You might be hanging onto some of your old media formats for sentimental reasons, but be careful you don’t wait too long to digitize them if you want to keep your videos, photos, and audio recordings safe from deterioration. Here are five common media types that are especially vulnerable to becoming obsolete and/or deteriorating over time. Digitize them today to keep those memories safe and sound.
1. Movie Film: Regular 8, Super 8, and 16mm
Maybe you have film from generations of home movies that you’ve been waiting to digitize. You might recognize Regular 8, Super 8, and 16mm film by its width, either 8mm or 16mm wide depending on the type, and sprockets along either just one side or both sides of the film. Film has a similar appearance to photo negatives, and no matter what type you have, it is susceptible to the same kind of deterioration and color shift problems photo negatives have over time. Colors will begin to fade and change as your film deteriorates.
Old consumer film types since the 1950’s can also fall prey to what is known as “Vinegar Syndrome,” which happens due to the acetate base layer put on the film and meant to keep it safe. When the acetate base degrades, though, it will decompose and give off free acetic acid, which not only makes the film smell like vinegar but also causes the film to become brittle and warped. Moreover, there are fewer ways to play film now, so digitizing will allow you to save your memories and take time to enjoy them for years to come.
2. Video Tapes
Most people have video tapes with their favorite home video recordings on them. Though you might think these gems will last forever, the truth is even a seemingly recent media format like VHS is susceptible to quick deterioration and will eventually become obsolete.
Video tape cartridges can begin to deteriorate after only about a decade. They lose their magnetic signal, the quality and color of the video fades due to friction between the VCR head and the tape, and the tape eventually gets so brittle it breaks. This can happen even when the video tape is just sitting on a shelf. Moreover, soon, VHS and video tape players will be products of the past and no longer available for use to play your video tapes.
3. Photo Slides
Photo slides were once great ways to share a family vacation or unique experience with friends and family on a projector, but now your precious slides are vulnerable to deterioration. Photo slides are especially at risk, because there are no negatives to use when your slides fade. Dyes on your slides might fade due to darkness or light exposure, humidity, and high or low temperatures.
Your slides might also have developed a fungus because of human touch or have been scratched. By digitizing your slides, you can save your memories forever and have them to share with family and friends before they are lost due to damage.
4. Reel to Reel Tape Recording
Reel to reel audio recordings were a form of audio recording on a reel rather than contained on a cassette. This format was most popular for voice recordings at home and school from the 1940’s until the introduction of the compact cassette in 1963. Reel to reel tape recorders were also popular for professional recording studios until the late 1980’s because of the warm and natural sound.
However, this media type can have a shelf life of about 20 years, after which time chemical breakdown, magnetic instability, and tape deformation often start to occur. Reel to reel players are also hard to come by, but digitizing your reel to reel recordings will allow you to continuing enjoying them in an updated format.
Vinyl has made a comeback in recent years, and some would argue never really went away. Though you’ll want to keep your vinyl records for reminiscing (plus the added “cool” factor), digitizing them will make them easily accessible through your various devices and will ward off permanent damage to the sounds you want to keep intact.
Vinyl records are vulnerable to warping from environmental factors and also to scratching. By converting vinyl records to CD or digital files, you can make sure your favorite vinyl record recordings will never become unusable.
Contact us at Current Pixel to find out how to convert your outdated video, film, photo and audio formats to DVD/CD and digital files. We want your videos and sound recordings to remain safe as much as you do! Our experts will take good care of your media formats and ensure your memories will be able to be enjoyed now and in the future.
Hello, how much is the cost to transfer to digital? I have several cassette/dvds from 1996 on to be converted. Family videos. Thank you!
Hi Paula – We sent you an email with details. Thanks!