Top 5 reasons why DIY digital video conversion can look bad

There are lots of cheap DIY digital video conversion kits available online and in stores. The units themselves tend to be USB2.0 and contain a dedicated analogue to digital converter circuit. The bundled software is usually quite limited and main not include everything you need to make good quality files. The marketing material suggests the kit if fully featured but this may not be the case.

Shows USB stick in a Smart TV

In this article we will explain some of the common pitfalls of converting analogue videotapes to digital files and list the 5 most common reasons how it can go wrong. This is not intended as a complete how-to guide and we’re not offering free technical support but we do encourage feedback and will try to answer questions in the comments below.

1 – Fuzzy soft images with colour bleed

Most domestic VHS players and many camcorders relied upon composite video signals either from a yellow RCA connector or via a SCART lead. Composite signals contain all the picture information is mixed together – hence the name composite. On domestic equipment composite signals can be inherently poor – they simply aren’t that good at carrying a decent image.

Higher end players such as SVHS or Hi8 players had an S-Video connection which separates chrominance and luminance to give a better overall signal quality. Colour holds up a lot better and images are sharper compared to a typical domestic composite signal.

2 – Choppy, juddering or unstable recordings

Many of the cheaper conversion kits don’t have any kind of signal smoothing (timebase correction). The result can be that your computer is unable to lock onto a decent signal properly. The picture can drop out, skip frames or fail to record at all.

Timebase correction (TBC) is needed to stabilise analogue video signals. A TBC irons out any anomalies in the video allowing a clean smooth digital recording to be made. Some higher end players include basic timebase correction but experience tells us that a proper, external TBC is the only guaranteed method that works.

3 – Choppy, juddering or unstable recordings AGAIN!

Modern computers should have no trouble keeping up with recoding standard definition video but life isn’t always that simple. Software and hardware performance can be affected by many factors resulting in poor quality. Computers can get bogged down with too many tasks running at once, hard drives that are running too slowly because they’re full or fragmented etc.

The capture software may conflict with other software e.g. anti-virus or your hardware such as the computer graphics card. The supplied capture application may need to be updated – it’s not uncommon that you may have to pay extra for the ‘upgrade’ with no guarantee it will work any better.

In essence your computer needs to be in tip-top condition with few or no other software running when capturing video. Sometimes the only way to diagnose a persistent capturing problem is by substitution – that means swapping out the computer, capture card etc until you pinpoint the root cause of the fault.

4 – Converted video is jagged and doesn’t have smooth motion

Analogue video is made of 50 unique images per second (60 in the UK). However each of these 1/50th of a second images represents only half a full frame image. In simple terms a video frame is made up of horizontal and vertical dots in a grid pattern. Each sequential frame shows either the odd horizontal dots (lines) or the even dots (lines) of an image. This is known as field based interlaced video. By showing odd/even/odd/even fields fast enough you can achieve smooth looking motion fast enough to fool the human eye but only ever drawing half the image every 1/50th of a second.

Computer displays and modern televisions are not interlaced. They are what’s known as progressive scan. The entire image can be drawn in full for each and every frame. When we convert analogue video to a digital file such as an MP4 to show on a SmartTV we must convert the image from interlaced to progressive which is a process known as de-interlacing.

If de-interlacing isn’t done at all then the image will appear to have jagged edges and a ‘double image’ or ghosting appearance on horizontal motion. Basic de-interlacing throws away one field resulting in a reduced frame rate of 1/25th of a second. Field blending techniques attempt to overcome this but you’re still throwing information away which is why things don’t look as vivid and smooth as the original tape. The more advanced field-blending methods maintain the original frame rate and achieve much more vivid and smooth results. It takes considerably longer to achieve and is not a standard feature on all conversion software.

