It’s certainly not impossible to transfer your home movies and other video records from film to a digital environment. It can be difficult, it can be time-consuming, and depending on the systems you’re working with, it can be complicated.
In this writing we’ll go over how this is done to help you determine if the transfer process is something you can handle, or if you might be better suited working with professionals.
Spoiler alert: you can save a lot of time and even money just going through a professional service; they’ve got the experience and infrastructure. You’ve got to ask yourself what your time is worth, at a certain point. That said, if you want to do it yourself, this can be done.
Taking The Time Involved Into Account
So there are different methods of film capture. They get more complicated as you explore 8mm options; we’re going to give you a VHS hypothetical, as this is the most tangible for many people. You can simply record the film onto a DVD using a VHS/DVD machine, then take that DVD, put it in a computer, and pull off the files.
If you don’t have a VHS, but one of the smaller tapes used in older cameras, or an 8mm reel, the same process can be done; it just may be a bit more costly to find a player for the smaller tape, or transfer tech for the reel. While there are expedited transfer options, there will still be a time component in burning the DVD, then transferring it to your computer.
Depending on file quality, the size of the video footage will vary from a few hundred megabytes to several gigabytes. Generally, expect an average of about a gigabyte of digital storage per hour. This differs depending on footage quality, transfer methods, the sort of DVD burning equipment you’ve got, and other factors.
If you had a tape or reel with six hours of footage, and burned it to a DVD, you’d probably want to use a DVD that had about six gigabytes of storage. From there, that Digital Video Disk can be used to transfer files to a computer; but depending on the disk, your computer may or may not allow you to do that, which can be irritating.
Different Transfer Methods
There are solutions wherein a VHS player can be hooked directly to a computer, and files extracted that way. This tends to be a little quicker, and take out the middle-man; but if you don’t have hundreds of dollars worth of footage, why buy such a device? And do you want to buy the hard drives to store the space as well?
What makes more sense is to use a professional service which incorporates the latest methods for the cleanest, swiftest, most reliable transfer at a reduced overall cost in terms of time and equipment costs for you—simply visit Just8mm for more info. It’s just $9.99 per 8mm reel. Now that’s not a VHS tape, but they offer such options as well; and you’ll have an even harder time transferring 8mm footage to digital.
Essentially, you label and sort VHS footage—or that on either reels or different tapes. You package the tapes, you ship them, they get processed in a week or two depending on your region and shipping exigencies, and you get back either DVDs, or digital files via USB thumb-drive, or both; depending on your preference.
If you were doing this on your own, you’d have to acquire the equipment for over a hundred bucks, waste a few days learning what not to do, make a few transfer mistakes, find yourself spending the next several weeks transferring all the footage, and then have a bunch of hardware you’ve got no use for taking up space in a closet somewhere thereafter.
Retaining Footage Securely Over Time, And In A Convenient Way
Unless you’ve got several weeks and a few hundred dollars—up to a thousand, depending on the availability of the right equipment in your locality—you’re going to save more time and money going through a professional transfer service. They’ve got the business down to a science.
While VHS tapes have historical significance, old family movies or 8mm reels are just going to slowly deteriorate in a closet somewhere unless you get the footage transferred. So do that thing, and preserve necessary footage for you, your colleagues, or your children well into the distant future.