Monthly Archives: February 2013

3/4” U-matic Transfers

Audio & Video, Blog0 comments

One of the most common specialty formats we transfer to DVD or file is 3/4” tape, also known as U-matic or ‘three-quarter-inch’.

It’s a pretty large tape format, much bigger generally than a VHS tape which utilizes ½” tape. It was produced in 1971 for consumer use, this format actually failed here but saw a lot of success on the commercial side of things. In the 1970’s the format was utilized for broadcast television. That’s why most of my customers who still retain these types of tape were either actors or industry professionals seeking to revamp their reel or to backup the tapes which do deteriorate over time

In fact, this type of tape is one of the most problematic formats. Perhaps it’s because of it’s age. It is a higher quality format than say VHS but it does tend to deteriorate. I have seen many many tapes that no longer play or get stuck in the machine. Tapes that may have only been played once. Then again, I also see pristine tapes from the 70’s come through here without a problem.

The main decision you want to make is whether to go to digital file or DVD. That really depends on your use. If you want to store the file, either way is fine. If you want to watch it I recommend the DVD. If you want to edit the footage or incorporate it into your reel or some other compilation, the file is the way to go in which case you’ll require a storage device such as a thumb drive or hard drive depending on running time. I can even help you upload a file to the web to share with friends or colleagues. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding 3/4” tape or any other formats.

Always Be Learning

Audio & Video, Blog0 comments

If salesmen should always be closing, then perhaps media types should take on the motto “Always be learning.”

A little over 4 years ago I applied for an internship online. A few months later it turned into a paid gig. I had been out of the film industry for a solid 10 years and everything had changed. I didn’t know much about computers and my technical knowledge was extremely limited. I was faced with the daunting task of learning an incredible amount of strange knowledge and skills. Or I could give up and try my hand at some other line of work.

Around the second week of the internship I was extremely frustrated with some piece of equipment that wasn’t working properly and as I took my lunch break I pondered the idea of simply cutting my losses and going back to the drawing board. I was pretty close to just taking off but a little voice inside me said, “stay.” So I listened and I’m glad that I did.

I haven’t always been the type to soak up knowledge like a sponge. That’s not really who I have ever been. I have to work at it. If someone asks me something my gut reaction has always been, “No,” or “Not interested,” because somehow the idea of participating in life seems unbearable at times. So just like that inspiring Jim Carrey film Yes Man, I’m saying yes to life and to the people in it. I have found there are tremendous benefits to the simple motto, “Always be learning.”

It’s been a crazy road with many trying moments in the work place when I just want to give up. But because I’ve just learned a bit here and a bit there over a decent period, now I’m a professional demo reel editor and all kinds of industry professionals give me compliments on my skills. I feel that the road is narrowing but I’m learning a bit more each day on my journey to who knows where.


8mm Film Transfers: Framing

Audio & Video, Blog0 comments

One very interesting fact about 8mm and Super8 transfers that most people don’t realize is that when the transfer process happens, the framing of the picture actually cuts off some of the picture on the left and right hand side.


Part of the transfer tech’s job is to position the 16×9 box within the film to create an effect that leaves clean edges. That’s why the cutting occurs. The top is intact.


The HD footage is 16×9 so the aspect ratio dictates the shape of the box that is visible. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this says that people don’t want to see the messy edge-work with the sprocket holes but I think I might be inclined to get my own film done that way. I had my Super8 footage transferred professionally a few years back and I’m considering re-doing it myself here to get the entire picture. Then I can make the final decision if I want to in editing. That way I have more control.


I realize of course that most people don’t have access to editing equipment or have the interest to even take on such a task and that over half of my customers prefer a DVD to the HD files. And to these customers, I’m sure that they just want a nice, clean finished product with no ragged edges. I understand that.


For more information on 8mm film transfers, please contact us at here.