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Audio & Video

On The Importance of Labeling

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I transfer a ton of tapes, every day and often I come across tapes that aren’t labeled.

They’ve been sitting in a garage for 20 years and nobody knows what’s on them. Sometimes people come to me with a whole box of ancient tape without a clue what’s on it and we go through each tape to find out if it’s worth transferring. I can help people with this for free if it’s just a couple of tapes but if you have a whole box, it’s going to cost you my hourly rate which is $60 with a half hour minimum.

Other, more courageous customers just hand over the goods and ask me to transfer it all, whatever is there, be it TV shows from the 80’s or home movies and vacation videos. There is another type of customer as well who comes in with a detailed list of his or her collection of video. The names of each tape is listed as well as running time and the number of coppies they want. It pays to be organized.

Perhaps it’s a bit of an overkill to actually write it all out but I find the thing that’s most important to label on your tape is the date. Put the date down and the people on the video. It will save you so much time and energy if you ever want to find it. So for all of you mini DV camcorder family documentarians, do yourself a favor. Label it. After all, these precious images may be all that we have as time passes and these events and people and places leave our lives. To contact us, please click this link.

Tape to Disc

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I transfer a lot of tape to disc, meaning DVD and even audio cassette to CD.

I also make copies of those discs with printed, professional looking labels for your enjoyment or profit. I’ve made a lot of friends doing this kind of work. Movie people, comics, actors, directors, musicians, poets all come into the shop. Some just need a transfer. But the regulars build up a rapport and I feel very good about the relationships I’ve built with people over the last 4 years I’ve been with the company.

When I came in, I knew very little compared to what I know now but the good thing is, there may as well be an infinite amount to learn in the media business, partly because it’s changing every day. It’s this knowledge that I’m in pursuit of as well as the relationships that have grown over time that make me passionate about what I do. If it was just transfers, I probably would have lost interest a long time ago. But to quote the Beatles, I’ve got to admit it’s getting better all the time. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. – John & Paul

Hard Drives 106: Phantom Power

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Being that it’s nearly Halloween, I figure I’d write a little piece about Phantom Power, the ghoulishly invisible power that helps your external hard drive operate without wires.

It works by siphoning off power like a vampire from the computer itself. Have you ever wondered why you can just plug your thumb drive into the USB port on your computer and it will light up and function without an electrical source? This too is the phantom power.

Also, any drive that does not require a plug is also operating off of this type of power, now ubiquitous in this modern age. For more info on hard drives please enjoy reading my series. Also, if you have a subject you want to know about that may pertain to my part of the world, please let me know and I will do my best to address it in a timely manner. Thank you and good night. I am off. I have jack-o-lanterns to carve.

How does our pricing work?

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I get a lot of questions about pricing and I wanted to write something about how it works.

It’s not always very cut and dry. Larger jobs require more thought because we give discounts for volume. Even if you have as few tapes as 10, we give 10% off. If you have 20 or more tapes, we give now give 15% off. However, some price points are very simple to give.

For instance, VHS to DVD transfers cost $16 for tapes under 2 hours. 2-4 hour tapes are $25. 4-6 hour tapes (yes, they exist!) are $35. That’s because each DVD has a maximum length of 2 hours in order to preserve quality. I could record an 8 hour DVD of your material and fit it all on one DVD but then you’d have some very blurry faces and nobody wants that.

I get this questions a lot. “Okay, my tape is half an hour, how much is that?” Well, it’s under 2 hours, right? So you get the picture. I also do a lot of DVD duplications, short runs and larger runs, even replication. So if you have a DVD and you want copies, this is how much they will run you, 1-5 discs is $5/disc. 4-20 discs is $4/disc.

I hope that this is helpful. We don’t really have a comprehensive price sheet. It’s complicated. I can also give pricing for audio cassette tapes. 60 minute tapes are $20 and 90 minute tapes are $25. 90 minute tapes require two CDs because a CD only holds about 80 minutes worth of audio. We also do specialty tape formats like Hi8, Video 8 and mini DV to DVD transfers. These are all $25/tape. HDV is $35 to DVD. And we can go to file with all of these formats as well. Any further questions about pricing? Please click on the word “here” or call this number. (323) 469-0707 Thanks for reading.

DV to DVD

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The important thing to know about this kind of conversion is that there are two main types of DV tapes, HD and SD. That is High Definition and Standard Definition.

Why is this important you may be wondering? Because the format determines which deck is used in the conversion as well as how much it’s going to cost you. HD transfers to DVD cost $10 extra. The only way to know if you have HD is if you know some information about the camera used to produce the tape. HD cameras shoot HD footage. So while your tape my say it’s HD, if an SD camera was used, it would produce SD footage.

DV is considered a specialty format, so even though these tapes are generally 63 minutes max, the cost is $25/tape. We do offer discounts for volume. 10% off for 10 or more tapes. We can also make a 2nd batch of copies for $4/disc, so you can send them out to family and friends. On top of that we can also go to file as well if you want to edit your footage to get the maximum effect.