5- Videos don’t play on other devices such as your SmartTV

SmartTVs are quite forgiving and will play a range of files provided they meet one or two basic conditions. The footage must be made with a compatible compression CODEC. The industry standard is currently H.264 MP4. Secondly, the data rate must not be too high for either the television to decode or the storage device to keep up. Standard definition H.264 files can be encoded well below 10mbps and still look great. In fact half that data rate is still as good as the maximum theoretical rate for a DVD.

If you’re plugging a USB drive into a SmartTV then the file system must conform to something the TV will work with. In general this is FAT32. Most USB sticks are already formatted this way as standard but external hard drives may not be. There are serious limitations to FAT32 to be aware of. Some modern televisions and most computers are happy with ExFAT.

It’s easy when you have the right kit, knowledge and experience

Most of us like having a go at doing something ourselves. The Internet is a great source of information with help, advice and guidance available to enable us to try just about anything we put our minds to. However, there comes a point when we realise that some things are best left to the experts.

At Manchester Video Ltd we have many years of experience and the right equipment to consistently achieve excellent quality video conversions. We are friendly and approachable – if you’ve had a go and discovered your kit just isn’t good enough or perhaps just need the video capturing so you can edit the files yourself then we can help. Give us a call on 0800 228 9422 or click the contact us button on this website to get in touch.

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MP4 Video on USB – Why some files don’t fit when there’s plenty of space

Video USB sticks are really useful but sometimes you will see an error message stating the video file you are trying to copy is too large for the destination when there is plenty of room. It’s a common problem with a simple solutions.

Video USB 7GB file

Almost all USB memory sticks arrive formatted and ready use in any computer and other devices such as a SmartTV. To achieve this universal compatibility the USB sticks are formatted using the older FAT32 file system. It’s been around for over 2 decades. The biggest single file FAT32 can store is 4GB. Anything larger than 4GB won’t fit. Most computer files are much smaller than 4GB so the limitation doesn’t cause any problems. However, video files can easily be much larger.

Alternatives to FAT32 for a video USB stick

ExFAT is a later file system which isn’t hampered by the 4GB file size limit. It works perfectly with Windows (Vista or later) and Mac OS. You can even get an ExFAT driver for Windows XP.

While ExFAT works great with computers it may not work with other devices such as SmartTVs. There are some TVs that can handle the newer file format but unless you know for certain then you should assume that it will not work.

There are several other file systems which handle large files sizes but these tend to be operating system specific and are therefore limited to full compatibility with either PCs or Macs.

Workarounds to make large video files fit on a USB stick

You have several options. You can recompress the video to make file size smaller or split the video into sections smaller than 4GB.

Recompression using a program like Handbrake (free for Windows or Mac) may reduce the file size down to less than 4gb. If the video files are MPEG-2 or AVI then compressing them using H.264 MP4 will reduce the file sizes without a noticeable drop in quality. Too much compression could have an impact on the picture quality so do some experimenting to see what works best for you.

Splitting the file without recompression will maintain the original quality with the slight inconvenience of having the the video in sections. In general playing a video in two sections doesn’t cause any real problems. Most computers and many SmartTVs will allow you to play sequential video files easily. AvideMux is a free cross-platform video conversion tool that will split (and join) video files. It’s very flexible and there are lots of tutorials online to help you find your way around the software.

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New phone number 0800 228 9422

freephone 0800 228 9422

Our new freephone number is 0800 228 9422. The number is free to call from UK landlines and mobiles.

You can still reach us on the duty mobile number which is 07930 431 662 – we can take voice calls, WhatsApp and text messages. If you are overseas call +44 7930 431 662.

The office email address is studio@manchestervideo.com

We can also be reached via Facebook Messenger or Twitter.

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Video USB backup guide for Windows 10

This short video covers simple and easy Video USB backup for Windows 10 users. We always recommend making at least two backups with one copy kept in a different location if possible.

We show you how to make a backup copy from one USB to another, or from a USB stick to your computer hard drive. The video show backing up with Windows 10 but you’ll find most versions of Windows will be similar.

