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Why Your Video Tapes Are Fading: The Silent Threat That is Taking Your Memories

This Silent Enemy is Stealing the Memories Stored on Your Videotapes...  Time.

Time is not on your side. The memories stored on your video tapes are fading, slowly but surefly.  Convert them to digital files now with Legacy Digital Productions to preserve what’s left.

Many people believe their video tapes are safe as long as they’re not being played. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Your precious memories are at risk even when your tapes are sitting untouched.  In fact, video tapes of all types and other video tapes typically degrade at a rate of 10-20% every 10 to 25 years. Here’s why:

Environmental factors accelerating decay

Your tapes are constantly battling their environment:

  • Temperature Fluctuations: Extreme heat or cold can warp tapes and speed up chemical degradation.
  • Humidity: Moisture in the air can lead to mold growth or “sticky shed syndrome.”
  • Magnetic Fields: Nearby electronics or magnets can partially erase or distort recordings.
  • Light Exposure: UV rays can break down tape materials if not stored in a dark place.

In summary, video tapes are often stored in attics or garages where they experience a range of temperature changes and varying levels of humidity. These are a tapes worst enemy.

Physical vulnerabilities

  • Tapes can warp or stretch even when not in use, especially if stored improperly.
  • Dust and dirt can settle on tapes, potentially causing scratches or playback issues.
  • If a damaged tape is played in a VCR it can clog or damage the read heads of the machine. Playing additional tapes in a machine with clogged heads can cause damage to other tapes.

The inevitable decay of magnetic media

  • Even in storage, the magnetic particles on your tapes are slowly losing their alignment.
  • This gradual demagnetization causes images to become fuzzy and colors to fade.
  • Adjacent layers of tape can transfer magnetic signals, creating ghost images or echoes.

Chemical breakdown of materials

  • The binder that holds magnetic particles to the tape is breaking down over time.
  • This can lead to flaking or shedding of the magnetic layer, taking your memories with it.
  • Oxidation of metal particles further degrades image quality.

Technological obsolescence

Beyond physical decay, you’re facing a race against technological obsolescence:

VCRs and other playback devices are becoming increasingly rare.

Finding working equipment to view your tapes will only get harder as time goes on.

So, how long should video tapes last?

When camcorders grew in popularity during the 1980s and 1990s nobody was wondering how long the tapes would last.  We just assumed they’d last forever.  But now we’re learning that they don’t.

On average video tapes continuously lose about 10-20% of their quality every 10-25 years.

And it could be worse as many people store their tapes out of the way in places like garages or attics where they are exposed to extreme temperature and moisture changes, a tapes worst enemy.

II’s important that you do something now to save what’s left of your memories. The longer you wait, the more your videos will degrade, and you might lose those special moments forever.

Is it true that one damaged tape can ruin them all!

When video tapes break down they become brittle and the magnetic media starts to separate from the tape.  You may be able to shake your tapes and look through the clear plastic window for black flakes.  If you see these, it’s not a good sign.  These black flakes are the shedding of the media.

If you play these tapes, they can actually clog the read heads on your VCR.  And if the read heads aren’t cleaned and maintained, playing other tapes in the same machine can cause you to believe the tapes are bad, or even damage to them if they were fine to begin with.

How damaged tapes affect the mass production transfer companies and actually ruin tapes that were good.

Everyone knows the saying, “You get what you pay for.”

This is true with video tape conversion as well.  But it could be even worse.

Mass production big box companies who transfer hundreds or thousands of tapes each day can’t put the time and effort into maintaining their equipment while still checking each tape, watching the video for picture quality, and run the videotape multiple times if necessary while still making a profit.  And they certainly can’t do it at a cost of $7.99 per tape.

These poorly maintained machines cause a lot of problems in our industry. And sadly, many good tapes are assumed to be bad because they are played on these poorly maintained machines with dirty read heads.  And worse, many tapes are actually damaged as a result of it.  Don’t live with the regret of this happening to you and your video tapes all to save a few bucks.

How Legacy Digital does it differently.  How we determine if your tapes can be transferred.

Our experts understand the causes of poor picture quality.  

We assess every video tape before loading it into one of our players. If a tape can’t or shouldn’t be converted, we’ll let you know.

Once loaded we monitor every video tape as it’s being transferred for video quality. If the quality doesn’t meet our expectations we will go through our manual propriatry process to capture the highest quality end product possible from the tape we are working with.  Sometimes this involves rerunning the tapes multiple times and on multiple machines.  We also meticulously aintain our equipment cleaning the heads sometimes after each video tape and we replace them regularly.

