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Video formats for transfer

VHS video transfer to digital formats

There are several types of VHS format. Whichever you have it does not matter as I can deal with anything that you have. Large VHS or S-VHS cassettes are anything from 15 minutes to 240minutes and are your typical Home VHS tapes from the 80s and 90s.

Small VHS-C cassettes were used in camcorders. They have the same tape as their larger cousins but in a much smaller case. They are usually 30, 45 or 60 minutes long. They can be played on a normal VHS player by using an adapter which is the same size as a large VHS tape.

8mm Camcorder tape to digital conversion

This is one of the most popular camcorder systems, developed by Sony and present in three separate formats. Starting with Video8, moving to Hi8 and finishing with Digital8.

Cassettes are about the same size as an old Audio cassette and are usually between 30 minutes and 120 minutes long.

I can digitise all variants including the very rare XR formats such as Video8-XR and Hi8-XR.

I only use dedicated Sony Deck based equipment with Powerful Time Base Correctors to get the very best out of the images. (See “Equipment Used” for more information).

DV Cam to digital transfer

Mini DV is one of the most common camcorder formats and Micro MV is one of the rarest.

Both are pure digital and can give superb images. However they do have issues over time which can lead to images looking “blocky” this can come from a camera that needed a head clean or damage from long term storage. I only use a professional SONY DV deck. Not only does this give the best possible picture, much better than a simple camcorder with a thin wire, but it can also access the tape’s data track. This will enable me to see the date of capture, even if it does not show on screen. This means I should always be able to get DV tapes into the correct chronological order, even if you can’t see anything to help on screen. Companies that use camcorders, will not be able to do this….

Laserdisc to digital transfer

Laserdisc is one of my favourite formats and I have converted 100s of LDs over the last 10 years. Sadly many brilliant Laserdiscs, Video CDs and CD Videos will never be released as modern DVD or Blu-Ray discs. In many cases what is on your LD, VCD or CDV is the only official version of that film or that concert that exists. I have transferred many “Director’s Cut” or 1980s “Best of” LDs. To be legal, I will transfer these formats for personal use only and will only transfer one copy of each disc, this will keep you within the “Fair Use” guidelines.

If you have a music or sports LD I will try to keep to the original chaptering for example if it is a compilation pop LD I will make each track a separate chapter.

I also try to make the label look as realistic as possible and will list out tracks or as much film information as possible I can transfer Laserdiscs from both PAL and US / Japan NTSC formats. Single or double sided LDS are no problem and will always edit out the swap over of sides so that the frames are consecutive and you will not notice the join.

Another disc based format was the 8cm Sony / Canon mini-DVD format. These were shot in typical looking camcorders but with a small recordable DVD instead of a tape. These discs need to be finalized before they can be played on a normal DVD player. The format was not very popular because the discs were short in time / length and the finalizing process was tricky. If you have an amount of these small DVDs give me a ring first to discuss. Mainly because on some systems they can only be finalized on the actual camcorder they were shot on. So, if you have the camcorder you can make sure your mini-DVDs are finalized or you can send the camera / wires along with your mini-DVDs and I will carefully make sure your discs are finalized properly before transfer. I have a lot of experience of this format and it can be quite easy to delete an un-finalized disc if you are not sure of what you are doing.