How many video tapes do you have and would you use a service that converts them digitally? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-16-2013, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After going through the great experience of converting my home video tapes to digital files, I recently started a business that converts video tapes to digital files & DVDs. I'm trying to find out if this is something that people would use.

Do you have any video tapes lying around? If so, how many? And would you use a service that could convert them to digital files and DVDs for you?

Here's the business site: memorydig.com
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-16-2013, 06:44 PM
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Here is my opinion:

People who have large collections of home tapes must have been archiving for a very long time. This is probably a long-term hobby for them and most of the hobbyists likely are capable of transferring their tapes to DVDs or HDDs all by themselves. For tips they come to a sitw like this, not to ask who will transfer their collection but tips of the best way of going about it themselves. (then we the regulars argue on what discs to use, what VCRs to use etc)biggrin.gif

The folks who have only pre-recorded commercial tapes – their best bet is to buy the movies on DVD or BD. Most older movies on DVD can be had between $5 to $15 dollars and this seems a lot cheaper and much better quality then to hire someone to transfer old worn out VHS tapes. For the content never released on disc – people usually want to transfer the tapes themselves and again come to a place like this forum for tips.

No offense but you asked our opinions and I gave mine. .smile.gif
Good luck with your new biz.
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-16-2013, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No offense taken! But to be honest, I don't know anyone who has done this on their own. I'm sure people on this forum are technically literate on how to do it themselves. My business is aimed mainly at the average Joe who has types lying around. Ever since I've told my friends and family about what I've been doing, they've all asked me to convert their home videos for them. That is where the inspiration came from.

I beg to differ that the majority of people who have large collections of home tapes are hobbyists and prefer to do it themselves (thought that is probably the case for all AVS users); but everyone has their opinion. While the average person is capable of converting, most people are too busy to do it. I got an inquiry a few days ago from a woman who said she was too busy with work and kids to do it herself.

But you're right about the platform of AVS, meaning that most people here already know how to do it. The question I guess should be, "Do you think the layman would use a video conversion service"?
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-16-2013, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezberhane View Post

After going through the great experience of converting my home video tapes to digital files, I recently started a business that converts video tapes to digital files & DVDs. I'm trying to find out if this is something that people would use.

Do you have any video tapes lying around? If so, how many? And would you use a service that could convert them to digital files and DVDs for you?

LOL, you are posting this in a forum filled with people who wrote the books on how to do this.

- kelson h

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post #5 of 25 Old 01-16-2013, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezberhane View Post

The question I guess should be, "Do you think the layman would use a video conversion service"?
Absolutely. There is a mom & pop video conversion business in a store-front along the route I travel for work. They've been in business for 8-9 years so somebody is buying their services. But they do more than just pop a tape in a VCR connected to a DVD recorder and press record. They have sophisticated video correction equipment (like the kind citibear is always talking about) for handling crummy tapes and use PC based solutions for video capture, processing and disk authoring.

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post #6 of 25 Old 01-16-2013, 08:41 PM
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ezberhane, the real question isn't "will there be a number of laymen (and women) who need such a transfer service?" Because the answer to that is "yes, of course, there's always a new crop of people who suddenly get an itch to want their tapes digitized, who forgot they had them laying around, or always thought they'd do it themselves and now realize they won't, or who are drowning in their own efforts and just want to hand it off to someone else."

The real question is, "do YOU actually want to be bothered doing it for the peanut shells most people are willing to PAY for your services?"

Yes, right now you have family and friends coming to you in a conga line, perhaps willing to pay realistic prices and wait patiently for you to get the job done. But once that pool dries up, you're at the mercy of total strangers, and bud- they do NOT want to pay much more than the price they paid for the blank VHS to have it digitized. Are you willing to do these transfers for $5 per T120? Because that is the going rate for guys without a storefront. WalMart and national drugstores charge $10 per T120, and customers gripe about it being a ripoff. So it isn't what you'd call a real profitable business for an individual who is doing the actual work themselves.

Besides the minimal profits, you have maximum exposure to a public that demands miracles for their $5. They want it done in 48 hours, they expect you to make a 6-hour tape full of Macrovision-infested second generation rental dubs look like BluRay and charge them just the flat T120 fee, or make their crummy home videos shine. It isn't easy work, you know that from your personal project: do you really want to spend a huge chunk of your life doing it for other people for pennies? Because that's what you'll earn. The only guys who make significant money run it as a side business out of their existing storefront, have racks of combo decks in a backroom, run the transfers in bulk, and pay a high school kid to man the machines. Or, they set themselves up as Rembrandts of video encoding, catering to an elite clientele willing to pay $35-75 per hour of video for their skills at computer restoration. Again, not a career for the unitiated, and requires a lot of hardware and software.

