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San Diego Reel to Reel Audio Transfer Made Easy

San Diego reel to reel audio to CD services

Brief History

Reel to Reel audio is a form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the tape is actually held on a reel, rather than being enclosed within a cassette. The reel which holds the tape, also called the supply or feed reel, is attached to a spindle and then threaded through mechanical guides through the head assembly and then onto the empty or take-up reel. This format was commercially developed in the 1940’s by American audio engineer, Jack Mullin with financial help of Bing Crosby. Inexpensive reel-to-reel tape recorders had seen widespread use for voice recording in homes and schools until 1963, when Phillips’s audio cassette took over. Cassettes rapidly replaced reel-to-reel recorders for consumer daily use. However, the slower recording speeds, and more narrow tracks used in cassettes compromised quality.

Once professional recording studios begun using reel to reel audio, they now had several advantages which are unique to tape recordings versus phonograph recordings. Once major advantage was the fact that there was now a way to record past the 30 minute limit that phonograph records had. In addition to longer recording times, audio tape could be easily edited or manipulated in ways not possible for phonograph records. Tape editing is performed by simply cutting the tape at the required point, and reconnecting it to another portion of tape using adhesive tape, or sometimes glue. This is called a splice. Tape can also accommodate multiple tracks, allowing not just stereo recordings, but multi-track recordings too. This gives the producer of the final edit much greater flexibility, allowing a performance to be remixed long after the performance was originally recorded.

Reel to reel tape also has the option to be recorded at varying speeds. In general, the faster the tape speed, the better the sound quality will be. In addition to faithfully recording higher frequencies and increasing the magnetic signal strength, higher tape speeds spread the signal longitudinally over more tape area, reducing the effects of damage or defects in the tape. Slower speeds will help to conserve tape and are useful in situations where sound quality is not as crucial.

Tape Speeds

15/16ths of an inch per second (in/s) or 2.38 cm/s — used for very long-duration recordings (e.g. recording a radio station’s entire output in case of complaints, aka “logging”)
1? in/s or 4.76 cm/s — usually the slowest domestic speed, best for long duration speech recordings
3¾ in/s or 9.52 cm/s — common domestic speed, used on most single-speed domestic machines, reasonable quality for speech and off-air radio recordings
7½ in/s or 19.05 cm/s — highest domestic speed, also slowest professional; used by most radio stations for “dubs”, copies of commercial announcements; Through the early-mid 90’s many stations could not handle 15 IPS.
15 in/s or 38.1 cm/s — professional music recording and radio programming
30 in/s or 76.2 cm/s — used where the best possible treble response is demanded, e.g., many classical music recordings

Transfer Process

Transferring reel to Reel audio can be sometimes be much trickier than it seems. Due to the fact that the tape could have been recorded in a variety of speeds, makes it difficult to initially assess it’s length. If the tape or reel is not marked with what speed it was recorded on, the only way to find out is to load it on the machine and run it. Typically, from my experience with audio transfer in San Diego, most home audio recordings were recorded at 3¾ speed, so it’s best to start there first. Once you have determined the correct speed of the tape, you also want to make sure the tape is loaded correctly onto the reel. Sometimes when people have finished listening to a reel, instead of rewinding, they will leave it on the takeup reel, which if played from that, could result in backwards audio.

Reel to reel audio can also have multiple tracks on one side of the tape. One easy way to determine this is to just set the player to play both tracks at once, or stereo, so you can easily tell if the tracks are the same or not. If a reel is not stereo and has multiple tracks, you must either play the reel back again over the other track, or record in stereo and manually split them up in an editing program afterwards. After you decide the reel is ready to be transferred, load the reel onto the player and ensure that the audio out plugs from the reel to reel recorder are connected to your Line-in on your computer. All that is left to do is play the reel and hit record on your audio capture program and you are now well on your way to preserve and enjoy your old reel to reel audio in San Diego.

