harB Hippo Video Productions
Don't you just love those videos you took of your kids years ago? Yes, technology is wonderful. They'll never be that young again, those first birthdays will never come back, and the same goes for graduations, wedding receptions, and other milestone events in the life of your family. But because you took the time and trouble to commit those events to videotape, you can still relive those great memories.
Ah, but technology has moved on. Now you'd rather watch your videos on DVD. They're more convenient, they take up less space in the cabinet, and - most important - they're more durable. You see, that thin little tape has been aging and becoming more brittle and fragile with every day that goes by. You need to make copies of the most important tapes before they begin to jam and break. But every time you make a copy, the image gets a little worse. That's just the way it is with analog video, but a DVD is digital, and can be copied an infinite number of times. And a DVD, while not indestructible by any means, will last perhaps 50 years with proper care and handling. After 25 years or so, if you're starting to worry, you can simply copy it to a new disk - or to whatever format appears in the future.
So of course that's what you want to do - copy that VHS to a DVD, while you still can. Now you have to decide how you want that done.
One way is to find a store with a copying machine - that's the cheapest way. You hand some pimple faced kid your precious tape, and he pops it into the machine with a blank DVD-R and it produces a 2 hour DVD, with compression set to automatically fit the space on the disk. Chapter points, if provided at all, are inserted at pre-set intervals, usually every five minutes. If you have only blank tape after the first 63 minutes of video, you'll probably get 63 minutes of DVD video and 57 minutes of snow video following it. In any case, the compression won't be reduced to improve the quality - the machine is assuming 120 minutes of video, and compresses accordingly. But that may be fine with you, and if so, that's what you should do.
Another way is to buy a video capture card for your computer, learn all about frame size and bit-rate and how audio figures in and then buy editing software and DVD burning software, and -- oh, yeah, you have to buy that DVD burner too, though you can probably use that for other things as well. And that's the hardest way. But if you're tech minded, and you have the time and want to have your hands on it the whole time, that's what you should do.
Or, you can find a big name company that will do it for you, charging well over a hundred bucks for the first disk and then about $25 for extra copies. Look really hard and you might find one that will do it cheaper, but that's the most expensive way. But that stands to reason; it takes hours of work and care to copy your video properly, with the chapter points where they belong, and with blank video removed, and with menus to make viewing more convenient. And if money is no object, why, that's what you should do. But take your time and look thoroughly, because many such companies still just use a machine for the most part. Shop around, as mama said.
Or, you can take your tape to harBhippo video. Ol' harB is retired, and has the equipment, and the blank disks, and the know-how, and most important, the time to do it right. He will capture your video in real time, at a bit rate of 8, with the correct frame size and audio level, then do the editing you choose to pay for. He can remove the scenes with your ex-husband, he can cut the four seconds where your stupid nephew made "a gesture" that you didn't notice at the time, and he can put the chapter points where you want them. The final bit rate won't be decided until we know how many minutes we're compressing, so you get the highest possible quality. If you want a menu, he will divide the video into "titles" and create an easy to use menu so you can go right to the belly dancers at your bachelor party - heh heh -- or watch the whole thing as you choose. He can even clip the dancing scene, and include it as a "bonus feature" on a separate menu, so you can show the video to the in-laws without them suspecting a thing. Of course, the price goes up as the difficulty and time required increases, but for most jobs it's just a matter of telling harB what you want, and how you want the DVD to work on your set.
harB can also do audiotape to CD transfers, at a low cost, because it's not as hard as video. That can be handy if you have a cassette tape of that garage band you played in back in 1969. Wouldn't it be cool to have a CD of the Pooptones? Hey, I didn't name your band...
Check out the options and prices below.
Video transfers – VHS to DVD
Basic non-custom – A single two-hour videotape is captured and transferred to DVD. No menus, no editing. If tape contains less than 2 hours, capturing stops when blank tape begins. Chapter points (or markers) are inserted at logical points in the video, rather than at random points as a machine will do. Video will be compressed as needed according to the length of the titles. Price includes the labeled disk and a DVD case. Price: $41.00
Deluxe custom – Up to two hours of video, from one or more videotapes, digitally captured and edited: blank segments removed, unwanted clips removed, menu with up to six titles per screen. Customer must specify (in timing units or clear description) where video is to be cut or included. I will design a label using a frame from the video on request, no extra charge. Price includes disk, plastic DVD case, and optional printed label. The price may be higher or lower depending on the difficulty of the job, and we will need to discuss how you want the play structured. Usual Price: $120.00.
Extra copies of DVD’s - $10.00 each
Note: When analog video is converted to digital video, tape wear will often reveal itself in “artifacting,” those little rectangles that are sometimes used to hide things for broadcasting. This can be considerably more noticeable than the analog "smear" seen on worn videotape. Also, the DVD image can't be superior to what is on the tape, of course, however it could be better than what your own VCR shows.
Audio transfers – cassette tape to CD
I can put up to 79 minutes per CD. I will add track points as instructed on all CD’s.
Basic - CD and slim case only, no labels or covers, source from a single cassette - $8.00
Basic custom - CD and slim case only, no labels or covers, source from multiple cassettes. I will edit as instructed. - $12.00
Deluxe – CD, slim case, disk label, case cover, with photo (jpg) if provided by customer. I will edit as instructed. - $17.00
Extra copies of CD’s - $2 Basic, $3 Deluxe
Please make checks payable to: “William Payne”
I also accept PayPal. Make payments to the email account shown below, but be sure we agree on terms before paying. You can, of course, contact harB at the same email address.