by Steve Kosch October 17, 2022 5 min read

The days of wine and roses and analog media has abruptly ended since the turn of the twenty-first century. Yes, I said ended. Nowadays, digital media is king everywhere. Everything has gone digital, including little objects like watches, bigger ones like phones, and even vehicles.

However, just because digital media has taken over does not imply traditional media is completely gone. You probably still have some VHS tapes and dated films. 

You probably will not be able to watch them because all of your video cassette players and cameras, if you have any, have broken or missing key cables.

You should convert any type of media into a digital format if you want to see them again. Fortunately, this article will break down the process into simple steps. 


Why Should You Switch from Analog to Digital Media?

Audio Tapes

Sadly, most analog media will eventually become obsolete. Cassette tapes will eventually fail, jam, or break. They become less magnetic, meaning your sounds of the past are degrading - pops, clicks, and noises are creeping in. 

Additionally, analog media can still be readily lost even if they do not degrade over time. How frequently have you lost that amusing Easter VHS tape? 

However, you can play them repeatedly without worrying about deterioration by transforming them into their digital equivalents. 

With the use of cloud technology, digital media files may be viewed and played on any device. Additionally, the same cloud technology makes sharing digital media files much simpler. Furthermore, it is simple to modify digital media assets. Digital media, in contrast to analog media, allows for easy editing.


Cassette to USB Converter

Using a USB cassette converter is one of the easier DIY ways to convert your tapes to a digital format. This is excellent for beginners because it requires little technical knowledge. To utilize a cassette converter, do the following:

Get a USB cassette converter first. A common choice for smaller files is a free software called Audacity or Reshow. However, as you guessed there are plenty of paid audio software options that can handle larger-longer files and can offer plenty of tweaking to get just the right sound you desire.

Next, you might want to try a dedicated audio tape deck however you’ll have to use RCA cables to a converter cable to a USB. Audacity software will work fine for the beginner and give acceptable results.


Video Tapes

What Kinds of Analog Formats Are There? The more popular analog videotapes include:

VHS, Hi8, Digital 8, MiniDV, HDV, S-VHS, VHS-C and 8mm video.

When you decide to transfer old videos to digital your next question might be How am I going to transfer video tapes to digital?

Fortunately for VHS tape owners, there is a do-it-yourself machine available that contains both a VCR (video cassette recorder/player) and a DVD recorder combined in one unit. This would work if you only had VHS tapes. There are no combo units for other tape formats. 

If you wanted to stay away from discs (DVDs, CDs) that might get scratched and become unplayable, this convert video to digital option (stored on a USB thumb drive) won’t work.

Yes, you could first make DVDs and then rip them into .mp4 video files that could be stored on a USB thumb drive. But then you would need some software tools like Handbrake or DVD ripper for that second process.

But if you have Hi8, 8mm, S-VHS, Mini-DV tapes there were no units that were made. So, what do you do in that case? Keep reading.


Getting Professional Help

Another option is to find the best video transfer service company in your local area. Checking online for reviews and testimonies is important to give a comfort level. Make sure the company has the experience and equipment and a satisfaction guarantee to make it all happen.

If you have 8mm tapes or any other non-VHS tapes you need a digital transfer service that maintains the older equipment to play and transfer your tapes.

Convert home videos to digital companies online can vary with turnaround times. The bigger box factories like Legacybox are quoting a 6–8-week turnaround time, longer near the holidays. Local or smaller companies might only require a 2-week turnaround. Most of our transfers large and small are completed in less than ten days.

One important feature we offer at no additional charge is all of your media is backed up for a limited time.


FILM

Analog photography, also known as film photography, is a catch-all term for photography that uses chemical processes to capture an image and to print on chemical-laden paper. 

This would include converting film (16mm, 8mm, or super8) photographs and 35mm slides and negatives.

To convert film to digital is more of a tricky situation. Some hobbyists will play a film projector and record the image off the screen or wall. The wall can give the image a bumpy, rough image, and then the other issue is the projector is playing the film at either 16 or 18 frames per second and the camera is recording at another rate, you will see a blacked band cycling through the image.

For pro, results go to a video transfer company that can perform the transfer without the quality issues of amateurs. They can put the film onto a DVD or make a .mp4 video file and put it onto a USB thumb drive.

Photos and 35mm slides and negatives should be scanned, to complete the digitizing efforts and to stop the deterioration. Home scanners should be able to scan photos up to 8 x 10 in size and 35mm slides and negatives. Additionally, scanning or photo-enhancing software options will allow more enhancement and modification of images. Photographic images are usually scanned to .jpg images and saved on a USB thumb drive, or the cloud.

 

Summary

When checking for How to convert VHS to digital? or How to convert film to digital? A firmly established video transfer company should be able to handle any analog media and help you to digitize it to a more stable and future-proof format.

Digitizing your media will make it simpler to watch a variety of media in a digital format. You can now watch digitized photos, films, and tapes on TVs, computers, and devices streaming from the internet. The memories can be stored on discs, USB thumb drives, or hosted on the cloud. Once digitized, those photos, films, and tapes will not degrade, fade, or deteriorate and you can edit them for different purposes. For instance, you can make a highlight video from your athletic days. A memory of a loved one and the options are endless.


Free Consultation

Our video transfer company offers a free consultation service where we look over everything you have and explain transfer processes and give a quote for the entire project, ahead of time. Meeting with us will give you a comfort level of knowing who is transferring your precious memories and that all safety protocols are covered. This should be the only time you have to digitize all your media. Make sure it is done right the first time.

One of the more common outcomes of our clients converting their media is the reaction of family members spread across the country or world as they watch old memories from the cloud. "Priceless," as they say in the commercial!



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