Videotape to DVD Conversion Service
  Transfer your old beta, VHS & 8mm videotapes (or other media) to DVD or BluRay  
   
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Are you stuck with old "Beta" (also known as "Betamax") videotapes that you can no longer watch because you no longer have a beta VCR?    The solution is to transfer your beta videotapes to DVD!

DVD is a digital medium that will allow you to make future copies without losing further quality if copied directly.   One big drawback though is if the video footage on the DVD is edited further; this will cause some loss of quality as the MPEG picture encoding on DVD's is of a "lossy" type.


Here is a matrix of the different video formats that I can work with:

 

TO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM

Beta

VHS

8mm

Hi8

Digital 8

DVD

DVD (PAL)

BluRay

Beta

 +

X

n/a

X

X

X

 +

+

VHS

X

X

n/a

X

X

X

 +

X

VHS (PAL)

X

X

n/a

X

X

X

X

X

8mm

X

X

n/a

X

X

X

X

X

Hi8

X

X

n/a

X

X

X

X

X

Digital 8

X

X

n/a

X

 +

X

X

X

DVD

X

X

n/a

X

X

X

X

X

DVD (PAL)

X

X

n/a

X

X

X

 +

+

Media Files

DV Tapes

 +

X

 +

X

n/a

X

 +

X

 +

X

X

X

X

+

X

+

News update, Sept. 6, 2014:  I can now also convert "DV" (digital video) tapes as well!

  • "X" - direct to DVD or BluRay or via PC
  • "+" - intermediate copy via PC only
  • "n/a" - not available
  • "Media Files" are any digital photo (JPG, BMP, TIFF) or video (AVI, WMV, MPG, MOV) files

Conversion to BluRay disks are now also possible!

Note:  All formats are assumed to be American TV Standard (NTSC) unless otherwise mentioned (ie: "PAL" is the format generally used in Europe).


Frequently asked questions:

  1. Why not transfer to VHS?   Because every time when you transfer analog magnetic media to another analog magnetic media you lose picture quality with every generation of tape.   Generally this manifests itself by the picture becoming less sharp (ie: outlines start to look "fuzzy") and the colors are becoming very intense.   Over time, VHS tapes will have the same physical problems as beta tapes.
  2. What is the lifespan of tape?   It depends on many factors.   Original quality and storage environment affect the lifespan.  If you had purchased "no name" tapes, they may not last as long as brand-names (such as Sony, Fuji, Maxell, etc).   How you stored the tape makes a BIG difference though.   Best are a dark environment with even temperature (roughly 65 - 70 degrees F) and low humidity and certainly not in direct sunlight!    Tapes are best stored vertically, not flat on their sides.   Storing a tape flat on its' side will cause the weight of the tape to push on the bottom of the reel, causing bending of the tape and possible tracking problems later on.   I have some beta tapes that are from 1982 (23 years old!) as of this writing and they still play decently.
  3. What can occur with age: 
    • The adhesive on the tape that holds the leader (clear) tape to the magnetic tape can dry out, causing the tape to "snap", especially when fast forwarding or rewinding.
    • The videotape tape can get stuck to itself causing it to tear when attempting to play or create serious tracking problems
    • If stored on its' side, tape may not "track" properly when played, causing the picture to bend and "snow" to appear.  Furthermore, the "hi-fi" audio portion may not track properly.
    • The magnetic media particles can separate from tape due to failure of the "binder" (causing "snow"

How to solve this?   Transfer your tapes while you still can!   Beta VCR's are becoming increasingly difficult to find (no new consumer grade equipment is currently offered for sale), and you have to find them on eBay or from a handful of companies that sell refurbished decks (such as Absolute Beta).


I am offering to transfer your old beta tapes (as well as 8mm, Hi8, Digital8 or VHS videotapes) to DVD.   There are of course some caveats:

The video/audio footage on the beta (or other) tapes that you submit to me HAS to be your copyright!  

I can not legally duplicate any sort of pre-recorded or store-bought videotapes, nor any footage or programs that were taped "off-the-air" or from cable TV or satellite stations.   Basically, this means that the only footage that I can transfer is "home movies" type of footage.    For any other types of footage (such as corporate videos), you must provide a signed statement from the copyright holder giving you permission to copy the footage to another medium.   I can not be held liable for any copyright infringements of material that you submit to me for transfer from your beta or other videotapes to DVD.   You must print out the "disclaimer" page, fill in the required information, sign it, and submit it along with your videotapes.

