| The quality of VCD video is worse than VHS video
Although VHS is analogue while VCD is digital, VCD is a low bitrate video format. So low, it is worse than VHS.
This is why we recommend converting VHS to DVD
Here are some frequently asked questions of our services.
- Why should I convert to a digital format as early as possible?
Every time you play a VHS tape, the tape rubs against your player heads and this causes a slight unnoticeable wear and tear. You may not notice this immediately, but with every play, it becomes more and more noticeable. When you make copies of VHS, it always results in a lower quality image. Here are more scenarios of tape wear
By converting to DVD, which we recommend for VHS tapes, you enjoy the follow advantages
- Playing it on a player which has damaged heads
- Fungus growing on the tape
- Storing tapes without fully rewinding it, causing both sides of the tape to 'harden' giving trouble with spinning
- Frequently played tape
- Quickly navigate to any section of the tape with a few presses on the remote (we add 5 minute chapter marks free of charge)
- Make 1:1 copies of the video without any audio or video loss. Copy it to your hard drive by just dragging the VIDEO_TS folder. Make copies easily for your friends and family using your home computer.
- Lasts Longer (in theory - 100 years - in reality, it depends on the environment and handling)
- The data portion of the disc is untouched by the player, a laser is used to read the data so there is little physical contact
- Even if the laser heads are dirty, it will not damage the disc
- Takes up less space physically as compared to a VHS tape
- Why about our prices?
Our prices are competitive and reflects the amount of work we perform for every conversion. Our studio is located in a home office thus saving on rents and utility bills. This is why we are able to offer you lower rates than other professional video studios.
If you are wondering how you can get much lower prices at some mom-and-pop neighborhood retailers, this is because many perform the conversion for you using low end consumer grade VHS-DVD dual decks. Some go a step higher and use low end consumer grade hardware TV capture devices (e.g. Hauppauge, Pinnacle). Quality is sacrificed when using such ill adapted equipment for professional services.
We use professional high end capture equipment with two pass encoding - the first pass to analyze the video and the second pass to do the actual encoding. We spend more than 3 hours for every hour of video we process. Real time video encoding uses low CPU processing to reduce the number of dropped frames but this sacrifices the quality of the end result as every frame is processed as quickly as possible rather than as much as possible.
If you want the best possible quality, we offer just that. Still not convinced? Try our conversion services with a single tape first and see the results for yourself.
- Why do we need to call first before coming to your office?
Due to many customers coming directly to our office with Film, Record, 8mm, Super8, Video8, Audio Cassette, BetaSP, BetaCAM and Hi8 tapes, we have removed the address. We can only do these formats if you are able to provide us the player or camcorder.
- Do you entertain international customers?
Yes we do. However, please note that delivery charges will be considerably higher. Contact us for rates.
- Will you fix all defects of my tapes when you convert?
If your tape is fungus-free but still plays with some defects, the converted discs will also inherit the defects. This is why we recommend converting the tapes as early as possible because, with each play of the tape, the quality degrades.
If we find that most of the tape has some defect (e.g. scrolling picture, no picture, black-and-white picture), we will ask you for permission before proceeding to convert.
- The magnetic strip in the tape has been torn/snapped/damaged. Can you repair it?
Yes - $10 per repair. However, if it still continues to snap when we try to fast forward, it is still chargeable.
- How long does a VHS / miniDV to DVD conversion job take?
Most are completed within 24 hours. However, if delivery is required, the courier company takes up to 6 hours to courier the tapes to us, making it a total of 2 days for you to get back the converted tape and disc.
Also, conversions of multiple tapes need more time. For each tape conversion, it requires one day. So for conversion of 5 tapes, please allow us 5 days. If you need your tapes converted faster, please ask for Super Express Service.
- What are your shop's opening hours?
We are open on most weekends and public holidays too. However, please call before coming.
- How do I reach your shop?
We now have a interactive map of our location at the Contact Us page. However, please call before coming to ensure we are around to receive you.
- Can I combine two or more VHS / miniDv tapes into one DVD?
