Pass down your legacy by converting your memories to digital

Summer is the perfect time to finally take care of one of the important family projects — preserving your family’s legacy.

Storage Conditions
Your family’s story and legacy – captured in videotapes, film, photographs, slides and negatives – is one of your most precious memories.  Unfortunately, these memories are slowly deteriorating over time.  Even if stored in ideal conditions (no direct sunlight, a little cool, free from dust), these memories are slowly deteriorating.

Unfortunately, many of us store our videotapes, film reels and photos in less than ideal places, like:

  • Attics
  • Bedroom closets
  • Bedroom dresser drawers
  • Garages
  • Utility closets

As a result, our memories are fading fast, are never enjoyed and will soon be lost forever.

Collecting Memories
Summer is a great time to scour your house for these memories.  But don’t forget about the memories stored at your parents’ house or your siblings’ houses.  One of the best ways to get this “family legacy” project rolling is to let the entire family know that you are going to preserve the entire family’s history and legacy.  Encourage them to send in their memories as well.

Or, if you are “the organizer” in the family, have everyone send their memories to you, and you can box them all up together, place an order with MemoryHub and ship the boxes to us.  In just a few short weeks, your memories will be transferred to DVDs.  You’ll get your original materials back, as well as a stack of tidy DVDs that you can share with friends and family.

Choose a theme
Many of our customers tell us that they’ve had great fun by encouraging family members to collect memories organized around one central theme.  Some sample ideas include:

  • Mom and Dad’s 40th wedding anniversary
  • Annual shore trips
  • first bicycle rides of each grandkid
  • Brides walking down the aisle

You get the idea.  By sending in memories organized around one central theme, you’ll have great fun sorting through your memories and, after MemoryHub transfers your video or scans your photo (or other media), you’ll have a group of DVDs that are perfect for sharing with loved ones throughout the year!

Videotape Repair Service Features

One of the more common issues we encounter with our video transfer orders are broken videotapes.  Many of our customers have sent in videotapes that have been driven over by a car, used as a chew-toy by the family dog, and been stuck in the video camera.  As a result, we get asked all the time – Can you repair broken videotapes?  The answer is a resounding YES – MemoryHub can help with our videotape repair services.

Features of our Videotape Repair Service

  • Risk-free videotape repair
    If we can’t fix your videotape, you won’t be charged!
  • Flat-rate videotape repair pricing
    All videotape repairs are $24.99 ($19.99 if you have a Gold Account), and include everything that might be required to properly fix your tape
  • Comprehensive repair service for your videotape
    We can repair just about any issue with your tape, including:
    - Broken or damaged videotape cartridge
    - Replacement of the “door” or “flap” on the videotape
    - Videotapes that have been “eaten” by your VCR or camcorder
    - Mechanical issues with either cartridge reel
    - Improper tape tension
    - Splicing together broken segments of tape
    - Tape that has broken off or detached from the end of the reel

What types of videotape can our videotape repair service handle?

We have repaired and transferred content from thousands of videotapes for our satisfied customers.  We can:

  • Fix a broken VHS videotape
  • Fix a broken VHS-C videotape
  • Fix a broken 8mm videotape
  • Fix a broken Hi8 videotape
  • Fix a broken Digital8 videotape
  • Fix a broken BetaMax videotape
  • Fix a broken MiniDV videotape
  • Fix a broken MicroMV videotape

My tape is just a little wrinkled because my VCR ate it – does it need a repair?

A tape that has been “eaten” by a VCR or camcorder likely has some mechanical issue with it that will make it susceptible to further damage if it is not repaired. If you have sent in a videotape that has previously been caught in a video playback device, we do require that it be repaired prior to our continuing with the transfer to DVD or digital file.

What types of damage can you NOT repair with your videotape repair service?

Unfortunately, there is some damage that we are not able to fix with our videotape repair service.  These types of damage are typically due to improper storage of your tapes (typically in very hot and humid or marine environments), and include:

  • Moldy video
  • Persistent breaking due to tape “thinning” caused by heat, humidity and/or age
  • Flood damage

Our Videotape Repair Guarantee

As with all of our services, we only feel it is fair to charge for services that we are able to properly deliver.  So if for any reason we are unable to properly repair your videotape, we will refund the cost of the video repair service.

How do I order a videotape repair?

If any of your videotapes require repair prior to their transfer to DVD or digital file, we will contact you via email to notify you and give you the option of moving forward with the repair.  We place all of our videotape repair orders over the phone, so if you know you have a broken videotape, call us at (510) 342-9140 and we can get an order placed for your broken tape

 

History of MiniDV tape

One of the more popular video transfer services that we offer is our MiniDV to DVD transfer service.  MiniDV camcorders hit the market in the mid-90s, and provided an alternative to the Digital8 video format that had been introduced by Sony.

