Your Tape Ages Faster Than You
It’s one of those things. You’re stuck with old video tape, audio tape, zip disks, reel-to-reel, and other boxes of memories that you couldn’t possibly throw away. It’s time to convert them to a format that will last forever!
While the condition of your media is important, it’s a sooner-than-later situation. The longer you let the tape or film sit, its condition will worsen over time. Digitizing your tape today is the best option to preserve your content.
Some formats are easier to digitize than others, so pricing will vary. For instance, digitizing 8 or 16mm film requires more setup and labor than converting a VHS tape.
Our prices are based on hours of content. For instance, if you have 4 VHS cassette tapes with a total of 7.5 hours of content, you’ll be charge for 8 hours of content. Each medium has it’s own pricing structure and will reflect based on hours of digitized content. If your content is only 5 minutes, we must charge a minimum of 1 hour. Bulk pricing for content over 40 hours is available.
Film, photos and slides include a setup fee.
You may elect to have your finished product digitized to:
- Digital file format, written to a DVD* for use in computers and some media players (MP4 format – H.264)
- Flash Drive** MP4 (same as above)
- DVD Video* for DVD players (lower quality)
- Upload to services such as YouTube, Vimeo or YourTownTube
Hourly Content Pricing
Video/Audio Tape: First Hour $25, Each additional hour $8
Please inquire about bulk pricing if you have more than 25 hours of content.
- 3/4 or Umatic
- 1″ Video Reel-to-Reel ****
- Audio Cassette
- Audio 1/4″ Reel To Reel
We’re sorry, but we are not transferring film at this time.
Have an unusual media type?
If you have an unusual media type and you have the means to play this media, bring it over! We’ll see what we can do to get that memory saved forever.
* DVD Stock will be charged $2 per disk. Our disks are unlabeled and placed in sleeves.
** Flash Drive Media will be charged based on current market price.
*** Hard Disks will be charged according to market price.
**** Advanced notice is needed
Tape Speeds and Quality
In the 80’s and 90’s, tape was cheap. However, that did not stop us from trying to squeeze six or even 8 hours of content on a single VHS tape. This was common practice in households across the US. The setting on your home VCR (i.e., SP, LP and ELP or SLP) was right there on the front of the unit or built right into the record section of your remote control.
We find that about 60-70% of the tape that comes to us was recorded in SLP (6-8 hour mode)
Why is this important? Tapes recorded in SP (2-hour mode) are the highest quality whereas SLP (6-8 hour mode) were poor. This is because the tape moved slower over the heads and was forced to squeeze more magnetic information in a smaller space. Most effected by this was tracking (remember tracking?). Tapes recorded in SLP mode tracked poorly, whereas SP Mode tracked much better.
Riverview Studios does our best to track what we can, however, coupled with aging tape, this is sometimes near impossible.
Storage, Humidity and Temperature
Where you stored your tapes over the years is very critical in determining the quality of the final output. If you kept your tapes in a cool, dark, dry place with 62% humidity and in a plastic case, chances are you’re in great shape. However, unprotected tapes scattered in an open box in the 120 degree attic is not the best scenario. Tape ages more rapidly in hot or humid environments. Add bright light to the mix and you can compare it to a stale warm beer on a hot day in the summer. Not good.
With all that being said, we’ll never know what condition your tape is in until you bring it to our studio in Bordentown, NJ.
Waiver and Guarantees
Riverview Studios will make every attempt to carefully digitize your tape or film, but cannot be responsible for its condition. We’ve seen damaged tape wreak havoc on our playback equipment. In light of this, Riverview Studios cannot be held responsible for the condition of your tape or memories contained herein. If tape is eaten, broken or stretched, the project ends there. No compensation can be made for loss of your video. Since Riverview Studios cannot be held responsible for your media, you’ll be asked to sign a simple waiver stating that you cannot sue for loss of your video.
Poor quality or tracking is a common ailment, especially with VHS and VHS-C products. Riverview will do the best we can to restore your memories, but cannot guarantee the quality of your final product. It really all depends on the condition of the tape and how well it was cared for.
The turnaround time depends on many factors such as:
- Current workload at the Studio
- Amount of tape or film
- Type of media (film/tape)
- Condition of your media
Ready to go? Here’s a few tips to make your experience quicker and more efficient
If you’re ready to have your tapes transferred, take some time and perform the following steps:
- Watch the tapes. If you have means to watch your content before bringing them to the studio, you’ll find that an unlabeled cassette may contain 4 hours of a poorly made soap opera that you don’t consider a memory. Toss that one and check the next tape. Be sure to create a list of what’s on each tape.
- Number each tape. When we convert your tapes, we have an organized system that we use to number the file names of the output digital file. These will correspond with your tape numbers. Since we don’t know what your memories really are or who’s in them, you’ll have to refer to #1 on this list. If you’re organized, it’ll be easy to discover the content of each file by referring to both your notes and tape numbers.
- Decide on your output format (see above)