Offsite Video USB backup options

An offsite backup can be as simple as keeping a USB stick with a copy of your files at a relatives house. If you loose your main copies for any reason you have a safe copy stored elsewhere. The downside to this approach is that you have to trust someone else with your data and it’s not always convenient to access should you need to add further files to the backup.

video USB backup message

Backing up to an online service has several advantages. Your files are available to you anywhere that you have an Internet connection. You can add new files without too much effort and most of the main providers have a good record of keeping your data secure.

There are now several free online backup options with limited, but still perfectly usable amounts of storage. Google Drive is free for anyone with a Gmail account and includes 15GB of storage. Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon Drive also have free storage options.

The best protection for your precious video files is to have multiple backup copies locally, offsite and online. You can encrypt your data if you’re worried about unathorised access.

Storage space required for Video USB backup

If you’ve asked us to transfer your tapes to Video USB then you may be wondering how much space the converted video files will take up.

With one exception most home video tape recordings were standard definition (SD). Good quality standard definition video encoded in H264 MP4 format for USB needs around 1.6 to 2 gigabytes (GB) per hour of footage. An 8GB USB stick will comfortably hold around 4 hours of footage. Find out more video compression in the previous article.

The exception is HDV recording (High Definition Video). It used the same tapes as MiniDV but recorded in high definition. MP4 HD video files need around 6GB per hour with no visible loss of quality.

Some computers have very large internal hard drives – hundreds of gigabytes. Yet others, especially lightweight or portable PCs may only hold a lot less. If your internal drive has plenty of space then you can use it. If your computer is short on space then an external hard drive or a second USB stick may be required.

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Live Event Streaming Manchester on Social Media

In February 2017 we streamed the inaugural debate for the election of The Mayor of Greater Manchester via Facebook Live. Later in the year, on May 29th, the people of Greater Manchester will elect their first mayor. The Mayor will be responsible for the strategic government of the largest metropolitan regions in the UK. The historically important Mayoral Debate was organised by Place Northwest at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Why use Facebook Live?Facebook Live Greater Manchester Mayoral Debate 2017

 

Place Northwest are developing the presence on Facebook. Broadcasting directly to social media is great for viewer engagement, especially on Facebook Live. Viewers can comment on the video and ask questions during the event. Cross promoting your Facebook Live stream via Twitter and email attracts viewers to your business Page. Media outlets can share your Facebook Live stream quickly and easily to generate even more reach for your business.The video footage is archived on Facebook and remains available to watch and share after the event has finished.

The Mayoral Debate

The debate was lively with the three candidates, Sean Anstee, Jane Brophy and Andy Burnham put forward their views on transport, housing, health, strategic planning and policing. This was followed by a question and answer session with members of the audience. The video recording of the event provides a permanent record of what each of the candidates said they would do if they were elected. It will be interesting see if they do what they said they would do when in office.

Low key event coverage

shows the audience as we stream via Facebook live at the Mayoral Debate Manchester 2017

Our client specified a very low key presence and suggested that we might be able to ‘just put an iPad somewhere near the front’. This was an unusual request and not something we’ve done before. However, we did stream the event with an iPad as requested. See below for how we actually did it.

Following the live stream we shot three short interviews with sponsors which were edited on an iPad and uploaded to Facebook shortly afterwards.

Pros and cons of low key vs traditional filming

Using small portable devices to cover an event offers a number of advantages and disadvantages over a standard camera/computer crewed event. Small devices are self contained and do everything – it really is possible to put in iPad in the right place with a data connection and push the go live button but if you do that you might be disappointed with the results.

With the right planning and some clever software and hardware it is possible to minimise some of these problems.

The Facebook Live integrated streaming option offers very limited control over the image quality and sound. The video is prone to going in and out of focus, stage lighting can be harsh resulting in white over-exposed face. Automatic audio gain means the sound can go quite noisy during quiet sections. Therefore we used specialist streaming software which allowed manual control of focus, exposure, white balance and sound levels.