Not to say you couldn't be the exception that proves the rule: depending on your location, people may flock to you and make it worth your while. Can't really know til you try. But if you've been reading these forums, seeing how many people are asking about VHS transfers, and thinking it would make a cool business opportunity based on that, don't be misled. The people who would actually pay you only have a dozen or so tapes to transfer, and those people are rarely motivated enough to seek out a forum like AVS. Most of the folks coming here have hundreds (or in my case thousands) of VHS accumulated over a lifetime: it would be insanely expensive to pay a third party service for that many transfers, so they ask how to do it themselves. (Its even more insane that we attempt to do it ourselves, but it costs us little beyond our time. Lots and lots of time.)

Of course, all it would take is for you to land one middle-aged video nut with 1000 tapes in their library, some money in their pocket and fear of tackling the job themselves: that one client could keep you occupied for years with a tidy little side income. If that's what floats your boat, I hope you encounter such a person: good luck to you!

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post #7 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 06:59 AM
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Great post Citibear and I couldn't agree more. While people may want this done, what they are willing to pay is another story. They may be the same people that want a good combo DVDR for <$100 and then complain when it doesn't work rolleyes.gif
Truthfully for what it would cost someone with a small collection to equip themselves to do a quality job they would be far better off paying someone like yourself to do it but unfortunately most people only learn this after spending money on something that doesn't work and at that point they just don't want to spend anymore money(or the very least) to get it done right.
The fact that you came to a place like this to seek advice(and I truly think thats the case and you aren't here to just advertise your business smile.gif) tells me you have some good business sense and I truly wish you luck but heed what Citibear said, it's some very good advice indeed smile.gif
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezberhane View Post

Do you have any video tapes lying around? If so, how many? And would you use a service that could convert them to digital files and DVDs for you?

Here's the business site: memorydig.com

Seems to me this is a business plug rather than asking for advice.

He already has posted his transfer fee of $20 per hour (that is $120 per VHS EP tape!), and that doesn't include the transfer media cost.

I'm on the fence on reporting this post, but I want to be sure CitiBear's great response stays around.

That which may be known of God is evident within man, for God has shown it to them, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 08:15 AM
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Well, he responded to Super Eye, so he's not a bot. I don't know of anyone here who would use his service, and most others can look through the thread to see our opinion of his proposal.

I agree that CitiBear's response needs to be preserved, though.

Don't believe everything on the Interwebz! A duck's quack DOES echo!
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 10:58 AM
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I can see a business for transferring home videos and camcorder tapes to DVD, though you'd probably have to have a variety of playback machines. But if one runs this as a business, wouldn't you run afoul of copyright laws if you copied, say, commercial video tapes (not that many people would pay for that) or even stuff recorded off the air or cable? Not saying you'd have the FBI at your door immediately - or ever. But I think this might not be covered by the personal use exemption for recording of copyrighted materials carved out in the Sony v. Universal City Studios Supreme Court case (464 US 417) in 1984.

Anyway, outside the theoretical realm, I'll say that yes, there probably is a business opportunity for tape-to-DVD transfers for small lots of sentimental-value home videos. For the huge-scale dubbing projects involving 100s or 1000s of tapes that folks like Diga Do, Citibear, and jjeff have done (and I propose to do soon)......I don't think a lot of folks will pay $20 per hour. I know I wouldn't.
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post #11 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 11:31 AM
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Transferring VHS to DVD is a pain because it never comes out the way you want it to. Either the VHS tape jumps during the transfer or the encoder creates some artifacts in the picture. Also, if the video tape reaches to the part that is blank, most encoders go wacko trying to encode it and either freezes up or stops recording.

I always tell people that they should only convert home movies to DVD. Anything else, such as TV shows or movies, should just be purchased on DVD. It's not worth the trouble. Trust me. It's tedious, very time consuming, and your videos never turn out perfectly.
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 12:55 PM
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post #13 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

I always tell people that they should only convert home movies to DVD. Anything else, such as TV shows or movies, should just be purchased on DVD. It's not worth the trouble. Trust me. It's tedious, very time consuming, and your videos never turn out perfectly.

Gotta agree. The scope of my big dubbing project has shrunk considerably as stuff comes out on DVD. For a lot of the period when I was recording VHS off the air, my reception was not so great, so the picture quality of a lot of my tapes, especially when watched on an LCD screen far larger than the 13" CRT I had back in the day, is mediocre at best.