I know from experience that sitting around with my family watching old home movies is a lot of fun and it’s a way for us to bond. But the better the edit and the music are, the more we all enjoy watching them and the more likely that we’ll watch them more than once. For more information, please contact us. (323) 469-0707

Hard Drives 104: Flash drives

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Many people now carry little “flash” aka thumb drives on their key chain.

I myself have a little Lacie drive that even looks like a key with a hole allowing it to fit on my key ring. These are perfect for storing documents, pictures or even little movie files.

The longer a movie is will have an effect on the file size and thus it will be the deciding factor of whether or not it will fit on your flash. Even these drives are getting smaller and smaller and holding more and more space. Also, they’re relatively inexpensive and quite handy for transporting files. I use mine if I’m transferring a file that’s too large for email to a computer that is not connected to my office network. Also, when clients come in with artwork for DVDs and CDs they generally bring a thumb drive with the PSD or JPG so I can situate the image on top of the disc when creating a Print Label Template.

The only limitation these drives have is that they won’t generally hold larger files. However, newer thumb drives are able to hold larger files because the hard drives are being made with 16, 32 and even 64GBs of space. So for this modern world, you’ll require a key to the computer world. That would be your flash. Wield it wisely my friends.

Hard Drives 105: Brands

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VHS to DVD Transfer

There are a lot of options out there as far as external hard drives are concerned but there are a couple of brands at the top of the heap which I would recommend.

Easily in the top 3 drives are G-Drive, Lacie and Western Digital. I personally would prefer the dependability of a G-Drive. I do have a cheap drive I purchased over 5 years ago before I became more knowledgeable on the subject through work. I can’t say I’ve had any problems, but I don’t really have much peace of mind when it comes to the media stored there. I use it mainly as a backup though, so even if it crashes, I won’t need data recovery because I have that information elsewhere.

That being said, you can get these drives now with 500GB – 3TB of space, which is pretty immense for relatively low prices. When I was in college in the year 2000 I had a drive that stored 20GBs and if I remember correctly it cost me about $190! Today that can buy a 2TB drive! That’s roughly 100 x the storage space. I also have Lacie and G-Drives at my office and they really seem to be holding up without any problems.

The question might arise, where to purchase these items and how to get them to me, the guy working on your job. That would generally be done via the internet. Find out how much space you’ll need. Generally I use the ProRes codec which gives you about 30GB/hr. So if you have a 2hr VHS and you want a file transfer, you’ll need 60GB or less to store it. You can have the drive shipped directly to Advanced Media and you can just make sure your name is on it so I know who it belongs to. I get drives every day and it’s important that they are properly labeled to avoid confusion. For more information feel free to contact us here.

Hard Drives 103: Compatibility

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The Visitor

The Visitor

Some might say that there are only two types of computers in this world, Mac and PC and they would be right.

That means, that drives have to be formatted for Mac or PC. PC has a wide array of formats such as NTFS, Fat32 or MS-DOS and Mac has Mac OSX extended. That means you have to format the drive so that it’s compatible with the either Mac or PC, whichever you happen to be using. You may have both. I know it’s possible to partition a drive so that one side is PC and the other is Mac formatted.

There is also software available that can help you read and write to either drive. For instance I use Mac drive on my PC. Of course on a Mac, you can click and drag small files to your PC formatted drive. It will generally mount automatically. However, large files, files over 1GB such as most movie files will be are going to give you an error message. So you may have to reformat. That means erasing everything from the drive, so back up any valuable info and head to Disc Utility to reformat to Mac OSX . Also, if you’re not sure what your format is, Disc Utility will tell you and you can also rename your drive here if you so choose.

Another way to find out is to right click on the drive and select Get Info from the pull down. That will tell you all about the drive, including how it’s formatted, how much space is available and how much is already being used up. For more information, please, keep reading.

Groupon Deals

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You may be aware that we are now involved with Groupon.

We’re announcing our 3rd deal on the 19th and the jist of it is that you get 50% off of your media transfers. We transfer from tape to digital formats such as DVD or file. We’re also now including HD file transfers from Super8 and 8mm film.

This is a very high quality file that you can edit or simply archive for future generations. We believe that your footage should be preserved for future generations because family history is very important. These memories captured on film and video can give a future generation insight into where they come from which will help them figure out where they are going. So check us out on Groupon. For more information please contact us here.

Film to Video

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Many places do film transfers but if high quality is important to you, Advanced Media is a very good option.

We are now offering files in full HD which means 1080i. A lot of people are very curious as to how these transfers are done. The telecine process involves transferring your footage to HD files or DVD, whatever your choice. We also offer Bluray discs for the modern consumer. Part of the process is figuring out your frame speed, that is, how many frames per second pass through the projector. This is key because the process also involves taking your film which may be 16 o 18 frames per second and converting it to video which is approximately 30 frames per second.

Our machine does utilize an HD camera, a projector and a computer. It is a 3 step process. The film is cleaned and prepped and each reel runs one at a time. The transfer is done next and then the processing. It is an involved process with a qualified technician who is present throughout, overseeing every aspect from start to finish. If you have any more questions about the process, please feel free to contact us here. (323) 469-0707

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