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Correct video tape transfer requires time, money, and skill. While home video transfer can be done (and certainly, there are a number of trendy tools available for it), correct video preservation takes some effort. Below, are the main steps to transfer home movies to DVD, and the advantages that good video services such as Timeless DVD offer for converting video.

Equipment needed for converting tapes to DVDs

First, you will need a deck to play your tapes. If you do not have a functioning camcorder or VCR, you will need to purchase a deck or pay to have your repaired. If you are working with used equipment, it may need head cleaning or alignment to function correctly. Your cost could already be hundreds of dollars.

Timeless DVD's benefits: We have multiple playback decks for every tape format. The VCR used for a transfer is the most important factor in extracting a tape's quality. If you have ever seen a tape played in a professional deck, you know it beats a consumer VCR by a mile. Our decks are the cream of the crop, capable of amazing image processing, noise reduction, and output quality.

Converting tapes to DVD

A device called a time-base corrector (TBC) is also needed for a correct transfer. When a TBC is placed between the deck and digitizer, it resyncs the video's timing, eliminating such problems as dropped frames, lack of audio/video sync, jitter, and wavy lines. Without a TBC, it would be difficult to transfer video with any success.

Timeless DVD's benefits: We use broadcast-grade TBCs for every transfer, even for camcorder to DVD. We also use a processing amplifier (to correct color and contrast) and a detailer (to enhance sharpness). This additional hardware is key to pulling the most quality out of an analog tape. Moreover, we have the skill to use all this equipment properly when copying from VCR to DVD.

Home video to DVD can be done in two ways:

DVD recorder: This is the fastest and easiest method for converting tape to DVD. A recorder can automatically create menus and a playable DVD. Using a DVD recorder is just a little trickier than programming a VCR.

Unfortunately, high-quality DVD recorders are disappearing. The ones that still exist are mainly in combo VCR/DVD units, which have compromises in quality and frequently break down. Plus, most current recorders do not have the chipset for a good DVD transfer.

Computer: This is the most time-consuming method, but it allows for editing and customization. You will need a capture card and a DVD burner, as well as significant computer skills.

Video is recorded to the hard drive as an AVI, which consumes 13 GB per hour of video. After any editing, the video must be converted to the MPEG-2 format, a process that can tie up your computer for hours. Finally, the MPEG-2 file must be authored in a DVD program and burned to disc.

Finally, make sure to set the bit rate correctly! Every DVD video is encoded at a specific quality setting, or bit rate. The higher the bitrate, the better the quality – but the less video that will fit on the disc. If you do not understand bit rates, you will wind up with a poor quality transfer.

Timeless DVD's benefits: We use both methods in our transfers. Our studio employs a rack of Toshiba and Pioneer hard drive recorders, which are considered the best recorders of the past few years. On the computer, we digitize with the Canopus converter, edit with Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, and encode with Cinema Craft, the same encoder used by Hollywood studios.

Video tape transfer: the bottom line

Correct DVD transfer requires quality hardware and the willingness to learn. DIY'ers often do not preserve all the possible quality from their tapes because they use inferior decks. In addition, you simply may not have time or the patience to learn how the technical process of a transfer works or spend the time transferring a large collection. And if your cousin wants a copy, are you capable of duplicating your DVD – or knowing it will work on his DVD player?

If you don't have the time or money to transfer your home video to DVD accurately, then choose Timeless DVD. We will be able to transfer your tapes at the highest quality, and make the project much easier for you!

Converting tapes to DVD with Timeless DVD is the professional solution!


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