Mouldy video tapes – I often get video tapes to digitise that have not been stored that well, e.g. in a loft or garage. But even video tapes that have been stored in a cupboard in the house can be a problem. Decades of sitting in a home environment, which can have relatively high moisture levels, can still mean that they can get covered in small white deposits. These deposits are mould forming on the edge of the tape itself. Basically you will have mouldy video tapes.
White areas are mould on video tapes
The problem in this situation is that when the tape is played (or fast forwarded on the reel) it gets stuck to itself and so rips. This makes that part of the tape unplayable. If things have been left too long, it is not possible to play the tape. Therefore, all those precious family memories are lost forever.
If you are interested in the history of technology, or the History of Silicon Valley, then this timeline of Silicon Valley has lot of key milestones. Open the link and then click right to move through the milestone history.
Personal Media Solutions founder started in the Semiconductor industry in 1980, about the same time as the first PCs and Home Computers. More about Personal Media Solutions is here.
It is fascinating to follow the progress in consumer hardware – first electrical devices, valves, transistors, integrated circuits, video recorders, computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, smart phones – but also software – first programs, program languages, operating systems, high level languages, graphics/gaming software, internet protocols etc.
I am often asked “Why digitise your precious family home movies, photos and audio memories?” These are the main reasons:
Video tapes degrade constantly losing quality, eventually becoming unplayable.
Photos can fade in sunlight over the years.
Slides and Negatives can easily get lost or misplaced.
All of these can be lost, stolen or damaged by theft or accident.
Once digitised there is no further degradation in quality.
Digitised precious memories/home movies can be copied easily for family/friends to enjoy.
Digitised precious memories, once copied and stored “off site” are protected.
Digitised files can be shared easily using email, CD, DVD, USB or Network drives.
You can declutter your home by safely storing away all those video tapes, photos, negatives, slides, records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs etc.
Digital files can be streamed to your TV to enjoy in comfort without a PC.
Memories live longer than dreams! I have recently read a book that I was fascinated to find, is so relevant to my business, Personal Media Solutions. It is called “Stuffocation” authored by James Wallman.
In it, James Wallman quotes his grandfather saying “Memories live longer than dreams”. He then comments “Did he mean that the past is more important than the future? Or was he saying, as I have come to believe, that material dreams have their place, but that life is made up of memories, which come from experiences?”
Every time I digitise a family’s precious cine, video or photographic collection, I am reminded that I am providing a service that helps people share their precious family memories, making their “memories live longer than dreams”.
Here is the author explaining how the book came about:
Personal Media Solutions was started in 2009 by Martin Wallman who has 30 years experience in Photography, Videography, Consumer Electronics, IT and Technology. He saw the need for simpler solutions to enjoy precious family photos, music and video memories in the home environment. Technical advances, particularly in the convergence of consumer and computer based media solutions, make it possible to provide a personal service that is flexible, affordable and easy to use.
I often get asked what is the best free software to play videos on your iPad, iPhone or smartphone.
To play a video on your PC, you need Windows Media Player or Quicktime or VideoLAN VLC installed on your PC. The free open source VideoLAN VLC http://www.videolan.org/index.html is the most flexible.
If you want to load a video file onto your iPad, I would not recommend using iTunes to do this. I believe the best way is to install the “VLC Mobile” app by VideoLAN on your iPad. Then if you are on the same network as your PC, make a note of the iPad IP address displayed on the app (it will be something like 192.168.0.xxx). Then put that into a browser on your PC and you will then see that you can drop video files from your PC onto your iPad. It will take a few minutes to appear on your iPad if it is a big file.
In fact, once you have got the VLC app in your iPad, you will be able to view Local Network connected media server devices, which if they set to share properly, you will be able to see them – and watch them on your iPad and also Air Play them to your Apple TV – without needing to copy them to your iPad.
I regularly install Network Attached Storage devices as media servers for this purpose. If you have a smart TV, you can view network devices directly.
It is good practice to put all your photos, videos and music onto a NAS device (as well as having an off site backup copy). Then you can view them on any smart device connected to you network,and it is possible to set things so that you can view them from outside your home.
Dampness ruins video tapes. How you store your precious old video tapes is very important. They should be stored upright, like a book and in dry conditions. If they is too much moisture in the air, it can settle on the tape, the tape deteriorates and then the tape becomes unplayable. It is unplayable because the tape sticks to itself and/or the tape drum. If it sticks, when the tape is played, it can rip into tiny shreds.
We have had several tapes recently where little white specks are visible across the tape spool, which shows that moisture has got into the tapes and the tape will not come off the drum in one piece!
So, do not leave your video (or audio) tapes in a damp room, loft, garage or part of your house.
Whatever condition your tapes are in, get them digitised as soon as possible, so that you can enjoy them forever as they are, before they get worse.
If you want to digitise your tapes, have a look at the information and pricing below:
The number of different video formats, codecs and containers and what it all means is one of the most difficult areas for people to understand once you start doing any significant video capture, digitising, production, editing, conversion, storage or streaming.
What is the difference between a video format, a video codec and a video container.
If you want help with your video capture, digitising, production, editing, conversion, storage, streaming or other aspect of personal media then do contact Personal Media Solutions and we will be happy to advise you.