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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

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I looked at your site. So what is exactly that you do?

 

We specialize in media services in various capacities – we service individuals and companies with non-broadcast type media, such as home movies and family history all the way to large video and images libraries. The other side of our company specializes in providing broadcast and post-production services to the film & TV industry. We integrated the company in such way that both divisions compliment and benefit each other, which is a tremendous benefit that goes directly to our customers.

 

Why should I choose you and not a large retailer that provides transfer services?

You only transfer and preserve your personal memories, family history and unique legacy once. Wouldn’t you rather do it with a company that is dedicated, committed and that specializes in such service, and where you know that your personal content will be dealt with professionally and with care? We think you would.

 

You got a point here but I’m still not convinced. What else?

Well, the level of expertise we have is very deep and very extensive. We do provide high-end services to the motion picture industry. We maintain our equipment and upgrade it constantly. Since we do work with the government and they generally have large volume jobs, we need to keep investing in new equipment all the time. We have a wide range of tape players and we do fit your tapes with the best player to get maximum results. We only use the best and most expensive brand of DVD media we know of. We have a secure and climate-controlled vault on site. We have very friendly and helpful staff, as well as technical and professional and can always recommend from a myriad of options. We keep investing, learning and researching new developments and innovations in technology and we always think of the next step so that you don’t have to. When we get your most precious and once in a lifetime memories, we take care of them like they were our own. It is our commitment to you and we hope you end up choosing us.

 

Video

 

If my tapes are only 5 minutes long, do you still charge the same rate?

We offer a reduced transfer rate on this site to nationwide customers and we charge per tape transfer regardless of the tape length.

 

If I want to combine several tapes to 1 DVD, is there a discount?

We charge per tape transfer, regardless of whether we go to the same DVD or individual discs.

 

I am not sure if there is anything on my tapes. Will I still have to pay?

If the tape is blank, you will not be asked to pay.

 

Do you offer color-correction, repair and restoration services?

We sure do.

 

Do you handle specialty video formats (like 1”, reel-to-reel video, D1 etc.)?

If it’s video, we can do it. We are yet to encounter a format we cannot service.

 

I would like to transfer my video to file. Any format or type you recommend?

Depends on the level of user and nature of use, we generally recommend the following:

Home use –

PC platform: AVI or WMV

Mac platform: Quicktime ProRes or DV

Internet use –

MPEG-4 or H.264

Professional / Archival use –

Uncompressed or ProRes (HQ)

High-end use –

Uncompressed RGB or DPX

 

Can you handle forensic videos and time-lapse?

Generally speaking – yes. Some formats are more difficult than others. It is always smart to provide us with the manufacturer info.

 

My video is on some of those flash card based cameras. Can you read them?

Yes.

 

I need to transfer my video for broadcast or high-quality use. Do you offer such service?

We do. Our broadcast division, HD Creative Services, can transfer and convert any video into a professional stabilized file or format.

 

What process do you use for PAL / NTSC conversion?

We offer 3 options to choose from. The most affordable is our basic standards conversion process and is suitable for home-users and individuals. The next option is software-based conversion, which is suitable for organizations and institutional users. Our best option is using high-end equipment by Teranex, which is used by the TV industry, and is most suitable for broadcast, professional and high-end users. Please let us know the nature and purpose of your conversion, and our team will be able to assist you with the best option that would serve you.

 

Can you change the speed of my video?

Yes we can. There are 3 general processes to achieve good results – (1) frame duplication – fastest and easiest, (2) frame interpolation – more time consuming, (3) motion interpolation – very time consuming. Depends on the quality and level of results you need to get, we can customize our service to answer your needs.

 

Audio

 

Can you transfer my audio cassettes, records and DATs to CDs?

Yes.

 

Can you clean them up, restore them and make CDs with individual tracks?

Yes.

 

Can you transfer from reel-to-reel audio?

Yes. We can do ½” and ¼” and can handle all speeds, all directions and mono, stereo and quadro.

 

DVD

 

What type DVD transfer options do you offer?

We offer 2 primary DVD transfer options – (1) DVD-R, or transferring and recording direct to DVD from your source media in real-time, and (2) DVD Authoring, where we digitize and obtain your file first, then process and encode it on a computer at a very high-quality and eventually author it into a DVD. The main differences between DVD-R and Authoring are the speed, quality, price and controls. DVD-R is real-time, is the more affordable option, offers quality suitable to the home user and offers no controls over the DVD, aside for auto-chapters. The Authoring process is time consuming, labor intensive, more expensive, offers a much higher quality and various controls, such as manual chapters, menus, additional tracks etc.

As a general rule of thumb, all video and DVD transfer companies offer the DVD-R service because of its speed, efficiency and ease of use. In reality, DVD Authoring will yield much better results, however, may be not economical for most users. If you want to reach optimal archival quality with your transfer, and spending on Authoring seems like the best choice, we are more than happy to accommodate your needs.

