Can VHS Tapes be Converted to MP4

Yes, mp4 is the most popular format when digitizing VHS tapes. Mp4 is the format of choice for more devices, social media, and editing software whereas the file size is several times smaller than the 2nd most popular format.

What Formats Can You Convert VHS Tapes To?

There are literally hundreds of conversion formats and options within those formats. The best choices for consumer use are:

  1. Mp4    – playable on virtually all devices, and most social media.
  2. Mov     – apple format, including many ProRes options.
  3. AVI      – older, but still usable format.
  4. WMV   – less used Windows-based format.
  5. DVD     – There are still applications for DVD conversions.

The best choice for professional and archival use are high end ProRes files.

Options include frame size, resolution, audio gain, clean cropping, brightness, contrast, and more.

What Format Should I Convert My VHS Tapes To?

File size, intended use, shareability and software compatibility (social media sites as well as home computers) all play into the best format decision.

Mp4 is by far the best general-purpose choice, being compatible on most devices, editing software, and social media. Mp4 files are also a reasonable size compared to other choices. If Sharing via the cloud, using a reasonable amount of storage on your computer, or if editing the final conversion is desired, then mp4 is the best choice.

ProRes files (mov files with several options), are often used by professional video producers and archival quality conversions. The files are much larger than mp4s, offer less compatibility with today’s devices, and are usually converted to mp4 anyway for social media sites.

Both mp4 and ProRes offer a wide range of options for size, quality, and resolution while many other formats such as WMV and FLV are available for niche applications.

In rare instances, multiple formats are needed (such as DVD and mp4) and can be produced simultaneously through professional services.

Are There Volume Discounts for Converting Multiple VHS Tapes?

Reborn Audio Video offers the following volume discounts:

  1. 10 – 19 tapes             10%.
  2. 20 – 49 tapes            15%.
  3. 50+ tapes                   20%.

In addition, if you choose multiple formats (such as DVD and mp4) at the same time, the 2nd format is half price. Volume discounts are also available for other services including 8mm film to digital, Cassette to CD, Scanning Slides, Negatives, and Photos.

What is the Best Way to Digitize VHS Tapes?

The final quality of digitized videotape is dependent upon the quality of the video camera that took the video, the experience of the person taking the video (lighting, focus, etc), the condition of the tape that is usually decades old, and quality of the equipment used to do the conversion.

The only factor that can be controlled at conversion time is the equipment used, and the experience of the converter. In general, a very good process involves:

  1. Play VHS tapes on a high-quality VHS player.
  2. Output from the player is directed to a Wikipedia, time-based corrector to maximize quality.
  3. Direct the output from the VHS player into a high-quality converter box.
  4. Direct the digital output from the converter box into professional editing software.
  5. Edit out blank spots before and after desired video.
  6. Edit audio and adjust if needed.
  7. Clean up each frame to eliminate border-“flicker”.
  8. Encode the edited film into a new file with the desired format (usually mp4).

Yes, there are shortcuts that save time and expertise, but some part of quality is cut with each shortcut.

Is it Better to Transfer VHS to DVD or USB?

GOOD. The sole DVD benefit is that it is familiar.

BETTER. VHS to USB (actually mp4 saved on a USB) has the following benefits:

  1. Files can be transported to many devices that have USB ports.
  2. Files can be on most popular software.
  3. Digital files don’t wear out or break.
  4. Digital files are a higher resolution than DVDs.
  5. Converted files can be easily copied to the cloud.

BEST. Save Converted VHS tapes edited on the cloud.

When the VHS to mp4 conversion is complete, the very best practice is to store them in the cloud via a service that also synchronizes with your hard drive. This automatically keeps a current copy on BOTH your home computer AND on the cloud.

The benefits of saving video files in the cloud include:

  1. Videos are always backed up.
  2. Videos can share online throughout the world.
  3. No USB or DVD hardware required.
  4. Available on any device with access to the internet.

Can VHS Tapes be Converted to mp4 – Next Steps:

  1. Call or text Jamey (About Jamey) at 720 204-5464.
  2. Set an appointment (every project receives my individual attention).
  3. Drop off your tapes (and records, cassettes, slides, or negatives, too). Check Pricing!
  4. In a week or less, pick up your new digitized VHS.

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James Nordby

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