8mm tape to digital service should come as a last resort if you’re planning to digitize your old 8mm tapes.
If you’re going to convert your 8mm video to digital, then there are two routes open to you.
If you’re taking this route, then you won’t need a video capture device connecting your camcorder to your computer.
The video capture device will be replaced by a Firewire cable. For Firewire transfer to be possible, your computer must have a Firewire port.
Now, going the DIY route is only sensible and economical if you have a huge collection of tapes to convert.
- 1 When to Use an 8mm Tape to Digital Service?
- 2 What Kind of Delivery Service Should You Opt For?
- 3 Cost Estimate
- 4 What Type of Service Can You Expect?
- 5 Opt for a Digital File
- 6 Go Cloud for Peace of Mind
- 7 Professional Equipment
- 8 Extra Services
- 9 Other Tape to Digital Conversion Services
When to Use an 8mm Tape to Digital Service?
If you’ve only a tape or two, it would be wiser to use a tape to digital service.
You save on equipment cost, time, and effort to learn the process and carry out the task.
If you decide to choose an 8mm tape to digital service, here are some tips to ensure that your experience with it goes well.
What Kind of Delivery Service Should You Opt For?
Most services offer the mailing option. You pack up your tapes and courier them. They convert your tapes and courier them back.
As reliable as courier services are, you shouldn’t take the risk when it comes to priceless family memories. You don’t want to end up with lost or damaged tapes.
If there’s anything you should be ultra-cautious with, it’s your family memories. They are priceless. So, it’s worthwhile going the extra mile.
As far as possible, use an 8mm tape to digital service in your neighborhood. You can turn up at their site in minutes and hand over your tapes in person.
At least you have the peace of mind of a safe delivery. When the conversion is done, opt for site pickup.
Some services offer home pickup. That’s convenient, yes. But if I were you, I wouldn’t opt for it. As mentioned earlier, convenience is not the name of the game here. Going the extra mile is.
Even if it’s a little trouble, turn up at the site where you could meet a person face to face and get an acknowledgment of receipt.
Call or email them and make an appointment before going. But before you go, you could ask a few questions to get an indication of the service that you’ll be getting.
These would be questions not covered on their websites.
Get the name of the person who receives your tapes. This would be helpful in case you need to call them to check on the progress of your tape transfer.
Please get an estimate of the cost of the service that will be offered to you.
Most services charge a flat fee for the first 120 to 150 mins of conversion. You need to find out how much you will be charged if your tape length runs beyond that.
Usually, there’s a flat fee for the first two hours. The same or a lower fee would usually apply for the next two hours.
At the time of writing expect to pay around $20 for the first two hours of tape to digital transfer.
Also, ask if they’ll charge extra for the transfer of a different video format. For instance, if you’re in the USA, ask whether they’ll charge if you need to transfer a PAL tape.
These questions will usually be covered on their websites. But it would good to get the information from the horse’s mouth. Any 8mm tape to digital service would be glad to answer your questions.
What Type of Service Can You Expect?
8mm Video Transfer to DVD
Basically, in the early days, the most popular way of converting 8mm to digital is by burning your 8mm video to DVD after digitizing it.
These days, DVDs are not in vogue. Instead, a digital file is what is sought by most folks. Plus not every computer these days come with DVD drives, especially laptop computers.
Still, if you insist on DVD, you’ll get a DVD with a menu and chapters and you can even instruct them on how to put together these sections.
To make their DVD service attractive, tape to digital services allow you to choose a DVD theme.
This theme will be displayed when you pop your DVD into your player. Among the popular themes you can choose range from wedding, sports, baby, travel, Christmas and birthday among, others.
If your tape is a mix of these themes, then you can choose a standard DVD theme.
Opt for a Digital File
A digital file can be easily copied to a thumb drive or an external hard disk. It can be played through your computer, HDTV, or mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
You can even directly upload it to YouTube to share your videos with a wider audience.
So, opt for a digital file that gives you the flexibility to further edit it according to your preference. The format you should go for is MP4. though they’re prepared to convert it to any video format like AVI, MOV, and MPEG.
With an MP4 file, you can play it over a PC or a Mac.
A tape to digital service will not charge you extra if you provide them with thumb drives or an external hard disk to store the converted digital files.
Go Cloud for Peace of Mind
Some services will provide a cloud service. This will ensure that your converted files stay safe.
You should opt for this service if offered. It would be a good backup for your digital file in case anything should happen – lost or damaged physical storage device or your files become corrupted.
This is usually a limited-time service. Your video files will be stored in their cloud service for a period of 90 days. During that time you can download and copy them to a preferred storage medium – external hard drive, SD card, or USB thumb drive.
Even if the 8mm tape to digital service doesn’t offer you cloud storage as part of the service, you should upload your converted files to the cloud as soon as you receive your files.
Use a service like Google Drive which offers you 15GB of storage free for each Gmail account.
You can access your video files anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection.
8mm tape to digital services use professional-level equipment in the form of dedicated video player decks and video capture devices.
One standout feature is their use of Time Base Correctors (TBC) to remove jitters and stabilize video playback and eliminate other types of playback errors while ensuring that picture quality is always maintained.
Tape Repair Services
Some 8mm tape to digital service will repair your moldy or damaged 8mm tape for an extra fee.
If such a service is offered, you should opt for it. They’ll certainly do a good job with the view to providing you with a good, clean digital copy of your 8mm video.
Video Editing Services
If you feel your 8mm video needs editing and you aren’t prepared to do it yourself, then you can request video editing services.
You’ll be charged by the hour and you’ll get to sit down with a professional video editor to get the edited version you want.
The above tips will hopefully help you get the most out of an 8mm tape to digital service
Other Tape to Digital Conversion Services
These services offer conversion services for other analog tapes as well. If you have VHS, S-VHS, Betamax, VHS-C, S-VHS-C, DV, DVCAM, mini-DV or DVC tapes, you can send them in to be converted to digital.