Transferring images on tape to a computer file is becoming harder to achieve given the physical quality of many of the tapes we see. Following our move to bigger premises we have expanded the tape transfer and digitisation service.
There are a bewildering number of formats. In addition, they come in various electronic flavours. Regardless of format, we now charge by the time taken to do the job.
PAL and NTSC are terms you may hear mentioned. They refer to the electronic system used to record the image. Our comprehensive resource can play all broadcast tapes and a good number of domestic formats regardless of the system used.
Millions of digibeta edit master tapes are to be found in vaults – what if you want a copy? Many older programmes recorded on U-matic tapes are still a very important source of archive material, that’s if the tape will play. Domestic formats will contain priceless personal images. So, there is plenty to keep us busy.
These are MP3 versions. To download the MP3 files, right click on a tune and open in a new window or tab. Right click on the speaker icon and chose “save audio as…”. WAV file versions or CDs are available. Please ask.
Tapes are made from plastic, glue and iron filings.
There are three problems with video and audio tapes:
Sticky tape shed and
Physical stretch and general mechanical deterioration.
There is only so much we can do about these. If the tape is unplayable in some ways that is easy, nothing can be done, or if it is in good mechanical condition we can do a lot electronically to get the best out of the recording. It is the middle ground that causes grief.
Mould leads to destruction of the tape so makes it difficult to play but usually we can get something. Sticky tape shed is where the binding absorbs water and the tape will stick to the play back head and make a screaming noise. It can quickly wreck a video recorder. Heat treatment can be effective, although is controversial. We have had some amazing successes (and I should add, failures). Physical damage is the most difficult as this leads to tracking errors, that no machine can cope with, but you hope that with fiddling you can solve – actually you can’t. Your optimism is misplaced and it is too easy to promise recovery when it can’t be done. Related is oxide shed when the recording medium comes away from the tape. This is easy to spot, usually you get a couple of minutes playback then video head clog and white snow. This then needs a realistic discussion with the client about how to proceed and the cost involved.
These days, before transferring to a digital file, we have found it best to produce a digital intermediate tape. The reason being that the computer capture card and software can’t cope with a poor quality signal.
There are very specialist firms that can attempt recovery, but the cost is prohibitive for the normal user and the results disappointing. They are most often used in a forensic setting where the actual information is critical, and the artistic elements rather less so.
So there we are, I know lots of firms advertise a doom and gloom message, to encourage you to transfer your tapes to a digital domain, and it might seem just a marketing gimmick. The trouble is that majority of our transfer work involves tapes with the problems I’ve outlined. And that becomes a tough sell.
These are MP3 versions. To download the MP3 files, right click on a tune, open in a new window or tab, the download icon is on the right of the player. WAV file versions or CDs are available. Please ask.
We often have equipment for sale. It is very easy to be caught out with items on E-bay and the like, and this is especially so with complex kit such as VTRs which are a challenge to maintain, now they are getting older. Anything you buy from us will be in decent working condition. It will have been serviced and checked. Guaranteed for one month and at a fair price.
Video tape recorders.
Digibeta 500 £390.00.
Digitbeta A500 £475.00.
We have several and they will have been serviced with new pinch rollers and similar items. In fact most of the price represents the servicing costs. Guaranteed one month. (Not for head clogging though!). The operating and head hours are likely to be high – and indeed the figures are likely to be unreliable anyway. So condition is everything. If you buy one from us it will work as it should. That is a good offer!
We will be happy to send you screen shots but it is best to see the actual machine yourself.
The A500 model plays back Betacam SP in addition to digibeta so is a useful machine for playback and archiving SD recordings on digibeta tape. The machines are quite a handy way of getting an SDI feed from all sorts of analogue tapes.
We have a Eumig 910 and a Heurtier for sale.
Sony Z1 and FX1. (Sold).
BP90 style batteries, charger, SQN with lots of kit. Red head lights.
The UCare charity held a gala dinner at Blenheim Palace on 28th April 2018. We produced the video insert used during the evening. In addition to working hard on the content it is important to take into account where it will be shown and optimise the audio so it remains intelligible when played through a PA system.
The evening was a great success, raising over £125,000. A remarkable achievement.