MiniDV is one of several formats for storing digital video (or “DV”).  DV first entered the market place in 1995 and was collaboratively embraced by several commercial producers of video camera recorders.

MiniDV Digital Interface Format (“DIF”)

On MiniDV cassettes, audio, video and metadata are all integrated.  The term used to describe this integration is “digital interface format” or “DIF”.  According to Wikipedia:

The audio, video, and metadata are packaged into 80-byte Digital Interface Format (DIF) blocks which are multiplexed into a 150-block sequence.  DIF blocks are the basic units of DV streams and can be stored as computer files in raw form or wrapped in such file formats as Audio Video Interleave (AVI), QuickTime (QT) and Material Exchange Format (MXF). One video frame is formed from either 10 or 12 such sequences, depending on scanning rate, which results in a data rate of about 25 Mbit/s for video, and an additional 1.5 Mbit/s for audio. When written to tape, each sequence corresponds to one complete track.

MiniDV Compression

On MiniDV cassettes, video images are compression while audio information is uncompressed.  As a result of the separate and uncompressed nature of the audio portion of MiniDV, audio is said to be “unlocked” – that is to say, not locked to the video data.  As a consequence, MiniDV audio can be out of synch with MiniDV video by as much (or as little) as one-third of a frame.  However, the human ear does not detect the sounds as out of synch with the video.

MiniDV Magnetic Tapes

MiniDV was designed to be used in connection with magnetic tapes.  The Digital video magnetic tapes were encased in cassettes of four different sizes – small medium, large and extra large.  Regardless of the size of the cassettes, however, all DV tapes (including MiniDV tapes) were one-quarter of an inch wide.

As the name suggests, MiniDV was the smallest digital video magnetic tape size.  Small DV cassettes were also called S-size.  Whether called S-size or MiniDV, these cassettes were used for recording baseline DV, DVCAM as well as HDV.

Top 10 reasons to transfer your film, video and images

There are so many reasons to transfer your family’s videos, film and images from their current deteriorating format into the long-lasting digital format of a DVD.  Below are our top 10 reasons for saving your memories today.

1.  Unique and meaningful gifts
One of the most unique and heartfelt gifts we know is a DVD with special family memories.  Rather than take a chance on giving a friend or family member another tie or toaster, try giving them something they could not buy for themselves – access to a special memory that they had forgotten about.

2.  Preserve your family’s story for your children and their children
Your family’s story is unique.  And this story has been captured in videos, film and images (like photographs and slides).  Preserve your family’s story for your children, and their children.

3.  Stop your memories from further deteriorating
No matter where you store your videos, film or images – they are slowly deteriorating.  If they happen to be stored someplace hot, like an attic, they may be deteriorating more quickly.   Take a few moments to gather up your family memories and ship them off to MemoryHub to be preserved.

4.  Enjoy your memories everyday
When your memories are squirrelled away in boxes in the attic or garage or some closet, you are missing out on enjoying those memories.  As we say at MemoryHub, when you convert your memories to DVD, it’s like “uncorking a bottle of champagne.”

5.  Help with genealogical research
We are so pleased when we hear that our customers use our services to advance their genealogical projects.  As families document the histories of their families – making use, for example, of wonderful sites like Ancestry.com – they love being able to incorporate images and memories of the past!

6.  Solve the problem of no longer having working devices to play the memories
So often we hear from families who are frustrated to discover that, in order to play their memories originally stored in analog format, like VHS, they need a working VHS player to enjoy them.  By converting your memories to a digital format on a DVD, you can enjoy your memories without worrying about whether your old devices still work.

7.  Present to yourself – choose a meaningful memory to preserve
While quite a few of our customers convert family memories in order to give gifts to others, we also have thousands of customers who preserve their memories for … themselves.  We love hearing from moms and dads who’ve chosen to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or a promotion by giving themselves the gift of a DVD that preserves a special moment.

8.  Get organized – everything in boxes all over the place
If you are like most people, you have your memories stored in a variety of locations around the house – in a bedroom closet, in a cardboard box in the attic, or in a plastic container in the back of the garage.  Or, if you are like most people, you aren’t exactly sure where everything is!  We have hundreds of customers who find great personal satisfaction in digging up all of their memories and shipping them off to us, so that their unwieldy collection of memories can be stored in a series of nicely labeled and organized DVDs.