I do have some live broadcasts that have never and most likely will never be released commercially, so those still have to be done.
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post #14 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 01:15 PM
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Nice catch tomwil cool.gif
The OP hasn't logged on since post #2 and if this thread is truly about inquiring whether such a business model is feasible then he shouldn't mind it if a mod removed the address from post #1, otherwise it's just advertising which isn't allowed in the general forums smile.gif This thread could also be requested to be locked which would keep all posts, including Citibears available for all to see, just no new posts.
One reason I took the OP to be more of a question than spam is most spammers just post 3 bogus posts and then a hyperlink to their website, this one just seemed more like a question with the web site address available for people to comment on, maybe I'm too naive.
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

Gotta agree. The scope of my big dubbing project has shrunk considerably as stuff comes out on DVD. For a lot of the period when I was recording VHS off the air, my reception was not so great, so the picture quality of a lot of my tapes, especially when watched on an LCD screen far larger than the 13" CRT I had back in the day, is mediocre at best.

I do have some live broadcasts that have never and most likely will never be released commercially, so those still have to be done.

Yeah, I had to convert an old cartoon last week because the cartoon was only available on VHS and never came out of DVD. And this VHS was recorded in EP, mind you, which is something very rare on pre-recorded tapes. And the video is so old too and nearly worn out. I tried capturing it on my computer's capture card, but it kept dropping frames because the encoder was having trouble reading the worn analog signal. So, I tried recording it on my DVD recorder. It did a better job, but the player's encoder had a bad reaction to all the noise in the picture. While there were no dropped frames, unlike my computer's capture card, the picture quality came out a bit flickery due to all the noise in the picture . The computer's capture card didn't have that flickering problem, but like I said, it dropped frames. There's always something!
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post #16 of 25 Old 01-17-2013, 04:57 PM
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EP VHS recordings rare on pre-recorded tapes? Maybe from CBS/Fox but not from Goodtimes or any of the many public domain VHS movie sellers. Orion even offered VHS tapes of its movies in either SP or EP (I have "The Conqueror Worm" on an EP speed VHS tape). When VHS was king 26 years ago, new major movie releases on VHS would be priced in the $90 region, priced for sale to video rental stores. If a distributor then sold a public domain tape for $10, buyers would not complain that loudly if the tape was an EP recording. The major Hollywood studios went to sell through pricing after 1989, pricing VHS movies at from $15 to $30 each after the tremendous VHS sales of Tim Burton's "Batman" in 1989 for $20 (I think) for the VHS movie tape.
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 07:05 AM
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Out of the hundreds of VHS tapes I used to own, only a handful were pre-recorded in EP.
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Out of the hundreds of VHS tapes I used to own, only a handful were pre-recorded in EP.

Usually only from low-budget operations. I remember ordering some tapes from a place called "PCB" (short for "Publisher's Central Bureau" or something like that) back in the early 90s and getting a number of items recorded at EP. I suspected some of the were from dubious (i.e., pirate) origins. As somebody stated above, new releases from major studios pretty much never came out that way.

And, note that the OP hasn't responded to any of these posts since the first reply. >>Cough cough cough troll cough!<<
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post #19 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

..this VHS was recorded in EP, mind you, which is something very rare on pre-recorded tapes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Out of the hundreds of VHS tapes I used to own, only a handful were pre-recorded in EP.

I have one and only one pre-recorded VHS recorded in EP Hi Fi.

“Eric Clapton & Friends”.
Recorded in 1986 released in 1992.
I didn’t know it was recorded in EP until I took it home. Thankfully I bought it at a thrift shop used for $2. I tell you if I paid full price for a new copy I would of returned it for a full refund. In the old days I expected SP quality if paying going price. If the tape was EP without Hi Fi I would of chucked it. EP linear sound sounds like a toy tape recorder from the 1960s.

Hard to make out but it states “recorded in extended play” on the bottom right corner of the tape box.

Does anyone have a pre-recorded VHS recorded in LP? I have one.
“Supergroups RSVP Music Videos”.
Released in 1986.
This came from some tiny distributor and I believe their dub-house made a mistake and this was supposed to be dubbed in SP. The reason I say that is because the program is around 28 minutes and they used a T30 tape. Recorded in LP the second half of the tape is blank. I bought this tape a few years ago still sealed for $2.