Yes. This is done at no additional charge. Please note that PAL and NTSC video cannot be put in one DVD Video disc. Also, the video tapes will still be counted as two separate units. For example, if you want us to put two 30 min VHS tapes into one DVD, it will be $13 x 2 + $4 = $30.
- Are the converted DVD discs playable in all DVD players?
As long as your player supports DVD+R (a very popular recording format) and the TV standard (NTSC), it should work.
Please note that we do not make any guarantees that it will play in your player, but if it does not work in any PC as well, its most likely a problem in the conversion and you should contact us for a free re-conversion.
- Are your video conversions guaranteed?
If the disc does not work in your player and in your PC, please let us know for a free re-conversion.
- What is the level of confidentiality and privacy of my submitted video tapes/discs?
Your videos are processed by only a single person in most cases. That person is assigned to the conversion, authoring and all processes related to the conversion of the video. At rare occasions, a second person may be needed if the first person is unable to complete the job. Do let us know if we are handling sensitive documents so as to ensure strict handling by one person for the whole process.
- I have not played my tapes and they are moldy with visible white specks on the black tape. Can you still convert?
For tapes with visible white specks, we will try to fix up the tapes. If problems persist, we will clean the tape with wet soft sponges. If problems still persist, we will return you the tape with no conversion done. All this will incur a charge of $10 per tape.
There is a risk of damage to the tape when this sort of cleaning is done. The tape may snap or slowly tear, resulting in some loss of video. This is why we obtain your permission before proceeding with any cleaning.
- I just want this 5 minute clip from the video tape but I am not sure where it is. Can you help?
Performing such a service will require lots of time as we need to play through the entire tape. This is why we charge
$33 per hour of tape you want us to search. To avoid this situation, please tell us the start time-code and end time code. The time-code is the time from the beginning of the tape to the part you want us to start and stop converting.
- My tape has copy-protection or Macrovision protection. Can you convert it?
Yes - however, you will need to declare and sign a copyright waiver and declare that you have the right to make an additional copy to it. There will otherwise be no additional charges.
- Do the DVD discs you create have any User Operation Prohibitions, Prohibited User Operations (UOPs or PUOs), Macrovision, Content Scramble System (CSS) or region code protection?
- Do you add any watermarks or scrolling marquees in the DVD discs?
No we don't. Not even in the disc media itself. We write all labels on the holder of the DVD only. The resulting DVD is 100% free of any h2ofun.net branding.
- Can I make copies of the DVD? Can I copy it to my hard disk and play from there?
Yes, however, for copyrighted videos, you are not allowed to make more than the one copy we make for you.
- Can I throw away my VHS / miniDV tapes after conversion?
Having mentioned that converted videos are not a 1:1 copy (see #2), we recommend storing the tapes in airtight containers in a cool dry place for future technologies such as Blu-Ray which promise higher quality conversions for your VHS / miniDV tapes.
- Do you make chapter points for DVD videos?
Yes. Depending on the length of the video, we make chapter points at intervals of either 3 or 5 minutes. This is at no extra cost and performed on every DVD conversion we do.
- Can you convert S-VHS?
Yes. They will be charged at VHS rate.
- Can you convert VHS-Compact (VHS-C / S-VHS-C)?
Yes. They will be charged at VHS rate.
- Why don't miniDv or Digital8 video conversion jobs have Digital Enhancement?
miniDv and Digital8 formats record video in digital format, hence there is no need for such enhancements. VHS is an analog system, hence requiring digital video enhancements, stabilization and filters to port it properly to digital so as to preserve the original video as best as possible.
- Does a DVD conversion improve the original tape's quality?
No but depending on your player, you may get a better quality video. For example, if you play your tapes on a 2 head VCR, the images will be noisy and grainy. With our players, the tape is played using high end decks.
- I am confused by your charges - could you give me some examples?
We have some example scenarios here. For example, 1 hour of VHS to VCD would cost $10 + $1 = $11 to convert. The last column states the total cost for that conversion.
- My VHS is a 180 min tape, but the content is only 50 minutes. Will I be charged for 3 hours?
No. You will be charged only for the first hour.
- My tape is only 20 min. Will I be charged for the full hour?