How to Capture Video using Canopus ADVC110

There are many things to think about concerning video transfer in San Diego. Most of us have home video tapes of various people or events that have transpired throughout our lives. Home movies are a great tool to use for social events such as a get-together, holidays, or a nice weekend family night. Nowadays, however, most of the equipment used to record and playback these video tapes have become obsolete and are no longer being produced, which can render much of your home videos unplayable once your equipment fails. When deciding what to do with all of your analog video tapes, take some time to consider the fact that video tapes will not last forever, nor were they designed as such. Tape degradation is a common issue with older Video tapes, or tapes not stored properly. With a little bit of knowledge and time, you can easily revitalize these older tapes with some editing to create a perfect video to dvd transfer using awesome new technological products such as the Canopus ADVC110.

In the early days of video recording, editing your home videos was quite a chore, and often took lots of time and patience. Technology has now reached a point where you can simply push play on your recorder, click your mouse, and have your entire video captured onto your computer’s hard drive. This advancement now allows the average consumer to record, edit, and produce studio-quality footage, from the comfort of their own home or office. Now instead of using a video production studio to create your next promo video, or family slideshow, you can now do these projects on your own time, budget, and specifications, using a Canopus ADVC110.

 

Once your Canopus is connected to your computer via firewire cable, and you’ve obtained a VCR or camcorder with RCA or DV cables, and video capture software, you are nearly ready to start capturing video . To begin the process, connect your VCR or Cam to the Canopus with the RCA cables. After this, open your video capture software, and in the options, set the capture folder up so you know where the video will be once recording has finished.  If you plan to do other tasks on your machine as it’s capturing, it’s recommended that you set the priority of your video capture software to “high”. You can do this bringing up the task manager by pushing Ctrl+Alt+Delete Select, find your video capture software on the list, right click it, and select process priority high. Next, take the tape you would like to have transferred and ensure it is fully rewound. Visually inspect the tape to make sure it’s free of mold, dirt, or other debris, then insert it into the tape player.

All that’s now left to do is to hit play on your tape player, and as soon as the video begins, click the start capture button on your video capture software. If everything went smoothly, you should see your video playing in the preview window of your video capture software, as it is being captured. Once your video tape is over, stop the capture, and in the source folder, you will find your new captured AVI video file, which is ready to be edited or converted to any form of video you choose. More and more people are realizing the ease and flexibility of virtually uncompressed AVI files, as opposed to the standard San Diego VHS to DVD transfer.

Digitizing Your Scrapbook Pages


Scrapbook Scanning in San Diego

Scrapbooking is a hobby that, in recent years, has been growing in popularity. The basic idea is to preserve memories in a more fun and creative way. The pages often contain multiple forms of media such as print, photos, newspaper clippings, to help the viewer get a better understanding of the mood and feelings associated with the memories. Scrapbooking is a relatively inexpensive hobby that can certainly brighten anyone’s day.

Recently, digital scrapbooks have also begun to gain popularity amongst people of all walks of life. Creating digital scrapbooks versus traditional cut-and-paste scrapbooks can save you some time and expense, as well as provide a much easier route to share with family and friends through the internet. However, many people who have been scrapbooking long before the internet was around, have many books and pages that they would love to get digitized, but have no idea where to start.

One of the common problems with getting a scrapbook digitized is that when a scrapbook is created, in order to create enough space for all of their cherished memories, scrapbookers will often use a larger-sized paper, such as “12x”12 pages, which are just a bit too big to scan on many traditional consumer flat-bed scanners. In recent years, more and more people have been scrapbooking on 8×8 paper, which makes it much easier to digitize later, if needed. If you do have a larger format scrapbook, and you happen to have access to a large format scanner, digitizing your scrapbook will be much easier!

If you don’t have free access to a large format scanner, don’t worry, there are still other great methods to scan those larger pages in. If you have a flat-bed scanner, one common method involves photo scanning a half of a page at a time, and then taking both “halves” of the page, and digitally stitching them together using image editing software. Auto-stitch is a great, simple program that can easily handle all of this. There are a few tweaks you should be aware of before starting with this. First, if the top and bottom of your page look warped or bent, try disabling the “Auto Straighten” feature in the options menu, as this has mostly to do with creating panorama images. Also, make sure to set everything to 100% scale. If you have the equipment, and time to scan the pages, this is a cheap, yet effective way of digitizing scrapbooks.