I prefer throwing my decks in manual tracking but both these tapes track perfectly on both of my JVC SVHS recorders tongue.gifsmile.gif As expected the EP tape has a lot more chroma noise than a SP tape. The LP tape has a bit of discoloring on top of the screen, only a few pixels and only noticeable in certain scenes.
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Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

Usually only from low-budget operations. I remember ordering some tapes from a place called "PCB" (short for "Publisher's Central Bureau" or something like that) back in the early 90s and getting a number of items recorded at EP. I suspected some of the were from dubious (i.e., pirate) origins. As somebody stated above, new releases from major studios pretty much never came out that way.

I remember long ago when I used to rent movies I once rented a beta tape recorded in Blll. This was the one and only time I ever came across (what appeared to be) a commercially released beta tape recorded in Blll. I suspected this was a pirate copy and I told the rental store they need to pull it or I’ll contact the anti-piracy hotline. Mind you I almost always rented LaserDiscs unless not available then rented VHS and beta was my third rental option and usually used for dubbing and playback of home made tapes.
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

And, note that the OP hasn't responded to any of these posts since the first reply. >>Cough cough cough troll cough!<<
Not sure I'd use the term troll(I think thats more someone who posts something inflammatory to purposely get a rise out of people) but the OP hasn't logged back on AVS since his second post wink.gif Well at least we got 20 posts ourselves biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 05:36 PM
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I've got a lot of mini DV tapes that I'd love to have converted to DVD.
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post #22 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:15 PM
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Well, that pretty much settles that.

 

I'll give it to tomorrow night, and then I'm going to report the OP's post as spam.

 

You have to be aggressive about this kind of stuff, lest people are going to think they can get away with it all the time.

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post #23 of 25 Old 01-20-2013, 07:19 PM
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Well, since the OP never came back, I won't even bother reporting it. I'm sure I'm enough of a pest around here as it is. wink.gif

 

Since the mods may still lock this thread if they haven't seen it already, if people want to continue along this line of conversation, they might want to pick it up elsewhere, or start a new, legit thread on the topic.

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post #24 of 25 Old 02-25-2013, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to be clear, I'm not a bot!

I was expecting to get some alerts when the forum was updated. That's how I was able to respond to the first post. For some reason, I didn't receive anyone else's updates via email.

That being said, I truly am thankful for all of your advice. And no I'm not plugging this for my business, I genuinely wanted to know everyone's opinion. And I'm thankful to everyone who put in all of their thoughts into their posts. It was truly overwhelming to log back in randomly and see all of these posts, I feel bad for not being in the conversation thus far.

To answer Kelson: Lesson DEFINITELY learned. I never even heard of this site before. I just stumbled upon it via another site, and it seemed like a good place to pose the question at first. Little did I realize I was asking the Eskimo if he knew anything about ice, lol

To answer Citibear's question: Yes, I am willing to do the work because there are still many videotapes that need to be converted despite all of the products and services that are out there, Something is obviously missing that is keeping people from converting their tapes. My goal is to find out what that problem is. Once it's clear why most people haven't taken the effort, then I believe a business is possible.

In response to Tomwil: I didn't know I was only allowed to contain my enthusiasm onto one website, please forgive me. And that price definitely changed. That's why I ask questions, to learn about how I can improve.

In response to Doswonk: I would not convert copyrighted material due to copyright law. However, there are plenty of home videos, performances, high school athletics games, etc in which the copyright belongs to the customer. Those are the people I am more interested in targeting, rather than copyright which can come with extensive penalties.

In response to jjeff: Yes! This was a genuine question, thanks for noticing that!

Thank you all for your opinions, I will definitely be checking this thread more often just to see if people will have any more to say.

Again, I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to spam or troll anything, I just wanted to pick your brains for some knowledge.

Thanks again!
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post #25 of 25 Old 02-26-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezberhane View Post

Something is obviously missing that is keeping people from converting their tapes. My goal is to find out what that problem is. Once it's clear why most people haven't taken the effort, then I believe a business is possible.

Most people probably don't care anymore to make the effort. They've found new ways of recording video that is much more user friendly and can be done in the home, and have moved on to that.

Sure, I imagine that there are some people out there with tapes, but camcorders back in the day were pretty expensive compared to today's little handycams and cellphone video, so not that many people were making those recordings. I know in my circle that there was only a few people that made home movies on VHS, and most of them got them converted years ago, or they just threw the tapes out. Unless the video has dead relatives or is something truly irreplaceable, I think most people just don't want to put down more than a few bucks to transfer it, as Citibear said.

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