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How to Convert, Maintain, and Enjoy Your Old VHS Tapes in the Digital Age

When the new millennium began, the glory days of analog media came to a sudden end. Today, digital media is king everywhere you look. Digital media has become more widespread, but that doesn’t mean analog formats are utterly extinct. 

You can still salvage your memorable moments from your collection of cassettes and VHS tapes by converting the tapes to digital. It is recommended to hire a reputable picture scanning service to get the best results if you are converting in bulk.

However, you can also try converting your tapes at home if you have some free time on your hands and want to indulge in a fun DIY project. This blog will discuss how to maintain VHS tapes to keep them in good condition and convert them to digital formats.

How to Maintain VHS Tapes

It is important to keep your VHS tapes in good condition to ensure you get quality results when you finally decide to convert them to a digital format. 

Place video recording and playing devices in a place with consistently low temperatures, low humidity, and safety from flooding, air pollution, and sunlight. This will make them last longer. At home, you should keep the temperature between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity between 30 and 55 percent relative humidity.

Don’t put your collection in the attic or garage where the temperature and humidity will fluctuate. A closet or spare bedroom works well. Unless controlled by air conditioning or a dehumidifier, the basement’s excessive humidity can damage the tapes.

Ensure nothing is stored on the ground, where it could be damaged by moisture or invaded by pests. Wet environments can hasten the onset of problems like vinegar syndrome in acetate tapes or promote mold growth.

Storage for video tapes should be vertical and in their original packaging. Keep tapes from piling on top of each other. Keep magnetic tapes away from any devices that emit a magnetic field. Items like high-voltage lines and surge protectors also fall into this category, as do loudspeakers and anything else that uses magnets. Whenever possible, avoid leaving tape inside a VCR that is not currently being used.

VHS Tapes Conversion Setup

Are you ready to convert your VHS tapes? We recommend you opt for a professional VHS to digital service. However, if you want to digitize your photos at home, the first thing you need is a USB capture card. 

The USB capture card will show the tape’s content on your computer’s screen regardless of whether or not you have a TV connected. When you finally locate your collection of home movies, you’ll need a VCR and a computer with USB ports.

Almost any VCR will do the job adequately, though higher end models with certain features will transfer videos with better picture quality. Most machines will feature both the video and audio composite connections you require, but before you put in a priceless VHS tape, make sure you test it out. 

Capture cards are readily available on the market. However, remember that different capture cards have different compatibility requirements. As long as your system is up to date with Windows 7 or a newer version, you probably have nothing to worry about.

It’s time to move on to setting up the connections. Obtaining a capture software and installing it on your PC is the first order of business, most Windows PCs have Windows Live Movie Maker pre-installed for this. Then, use the USB capture card to link your computer and VCR. Consumer USB-based capture cards typically contain a set of composite wires and an S-Video input on one end for connecting to a VCR. If your VCR has an S-Video port, use that instead of the yellow composite jack for the best possible video quality after conversion.

Converting VHS Tapes to Digital Files

To begin the conversion, insert the VHS tape into the VCR, rewind (or forward) the tape to the desired starting point, make sure that the software is capturing the video signal, and start playback. Some VCRs allow you to modify the tracking of a tape during playback to remedy a wobbling and unclear picture.

After the process of conversion is complete, you may be tempted to simply keep the file in its original format. A little pruning, though, could be just what is needed. You can customize the length of the clip using a video editing program, and you can export your work as an MP4 file as soon as you’re done. MP4 files are generally compatible with any video player as well as easy to share online.

You can consider the task completed at that point. Now that your home movies are safely archived on your computer, you can relax and replay them whenever you want. It’s important to remember to create a backup of these converted files on an external drive or in the cloud in case you accidentally delete them or lose them in a hard drive catastrophe.

Hire a VHS to Digital Service for Best Results

Whatever the medium, digitizing it will improve your viewing experience. Although, it’s not always feasible to perform the media conversion process on your own. If that’s the case, you can always hire a professional VHS to digital service provider like Smooth Photo Scanning.

It will save you time and effort as we will do the audio and video conversions for a modest cost. We also have professional equipment to ensure your memories are captured with the highest picture quality. Furthermore, our experts can also fix broken tapes and convert all formats. Get in touch with us today to learn more about analog conversion!

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