Lenses in iPads are fixed so if you need to get closer you can’t zoom in. You have to settle for digital zoom which looses quality or move the device closer to the action. There is a way around this with newer iOS devices and dedicated production software. The Facebook Live service is currently limited to 720p HD. The latest iPad Pro models have 4K image sensors which is significantly higher than 720p. Apple’s SDK means it’s possible to exploit this to crop into the 4K image taking a 720p chunk from it – a virtual zoom if you like – with no loss of quality.

Multi-camera live streaming with iPads

Whilst we only used a single camera (iPad) for this event it is possible to switch between 4 cameras (iOS devices), add graphics and play out pre-recorded videos during the live stream.

iPad’s built-in microphones are not suitable for recording at a live event. You could park the iPad near a PA speaker but it will still sound rubbish. We took a direct, wired feed to a line-level XLR converter into the iPad from the sound desk to ensure good quality audio. There was some hiss from the sound desk but this was still much better than we would have got from the iPad mic. We had a 2nd iPad rig as a backup. Hotel WiFi is often unreliable, especially at a busy event. We took our own 5Ghz WiFi unit with a strong 4G data connection – again we had a backup SIMs for different networks and the option of the hotel’s WiFi as a fallback.

The iPad rigs are small and can be a solution for some events requiring low key coverage with minimal fuss. However, a simple set up with a proper video camera and a streaming capable laptop with similar audio feeds would offer much better overall quality. Hardwired data connections to a laptop would reduce the risks presented by WiFi and 4G.

Want to use Facebook Live or YouTube Live for your next event?

Talk to us about getting your business broadcasting live on social media. Call us on 0800 228 9422 or click here to contact us via email.

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Old camcorder video tapes – storage and preservation

Box of old camcorder video tapes

In this article we will explain what to and what not to do when you find old camcorder video tapes including full size VHS and Betamax tapes which were used in some large camcorders but also used for viewing copies.

3M once ran a advertising campaign for their Scotch branded video tapes. The adverts featured an animated skeleton with the slogan ‘Re-record not fade away’. The idea was that their tapes would outlast us. While it’s true that video tapes stored in ideal conditions might last a very long time there will always be some degradation of the recordings – they won’t last forever. Tapes stored in lofts, cupboards or in a garage will degrade more quickly and at some point will become unplayable either through age or contamination.

  • Don’t mix up cassettes and cases/sleeves especially if they are labelled
  • Inspect for physical damage – broken parts or loose and damaged tape
  • Look inside the reel windows for mould, debris or any other contamination
  • If the tapes are dirty/dusty don’t use any wet-wipes or similar to clean them
  • Don’t hoover them!
  • If you have a player don’t try tapes in it unless you know for certain it’s fully working

What to look for if you find old video tapes

The number one problem for tapes stored in lofts, sheds, garages etc is mould. It shows up as either white or brown stains/marks on the tape reel surfaces. Here’s what a very mouldy VHS video tape looks like.

mouldy contaminated old video tapes

If you find a mouldy tape then separate it from other non-contaminated tapes to avoid cross contamination. Do not try to play the tape. Sometimes the damage looks a lot worse than it actually is. The tape in the picture above was cleaned and the recordings were recovered. In general the darker the spores, the worse they are.

Tapes that have been stored in dry conditions without major temperature or humidity changes are most likely to be in good playable condition. However, they will still have suffered degradation and at some point will fail to play.

Long term storage for old camcorder video tapes

If you intend storing your tapes long term then it’s a good idea to keep them in a sealed container with a silica gel pouch. Keep it in a dry place away from major temperature changes, sunlight and heat sources. The tapes will still degrade over time but with less risk of damage by environmental factors.

Conversion to digital for now and the future

The best way to preserve footage from old video tapes is to have them converted to a digital format. For a long time DVDs were a ‘safe bet’ and offered a convenient storage and playback option. At the time of writing in 2017 DVDs players are far less common than they once were and have been superseded by newer, digital playback options. Most new TVs have USB or network connections capable of playing digital video files. MP4 is currently the most common type of digital video file. MP4 files also work with smart phones, tablets, laptops and computers. Backup is easy and the files are small enough that many hours can for on an inexpensive USB stick.

