Digitize VHS video tapes
Posted 30 May 2009 - 05:07 PM
THANK YOU! I thought that, for a few really special film sequences, getting the film onto a good flatbed might yield superior image quality, but I didn't know where to start. I am so grateful that you took the time to explain your method, and I can't wait to try it!
Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:03 PM
Did you really mean one second, or one minute worth of video? One of the original Super 8 films I transfered is about 12 minutes long. At 1.5 hours per second, that's 1,080 hours worth of work.
Posted 31 May 2009 - 08:06 AM
Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:12 AM
If I was making a broadcast film or documentary, I'd pay the money to get it transferred in real-time, because at that point, my time would be worth more than the money spent on transferring. Doing this only as hobby, my time is not worth as much, so again, it's a matter of which is more important to you: the time you save getting it done professionally, or the money you save doing it yourself. In this instance, I've picked the money side of things, but you may decide quite differently depending on your circumstances.
Since this is a video thread, I did end up getting my old analog Hi8 videotapes transferred professionally here in Toronto, since I no longer had the means of playing back that format, which included digital PCM audio tracks that many consumer video cameras are not able to playback. I had the transfer company record the video directly to a Firewire hard drive, using QuickTime ProRes NTSC files. At home, I can transcode them to other CODECs as I please. I'm finding that Hi8 videotape is actually deteriorating even faster than VHS, especially on the Evaporated Metal Particle (EV) tapes. Lots of tape drop-outs.
Posted 01 June 2009 - 12:50 AM
Posted 01 June 2009 - 01:53 AM
To do the colour grading, that would turn into thousands of dollars. The professional transfer houses are producing, in effect, "one-light" transfers, because I can't sit down with the telecine operator and do advance primary and secondary colour correction on a DaVinci suite with them. If I did, the colour grading fees would be the same price as they charge for 16mm or 35mm transfers, which are always more expensive than just letting the operator make a best guess adjustment.
With my method, I'm doing all the colour grading as well, though most people would not see the difference unless it was directly compared. The films are a family heirloom, so that's why I care so much about tweaking as much quality out of those fragile frames. I could do this much faster by using a significantly lower dpi and/or buy a newer scanner, like a CanoScan 8800. I'm getting great results now, and I'm doing this so in twenty or thirty years time, I'm not doing it again. After this project is all completed, I will only have to transfer it to whatever the current digital medium is at the time, without having to rescan the films, since I am already scanning at a resolution that is resolving almost every spec of grain from the film. In effect, I'm creating digital negatives or intermediaries.
As I said earlier, it's about choice and for this project at least, time is cheap. I agree, most people would spend the hundreds or thousands of dollars to get it done correctly at Bonofilms, which is one of about three or four labs in the United States, that I'm aware of, that have 8mm gates for their scanners. Most other 8mm transfer shops use a process that is based on a projector-camera system which is cheaper, but the image quality is usually quite inferior.
So there you have it, the ability to do your own transfers at the highest possible quality at home is very doable, but the time involved, even with an up-to-date scanner, is very time consuming. That said, the future rewards of passing down family memories to following generations is priceless.
Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:09 AM
I am sick of companies that insulate themselves from startup problems.
Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:22 AM
Posted 02 June 2009 - 03:49 PM
Posted 25 August 2010 - 12:51 PM