25 year lifespan is the widely accepted duration there are variables related to how the tapes have been stored or handled that could reduce that significantly. Until you’ve managed to transfer all the data that you need it is best to have some sort of strategy for storing your archive.

Damage to a Volatile Storage Medium

The most common types of damage to videos are water damage, heat damage, magnetic damage and physical damage. Usually, careful storage will avoid these problems. If you really want to make sure you have the best chances of keeping the tapes intact then you really want to be keeping each individual cassette in its case in some sort of bag with a fresh silica gel packet and then all of the cassettes in a steel container, to minimise damage from moisture and electromagnetic fields. This sort of care is probably only necessary for properly archiving valuable recordings, but you get the idea.

Furthermore, you should ideally spool through the entire tape either forwards or backwards so that the winding is evenly packed and the tape doesn’t stick together, and ideally, you would do this once a year. If you have taken something out of the archive to watch then, when finished, wind it all the way forward and then all the way back so that the winding is even. Also be careful to let the medium acclimatise to room conditions if you are retrieving it from an archive to watch. Sudden changes in temperature and humidity can degrade the quality of the tape.

When it comes to transferring the data to digital format if you have stored your original tapes properly you will get much better results and it will also save on cost if you can avoid any restoration needed where damage has occurred. The digital format allows you to make copies without degrading the information and also the future process of converting the format should be relatively painless.

Here at Video2DVD Transfers, we transfer your old videos onto DVD format. Get in touch with a member of our team today for more information!

Access Denied: Films Only on VHS!

With the likes of Netflix and Amazon now our main forms of entertainment viewing, you may think all films are accessible in some way. However, the truth behind the timeline of film is that many movies aren’t available at the touch of a button or a flick of a switch. There are some titles that have been left behind, and believe it or not, have never seen a DVD in their life. At the end of the Blockbuster era, times were tough for film lovers, and VHS slowly died a death.

There are still places around the world dedicated to VHS tapes, such as ‘Seattle’s Scarecrow Video’- Home to the world’s largest collection of VHS tapes. Here are just a few of the lonely films that have been left behind in the progression of technology.

 

Killer Shark

This extremely hard to find Adventure/Thriller film explores a college student and his voyage to sea with his father, who is the caption of a shark hunting boat. Sound interesting?  When the young boy’s inexperience in shark hunting/ boating creates problems and accidents, his father and crew are injured. The student tries to make up for his actions, but things don’t turn out as wanted.

I mean, you’d think this story would sell itself, but as of its release in the 1950s, the shoe-string budget movie was and still is difficult to source, as it was only ever released as a VHS. You can, with great difficulty, find the film on DVD, although probably not in the correct format.

Rating: 4.4/10

Penelope Spheeris Documentaries

Penelope Spheeris has made some legendary films (nothing as good as Wayne’s World though) even though some have stayed slightly under the radar. These documentaries include “The Decline of Western Civilisation” and the second part “The Metal Years” starring idols such as Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and Poison. This duo of films covers the LA punk scene and focuses on heavy metal, and the music business. Again, these are both only available on VHS, and can’t be purchased on DVD.

Rating: Part 1: 7.7/10, Part 2: 7.2/10

 

Let It Be

The 1970 documentary by Michael Lindsay-Hogg shows footage of the famous Liverpudlian group… The Beatles. It shows the four musicians final public performance as well as secret info into why the group broke up. The reason this film is so difficult to track down is due to the members themselves blocking the release on DVD. Due to the dark information on the band’s history, they do not approve of some aspects; meaning copies only survive on VHS.

Rating: 7.8

Sound of the South

Apart from the occasional singing of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” Disney has basically wiped all traces off this film. The musical has had huge splashbacks of racial connotations, and much controversy came from the live action/animation combo. The film did originally get two releases; on laserdisc and VHS; however, it is now pretty much just not available. If you are lucky you could grab one of the few VHS tapes left.

Rating: 7.4

 

The Big Crime Wave/ Crime Wave

The plot of this unique movie marvel, consists of a young director on making ‘the greatest colour crime movie ever’, but he just can’t seem to finish his script. The daughter of the writer’s landlord is excited to have a real-life movie person in the living quarters, so tries to help him by getting him in touch with a collaborative script writer, who is the strange ‘Dr Jolly. ‘All is not as it seems…

The black comedy is a beloved treasure to those who have seen it, but sadly our modern film lovers can only get this on VHS. The director, writer and producer also is the main star of the film.