What you should do now!

We strongly recommend that you have your videotapes assessed to see if they can be converted.  We can do this for you.

If things look good, we will convert your video tapes to digital files immediately.  You should do this as soon as possible, especially if you care about preserving the memories for the future.  And we make it very easy and affordable for you.  Get a quote here.  

And if you are still doing research, and you aren’t ready to convert them, bookmark this page so you can come back.  Then make sure you are storing your original tapes vertically in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and magnetic fields.

Always handle tapes with clean hands and minimize exposure to dust and contaminants.

And remember, every day you wait is another day your memories fade. Don’t let procrastination erase your family’s history. Take action now to preserve your irreplaceable moments for future generations.

Click here to get a quick estimate to find out what it will cost to preserve your memories before they are lost forever.  

Are your video tapes still worth converting? Or is it already too late?

As years pass we see more tapes that aren’t worth converting, but most are.  Let Legacy Digital can preview them to help you determine which tapes are worth converting.

We go the extra mile when converting your video tapes.  Unlike other companies who will deliver grainy and unwatchable or even blank video files, Legacy Digital monitors your video tapes while we are converting them and we review the footage after it has been captured.

We won’t charge you for tapes that we can’t convert.  We also won’t charge you for commercial movies or copyrighted material that we can’t legally convert.  

What if my tapes are broken? 

Sometimes we get video tapes that are broken or twisted.  In these cases if they seem salvagable, we’ll actually work to repair the tapes so that we can recover the video on them.  We’re not aware of anyone else in the industry who’ll go to the lengths that Legacy DIgital will to convert your old video tapes and bring the prescious memories back to life.  

Our goal is simple.  We want to make sure that you get what you pay for, and don’t pay for what you don’t want. 

Start a quote or order and send all your tapes in.  

We’ll even help you figure out which ones are worth converting and which ones aren’t – and we’ll likely save you money in the process.   

Just know, when you choose Legacy Digital for your video tape conversion, you can feel confident that you are making choice.

How to select the right company to convert your tapes to digital files

Choosing the right company to digitize your video tapes can be overwhelming.  There are hundreds of companies to choose from and each use their own method to convert your tapes.

And while we say there are hundreds, you’ll probably only run into a dozen or two who seem credible.  And of these, there are a handful who we would feel comfortable sending friends and family to.

What you want to avoid at all costs however are the big box companies.  You’ll see them advertising “easy to order” boxes where you pre-pay for X number of video tapes at rock bottom prices.  Unfortuantely we know that they can’t possibly do a great job converting your tapes for you at these prices, not inside the US at least. So they forgoe quality for price. 

Can Legacy Digital convert all my tapes no matter what type I have?

Yes, most likely.  We work with just about every videotapes format. We can convert your VHS, Super VHS, Compact VHS (VHS-C), 8 mm, Hi8, Digital 8, MiniDV, Betamax and DVCAM to digital MP4 or MOV files, on request, stored on a hard drive or thumb drive using our professional-grade recording equipment. If you want to convert your old videos to DVD we can do that too using professional gold archival DVD disks. 

Legacy Digital Converts Videotapes - VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C Betamax, 8mm, Hi8, Digital8, MiniDV, HDV, DVCAMVHS VHS-C Betamax, 8mm, Hi8, Digital8, MiniDV, HDV, DVCAMVHS VHS-C Betamax, 8mm, Hi8, Digital8, MiniDV, HDV, DVCAM

Three consequences of choosing companies with extremely low service prices:

  1. The videotapes you receive may not be of a quality you’d want to share.
  2. Your video tapes could be sent overseas for processing subjecting them to lack of control, mishandling, and even loss during bulk international shipping.
  3. You might end up paying more to have the work redone properly. (We often handle such cases and are happy to help, but we regret that customers didn’t hear this warning beforehand.)

What you get with Legacy DIgital:  Our promise to you!

  1. We will only convert videostapes that make sense to convert
  2. If a video has 15 minutes of footage, your video file will only be 15 minutes long.
  3. Your video tapes will be expertly converted at the highest resolution possible.
  4. Your videotapes will not be overly compressed to fit them on a smaller drive.
  5. Your video tapes will be processed in our offices by our expert technicians.
  6. Even if you send us 100 video tapes and only 16 make sense to convert, you will only pay for the video tapes we convert.
  7. You will not have to redo the work with a more reputable company.
  8. We offer a satisfaction guarantee.  If you aren\’t satisfied with the work we do, we\’ll keep working on it until you are.

