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Preserve Your Old Video Tape & Cassette files Before Trashing

Remember the times when you used to pile up corners of your room with cassettes and videotapes of your favourite band? Back in those days- cosy house parties, thanksgiving dinner was all about watching favourite holiday movies on the VHS player.

Over the decade, technology made a whopping turn in our life and also in the things we used to treasure the most! Now the stash of old-sprawling cassettes and VHS tape collections ended up in a dust infested corner in the attic or basement. Randomly tossing them out won't just end up as a health hazard for the environment but also cause you to lose some precious media contents you might regret not having later on.

The only way to truly secure your data from old valuable contents from old cassettes and VHS tapes is to digitize them in proper ways.

Old, private recordings are like family legacy you want to pass down to the next generation. These contents are priceless, irreplaceable- and most importantly, bound to be properly labelled, digitized and restored as soon as possible.

So before you think of trashing the vintage possessions, consider checking and preserving the media. Here are some of the ways to do so-

Identify pre-existing problems

Old cassettes and VHS tapes you have in your cluster are no less than 20 to 25 years old.

Even a 15 years old, well-stored VHS tape faces 20% upper end of video or audio signal loss, which is considered to be the expected amount of content damage. There are several major problems you might face, including tape crease error, damaged binder layer, magnetic tape deterioration and so on. 

As there are coded magnetic signals with video and audio recordings in VHS tapes, old-damaged tapes may prevent high fidelity for devices connected to the TV or VCR playbacks. You may also experience issues like distorted audio, mould-infested tapes.

Before digitally preserving your vintage media and curating, you need to examine your VHS and cassettes collection thoroughly and make sure to troubleshoot accordingly. If not, the risk of content loss might be even higher. So it's always safe to hand over the vintage tape related problems to the professionals.

Save your original media

Before you decide to digitize your old valuable content, consider saving some of the original media that are precious to you. Cause no matter how old your VHS tapes or cassettes are, and the original content will always remain the best in quality. And you can always have the option to re-scan the original content at a higher resolution as well. 
If you have old VHS tapes of old and famous movies or documentaries- it may be worth a fortune! Most of the priciest auctions are on VHS actions on eBay where streaming services spend millions on original VHS tapes of classic footage.

Original VHS tapes of the American TV shows like Friends and The Office were bought from eBay at astounding prices. So, if you think you have a collection of old VHS classics in pristine condition, store the media in a cold place.

Vintage Tapes and Records

Store and clean your collection properly

Whether you want to retrieve the content or just want to sell-donate your vintage tape collections, you need to store them correctly. Keep your old VHS, cassette or CD collection in a moisture-free, cold, dry, dust-free environment. 

Make sure the collections are away from direct sunlight, fluorescent light and combustible objects with rapid temperature fluctuation. Most importantly, don't store or use the VHS or cassette tapes near high vibrations or high magnetic fields. 

 In terms of cleaning the old tapes, use tape cleaning fabric fibres with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol.

Convert VHS tapes to digital

VHS-tapes and cassettes, as parts of the mass media distribution system, are very susceptible to damage, decay and potential media loss- as they were never structured to be a permanent content storage system. 

So although it's one daunting job, you can still convert VHS to digital by connecting the old VHS video content with your computer at home using special software, an analog video-capture device and USB cable. 

Here's how it could be done-

  • Step-1: To start the process, you need a computer (with available USB port), a VCR with audio and video composite jacks or USB digitizer. USB digitizer will display the VHS tape's video content directly on the computer screen. You might also need a USB-to-composite video converting device with good software and build quality.
  • Step-2: Download and install the USB-to-composite video converter's software on your computer. Connect the VCR to your computer using the USB video converter.
  • Step-3: Play the VHS tape on the VCR and record it on your computer. Make sure the video tracking and audio playback are synchronized.

Converting VHS tapes to digital is complicated, not to mention time-consuming. You can hand over the daunting job to professional vintage media and digital conversion service like Melbourne based Cineclair Productions.

VHS Tapes to Digital

Alternatively, convert VHS to DVD

Not the most practical but surely the easiest way of preserving old VHS tapes is to transfer them into DVD through DVD recorder. In this case, you need to connect the DVD recorder to a tape player.

There are different tape formats, like VHS, VHS-C, Betacam, Hi8 and so on. 

You need to make sure you choose the right player for the tape. Now while playing back the old tapes, you can record them onto a new, blank DVD disc. Even though it's an easy way out, DVDs are also almost obsolete these days, so it may not be easy to find DVDs and the right recorder for your tape.

Turn the old tapes into DIY projects

There are some DIY methods of digitizing DHS tapes. In this case, you can get a film-to-video converter, along with an SDHC memory card. As the VHS media runs, the newly digitized files are recorded to the memory card. And the whole conversion process will be as long as the video length and duration.

Another DIY but time-consuming media digitization project can include a film-reel projector, a digital video camera, and a projector screen. Then you can play the vintage film roll footage on the projector and record the content on the camera at the same time.

Let the professionals take care of it

Lastly, but most importantly, let the professional film and video conversion specialists handle your content preservation technicalities and VHS to digital conversion procedure. You may be a tech-savvy, but a media transferring task has a risk of permanently losing valuable data. 

Professional services understand the best quality of the video off the old tape in the digitized version in the most efficient timespan. They also possess professional, top-quality video conversion gears, licensed software and equipment that are not always available for general usage.

Most film conversion services allow you to simply mail your tapes to the office and wait for the job to be done- completely hassle-free. The best part of professional media conversion service taking care of your old content preservation process is, you can get help with easy sharing capabilities, getting extra media files-copies and so on!

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