About Betamax tapes

Along with VHS, Betamax dominated the early home video entertainment market after it emerged in the mid-seventies. Ultimately, the larger and less appealing Betamax lost the videotape format war to the VHS – its closest rival. Throughout the nineteen-eighties, VHS and VCR players typically became the most popular format of home entertainment, leaving Betamax to fall into effective obsolescence. Surprisingly, however, Sony continued to produce Betamax recorders into the early two-thousands and only stopped selling Betamax cassettes in 2016.

Betamax - Wikipedia

Despite their relatively long absence from the home entertainment market, we can certainly vouch for people having stacks upon stacks of Betamax tapes occupying dark corners of the attic and collecting dust in cupboards and cabinets. Your tapes could be holding priceless memories that you quite rightly want to protect, so there is no better time than now to convert your Betamax tapes to digital and DVD. Like VHS, Betamax use magnetic tapes to store footage – this footage can on average degrade by 20% over as little as every 10 years. Consequently, your old Betamax tapes containing your cherished memories could eventually lose much of their quality or even disappear entirely. The sooner you transfer your Betamax tapes to DVD and digital the better.

How can I preserve my Betamax memories?

The sooner you transfer your Betamax tapes to DVD and digital the better. Converting your Betamax to digital and DVD will conserve any old memories that are buried in the footage of your decaying tapes. If you were to transfer Betamax tapes to digital, not only would it free up plenty of space, you can also safely protect your memories for many, many more years to come. Transferring Betamax tapes to DVD and digital allows you to re-watch and relive your Betamax footage on your computer, laptop or  mobile, so you can take your cherished memories with you wherever you go!

The best way to convert Betamax tapes to Digital and DVD

Individually digitising your Betamax to digital, DVD and USB yourself can be painstaking – we fully understand that it’s probably not what you want to do in your free time. Converting your Betamax tapes or old photos with EachMoment takes all the trouble out of this process. Preventing time taking its toll and degrading your footage by transferring your Betamax to digital and DVD is too straightforward to let pass. If you have any Betamax tapes or any old formats like VHS that you’d like preserved on DVD or digital which are accessible on your smartphone, TV and computer, we will collect your old photos and tapes from your doorstep, convert them to digital and return them to you in one of our Memory Boxes.

Cleaning the Tapes

Before converting the tape to digital, it is essential to deep clean Betamax tapes using a two pass wet/dry method. Dedicated machines such as a ‘TapeChek’ do exist, but are hard to come by with many having been bought up by professional digitisation laboratories. At EachMoment, every single tape is assessed and cleaned on a case by case basis using bespoke tape cleaning methods and machinery. ‘Cleaning cassettes’, a common consumer-grade method of tape restoration, are also available for Betamax tapes, but are renownedly unreliable and can often damage tapes even further.

Equipment

When converting Betamax to digital, it’s essential to use regularly-serviced, broadcast-quality Video Cassette Recorders (VCRs). Although domestic standard players are available on the market, they are nonetheless hard to come by, are likely to chew up your tapes and are often tediously incompatible with modern computer software.

EachMoment corrects syncing issues by only using broadcast quality VCR’s that are equipped with Time Base Correction (TBC). You may have experienced TBC issues for yourself if you have ever tried to copy a tape from one consumer-grade VCR to another, which may result in a marked drop in picture quality. This is known as ‘flagging’, with the top 10% – 20% of the image being most affected. A time base corrector amends a Betamax’s signal and image quality by inputting the video into a buffer, correcting the image before it is subsequently output again and formatted digitally.

Editing and Post-Processing

Once digitised, the digital file can now be edited to bring the digitised Betamax tape to modern standards. Colour correction is applied where necessary and contrast and saturation are adjusted accordingly. Audio levels are very low with Betamax. To improve audio levels, we use enhancement and loudness improvement to get sound clearer and up to modern standards.

Why wait? Convert your tapes to digital now!

Once these steps are complete, your Betamax is fully converted to digital and DVD, giving your footage a new lease of life. It’s now time to relive your newly restored footage. Preserving your precious memories and gifting an EachMoment Memory Box to a friend or family member is an especially touching way to remind those closest to you how much you care about them. Whether it be a birthday, Valentine’s Day or Mother’s or Father’s Day, the memories enclosed in an EachMoment Memory Box always make the most thoughtful gift.

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