Transfer Your VHS Video Tapes to Digital Before Your Home Movies Become Unwatchable

May 21, 2019 Media Transfers 4

We’re guessing somewhere in your home, or your parents’ house, there’s a dusty box overflowing with old home movies on VHS which you keep meaning to do something with but just never seem to make it happen…are we right? We can feel you nodding…

How long have you been saying you need to sort those video tapes out and get your analog memories digitized so you can share them with the next generation?

Thanks to VHS video tapes, the 80’s and 90’s are not gone – years of footage, embarrassing fashion statements, childhood Christmases, school play performances and family weddings are trapped in your old home movies waiting to be rescued.

Plus, let’s face it – VHS tapes also take up a lot of room, they’re tricky to store and it’s next to impossible to find a VCR player to even watch them on these days.

But you need to stop procrastinating and jump onto converting your VHS home movies to digital before it’s too late.

You May Be Running Out of Time

VHS videos don’t last forever – they were never designed to be a long-term storage for your movies. Even if they are boxed up and stored carefully, they will still deteriorate over time.

Technology, like VHS videos, that uses magnetic strips isn’t as durable as you may think.

The life expectancy of a VHS tape varies from one tape to the next, but they have been found to start deteriorating from as early as 5-10 years and tapes over 10 years old may deteriorate more rapidly.

So, if you recorded a home movie in the 90’s it may already be too late to convert that film to digital.

Great storage and a good quality video tape may slow the deterioration process down, but most home storage systems expose tapes to dust which can lead to mould and other destructive elements.

So why don’t VHS video tapes last?

Magnetic Media Crisis

Analog videos, or Video Home System (VHS) tapes deteriorate when the magnetic layer on the tape loses its magnetism over time which causes the video on the tape to become unplayable.

All VHS tapes use magnetic charge to store video, image and audio data on the tape. The thing is, over time, this magnetic charge weakens which then impacts the picture and sound quality when the tape is played.

This also means you don’t want to store your video tapes near magnets or things with magnets in them, such as speakers. Storing your VHS tape, with its magnetic layer, next to a magnet may damage or destroy it.

Moisture + Mould

This is something we see a lot. You wouldn’t think an innocent looking VHS tape could be a breeding ground for mould (yuck).

Mould is a big deal – once it’s in the video tape there’s not much that can be done to save it.

A little mould, a tiny little bit, could be cleaned off the tape but if it’s not caught in time it will spread and once that happens it’s all over red rover.

Unfortunately a old movie tape with mould can’t be converted to digital because you can’t even risk trying to play a tape once it has mould – the mould could spread to the VCR player and then onto other tapes played, potentially destroying every tape played in that player.

Making Copies

If you’d like to share your VHS home movies with your family copying VHS to VHS isn’t the best way to go about it. When you copy a VHS video onto another VHS tape you lose a little quality each time – whereas copying videos from DVD’s or USB’s doesn’t lower the quality of the video each time.

Extreme Temperature

Think about where you’re storing your VHS video tapes – does it get hot there? How about in summer? Extreme temperature changes can cause serious damage to your tapes, such as warping the magnetic ribbon making it tricky to play the tape and causing the tape inside the VHS to stick together.

Broken or Detached Tape

You may need to cast your mind back a little, but a VHS video has two reels of tape which are being watched and rewound, watched and rewound over and over again. This can make the tape fragile over time and it can even snap or become detached from the casing. This can be repaired by a professional but it’s something you want to avoid if you can by transferring your tapes sooner rather than later.

Convert Your Home Movies to Digital Before It’s Too Late

At the end of the day your memories are too valuable to leave laying around on an old VHS video tapes. If you want to treasure them and keep them save you need to convert them to digital, so you can copy, back up and share them with your loved ones.

PipeWolf Media can transfer your VHS video tapes to a digital format, such as MP4, so you can watch them again and again, save them on your computer, upload them to YouTube or Facebook and, most of all, keep them safe to enjoy for years to come.

For more information check out our media transfer prices and contact us to book in your VHS transfer.