 

What type of DVD media do you use?

We only use the JVC Taiyo-Yuden brand, which is rated as one of the top brand, if not the best, and offers 99.9% reliability performance. The JVC TY brand is generally more expensive than other brands, and we are happy to pay that difference, knowing we offer tremendous value and helping our customers preserve their memories for the long run.

 

Do you test your DVDs before sending them out to me?

Of course. Every time. Every one.

 

How much video can a DVD hold?

DVD at a high bit rate of 5-6 (low compression) holds about 90 minutes of video. DVD at a lower bit rate of 3-4 (higher compression) can hold up to 2 hours. This is less recommended, since noticeable video artifacts, such as pixilation and compression become quite noticeable. There is a dual-layer version of DVDs that holds twice the capacity. These DVDs are not compatible on some older DVD players and are more expensive. While generally only used by professionals, we sometime recommend them for home users because of their ability to hold longer durations at much better quality.

 

How long will DVD be around?

While we don’t own a crystal ball, we estimate, based on past performance, that DVD will still be around at 2020, although not as a primary media and perhaps not as readily available for the home user. Still today, it is the cheapest, most mobile and tangible form of media around and offers a fairly good quality.

 

Can you make video files out of DVDs?

Yes, we can. It is called DVD extraction. Because of the nature of DVD compression, it is always better to use the original non-DVD source.

 

I have an older DVD disc that was made for me a while ago and it doesn’t play on my newer computer or DVD player. Can you help?

Depends on the DVD. Some older DVDs can be read by at least one of our readers. Some cannot.

 

Can you add protection to DVDs?

Generally speaking, only replication (mass commercial duplication) process adds real protection. There are some encrypting and protection-adding devices for DVD. We do not offer that service.

 

Do you offer watermarking or burn-ins for DVD content and piracy protection?

Yes, we do.

 

HD & Blu-ray

 

Do you offer High-Definition services?

Yes. We have high-end professional and broadcast quality HD gear that is being used daily to service studio type motion pictures and TV shows. And you get to enjoy it too without paying much more.

 

What type of HD services you offer?

Digitizing, encoding, conversion and creation of various media such as Blu-ray, drives and internet files.

 

Do you offer Down Conversion and Up Conversion (Standard Definition to High Definition)?

We do. We use high-end broadcast gear to provide results that are 10 times better than what you would get using consumer electronics and that is generally available for the home-user.

 

Do you offer Blu-ray services?

Yes. For more information on our Blu-ray services, please go here:

http://www.bluraywizard.com/

 

Why should I transfer to Blu-ray?

There are several good reasons you may want to choose to transfer your memories to Blu-ray, especially if you have 8mm and 16mm film. The resolution in each frame of your film is in fact much higher than the resolution of a standard definition video, so in fact, by transferring and preserving your family film to standard definition video, such as DVD or even file, you are missing out on an opportunity to preserve it at a much higher resolution and picture clarity. Since we already scan your film into High-Definition video files as part of the process, the actual cost difference between preserving onto Blu-ray, or even HD, is not that much greater than going into DVD. Please visit our Blu-ray dedicated site at http://www.bluraywizard.com/, or contact us if you have more questions.

 

Film

 

How many minutes of film do I have?

 

Most individuals have collections of 8mm and Super 8mm at home, while some have 16mm and Super 6mm film. As a general rule of thumb, here is how you can figure out how much film you have:

 

For 8mm / Super 8mm film:

 

A reel of 3″ contains on average 50 feet, and will hold about 2-3 minutes

A reel of 4″ contains on average 100 feet, and will hold about 5-6 minutes

A reel of 5″ contains on average 200 feet, and will hold about 12-14 minutes

A reel of 6″ contains on average 300 feet, and will hold about 19-22 minutes

A reel of 7″ contains on average 400 feet, and will hold about 26-29 minutes

 

For 16mm / Super 16mm film:

 

A reel of 5” contains on average 200ft, and will hold about 6 minutes

A reel of 7” contains on average 400ft, and will hold about 11 minutes

A reel of 10½” contains on average 800ft, and will hold about 22 minutes

A reel of 12¼” contains on average 1200ft, and will hold about 34 minutes

A reel of 1311/16” contains on average 1600ft, and will hold about 45 minutes

A reel of 15” contains on average 2300ft, and will hold about 64 minutes

 

What processes do you use for transferring film to video?

The process of scanning or transferring film to video is called “telecine”. For 8mm & Super 8mm film, we use a Sniper scanner that scans each frame to High-Definition video. For 16mm & Super 16mm, we use a Rank Cintel scanner that scans each frame into standard definition. We currently do not offer 16mm to HD, however, we do plan on making an upgrade in the future in order to offer that service.

 

Will you splice my film?

It depends. We generally try and fit film onto larger reels in order to make the scanning and preservation process easier, which requires splicing. Splicing is the process of attaching 2 or more film reels together between the last frame of tail to the first frame of head. The splicing process is non-destructive to your film, and could be undone later on if you choose to at home.

