by: Bradley Finegan
Remember the era of VHS? An era where parents would capture every precious moment of their children’s adolescence with a bulky video camera. An era where you were required to rewind before sending your movie back to Blockbuster (for those who remember Blockbuster). Well, as all things, the era of VHS had to come to end sometime.
Back in 2006, the Motion Picture Association of America announced that theatrical releases would no longer be printed to VHS. The last film released to VHS was the infamous documentary style film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Nation of Kazakhstan.”
7 years later, as digital video continues to take over the world, it begs the question: what to do with all of our VHS tapes? Well, with the help of a production company such as Primeau Productions, you can capture/restore these tapes and transfer them to DVD or digital format. (Very nice!)
Here are 6 reasons why you should digitize those old video tapes laying around the house.
1. To Preserve Your Memories.
VHS tapes only hold up for so long. The average shelf life of a VHS tape is approximately 25 years. This means that if your old tape collection dates earlier than 1989, it’s recommended that you take action to digitize your tapes.
Letting film sit too long and collect dust could have consequences in saving your memories. The film can get covered in dirt, and eventually, the tape will begin to deteriorate. This will not only damage the content of the tape, but the dirt can quickly clog VCR heads, which could consequently ruin not only the tape itself, but the VCR Player being used to play it.
2. Aspect Compatibility
Watching video tapes on modern television systems, in most cases, the image can get compressed, and does not take up the whole screen. This has to do with aspect ratio, or the relationship between the height and width of an image. During the time when video tapes were the most popular media, the standard aspect ratio was 4×3. With the creation of the HDTV, the average TV aspect ratio increased to 16 x 9. This is why these images look so small. These tapes were created for a 4 x 3 aspect ratio, and we’re living in a 16 x 9 word. Restoring VHS tapes to a digital format allows you to watch them at an aspect ratio of 16×9; fully compatible with most current TV’s.
3. Restore Quality of the Tape
The damages mentioned above can cause blurring, along with drastic discoloration of an image. Dependent on the damage, companies who restore these tapes will clean the film, fixing discoloration and restoring sharpness of the image.
In regards to the audio, we receive many inquiries about noisy tapes, whether it’s buzzing, white noise, or something similar. This can also be due to damaged tapes. Like the visual quality, this is something that can also be fixed by cleaning the tape, dependent on the damage.
4. For Family Genealogy.
As earlier mentioned, the shelf life of a VHS tape is approximately 25 years. These tapes won’t hold up forever. Transferring these memories to digital formats gives you and your family the opportunity to preserve these tapes for future generations. If these tapes become too damaged, once they’re gone, they’re gone, and cannot be restored.
5. Easier to Manage/Send
Digital formats are much easier to manage and send. This opens up opportunities to easily send the content overseas. If you find a tape of an old friend who is now living overseas, instead of paying high shipping fees, and risking damage to the tape in transportation, digitizing the tape is much less risky, along with a cheaper, easier means of sending that video overseas.
6. For Christmas!
In the spirit of the holiday season, DVD versions of your family memories make great Christmas gifts! These are especially great gifts for parents, grandparents and any other relatives that may have home videos laying around they don’t want to lose.