How much does it cost to convert video tapes to digital?

Our pricing is fair and shared below.  And if you’ve read enough and want to get an estimate you can use our Free Estimate Tool to get an immediate quote or get your order started.  

Cost to Convert Video Tapes to Digital

Starting at just $19.95 per Tape

At Legacy Digital, our video tape conversion service expertly transforms your VHS, Super VHS, Compact VHS (VHS-C), 8mm, Hi8, Digital 8 and DVCAM into high-quality digital files or DVDs. Time-based correction is included with VHS and VHS-C tapes where others charge additional fees.  Using professional-grade VCRs and capture devices, we digitize each tape, maintaining the integrity and quality of your existing recordings, sometimes with improvement. Our process includes monitoring and adjusting for the best possible audio and video quality, sometimes requiring two or three reruns just to ensure the best possible output. 

SALE: Starting at just $19.95 per tape

We convert video tapes using a lower compression rate than other companies. This results in larger file sizes while preserving details and clarity with less image loss. The resulting digital files are provided in formats such as MP4, or DVD ensuring compatibility with modern devices. We can also supply backup copies to safeguard your valuable memories for years to come.

With Legacy Digital, if you have a 4 or 6 hour tape, but there is only 90 minutes of content, you’ll only pay $19.95.

Running Time (Up to) egular Price Sale Price
0-2 Hours $28.50 $19.95
2-4 Hours $57.00 $39.90
4-6 Hours $85.50 $59.85
Converting video tapes to digital format, Legacy Digital Productions

Converting Video Tapes

Some companies advertise extremely low prices for video tapes. But did you know if a tape is worn out, won’t run, or contains copyrighted material, you will still pay for each and every tape?  

These companies will sometimes deliver grainy distorted video files and even sometimes files with no video content on them at all.  Why?  Because they don’t actually monitor the tapes to make sure the transfer went smoothly – and they can’t for the prices they charge. 

With Legacy Digital you won’t receive digital files that are unviable due to the tapes being too worn out to recover the video from.  You won’t receive a 90 minute video file with only 5 minutes of actual video.  You won’t pay for tapes that we can’t run because they are damaged.  And if they are damaged, we won’t discard them, in fact sometimes we’ll actually try to repair them to preserve your prescious memories.

 We actually put the time and resources into monitoring the video conversions.

With Legacy Digital, you only pay for the tapes we are able to convert and you won’t pay for what we can’t.

    Only pay for:

  • Actual video tapes converted

    Never get or pay for:

  • Video tapes that are damaged, worn out, blank, or simply can't be converted
  • Video tapes that contain TV shows, commercials or other copyrighted materials
  • Blank or half-blank video files

Our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

“We are not finished until you love it. We will do everything within our technological capabilities using our state-of-the-art equipment to create the highest quality video and image captures possible. With that said, there is only so much that we can do with some older and heavily degraded media. We can assure you though, we will give you as good or better product than anyone else in the marketplace…And if someone else can produce a visibly better product, one which is noticeably more colorful and clear, we will refund your money.
– Scott Foster, Founder

Legacy Digital - Trusted By:

Along with executives and professionals from: CBS, ABC, Universal, Disney Animation, Paramount, Sony, Redbox, Audiohead (sound engineers of Star Trek Into Darkness), Lightstorm Entertainment (makers of Avatar), Atlas Entertainment (makers of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and many more.

Legacy Digital did a fabulous job of getting our old family films and slides on dvd for my parents’ anniversary. The quality was amazing and my parents were so surprised. Scott was so helpful picking up and delivering our order saving us time and gas money and keeping our family treasures safe from the mail. I definitely would recommend them to anyone and in fact am calling them again to do all of our VHS tapes and camcorder tapes next.
Jennifer L. – Long Beach, CA

See More Client Comments >>

Legacy Digital Productions is an independent entity and is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Netflix, Inc. or the “Lucy and Desi” documentary. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. All trademarks, service marks, and company names are the property of their respective owners. Any reference to Netflix or the “Lucy and Desi” documentary is for informational purposes only and does not imply any endorsement, sponsorship, or affiliation.  SUPER 8 is a registreed trademark of Super 8 Worldwide, Inc. Legacy Digital Productions provides video tape transfer service for video tapes that use the Super 8 format.

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