If you do not own a scanner, nor have any access to one, there is another method that you could use to digitize your scrapbook. You would need to obtain a digital camera, preferably a high quality model, and then simply take the highest resolution photo you can of your scrapbook page. Taking pictures of your pages with your digital camera is often the quickest and easiest way to digitize, but can also suffer from quality loss. Many factors can hamper the quality of your digital image such as lighting, poor quality camera, dirty lens, movement, etc. For scrapbook photo taking, it’s best to line up the page as squarely as possible, with no angle, and make sure to go with bright, indirect light, with the camera’s flash turned off.

If you are a busy person, or in a rush, or if cost is not an issue, there are many professional San Diego image scanning services who will scan the pages using their in-house large format scanner, which in turn, would provide the highest quality image for you to share or archive. If you do need a scrapbook digitized, do a little bit of research, and discover the best method for your particular needs.

Converting LP records to CD

A gramophone record, also known as a phonograph record, vinyl record, or simply record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed spiral groove. The groove starts at the edge of the disc, gradually moving toward the center. This was the primary recording medium for much of the 20th century, later succumbing to the rise of digital media by the late 80s. Many artists during the 20th century would have their work recorded only onto vinyl record, never being re-released as digital. As a result of this, it’s often difficult to obtain more obscure artists and compilations, as many records today cannot be found digitally on a CD or in MP3 format. Many times, the only solution involves manually transferring the existing record to a digital media file. You will need to obtain a few pieces of equipment prior to transferring. You will obviously need to get a turntable of some sort. I recommend going with a usb turntable as it has an easy to use, direct connection to a computer with a usb connector. Numark, for example, makes a great usb turntable at a reasonable cost.   You will also need a computer with an available usb port, computer speakers, audio editing software, and a cd burner and blank media (if planning to put onto a CD). The first step of the process is to locate which album or record you would like to have transferred. Before beginning the transfer process, it is wise to inspect the record for visible damage such as cracks, warping, or deep scratches, as well as noticable dirt, dust or other debris that could get inside the grooves. These foreign objects can result in an undesireable popping or cracking throughout the record. If the record is has a considerable amount of dirt or smudging, there are several commercial products available that does a great job at cleaning the grooves. Remember that a clean record will save you time and effort in the restoration process, as well as provide much better results. Once the record has been sufficiently cleaned up, it’s time to begin the transfer process. Once the turntable is correctly hooked up to your computer, and the software installed, you should be ready to start recording. For the recording application, I recommend using Audacity, a free but powerful audio editing software, we typically use this application when doing LP to CD transfer in Orange County. Place the record onto the turntable, and gently place the stylus on the outer rim of the record. Click record button on audacity to start recording, then press play on the turntable and once the audio kicks in, you should notice peaks forming on the timeline in audacity. If you see sound recording, then sit back, enjoy, and wait for the record to finish. Once finished, click the stop recording button, and you should have an audio file of the record you just recorded. From here, anything is possible, but I would suggest running Audacity’s built in pop and click removal tool, which greatly diminishes the sound of popping and clicking which is common in most old records. After you have cleaned up the sound to your liking, all that is left to do is export the file as a wav, or if preferred, an mp3. Now, if you would like an audio CD of the record, all you need to do is load up your favorite CD burning software and import the recorded .wav file you just exported. From there, simply burn the CD and you are ready to go. We are always doing record to cd in San Diego and Orange County, so stop in or give us a call!

How to Format a Fat32 Thumbdrive or portable to NTFS

A common problem we get while doing video transfers in San Diego is that people are having trouble putting large files (4gb+)  on their portable drives. Thumb drives and small USB-powered hard drives are an extremely convenient way to quickly store, transfer or manage small amounts of data. Fat32 is a very compatible format with one major limitation, it cannot hold any single file greater than 4gb in size. This can pose problems if you decide to some day to perform a San Diego video transfer to hard drive, as any file over 15 minutes or so will not be able to fit onto a Fat32 drive. These days, more and more hardware is supporting NTFS over the traditional Fat32 format for storage devices, which makes for less of a headache when switching formats.

