Maybe you are one of the few who recorded directly to DVD, but most DVDs (home movies) are transfers from some kind of video tape or film – VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, miniDV, microMV, 8mm, 16mm, or some variation of these tapes. You have converted these at least once, and now DVDs are declining in popularity like VHS and will soon become extinct.
Other than being very irritating, are there any good reasons not to convert DVDs (and CDs) to digital? YES!
The Risks of DVDs
When DVDs first came out, they were the most amazing advance in video technology in decades! Hours of video tape could be stored on a small disc, can be scanned and skipped and NO rewinding!!!
Then there were mini DVDs that could be recorded directly with Cameras. Blockbuster migrated from VHS to DVDs, and Netflix changed the world with DVD rental by mail before internet bandwidth made streaming possible.
But… DVDs are not a stable medium to store anything as valuable as home movies.
- DVDs deteriorate. The general perception is that DVDs are a permanent place for your memories. The truth is that the life expectancy for DVDs have a very wide variation between brands and manufacturers. Most DVDs in stores have a very short duration (some as short as 3 years). I run across DVDs frequently that simply won’t play anymore. The materials start coming apart, or normal usage just wears them out. The quality of the DVD burner used also has a large impact on the quality of the recording and therefore the durability.
- DVDs can be damaged. Just take a look at the back of your DVDs. When new, they looked like mirrors. Just putting them in and out of DVD players scratches them – a little or a lot. Sliding them in and out of envelopes, cases, and folders all wear them out. Worse than normal wear and tear, DVDs are fragile. Just bending them starts to separate the layers that they are made of, making them unplayable. They can also break. They are plastic, brittle plastic. They can be stepped on, dropped, etc. They will break.
- DVD players will soon be obsolete, just like VHS Players. Don’t wait until it is too late.
What You Can’t With DVDs
- You can’t easily share them. By that, I mean you can’t have one, and your mom, and your sister, etc. Either you lend them yours (with all of the risks associated), or you make copies, all of which all have the same risks.
- You can’t play them on multiple devices. DVD players only. (understand that a video on a DVD is comprised of multiple files, VOB file type. There are some programs than can play VOB files on Windows, but only one file at a time – not the entire set of VOB files that make up a DVD). For any other device, the DVD must be converted to something else. Mp4 and its many variations and options is that something else that is most widely used. Don’t be caught under the assumption that a DVD can just be copied to your computer and played or that it is a valid backup!
Benefits When you Convert DVD to mp4 (Digitized)
- mp4s can be played on most modern devices.
- They can be transferred to and from these devices through the internet (cloud, email, etc), both your own and to share with others
- They can’t break.
- They can be backed up to hard drives, other computers, external drives, and many cloud options.
- Digitized files can be edited, easily picking out just those scenes that you want to keep, combined with other clips, color corrected, sound enhanced, and other tweaking.
- They are digital, meaning that they can be converted to different formats (easily) with computer software. This often happens with the player software being upgraded and happens transparently.
- Storage space. A collection of DVDs takes up space. Digital files can cut that be orders of magnitude.
What if DVDs are a Must?
If you absolutely must have a DVD, take steps to protect them.
- Make multiple copies before it is too late. Contrary to popular belief, once a DVD is damaged so that the video cannot be recovered. Kind of like tearing a piece of paper, scotch tape only goes so far.
- Use good DVDs. I only use archival quality, 50 year DVDs. Don’t use the ones that you can buy at the grocery store.
- Convert them to digital anyway as a backup. Not only can the digital version be played later if a DVD is lost or damaged. *IF* DVD burners are still available, new DVDs can be burned in the future in the case of loss.
If a DVD won’t play, don’t give up hope, yet. There is one more thing to try – data recovery. There are software utilities that can scan and read damaged DVDs with algorithms that *sometimes* can recover data during the digitizing process. Even if it can’t recover all data, the video surrounding the damaged portions can often be recovered.
- Call or text Jamey (About Jamey) at 720 204-5464
- Set an appointment (every project receives my individual attention)
- Drop off your tapes (and records, cassettes, slides, or negatives, too)
- In a week or less, pick up your new digitized VHS (and other).