ProCopy celebrates it's 25th year this May and as always continues to evolve.
Transfer of Video Tape to DVD may be used to:
- Preserve cherished memories to DVD or portable computer hard drive
- Make back up copies of favourite video or audio content to keep securely offsite.
- Archive content held on tape for future editing
- Archive critical data held on tape
Video tape deteriorates over time. This degrading process is affected by many different factors, including temperature, humidity, electro-magnetic interference and radiation, and wear and tear from normal playback or faulty playback equipment.
Conservative estimates place a lifespan of around ten to fifteen years on magnetic tape before it begins to deteriorate. This could prove something of a surprise if twenty years after your wedding, you wanted to relive the memory and were presented with a screenful of static or a picture that was in poor colour.
So, apart from putting your videotapes in a temperature-controlled, radiation-proof lead box, what are you to do? If you are saving the video so you can view it in the future, your storage medium will be different than if you need to save the video so you can edit it again in the future.
2 fundamental types of Video masters
Technology has progressed over the years and we currently have two fundamental types of video formats. There is a vast amount of content still on Film and a growing amount of content on Video Tape based fomats. At Procopy we use different methods of transfer for each style and continually update equipment to cater for different styles of original video formats. Hand in hand with film transfers we are also doing large collections of high quality Slide Photo to DVD transfers.
Archiving video for viewing
DVD is reported to have a life span of up to 100 years and we now have "Tru Gold" archive Grade CD & DVD master discs to store your precious content (with potentially 200-300 year storage life). It is currently the most economic and practical way to archive tape for future viewing. A recordable DVD will hold about 90 minutes of video without loss of quality. If the video is longer, either it can be compressed (with loss of quality) or split into anothr DVD or DVDs.
The quality of the transfer depends upon the transfer process. You get what you pay for. Professional hardware transcoders and digitisers are very expensive, and create almost exact copies of the original (analogue) video. Domestic or PC based systems may do an adequate job, but the results are often disappointing and/or problematic.
Pro systems allow the original video to be enhanced through a process called 're-authoring'. The system can also create menus to enable you to select scenes and navigate the content (like a commercial DVD).
Procopy has a range of services, depending on your needs and your budget. A simple transfer of a VHS video to DVD is inexpensive, for example. For a quotation, please click here.
Archiving video for future editing
DVD is a compressed video format and is very likely to be replaced by hi-definition formats such as Blue Ray.
If your original tape is a digital format, and you would like to take full advantage of future viewing resolution, you should archive the tape to an uncompressed digital medium.
DV tape has a finite life, so duplicating the tape at regular intervals may be a reasonable safeguard. Archiving to a PC hard drive is an option, but not without the risk of disc corruption - especially if the data are held on a 'working ' hardrive rather than a dedicated one.
We recommend copying the files as data to writeable DVD. This makes it perfect for editing, but as current writable DVDs are limited to around 4.7GB of data, this equates to just over 20 minutes of DV footage. So to back up an hour-long DV tape, you are looking at three DVD discs. This is a relatively cheap and versatile possibility.
We also encode video to editable formats such as Mpeg or Avi files, Stored directly on to Harddrive this means that you can edit the content for family events such as anniversaries. These files are uncompressed and can be very large if you have a lot of content so we'll often supply the footage on a 320 or 500 GB drive.
Archiving critial data held on tape
ProCopy's tips to care for your video tapes
One of the best strategies for maximizing the lifespan of your tape over the long term is just how you treat it in the short term. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your tapes.
Always use SP (standard play) mode to record. Long-play (LP) mode or any of its extended play variants compresses the video signal onto a smaller amount of tape, meaning that you will see degradation sooner over the long haul.
Make a copy as soon as possible for projects to be stored long-term. For projects you will be working on, use the copy tape, and store the original somewhere safe (temperature/humidity controlled if possible)
Avoid excessive rewinding and fast-forwarding. This has a tendency to stretch the tape, as well as applying unwanted friction to it. For computer editing, the best practice is to capture a whole tape in one pass and then just work off the data.
For miniDV, use 63-minute (or shorter) DV tapes. There are 83-minute and even 120-minute tapes out there, but they achieve this length by using a thinner tape. The thinner tape gets, the more susceptible it is to losing its charge over the long haul, plus there may be mechanical problems.
Contact ProCopy on 08 93723902 or 1300 4 PROCOPY for more information