There will be no further deterioration in quality once the tapes are digitised.. We recommend you make backup copies of your video files. It’s easy to make perfect 1-to-1 copies with no quality loss by simply copying and pasting the files from one place to another. You can even back them up to the Cloud with affordable services from Dropbox and Google Drive.

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How we convert old video tapes to MP4 and DVD

In this article we explain how we convert your family video tapes to a modern digital format including MP4 on a USB stick, DVD or editable video files for Windows or Mac computers. We aim to avoid jargon and use plain English descriptions wherever possible.

Most home video tapes were recorded on domestic camcorders rather than professional grade equipment. Often, especially in the case of VHS, footage was copied from a camcorder cassette onto a VHS cassette. Each time an analogue videotape is copied there is some loss in quality.

Shows USB MP4 Digital Video Transfer Service

When we convert old analogue video tapes to a digital file format we must retain as much detail as possible from the original recording. There are several ways we can help preserve detail and clarity:

  • Good quality, well maintained playback equipment
  • Best quality connections and cables to ensure a good signal
  • Time base correction to stabilise poor analogue pictures
  • High quality digital video recording (also called digitising or video capture)
  • Remove distortion around the edges of the frame
  • Well designed & optimised conversion (compression) of the final viewing format

What follows is quite a detailed explanation but we hope it be helpful in understanding the what we do. We will be happy to answer questions in the comments below. You can also reach us by phone or email via our contacts page.

Assessment of tape condition

shows a badly contaminated video 8 cassetteWe photograph and note the condition of all video tapes on arrival. We look at the physical condition of the cassette housing to check for any damaged or missing parts. On most tapes the reel spools are partially visible through the windows on the cassette. We inspect the reels for signs of contamination such as mould spores. The dust flap is opened and the tape surface is checked to verify the tape is not broken and that it’s free of crinkles.

The Video 8 tape shown in the image above was in quite poor condition but we were able to recover the footage successfully.

Digitising the tape

When we transfer your tapes we use good quality video players. Our machines are either the highest grade consumer format or a professional grade deck depending on the type of the tape. For VHS capture we use Super VHS video players (SVHS). These machines are capable of recording and playing SVHS tapes which are a much higher quality version of normal VHS tapes. Super VHS players are better engineered than regular players and often include additional technological features designed to improve the playback quality of normal VHS recordings.

SVHS machines are also fitted with a special type of video connection – the technical name is an S-Video connector. The letter S in S-Video means ‘separate’ because it carries the colour information separately from the rest of the video signal resulting in a better image quality than a standard composite (yellow socket) on a normal video recorder.

The signal from our machines is usually very good but old video tapes sometimes have wear or other defects which may result in an unstable image which is difficult for a digital recording device to lock onto properly. For this reason we route the S-Video output from our players into a time base Corrector (TBC). These devices are bit like a shock absorber for the video signal – rough signal comes in – smooth signal goes out. The output from the TBC is a component signal rather than S-Video. Component analogue, sometimes called RGB meaning red, green and blue, sends the video signal over three separate connectors and is the best available connection type for analogue video.

Getting the footage into a computer

Our computers are fitted with specialist video capture cards which have component video inputs with analogue audio connectors. We record the video signals into the computer using capture software designed for the capture card. At this stage the video files we record into the computer are of a much larger sized files than we need for delivery on either DVD or a USB stick. These are effectively a digital master file from which working copies can be made. They contain the entire frame including any rough edges that would not normally be seen when playing the tape on a television. The video in the files is also what’s known as interlaced. All analogue videotapes use interlacing as a method to display smoother motion on screen. In simple terms it was a technical trick to get smoother video footage. Later in the process we will need to remove the interlacing because it causes distortion on most computers and digital players.

