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How Long Should I Wait Before Converting Tapes to DVD?


By Jamey Nordby - October 18, 2019

Have you found a stash of old videotapes in your basement or attic? Are you thinking about converting the tapes to DVDs? You might want to do it sooner rather than later. Videotapes will not last forever. The longer you wait before carrying out the conversion process, the less chance you have of preserving your memories intact.

How Long Does Film Last?

There are a number of factors that can affect the lifespan of a videotape. First, it will depend on how you handle it. Second, it will depend on how you have stored it. The two primary components that affect film preservation are humidity and temperature levels. If your film has come in contact with very low or high humidity, it could have incurred some damage. The same goes for extreme changes in temperature. This is why it is always recommended to store film media in an environment that is climate-controlled. Sadly, this is not always possible. Many people store old tapes in their attics or basements. Both of these areas are subject to humidity and variations in temperature. Therefore, acting quickly to guard against potential damage is vital.

What Makes Film Age?

Even if your videotapes are safe in an environment that is climate-controlled, you should still convert them to digital. No film is eternal. It will begin to deteriorate over time, and you could end up losing those memories forever. After just 15 years, your film will begin to deteriorate. This causes degradation in video and audio quality. Of course, that does not mean that the media is ruined. You’ll only begin to spot that the pictures are lower quality, or the coloring is somewhat muted.

Film ages because of temperature changes and moisture exposure. These factors cause the base layer of acetate to degrade slowly over time. The decay in the color means that images appear to be excessively blue or red. The original colors will worsen over the years. Eventually, the quality will have deteriorated so much that it will be extremely noticeable.

When the acetate in the film decomposes, a vinegary smell may occur. This means that the acetate acid has gotten through to the film base. When you notice this occurring to your videotapes, digitize them immediately. This will ensure that you have preserved your media before they have deteriorated completely.

Digitizing Your Memories

Here at Reborn, we’re experts at digitizing all your precious memories so future generations can enjoy them. If you’re wondering about converting tapes to DVDs, contact our friendly team today. We can offer you the advice you need and begin the process of preserving those tapes. Even if your videotapes have already experienced some deterioration, we can often digitize them anyway. Thanks to the technology we use, you can be confident we’ll be able to save the tape’s content. That will allow you to relive all those special celebrations and happy times again and again for years to come.

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