Keep in mind that Mac computers are not equipped to fully handle NTFS without 3rd party software such as MacDrive or Paragon. Here is how to format any thumbdrive or Fat32 drive to NTFS: 1. Click Start->Control Panel then click System icon 2. Cick the Hardware tab, then click Device Manager 3. Click Disk Drives, and then find your USB drive on the list and double click it. 4. Change the settings from “Speed” to “Performance” 5. Go back to your desktop and click “My Computer” 6. Right click the USB drive you want formatted and click “Format…” 7. Click the drop-down menu and select “NTFS”. Click format and you are all set. Utilize these steps to ensure that you will have NTFS usb drive!

How to Determine the Best Way to Digitize Your Slides

Gather and Organize
I’m sure somewhere in your possession, like most people, is a box or two of old slides, photos, or negatives collecting dust in an old cabinet or drawer. For this entry, I will focus on slide scanning in San Diego. Generally, people take pictures to capture a particular special moment or setting that can be preserved and shared for generations. However, as time goes on, these forms of media can and will degrade. As you may know, the best solution to this problem is to somehow find the time or money to get all of these images digitized. Depending on the quantity of images, this can be quite a daunting task for any individual. With the right game-plan, and preparation, it could turn out to be a fun, engaging project that will bring your whole family together.

Slide Scanning Los Angeles

The first step in the process is to determine how many of your slides you wish to have scanned. This is a very important step, as it will help determine which route would be best for you, whether it be purchasing an accessory for your home scanner, rent or purchase a brand new scanner, or to simply have a digitizing service, transfer them for you.

The next huge thing to consider before proceeding is to determine how much time you actually have to devote to the project. For example, if you have a full-time job, a busy family life, and 1,500 slides that need to be scanned in 8 days for Grandma’s 80th birthday, buying a manual feeding scanner isn’t the most practical route.

Note: Resolution or (DPI) is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. So, roughly, a 35mm slide has the approximate resolution of that of a 13 megapixel digital camera image (about 3,600 dpi). So if you scan a slide at less dpi, then you limit what you can do with the final image compared with the slide. On the contrary, if you are digitizing to send to family and friends, then 3 to 6 megapixels (2000dpi) is plenty for the average 4×6 photo print. However, if you plan on blowing the images up to 8×10, 11×14 or larger, you need to start with as big a digital image as possible.

Using a Scanning Service
This is a great solution for a person with a lot of slides, a busy lifestyle, and an eye for quality. Typically digitizing companies will use the most high-end equipment on the market to scan your slides. This can be extremely beneficial for people who want to preserve their slides at the highest available quality. DVD Your Memories also has a dedicated image scanning department and technician who will work on your slide transfer in Orange County or San Diego which provides for much faster turnaround times compared to what you can get accomplished alone.

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Renting a Scanner
Renting a scanner can be an effective method to process any number of slides. The rental will generally consist of a Nikon CoolScan of some kind, and will often come with the bulk slide loader, making large orders much easier to process. However, it may be difficult to pin down a place that will rent the equipment to you. Trying local photography stores and studios may be your best bet to start looking. Renting a scanner can cost up to $200 per week, not accounting for time learning to use the machine and software, which makes this option best for people who have working knowledge of the equipment.

Buying a Scanner
Before purchasing a brand new flatbed, check to see if the flatbed scanner you already own can scan slides and negatives. Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for your scanner model and any accessories it may be combined with. Typically, the accessory you would be looking for would be a new top cover that has a scanning lamp in it and is glass on the bottom of the cover, compared to the typical plastic over foam. When you place slides or film on the glass scanner bed, they are scanned with the lamp in the top cover, and the image is captured in the lower array as normal. There may also be some slide and film holders that may or may not come with the new top cover. If you do find you can buy the accessories to get the job done, then all you need to do is decide if the money and the time to do the job, fits with your needs. If you do manage to find a facility that will rent out equipment, this is a great method to get your slides to dvd in Orange County.

