Hi8 Tape before being converted to digital

Transfer Hi8 Cassette Tapes to Digital Format

Hi8 tapes were a popular choice for home-movie makers during the 80s, designed to work with lightweight camcorders that the average consumer could buy and use at home. The format quickly fell into obsolescence, but that isn’t to say that both Video8 and Hi8 formats weren’t massively popular at the time – some people have stacks on stacks of them taking up space in cupboards, on shelves or sat collecting dust in the attic. It’s also highly likely that most people won’t have the correct the equipment to play them on. Like other magnetic tapes such as VHS, the contents of your old tapes and your treasured memories could soon lose their sharpness or be gone entirely, as the video stored on Hi8 cassettes can degrade by as much as 20% over 10 years.

How We Digitise Hi8 Tapes

Our digitisation process:

  1. First, we need you to let us know how much you need digitising and how you want it returned to you. Take a look at our Memory Box options to decide which size is right for your media and select an output format so we know in what form you’d like it returned to you (USB memory stick, DVD or Cloud album).
  2. Once the order has been placed, we will get your empty Memory Box delivered to your home the next day so you can fill it up and send it back via our tracked courier service.
  3. Your Memory Box will arrive with us quickly and safely and we will begin preparing your Hi8 tapes for digitisation.
  4. We assess and clean each piece of media individually first. This gives us an indication of the quality of the media and gives you the best chance of high quality digital files. To clean cassettes, we employ a two pass wet/dry method, using bespoke methods and sensitive tools to deal with the fragile tape.
  5. Once clean, we use broadcast-quality cassette players to playback and digitise each cassette. Domestic standard players and USB converters often produce a low quality conversion and are sometimes prone to chewing up tapes, resulting in those precious memories disappearing forever. The tape decks used by EachMoment provide better sound quality than a USB cassette converter as they allow for adjusting the bias – used to get the highest output, the best high frequency response and the lowest distortion – for both chrome and metal tapes.
  6. After digitisation, files go through post-processing and editing to enhance sound and colour and bring quality up as close to modern standards as possible.
  7. After editing, the files are moved onto your chosen output format and returned to you along with all your original media.

Why should I digitise my Hi8 tapes?

Hi8 players are an outdated piece of machinery. As such, they are by no means perfect and are susceptible to mechanical faults. These problems can cause the scan lines of a video to not sync correctly with the rest of the frame, resulting in a distorted image. Our customers often recall becoming frustrated trying to convert Hi8 to digital themselves, often with cheap AV adapters or Firewire ports. Cheap market grade conversion machinery often results in a distinct drop in picture quality and can leave you with ‘overscan’ – unsynchronised lines at the bottom of the frame.

The best way to convert Hi8 tapes to digital

EachMoment corrects Hi8 syncing issues by only using an independent time base corrector (TBC), amending a Hi8’s signal and image quality by inputting the video into a buffer, correcting the image before it is subsequently output again and formatted digitally.

Once digitised, the digital file can be edited to bring the digitised Hi8 tape to modern standards. Colour correction is applied where necessary and contrast and saturation are adjusted accordingly. Audio levels of Hi8 tapes are relatively low compared to modern recording methods. To improve audio levels, we use bespoke digital noise reduction (DNR) technology and enhancement and loudness improvement to produce clearer sounds which are more in line with modern standards.

Why wait? Digitise your Hi8 tapes today!

Once these steps are complete, your Hi8 tape 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.

A Brief History of Hi8

For amateur camcorder users and television producers in the late eighties, the Hi8 videocassette provided a stark upgrade on its Video8 predecessor. Offering a more compact and higher resolution format to its older brother, the Hi8 looked like it might have stayed in the market long enough to challenge the already popular VHS and Betamax formats. Alas, technological improvements wait for no one, and the Hi8 format fell into obsolescence. 

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