Video Tape Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Video Tape FAQ

Are Video Tapes standard definition or high definition?

VHS, Betamax, 8mm, Hi8, MiniDV and Digital 8 are standard definition. Meaning, they are less than or equal to 480 horizontal lines of resolution. MiniDV tapes could also be used in high definition camcorders and would recorder 1080 line high definition video on the tape.

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How do I calculate how many hours of content film I have?

There are exceptions but in general VHS, 8mm and Hi8 are 120 minute (2 hour) tapes. If you recorded in long or extended play on VHS you could get up to 8 hours. They also made 8mm and Hi8 tapes in other capacities like 30 minute, 60, and 90 minute as well as the 120 minute tape. The 120 minute tape was the most popular and most used 8mm and Hi8 tape capacity.

Betamax ranged from about 2 to 4 hours depending on the type of tape you purchased.

MiniDV and Digital 8 are typically 1 hour of video maximum.

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Is there a difference between the SD and Pro SD for video tapes?

Yes. The SD process just uses a consumer grade deck to digitize the tape. So, the heads and components inside the deck are all consumer grade. The Pro SD uses professional broadcast machines. The heads, components and ability to fix tracking problems result in video that is about 30-50% better compared to the consumer grade machine. For more information click here.

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Is there a difference between an Pro SD and Pro HD for Video Tapes?

In general a standard definition tape like VHS will never have high definition resolution. Meaning, the resolution can never be any better than the original tape. But, if you are comparing a Pro SD conversion to DVD vs. a Pro HD conversion to BluRay then there are some advantages. For example, we don't have to compress the video as much on BluRay. So, if you could compare the same tape converted to both DVD and BluRay, the BluRay would look about 25% better in terms of definition and detail.

Also, we can fit about 4 hours at 720p on BluRay and still compress it about half as much as DVD. So, you can also consolidate the video onto fewer BluRays compared to DVD.

If you have a MiniDV tape that was used in an HD camcorder then you would want to go through the Pro HD process to get all the resolution from the tape.

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Can I get digital video files from my video tape conversion instead of DVD or BluRay?

Yes. In fact you can order up to 3 different formats from us at the time of order. As far as digital video files go, you can order standard definition AVI or MOV files, high definition Apple ProRes or HD-AVI files.

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Can I provide my own hard drive for my video tape conversion?

Yes. We only ask that you format the drive so that it is empty.

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Is there a minimum per tape?

Yes. We have a 30 minute minimum per tape. So, if the tape only has 10 minutes we will still do it but will bill it out as if it had 30 minutes on it. Besides this, we charge based on actual content. So, if you had 2 tapes with 45 minutes each and 1 with 30 minutes we would charge for a total of 2 hours.

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What other formats do you offer besides VHS to DVD?

We can transfer your VHS to DVD, BluRay, MOV, AVI, HD ProRes and HD-AVI. We can really provide any format you need. Just ask and we can make it happen.

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Can you transfer damaged tapes?

In most cases, yes. We do charge a $25 repair fee if we think we can repair it. If the tape has mold damage or has broken internal parts we wont be able to repair it. Please contact us for a referral to a company that can fix it.

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Can you improve or restore my video tape?

Yes, in most cases we can restore the video tape to it's original color and detail level. For more information click here.

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