There are also dedicated slide and negative scanners available to consumers. For this article I will break them down into three categories; Low-end, Medium, and high-end.

The low-end dedicated scanners are usually equipment that will actually take a 3-5 megapixel digital image of your slide rather than scanning it. These products typically cost around $100, and are much faster at transferring slides as it takes a digital image rather than a full scan. Ion Slides to PC is an example of a low-end slide scanner.

The middle ground is a very interesting place. The bottom of the middle ground, say around $250 to $350, is occupied by some compact scanners that are fully manual, but some offer scan resolutions as high as 7,200 dpi. Plustek OpticFilm 7300 is an example of a middle ground scanner.

The high end of the 35mm slide and film scanner market has traditionally been occupied by the Nikon Coolscan, in its many incarnations, for a very long time. So if you want to scan at 4,000 dpi with possibly the best optics and scan quality you can find, you will part with nearly $1,100, and if you want to use a 50 slide batch processor, add another $500 to the bill. Nikon Supercoolscan 9000 is an example of a high-end scanner.

Keep in mind that most software bundled with scanner products are mediocre-at-best. Play around with the included software, but be aware that there are many, many programs available that work much better than what’s put in front of you immediately. Take some time to do some research, and seek out the most reliable and effective software for your needs.

Final Thoughts
Lastly, ask yourself if you ever plan to take film photos again, or if you are planning to just stick with digital transfers from here on out. If you have no foreseeable plans in the future to ever use film cameras again, it may be more cost and time effective for you to seek out a service to digitize your images, rather than buying a scanner and equipment, learning to use it, and spend time scanning each image.

After you are done digitizing your entire slide collection, you may be wondering what in the world to do with your boxes and boxes of old slides. Some people will throw them out, some will put them back in storage. Before doing anything, I would recommend backing all of your images to an archival-grade DVD or two, in addition to a hard drive. So, dumping you originals is a personal preference. The only issue you may face in the future, is if you did not scan at a high enough resolution for large prints, and down the road someone wants large prints. If you had the originals you have a choice to rescan it at higher resolution to make the big prints of higher quality. Don’t forget to stop by your local DVD Your Memories store this holiday season for some great gift ideas such as;  slide scanning in Orange County or if you have lots of old 8mm, 16mm, or Super8  film, we also offer film transfer in San Diego and Irvine.

A Brief History of VHS Tapes

We all had them at one point, but what are these things, and where did they come from?

Video Home System (VHS) tape and the VHS recorder were developed by a team at the Victor Company of Japan (JVC) in 1976. Videotape is a linear system of storing information. VHS originally stood for Vertical Helical Scan, a reference to the recording system used. Later in 1976, the VHS format was introduced by JVC and Panasonic.

Although its primary rival was Sony’s Betamax, there was a brief period of time when other companies such as Philips, MCA, and RCA produced different tape formats and disc systems. All of these systems failed to capture the market and never became popular. VHS won out due to its many advantages including, the ability to rewind and fast forward at quicker rate, the unthreading system, and more importantly its longer recording time. VHS videocassettes peaked with the sale of The Lion King, which sold more than 30 million copies in the U.S. alone. The VHS format continued to thrive for two decades until the invention of the DVD.

By 2000, DVD had become a much more popular and efficient tape format. DVD sales rapidly surpassed VHS in the United States and from the time DVD came had reached the end of its time on the scene, VHS tape experienced a rapid decline. The last VHS tape that was mass-produced was The History of Violence. By 2005, the use of VHS tape for feature films had stopped. VHS videocassettes had been discontinued for release to the public. VHS had a long and prosperous run. By the end of 2005, there were still an estimated 90 million machines that played VHS tape and were still functioning. VHS tape had a long career and its impact will continue to be felt as the next generation of hi-def formats takes its place in recording world.

Don’t forget to get your old VHS to DVD in San Diego or Orange County today!

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