Making good quality files that will work in modern devices

There are dozens of digital video file types including AVI, MOV, MPG and many more. These are known as container formats. They vary in size and contents. You can think of these file types as gift wrapping paper. The wrapping paper doesn’t tell you exactly what’s inside – you need to open it to find out. Just like a wrapped gift an AVI or MOV file could contain a wide variety of gifts.

The vast number of file types (container formats) and contents has caused a lot of confusion over the years with files that look similar but are completely different and may or may not work in your computer. Thankfully a good, reliable standard has been around for quite a while that is supported almost universally across all computers, portable devices and SmartTVs. The file format is H.264 MP4 and that’s what we use for the vast majority of people who want digital files.

The benefits of the H.264 MP4 standard are:

  • Good image quality
  • Small file sizes due to efficient compression
  • Universal playback compatibility
  • Easy to back up and copy

We also convert tapes to DVD Video. It’s a format that’s been around for 20 years and the discs we make work in pretty much all DVD players sold for most of that time. DVDs use MPEG2 rather than the newer MP4 format. In broad terms MP4 is twice as efficient as MPEG2 – so that means the same quality quality video but only half the file size. In the digital world efficiency is paramount.

Preparing the footage for conversion to MP4

This section only applies to MP4 video conversion. The first thing we need to do is trim off the rough edges of the frame. Analogue videos weren’t perfect and can have ugly, fuzzy borders which are not seen when viewed on a normal TV. This is called the overscan area – think of it as the rough bit of a canvass hidden by a picture frame.

In the digital world – especially on a computer we will see the ugly edges of the frame – it looks a bit messy and can be distracting. We crop (trim off) the rough edges to provide a nice clean border around the image.

The next step in preparation is to de-interlace the footage. This is essential because most MP4 players (hardware or software) either cannot handle interlaced footage correctly at all or required the user to dig around in the settings.  If it isn’t de-interlaced the footage will appear jagged and juddery on most players. If de-interlacing is done badly then motion in the image may appear to flicker. Quick and easy de-interlacing methods are not very good. The most advanced method of de-interlacing produces very good, smooth motion but requires much more computing power and is therefore slower to process. We use the slower, most advanced de-interlacing method.

Once we have cropped and de-interlaced the footage we can covert it to MP4. The files we capture from tape are enormous and don’t work on all platforms. We need to make those files smaller so that they don’t take up as much space and convert them into a format that will work on most devices. This stage is called video compression. The exact settings we use for making MP4 files were developed by ourselves following extensive testing. Put simply we worked out the optimal settings for retaining high quality images and sound then increased them a bit whilst keeping the file sizes reasonable.

Conversion to DVD and why it’s different than MP4

DVDs are digital and can hold either interlaced footage or progressive footage (non-interlaced). DVD players are normally connected to televisions which crop off the edges automatically. Therefore when we copy analogue video to DVD we don’t need to de-interlace it or crop off the edges.

Whilst we can use computers to make DVD we don’t need to. Standalone DVD recorders are designed for the purpose . The better quality DVD Recorders have timebase correction on the inputs to stabilise poorer signals. If the machines are set up correctly with good quality connections then they do a very good job. If we are only doing DVD transfers we will usually use a DVD Recorder. It takes less resources and is a more efficient workflow. However, if we’ve been asked to make both MP4 files and DVDs then we may decide to make the discs using a computer instead.

Important information about MP4 file on USB sticks

Most people ask for their videos on either USB or DVD. Some people are comfortable downloading files via the internet. If we supply video files on a USB stick there are some important things to know about them.

Firstly, whilst it is possible to buy very large USB sticks that will hold dozens of hours of footage there are limitations about what will actually work. In order to be universally compatible a USB stick needs to be formatted using a file system called FAT32. Any USB stick you purchase new comes in that format.

FAT32 has one major drawback when it comes to storing digital video files. There is a maximum file size limit of 4GB. The equates to around 2.5 hours of good quality video footage. For example, if you have a 4hr video tape then it will need to be split into 2 parts in order to fit onto the stick.