9.  Take full advantage of new technology
As computers (including tablets) and televisions have become more advanced, they have become wonderful showcases for memories.  If you have a new large screen computer or tablet or advanced television set up (like an Apple TV), you have the perfect showcase for your memories.

10.  Great family project
Finally, every year we get a few cards and notes from families who tell us how grateful they are to MemoryHub for facilitating a very meaningful family project.   These families let us know that the entire family pitched in to collect all of their videos, film and images – and sent them off to MemoryHub for preservation on DVDs.  But the real fun began when they instituted a regular “family movie night” in which they gathered together to relive the wonderful memories of their family.

Why videotapes lose quality

Your videotapes contain untold precious memories.  Perhaps they contain video and images of your wedding day, a child’s first birthday, or your parent’s 50th wedding anniversary?  Protect these memories from any further loss of quality by transferring your videotapes to long-lasting DVDs or Digital files.

As videotapes are a magnetic media, the loss of quality began almost immediately after you took the videotape out of your camcorder.  Quality loss of your video memories can be generally organized into 5 types.

Time
Year by year, the components of a video tape slowly degrade.  In particular, the magnetic particles that contain data and other information become unstable and their physical makeup changes.  Thus, time is your greatest culprit affecting video quality, and can slowly degrade the images and information contained on your video tapes.

Transfer onto other tapes and/or recording speed
Standard VHS tapes were manufactured to hold up to two hours of videotapes.  However, many VCRs were able to record at slower speeds, enabling users to record up to four or even six hours of content onto each videotape.   Unfortunately, the effect on quality was immediate – the VCR only used half or a third of the normal amount of videotape to record the same amount of content, so less information was recorded.

Storage Location
The location of where you store your video tapes can cause further degradation. The magnetic particles (embedded in your video tape) react and respond to environmental factors like temperate changes, extreme temperatures (either hot or cold), humidity, air pollution and sunlight.  We have a number of customers from Hawaii, the Philippines and Micronesia whose tapes had degraded so significantly that their tapes kept snapping during playback and were unable to be transferred despite multiple tape repairs.

Handling
Poor handling of a video tape can expedite degradation.  Avoid touching the delicate ribbon-like part of a video tape.  Although you may not be able to see it with your eyes, fingers can transfer harmful elements to video tapes, including:  oils, fingerprints, dirt and dust.  Also, be sure to avoid dropping tapes since the sudden jarring motions can dislodge tiny or fragile components

Use
The quality of your video tape deck is important.  A misaligned tape deck can stretch or tear tape or coil (or spool) the tape poorly.   A dirty tape deck can also transform small debris (even tiny pieces of dust) into large scratches.  Finally, each time a tape is played friction occurs which accelerates the degradation process.

Your video tapes are a treasure trove of your family’s stories and memories.  Whether it’s images of your favorite vacation spot, videos of your kids on their first horseback ride or some other powerful part of your past, be sure to save your family’s memories.

How Long do VHS Tapes Last?

How long do VHS tapes last?

Families thinking about preserving their memories currently stored in the VHS format – and are considering transferring them to DVD in order to preserve those memories – often call our customer service line to ask us, “how long do VHS tapes last?”

The short answer is that VHS tapes, properly stored and in good condition, can last up to 10-25 years, and sometimes even longer!  But due to VHS tapes being a magnetic storage modia, there can be noticeable loss of picture quality in as few as four to five years.

How to store your VHS tapes

But in reality, the durability of VHS tapes is really a function of a number of factors.  Properly stored VHS tapes can last a long time, and improperly stored VHS tapes can last a short amount of time.  So, the longer answer is, “it depends.”  Below are some of the factors that will affect how long your VHS will last and whether the memories stored on them will be able to be converted to DVD.

Steady temperatures can help VHS tapes last longer

VHS tapes prefer to be stored in an environment where the temperature is steady.  Temperature fluctuations – say, where the VHS tapes are constantly changing from hot to cold – can damage VHS tapes and limit their longevity.

A cool and dry environment are better for VHS tapes

However, even if tapes are stored in a place where the temperature is steady, VHS tapes do much better when the temperature in which they are stored is slightly cool.  Our customers from the Phillipines and Hawaii typically experience the most issues with their tapes, given their very warm and humid environment.

Direct sunlight can harm VHS tapes

One of the most damaging environmental conditions that can degrade the longevity of a VHS tape is if it has been stored in direct sunlight.  Direct sunlight dramatically reduces how long a VHS tape can last.

Don’t store VHS tapes near toxins

Finally, VHS tapes can be negatively affected – and the length of time they last can be significantly reduced – if they are stored in areas where they are exposed to environmental toxins.  Your VHS tapes will last longer if they have not been stored in a garage (or a storage space above a garage) where they were exposed to paint or gasoline fumes or other airborne toxins.