Rating: 7.2

Getting your VHS to DVD can sometimes be a difficulty, especially when your favourite films are only available on VHS. Some movie masterpieces have been forgotten about in the new world of progressing technology- but this doesn’t mean they are not works of art; as proved by the IMDB rating.

At Video2DVD, we pride ourselves in keeping film alive; whether from the 50’s or this day and age. If you would like to know any more about our services, you can get in touch with our team on 0800 592 433, and we would be happy to help you bring your VHS to life again.

Can Cinema Screen Resolution Affect Viewing Experience?

The way we watch films is constantly changing. The rise of 3D technology proved that, although there are many other new technologies and developments that affect our experiences (just like watching a bad remake affects our viewing experience). For example, going to the cinema can be a very memorable and fulfilling experience; you can go with your family and watch a film together, or you can celebrate something with your friends. But did you know that what you might be watching isn’t all that’s cracked up to be?

The resolution of the screen can drastically change your perception of the film, which can affect your viewing experience. So, how does the resolution of a cinema screen affect its viewers?

Exploring New Techniques in Filming – ‘Ghosting’

With the surge in new technology, filmmakers have been developing the way that they produce some the world’s best films, including short films and documentaries. A few decades ago, it was a massive surprise when films were produced using the latest HD technology, whereas now they are being filmed using the latest 4K technology.

However, in recent years, there has been one film technique that has gotten people talking; the ‘ghosting’ technique. This has been used in some of the world’s biggest blockbuster hits, but there is still a slight air of mystery behind it. However, we at Video2DVD will look at what makes this technique so special.

Various Video Formats Through the Ages

Films are changing all the time. After all, just a few years ago, we wouldn’t have the 3D technology we have today, for example.

Video formatting has been around for decades and we have seen the constant changing of these video formats, from the VHS, all the way to the 8mm video formats of video cameras.

But have you ever wondered how these various video formats started out and why they have nearly become entirely obsolete?

Film Technology: How Cloud Computing is Revolutionising the Film Industry

Technology, such as the 3D one, has been rapidly advancing and changing the film industry. But it’s not the only one.

Cloud computing and film aren’t necessarily two things that you’d lump together; one deals with entertaining people whereas the other aids people with saving and transferring of data from one place to another.

However, these two seemingly distant aspects of modern life are closer than we may initially think. While we are more used to the concept of streaming media thanks to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, the idea of cloud computing – which uses a similar theory – is actually playing an integral part in the creating of some of the biggest blockbusters to hit our cinema screens.

 

Techniques of Filming Documentaries

Filming a documentary involves utilising different techniques than when you film a movie (the latter can even have techniques such as ‘ghosting‘); it showcases reality and events in order to provide information on a wide variety of topics. Knowing your audience before beginning to film a documentary is essential to get the right tone of voice and technique.

A narrator is generally featured in documentaries with the purpose of providing the audience with important plot information. In the beginning of the documentary, exposition is needed to introduce the focal points of explored theme. As a first point of contact with the audience, it’s essential to create a good first impression.

How Does a Video Camera Work?

Video cameras are one of the best ways to capture some of your most treasured memories, such as your child’s first steps, your wedding ceremony, or a holiday that you want to remember forever. Because of this, if your video camera suddenly stops working, it’s definitely worth knowing how they work so that you can fix it to ensure your memories are kept safe.

How Video Changed The World

If you grew up in the 80s, you would have been used to having to choose between your favourite programmes, as you could only watch one.

You wouldn’t have had the luxury of fast forwarding, pausing or recording one programme whilst watching another. Christmas would be stressful as all your favourite films would be shown at the same time, and you had to sacrifice one for the other.

If you were out, or went on holiday, you could not record any shows, and you simply missed them.

The End of an Era: The Last VCR

In an age where social media and modern technologies rule the roost, the VHS tape and the VCR have become the acronyms that time forgot. Those of us that do remember them look back at them with both fond memories and minor frustration.