Yes - we charge by per hour block. So even if your tape is 5 min, the charge will be one hour unit. However, we understand that paying for a little bit extra may be a bit too much so we allow up to 10 minutes over before we count it as an additional hour as a friendly gesture.
So if your tape has a total length of 1 hr 9 min, we'll count it as 1 hour only. On the other hand, if it has 1 hour and 11 minutes, it will be counted as 2 hours.
- What payments do you accept?
We accept checks, cash (only if self-collecting), inter-bank transfers and ATM transfers at no extra charge.
- Do I have to make full payment first?
No, we will let you know the due amount once the conversion has been done. Delivery will be dispatched once full payment has been received and processed (if paying by check).
COLLECTION AND DELIVERY
- Is the delivery done by your company?
Delivery is performed by a third party courier service.
- How is the delivery rate determined?
The distance between our office at Auburn and your location, the time range of when we can collect and whether your location is a secured/remote area determines the total charge.
For instance, the lowest delivery rate - $10 - is only when your location is
insdie the Auburn area, we can collect the tapes anytime during normal office hours and the location is not in a remote area.
The delivery cost may also be increased if the quantity of tapes to convert is large.
- Can I arrange my own courier?
Yes, however, you must inform us first and obtain our full address for the courier to deliver the media to. The courier must inform us before coming to our office to ensure someone is around to receive him.
- How many hours can I put in a DVD?
DVD: Up to 8 hours, but at a considerable loss of quality (picture becomes softer). We recommend 2 hours per DVD, our standard policy for best quality/space ratio.
- If I choose to make a DVD of a VHS / miniDV, will it be an exact copy of the source?
DVD discs store video data using Lossy Compression, where bits of video data are discarded to ensure reasonable usage of the available space. If we were to put the uncompressed video data in a DVD, the maximum it can contain is only 4 minutes! As such, the answer would be No. But wait, the algorithm is so advanced that the differences are almost unnoticeable, unless you squeeze in more than 1 hour in a DVD, at which we will have to lower the bitrate. Bitrate refers to the amount of data recorded for every second.
With every new video format, the amount of data discarded is being reduced. For instance, VCD video have a bit rate of 170 KB per second while DVD-Video can have up to 1200 KB per second, that's about seven times better quality. With Blu-Ray (4500 KB per second) gaining ground, bit rates are set to increase resulting in a better copy of the original video.
- I want to edit my videos. Am I able to do so?
Yes, however, we strongly recommend the native AVI format for editing. This type of format does not go through lossy MPEG2 encoding and allows you to generate a high quality end result. You will need to provide us a hard disk as the file can be very large. For an hour of video, it will take about 13GB of space.
- How exactly do you do your conversions?
We use professional level equipment to capture at uncompressed AVI and then run a cpu-intensive high quality MPEG2 encoding processing using a high end PC utilizing the latest Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor. We do NOT use consumer-grade DVD dual decks or TV capture cards (e.g. Hauppauge, Pinnacle) to perform the transfer hence giving you the highest quality for your money.
For miniDv conversions, it is entirely digital. Digital data from the tape is encoded to the DVD format directly.
If there is something more specific that you want to know, contact us!
- What is the bitrate of the DVD Video that the videos are converted to?
We try to maximize quality by making use of the available space in the DVD as much as possible
If the video is <= 1.1 Hour, the bitrate is 8000kbps average Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
If the video is <= 1.5 Hours, the bitrate is 6000kbps average Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
If the video is <= 2 Hours, the bitrate is 4500kbps average Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
If the video is >= 2 Hours, it is split between 2 DVD discs with 5500-8000kbps average Variable Bit Rate
- What is the resolution of the DVD videos that the original videos are converted to?
For NTSC videos, we use 720 x 480. This is the highest possible resolution possible under the DVD-Video standard.
- What is the audio format used in the DVD?
We use Dolby Digital's AC3 format or the MPEG Layer II format depending on the source. At request, we can also do PCM uncompressed audio, but please note that it takes up much more space.
- What is the bitrate of the FLV Flash Video?
We will ask for your preferred quality before proceeding to convert. The higher the bitrate, the better the quality but it will require more space and bandwidth.
Low - 200kbps
Medium - 400kbps
High - 700kbps
Contact us if you have further queries.