Can old VHS tapes still be transferred to DVD?

The good news is that most tapes – even those from the early 80′s – can still be transferred to DVD…although time may be running out.  MemoryHub employs a number of production processes to maximize the quality of the remaining video signal on your VHS tape to ensure the highest-quality possible playback from your tape prior to converting your VHS to DVD.  These processes include adjusting tracking issues with playback, and boosting and stabilizing the video signal through the use of Time-based correction. We also offer a full suite of video tape repair services in the event that there are any mechanical issues with the VHS tape cartridge itself.

Share the gift of memories on St. Patrick’s Day

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches – a day and evening filled with parties full of friends and family – this is the perfect time of year to share the memories of past St. Patrick’s Days.    Converting your old videotapes, transferring your film, or scanning your photographs, slides and negatives is easy!

Because MemoryHub has been helping families preserve their memories for years, we have many stories to tell of families – especially families of Irish descent – who use this special day to collect, preserve and share the memories of “St. Patrick’s Days past.”

Last Year the McCormack family from New York told us a wonderful story.  The McCormacks had been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for 35 years, at “Mother McCormacks’ house.   Each party was well documented with both cameras and video cameras.  As a result, the family had boxes and boxes of videotapes, film and photographs (and even a few slides) memorializing this wonderful annual celebration of their Irish heritage.  Last year McCormacks decided to gather up all of these memories and have them preserved!

The oldest living brother in the family had everyone send their memories to him (really his wife, to hear her tell it).  After just two weeks of gentle reminders, they had a box full of videotapes and film and photographs.  The McCormacks shipped these memories to MemoryHub, and in a few short weeks had 20 DVDs full of family memories from their annual St. Patrick’s Day party at Mother McCormacks’ house.

These tidy DVDs were such a hit that family members soon found themselves ordering extra copies to give as birthday and Christmas presents.

At MemoryHub, we wish you and your family a wonderful upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.  Please let us help your family preserve the memories of St. Patrick’s Day past, present and future.

Early History of VHS Tapes

“VHS” stands for “Video Home System,” and it was developed by the Victor Company of Japan or “JVC.”

Engineers at JVC began to develop the VHS technology in 1971.  Originally, JVC collaborated with Sony and Panasonic to design a single format for consumers.  However, no sooner did this collaboration begin than Sony and Panasonic each went their own way to begin working on their own competing formats.  Sony began to work on Betamax, and Panasonic started to work on the (now) obscure form VX.

JVC’s first iteration of VHS was set forth in a planning manual, at the end of 1971, that set forth the 12 objectives of the VHS format.  These objectives included the following:

  • The picture quality of VHS must be closely similar to a regular broadcast.
  • The VHS player had to be compatible with an ordinary television set.
  • Each VHS tape should be able to store 2 hours of video.
  • VHS tapes must be interchangeable between VHS players.
  • The VHS system must be able to be integrated with other devices, like a video camera.
  • VHS player should be affordable, easy to use and maintain.
  • Players should be affordable, easy to operate and have low maintenance costs.

1972 proved to be a difficult year for the commercial recording industry in Japan.  As a consequence, JVC cut its budget and stopped officially funding the development of VHS.   Unbeknownst to JVC, the two JVC engineers who began the VHS project, continued to work on it during this time.

In 1973, these two engineers had built a fully functional prototype of the VHS system.

In 1974, Sony – pressing the argument that Japanese consumers did not want dueling formats (VHS vs. Betamax) — was able to pressure the Japanese government to attempt to adopt Betamax as the single standard for the Japanese recording format.   Sony licensed this technology to other companies in order to de facto cause Betamax to be widely adopted as the preferred consumer format.

JVC continued to believe that consumers preferred an open standard that allowed them to share videos across devices from a variety of companies.  By partnering with various companies (including Panasonic, Hitachi and Sharp) in Japan, JVC was able to stop the Japanese government from imposing a single consumer standard.

1975 proved to be the pivotal year.  In this year, Sony released the Betamax format to the public and once again pressured the Japanese government to adopt a single consumer standard.  However, by this time JVC’s alliance with several other Japanese companies (and their lobbying of the Japanese government) was enough to stop the government from adopting a single standard (Betamax).

During the balance of the 1970s, Betamax and VHS competed for consumer adoption.  While Betamax may have had certain technical advantages, consumer eventually flocked to VHS which became the consumer preference.

If you have memories stuck on either of these early formats, you might want to transfer VHS to DVD or transfer Betamax to DVD to preserve your memories and be able to enjoy them again on your DVD player