Note:  I can also work with VHS videotapes as well as 8mm, Hi8 or Digital8 videotapes, as well as most "media cards" (sorry, no "Super8" film or professional media such as BetaSP or U-matic though...).

What will it cost?  That depends on the amount of work involved.   A basic transfer without any sort of editing will be less expensive than editing your footage, cleaning up the picture (reducing color, increasing brightness, sharpening, etc), inserting chapter stops and creating menu structures.  See my price table below.

I will endeavor to protect your tapes to the best of my ability while in my care (I can obviously not be responsible for damage or loss occured by the shipping company or the US Postal Service and thus recommend their insurance, which will unfortunately only cover the cost of the media).   I prefer to ship with DHL though and will use Ground (2 - 5 day) or 2nd day service.

I can not guarantee that your beta tapes will play properly in my system nor the quality of footage contained on your tapes.   Also, I can only work with beta videotapes recorded in the USA "NTSC" TV standard (sorry, no beta PAL or SECAM*), and can work with tapes recorded in all 3 consumer speeds of beta I (fastest), beta II or beta III (slowest).   For comparison, an L-750 tape held 1.5 hours in beta I, 3 hours in beta II and 4.5 hours in beta III speeds.    Beta I & II speeds provided the best quality.   Tapes with Beta III speeds do not always hold up so well over time (as my personal experience has shown and can have tracking problems with age or due to finicky equipment).    I can not work with "betacam SP" or similar professional beta formats.

Up to 2 to 3 hours of video can fit on a DVD, however, for the best possible quality, I recommend up to approx. 1.5 hours.

*However, I can convert your NTSC-based beta, VHS or 8mm/Hi8 videotapes to DVD's playable on PAL (European) players.   This would be great for sending copies of home videos to relatives in other countries.   All DVD's that I create will be "region free".

*Additionally, I have just now added the capability of converting PAL-based VHS tapes to NTSC DVD's.   I have tested this with my own PAL VHS tapes from 1986, and it works great!   Supposedly my equipment can also convert SECAM, PAL M/N, NTSC4.43 and MESECAM to NTSC (note that these are various TV formats used in Eastern Europe, South America, Middle East, etc).


Here are some basic costs & other information:

Flat-rate conversion:  $19.95 per DVD (up to 2 hrs of media) or $29.95 per BluRay disk or choose from below:

VIDEO, SLIDE & NEGATIVE FILM SCANNING

Cost per
Beta videotape transfer to DVD $ 0.30 Minute
VHS videotape transfer to DVD $ 0.30 Minute
8mm / Hi8 / Digital8 videotape transfer to DVD $ 0.30 Minute
Media card transfer to DVD  $ 0.30  Minute 
35mm Color Slide scanning $ 0.40 Each
35mm Color or Black&White Negative scanning $ 0.40 Each
Document scanning services $ 0.50

Each

MEDIA (additional copies made at time of order)    
DVD-R Media slim-line jewel case $ 5.00 Each
DVD-R Media dvd case $ 5.00 Each
DVD+R Media slim-line jewel case $ 5.00 Each
BluRay Media in dvd case $ 5.00 Each
CD-R Media slim-line jewel case $ 2.00 Each

CD-R Media paper sleeve

$ 2.00 Each

Additional work such video or photo editing is available at $50 per hour

Additional video information:

