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What does it take to transfer home movies to DVD correctly? More skill and equipment than you might think. Multiple high-quality VCRs are essential, since different manufacturers' VCRs handle tapes differently. And TBCs and additional processors are invaluable in improving a tape's picture. Timeless DVD uses the equipment below to ensure that every tape is digitized in its best quality.

Transfer video from camcorder or VCR - the deck

The VCR used to convert videos is the most important factor to extracting all the quality that exists in a video tape. If you have ever seen a VHS tape played in a professional-caliber S-VHS VCR, then you know how good even an average VHS recording can look. Most video tapes possess more inherent quality than the average consumer VCR can display.

The best high-end S-VHS VCRs were manufactured by JVC and Panasonic. JVC's HR-S9000 line and W-VHS units are well-known for providing excellent picture clarity and color. Panasonic decks are great at dealing with LP and EP tapes, and any tape that can track in an unstable fashion. We work with a rack of both of these brands of VCRs, as well as other decks made by Mitsubishi, Sharp, and Sony.

For other tape formats, such as Betamax, 8mm, and Mini DV, we work with a variety of the best-made decks. Almost all of these tape decks have internal time-base correctors, which ensure that the picture is stabilized as it leaves the deck; most have digital noise reduction, which clears up the image; and all contain better playback heads and transports, which ensure that the tape is handled well when we transfer home videos to DVD.

Tapes to DVD - the TBC and more

An external time-base corrector (TBC) is the next piece of equipment that most pros use when transferring tapes to DVD. Even with a good VCR, issues can arise that affect how a digitizer interprets a tape's video signal (see our Video to Digital page). An external TBC corrects analog timing errors, which usually appear as horizontal or vertical picture jitter, color shifts, dropped frames, or ragged edges of lines. A TBC ensures that a clean signal that is free from these defects is passed through to the digitizing device. We use an external TBC for every tape to DVD transfer to ensure that this occurs.

Transfer video from camcorder

To improve picture quality even more, Timeless DVD then employs a processing amplifier and detailer as well. These pieces of video processing hardware can improve an analog video picture tremendously, and generally offer better results than using software filters on flawed digitized video.

The first tool, the processing amplifier, or "proc amp," is also called a color corrector or video corrector. All proc amps are geared to making manual adjustments to a video's contrast, color, and hue. A proc amp can repair such issues as faded or oversaturated color, red or green tint, a picture that is too dim or bright. After you've transferred a tape via a proc amp and see the vibrant images that result, you'll never want to do without it!

The second piece of hardware is a detailer, often called an image enhancer. A detailer raises the high frequencies of the video signal, a process that creates better clarity and definition in the video prior to digitization. In other words, a detailer appears to sharpen the image.

Timeless DVD uses both a proc amp and detailer whenever we copy VCR tapes to DVD. Many video transfer services do not add proc amps and detailers because they do entail more effort. But this is another reason our work is higher quality than what most companies offer.

Home movies to DVD

Transfer video from camcorder correctly with Timeless DVD!


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