I have always strived to give the best possible image, whether dealing with Cinefilm, Slides or Videotape. To get the best image from old video tape I use powerful Time Base Correctors (TBC) to make the video image as strong as possible before digitizing. I use professional Panasonic VHS decks and the best Video 8 / Hi8 / Digital 8 deck based machinery Sony ever made and Sony “M” Series DV decks.
I never use a camcorder to capture footage. Camcorders are designed for acquisition of the original filmed image and do not give a good playback image particularly as the wires provided are usually the cheapest available, you will lose half your quality before you even start. So using a dedicated professional deck with a strong TBC will get the image looking a clear as possible. I can alter image Contrast / Brightness / Sharpness as well as Colour Saturation / Balance and Colour shift, this means that when the image is “Fixed” to DVD it can look better than the original tape.
The wires that come with camcorders or video players are usually thin, cheap and horrible to use and therefore I would throw them away. I only use CHORD or QED s-video, digital and audio wiring. These are top quality interconnects and also go towards providing the best possible image and sound from your tapes. Last year I invested well over £1,000 in interconnecs & wiring alone. That is how serious I am about it.
Constantly connecting and disconnecting wires from pieces of equipment will eventually have an impact on image quality. I have invested heavily in Atlona switching equipment so that wires never need to be disconnected. All of my key equipment is permanently attached to each other through professional grade Atlona Switchgear.
Equipment Capture - DVDs All DVD creation for Bronze / Silver / Gold disc based service levels go through the PC. They are captured using class leading Matrox capture boxes allied to the latest Adobe Premiere Pro. So, whether you want to invest at Bronze, Silver or Gold levels you will always get the best possible images on screen.
Equipment Capture - Self Edit Capturing a video image to DV AVI or QT (MAC) computer file is fast becoming my most popular service.
To get the best possible images I have invested in Matrox MXO2 capture boxes. These boxes allied to the latest Adobe Premiere Pro and expensive Chord and QED wiring mean that no quality is lost in the transfer process. I put a powerful Time Base Corrector (TBC) and a broadcast standard switching deck in between to stabilize the quality of older tapes so that the digital files produced are as good as possible and will never deteriorate. In most cases I will have significantly improved the quality of the image from the tape so that the starting point of your digital archive is much higher than you might have thought.
DV AVI files for the PC and QT .mov files for the MAC run at about 13GB per hour of footage so it would be usual to place your captured digital files onto a USB passport sized hard drive. See the “Output - Hard Disc Drive” page for further details.
I have invested a serious amount of money in a Rimage Everest Encore thermal disc printer. I have done this because I want to make the disc in your hand look as good as the image does on screen.
Making the disc look good with useful information (who, when, where, why?) and 3 quality stills means it is more likely to be saved and therefore survive passing through the generations. Finding a blank disc in a draw in 20 years time or a disc with just “Smith” written on it in felt tip pen increases the chances of it being discarded as rubbish. The whole point of digitizing tape is to save it for future generations and I will do anything I can to increase the chances or your archive’s survival.
Using a Rimage Everest Encore Dye Sublimation (Thermal) printer with Verbatim Thermal DataLifePlus discs means that the disc label will be waterproof, scratch-proof and it will never, ever fade unlike inkjet printing which is susceptible to all three of these issues. In 20 years the image on your disc will still look strong and not a smudged and faded blur as is typical of inkjet printing.