  • DVD or BluRay brands may vary, but will only use those that are directly "printable" (so as not to have to use adhesive labels).
  • Either DVD+R or DVD-R media will be used at my choice; if you have a preference though, please let me know.  If you're not sure whether your DVD player works with certain media, you may wish to check at this website: www.videohelp.com/dvdplayers. Generally speaking, DVD-R media is more compatible with older players than DVD+R media.
  • Return Postage (USPS) or shipping (DHL) is additional and will depend on the weight and distance + required insurance.
  • Basic Chapter stops, transitions, menus & titles are free of charge (and will depend on the nature of the video footage submitted).  If natural chapter stops can not be determined from the provided footage then basic stops will inserted every 5 or 10 minutes depending on the length of the video.
  • For comparison, I have seen prices of $ 30.00 to $ 90.00 per hour or higher being quoted for basic transferring of videotapes to DVD, so my costs should be well below that, as well provide more personalized service!  
  • I can not work miracles, the resulting DVD quality is based greatly on the quality of video & audio on your original videotape.  DVD's are provided for viewing purposes and not for further editing, which would degrade the image quality (since MPEG, the standard by which DVD's are encoded, is a "lossy" format, meaning that everytime the footage is re-encoded for a DVD, it losses in quality).   If you need to do final editing of your footage you will generally need a so-called digital video master, which is something that I can not provide with my equipment; this is generally done only by companies that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into video equipment.
  • All DVD's are provided on standard NTSC (USA TV Standard) disks; if you need PAL (European TV Standard) disks, I can provide those as well.  While I do not have a PAL compatible DVD player or TV, I have sent some PAL disks to relatives in Germany which reported that the disks played ok.
  • Standard quality will allow for approx. up to 2 hrs of video on a standard DVD.   In some instances, I've been able to squeeze in up to 3 hrs of video, but I would not recommend that unless the original video quality is marginal to begin with.   What to do if your video is, say, 2 hrs 10 minutes long?   It is easy to adjust the video quality to be able to still put that on one DVD without a major impact on quality.
  • Got film (Regular 8mm, Super8 or 16 mm)?   Unfortunately I can not personally work with film media at this point.  I have to outsource this to another company in the area; please contact me to discuss pricing
  • I can also transfer media card videos (such as those recorded by digital cameras) to DVD.  I can work with all major media cards such as SmartMedia, xD, Compact Flash, MMC, SD, Memory Stick.  

Additional slide, negative & document scanning information:

  • I can scan all standard size 35mm slides (regular thin paper or plastic holders).  If you have older slides with thicker mounts and/or are glass-enclosed, then my scanner unfortunately can not handle these.
  • Slides in formats other than 35mm, such as 127, 126 or 110 film sizes can be done as long as they are mounted in standard slide mounts (2" x 2").   Please note that due to 35mm frame sizes, other formats may result in parts of the image being cut off.
  • I can scan all standard size 35mm negatives.
  • Negatives can only be handled if in strips of 3 to 5 negatives.
  • Note that I can NOT work with other film formats, such as 126, 110, APS, etc.
  • Slides and negatives are generally scanned at 5 megapixels (this is suitable for "HD" TV quality, which is actually only 1,920 x 1,080 pixels = 3.1 megapixels)
  • 1800 dpi is approx. equivalent to 4 megapixels and should result in excellent 4x6 or 5x7 prints and even decent 8x10 prints.
  • Scanned slides and negatives will be supplied as JPG files.   Other file types, such as TIF are available on request. 
  • File sizes will vary depending on the image information and scan resolution.  As an examle, a slide scanned at 1800 dpi will result in a 22 MB TIF file (uncompressed) or approx. 2 MB as a JPG file.
  • Scans can be provided in a variety of different viewable CD media:
    • Plain CD (just JPG files on a CD, viewable on all PC's, Mac's and some DVD players
    • Plain DVD (just JPG files on a DVD, viewable on PC's & Mac's with DVD players
    • VCD/SVCD (also known as "Video CD"; this is a specially formatted CD that can be played on some, but not all DVD players as an automatic slide show; see the website www.videohelp.com/dvdplayers for more info about your particular DVD player's compatibility with various CD & DVD formats).
    • FlipAlbum (a virtual photo album on CD.   Playable on all PC's or Mac's with OS-X.  There is nothing to install, the CD will run automatically when inserted into a PC and appear a photo album on your monitor.  You can use the mouse to click on pages to turn them or you can simply set the album to "auto flip" at set intervals).
  • There is no extra charge for providing your scans in any of the above media types, it is part of the price per CD.
  • Generally speaking, JPG images played on your home TV set via DVD players will not look anywhere as good as on your computer monitor.  Why?  Well, the USA NTSC TV standard is only about 240 vertical lines of resolution across the entire height of the TV screen.   The height of a 27" diagonal TV screen is about 16 inches, therefore, 240 lines of resolution equates into a whopping 15 lines per inch (even worse when you get to larger TV's...).   For comparison, a standard computer monitor displays at 72 - 96 dots per inch.   Now, if you have a digital TV, that is, LCD or Plasma, generally they will have resolutions similar to your computer monitor.

