When you’re ready to convert your 8mm film, super 8 film, 16mm film, vhs tapes, Hi8 tapes or vhs c tapes, you’ll need to decide if you want them on DVD, digital (file) or both. By digital file I am referring to a digital video file that can be in MP4, AVI or MOV format.
The picture (image) quality will be the same on both DVD and digital file with a standard definition resolution of 720×480, often referred to as 480i.
If both formats offer essentially the same image quality, how do you decide which option is better for you? To best answer this question you’ll need to determine how you plan to use the final video product; what do you want to do with it? Where or how will you be using it? Will it be just for viewing on a television or computer or do you want to edit the video into shorter videos?
Viewing on TV
If you have a DVD or Blu-ray player connected to your television and that’s how you’d prefer to watch your films or videos, then you should transfer them to DVD. DVDs will play in both DVD and blu-ray players and even the newer 4K blu-ray players.
Most of the TVs on the market today are also capable of playing mp4 videos from a USB flash drive. If you don’t have a DVD or blu-ray player, that
could be a good alternative. Keep in mind that USB flash drives do not hold up very well over a long period of time. They are vulnerable to crashing or wearing out from use. Be sure to back up the files in other places.
If you want to keep your videos around a long time then we recommend putting them on 24k Gold Archival DVDs. Gold Archival DVDs will last longer than most of the media options available as they are rated for 100 years.
Viewing on Computer
DVDs can also be played on computers equipped with a DVD drive and appropriate DVD player software. If you do not have a DVD drive and the DVD player software then you may want to consider getting a digital file instead of a DVD.
If the video is for viewing only then you can have it put into an MP4 file. The file may be put onto a USB flash drive or external hard drive. As mentioned above, MP4 files can be played from flash drives on most TVs as long as it has a USB port on the back. Just be sure to back it up your file on a separate drive in case something happens to the primary drive.
Uploading to the web or sharing
If you want to upload your films or videos to the web (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, the cloud, etc.) or share them with others, you may want to have them digitized to an MP4 file. This will keep the file size smaller as this is the most compressed file format. That is why YouTube uses MP4 for all the videos they host.
MP4 files can be played on both PC and Mac computers as long as you have a video player program installed (usually Quicktime for Macs and Windows Media Player for PCs).
If you think you might want your films or videos edited for any reason then having them digitized to digital files will be your best option.
AVI or MOV files are the best options as they are the least compressed so you won’t lose as much video information as with mp4. Your video editing program should specify which format/s it can handle; many programs can accept both. AVI is considered the native format for PC computers and MOV is the native format for Mac computers.
Editing video from a DVD is not really the best option. First you need special software to “rip” the video from the disc and put it into an editable file format. Image quality may be lost since the video had to be compressed for the DVD and you want to put the new edited video onto another DVD or into an MP4 file you will be compressing it again, potentially losing more video information.
If you plan to edit the videos yourself:
- You’ll need enough hard drive space for all of the video files, at least 13GB for hour of video/film.
- You’ll need a video editing program that can support AVI or MOV files and be familiar with how to use it.
- If you want the final edited video put into the MP4 format, make sure your editing software is capable of exporting that format.
- If you want your final edited video on a DVD you will also need a DVD authoring program. The authoring program will encode the video to Mpeg2 for DVD and allows you to create a menu and chapters for the DVD. You will also need a DVD burner in your computer to create the final DVD.
If you don’t have the software or hardware necessary to edit and/or author a DVD or you just don’t have the time to do it yourself, we can do the editing, encoding and authoring for you.
Video Storage (long or short term)
External hard drives and USB flash drives are fine for short term use such as editing or sharing your films and videos. If you’re thinking about storing videos on a hard drive, keep in mind that the average lifespan for a traditional-style (spinning platter) hard drive is about 5-7 years before they crash or seize up. For this reason they are not the best option for long-term archival storage of your films or videos. You will need to back them up periodically.
At this time, the Archival Gold DVDs are the longest lasting media option we have available.
If you’re still not sure what to do feel free to give us a call, we want to make sure you get what you need! 858-578-4786