It’s perfectly possible to reformat a USB stick to another file system such as EXFAT which will allow larger individual file sizes. EXFAT formatted  USB will work in computers but won’t work in many SmartTVs. Some modern TVs do support it but not all of the do. Therefore we use FAT32 as it’s universally compatible.

To recap a large USB stick – say 32GB can store several 4 hour tapes but if you want it to work in most devices then the 4hr files will need to be divided into sections no greater than 4GB each. We will do this as part of the compression process unless you have discussed it with us in advance.

If we supply a USB stick it will be a well known manufacturer such as Sandisk, Lexar or Toshiba. We purchase all our USB sticks directly from the same industry source ensuring that we get genuine products. This has proven to be reliable. Be very cautious of buying USB sticks from market stalls or auction websites as there are many unreliable fakes around.

Infomaiton about the DVD discs make

DVDs are familiar to most people. We print the name of the video on the disc surface. The discs we use are inkjet printable DVD-R. This type of disc is part of the official DVD standard and hold up to 2 hours of good quality video. Again we buy good quality discs from a trusted source.

For detailed price and ordering information please see our profession video transfer page.

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F.A.Q. Video to USB – Can I copy or edit my files?

Shows USB stick in a Smart TV

DVDs were never intended to be edited and to do so required some specialist software to get the footage from the disc to a computer in a suitable format for editing. Backing up DVDs was also a little tricky if you didn’t have the right software. The USB sticks we make for most video transfers contain MP4 video files which are much easier to work with than DVDs were.

Backing Up MP4 Video Files

It’s very important to make backup copies of your home video files. USB sticks are fairly robust but can become corrupted or damaged so you really need to make at least one, preferably two backup copies of your files. Good practice is to keep one or more of the backup copies off-site i.e. In a different location. There are many online storage services offering free (limited) or very low cost file storage options.

The good news is that it’s very easy to make backup copies of your video files onto a computer hard drive, another USB device or upload them to an online storage or viewing format. Simply copy the file(s) from the source USB stick and paste them to the destination.  Transfer speeds vary depending on the size of the file and the speed of the USB device and computer being used. A typical home video tape of around an hour might take about 5 minutes to copy from a USB stick to your computer hard drive.

Editing Your MP4 Video Files

The great thing about MP4 files is that they are currently the most universally compatible digital video file type in existence. You should expect them to work in almost all SmartTVs, computers and portable devices including iPads, iPhones and Android etc. Likewise, all current video editing software on computers and some mobile video editing apps will edit MP4 files.

In summary you can and should make backup copies of your files. It’s as easy as copying and pasting any other file. The files we make for you work in pretty much all devices and can be edited.

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Christmas Video Transfers 2016

Call 0800 228 9422  for video xmas transfers

*** Christmas 2016 update as of 30/11/16 – PLEASE PHONE FIRST 0800 228 9422 – We are managing orders on a first come, first served basis and aim to achieve our standard 7-10 working day turnaround for most smaller orders (1-5 tapes) however this will change as we progress into December. Therefore you should phone us on 0800 228 9422 prior to sending your tapes to check turnaround time **

Professional Video Transfers

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Damaged Camcorder Tape Repair and Recovery Service

Video cassettes contain many moving parts and can be very fragile if mishandled or used in a faulty video recorder or camcorder. One of the most common faults is caused when the tape fails to load or unload properly resulting in a crumpled or snapped tape. The damaged section may need to be removed and the tape spliced together.

Shows a faulty video cassette tape

We have seen a few tapes over the years with some unusual faults. In the example above the record protect tab of a VHS-C camcorder tape had become dislodged from its proper position in the cassette casing and was trapped inside to tape on the spools. We stripped down the cassette and manually wound the spools to release the green plastic tab. Once rebuilt we were able to transfer the tape onto an MP4 USB stick.

If have a damage or faulty video tape then we may be able to help repair and recover the contents onto a digital file format or copy it DVD for you.

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