Audio tapes:

  • If you have an audio tape (standard cassette), I can also transfer those to an audio CD.   Please note that I can only do this if you hold the copyright to the content.  Generally speaking this would great for transferring interviews that you have had with family members.   Anything recorded "off the air" from a radio station, pre-recorded or compiled music cassettes are off-limits due to copyright laws!
  • Prices are the same as video footage conversions shown above; as are CD media prices.

Other Info:

  • Texas sales tax of 8.25% are applicable for anyone with a ship-to address in the State of Texas.

 


How to get started:

E-mail me at "peter @ pcelias . com" (remove the spaces and the quotes; this is done to prevent spamming) and describe what your project is:

  • Type of material (weddings, graduations, births, vacations, etc)
  • Is the media:  original master or a copy (if copy, what generation?)
  • Length of material
  • How old is the media 
  • How and where has the media been stored

If you provide your phone number (within the USA only) I can call you and discuss the project in more detail.     If you are not sure whether your videotape(s) is playable, you can send me your videotape, plus US$10.00 + return postage/insurance and I can give you an analysis of your tape.   If you choose to let me transfer any of the material on the tape, you can apply the cost to the final cost of the project.  

Payment:   I prefer payment via PayPal, but can also take direct VISA or MasterCard payments, as well as US$ checks or money orders.   Cash is at your own risk and is not recommended.   Do not submit final payments until I have given you a firm quote based on the information that you have provided.   Generally I would require that you submit your tapes first in order for me to provide a quote.  I will return your videotape and DVD's (or other media) after receiving payment based on the agreed upon amount.   In any case, your videotapes, slides and other original materials remain your property while in my care.   Please read the information on the "Disclaimer" page (http://betatodvd.webs.com/disclaimer.htm) and be sure to print it, sign it and submit it with your videotapes.   Slides & negatives generally do not require this document, however, as in all cases, you must have the copyright to anything that you submit to me for transferring or scanning.


Conversions offered:

  • Beta ("Betamax") [NTSC] to DVD [NTSC or PAL]
  • Beta [NTSC] to VHS [NTSC] (but why bother?)
  • VHS [NTSC or PAL] to DVD [NTSC or PAL] 
  • 8mm / Hi8 mm / Digital8 [NTSC] video to DVD [NTSC or PAL]
  • Memory card to DVD (ie: SmartMedia, CompactFlash, xDigital, SD, etc) [NTSC or PAL]
  • Slides, negatives and paper documents to JPG, TIF or Adobe Acrobat formats on CD, data DVD, DVD or BluRay.
  • 8mm or Super8 film CAN be done for an additional cost of 50˘ per foot of film + $50 film to AVI conversion; turn-around time is 3 - 4 weeks.

Note:  All DVD's are recorded in a "region-free" format in the USA "NTSC" format.   All DVD's can also be created in the "PAL" format (this is a TV standard widely in use in Europe, such as Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Italy, as well as Argentina, Kuwait, etc).   For a PAL vs NTSC country list, see this website:  http://www.spie.org/app/Education/index.cfm?fuseaction=VideoFormats).  

DVD Player compatibility:  This can range widely.   Best place to check is at http://www.videohelp.com/dvdplayers.php .   Search for your particular DVD player at this site to give you an idea of what it will play or not (no guarantees, as information from that website is based on users providing the data, not the manufacturers).

If you have family in a country that uses the PAL TV format, why not have me transfer your USA NTSC videotapes to PAL DVD's?   I tried this with one of my old 8mm videotapes, transferred it to PAL DVD and my aunt in Germany was able to view it just fine (please note, as with any DVD-R/+R media, it may or may not play on certain DVD players).   Please note that I can not create SECAM DVD's (SECAM was, [is??] a format used in France and a couple of other countries).

I can also do:  Audio cassettes to audio CD (but only for audio for which you hold the copyright!).


I am looking to hearing from you and aid you in transferring your videotapes to DVD or your slides & negatives to CD !


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