 

Do you transfer sound?

Yes. Most home videos do not have sound on the film, however, some do. We are fully capable of transferring film sound.

 

Do you offer 35mm film telecine and scanning?

We do, however for non-professional use. Most 35mm are filmed and transferred for professional applications. We do provide and have transferred many rolls of 35mm for home viewing purposes. We do not offer film industry type 35mm scanning and telecine.

 

Do you offer 2K film scanning?

We do not.

 

Slides

 

What resolution would you scan my slides?

We scan 35mm slides at a range of 150 – 1500 dpi (dots per inch – a measurement that defines resolution – the higher the better) and can go up to 3600 dpi for high-end use. Since slides are smaller than photos, a higher dpi is generally preferred.

 

Photos

 

What type of files would you scan my photos to?

We generally suggest using the TIFF or TARGA format over JPEG. JPEG offers lossy image compression (compression that loses a pre-defined amount of information forever), while TIFF offers an uncompressed variation. TARGA also offers uncompressed variation, however it offers limited color depth.

 

Longevity & Technological Evolutions

 

With so many options, what should I transfer to?

It is true that today it is not as clear-cut when it comes to choosing what format to preserve your family history. With options abound, one can wonder which will work best. Should it be DVD or Blu-ray, or maybe file, and then what type of file, or should I put it on the cloud and how will it work… while we cannot tell you what would be the BEST solution for you, we would recommend the following selection process.

 

First ask yourself “how much protection do I need”?

If you lose that DVD or it scratches and breaks, what do you have left? We generally advise transferring to 2 formats, primarily DVD and file. DVD is tangible and file is accessible. If your budget limits a choice of one format, choose the one that seems right for you.

 

Second, ask yourself “how do I intend on using it”?

If you would like to share it at Christmas with friends and family in front of the TV, a DVD or Blu-ray may be the best choice. If you on the other hand intend on editing some of your content and posting it on YouTube or your own site, then files may be a better way to go.

 

Last, ask yourself “how would I be able to play it in the future?”

This may be the most difficult question to answer, since nobody has the crystal ball. If you look back at history, you will notice that film was around in common home movies use for around 50-60 years, analog video (VHS/Beta/Video8) was in general use for about 30 years, the DVD format has been around for over 10 years, right along digital video files, YouTube for around 5-6 years and the Cloud for about 2-3 years. As you can see, the rate of change and evolution in technology and its adaptation to the consumer marketplace is exponentially dropping. Luckily, still today, film from the 30s and VHS from the 70s can be played and preserved. As time goes by, you should expect that less and less individuals and companies would be able to offer the ability to view film and older tapes. We, at Advanced Media, think that it pays to preserve your memories and family history to some of the new formats out there so that you will not have to worry about going through the process again in a few short years.

 

If you want to learn more, we have a series of pages dedicated to that subject matter on our main company site at: http://www.advancedmediallc.com

 

What do you estimate would be some of the main digital media and technological advancements?

Hmmmm… that’s a good one. We definitely see file-based media increasing and cloud-based storage increasing exponentially. There is a very high profit margin for companies in the cloud and currently no marketing efforts are being spared. We expect more and more free limited cloud services that would convert many users, and that will start charging monthly subscription fees at a future date. In terms of optical discs, such as Blu-ray, interestingly enough, due to the emergence of 3D technology, we estimate that Blu-ray will hold up and increase for a while – as long as the major retailers will be faring well. DVD is certainly on a decline, however, due to our prediction in the rise of Blu-ray, it will still be supported along the way. Overall, we do think that new breakthroughs in digital video technologies will lead the way to newer file formats that offer high quality while keeping files size smaller. We also expect more and more mobile readers and devices along side the iPad and Nook, which will have their own unique format. All in all, we expect the next decade to be quite interesting in terms of digital media.

 

How will using the Cloud affect me?

As you can imagine, the cloud represents a paradigm shift in proximity of ownership and control. Until recently, owning your family history, personal memories and any type of recorded document was typically done on a physical and tangible form and stored at your home or at a known location, such a local storage facility. While certain risks exist, such as theft, fire and a possible physical loss, in reality, a great portion of families history and precious memories have survived. On the other hand, the risks of digital media storage are still by large unknown. All it takes is one virus and a careless download of a file from the internet to effectively wipe out everything you have. The Cloud offers additional challenges, such as service outage and account hacking. Until recently you stored your home videos and family history at home and had full control over them. In the near future, some of your most precious memories and family legacy would be stored somewhere around the globe. While the Cloud certainly stands to offer some great advantages, it is best to use it with a grain of salt.

 

If you want to learn more, we have a series of pages dedicated to that subject matter on our main company site at: http://www.advancedmediallc.com

 

 

Shipping

 

What is Personal Delivery?

Personal Delivery is a service we offer to locals in our area who have orders that are estimated at over $500 of value, and who prefer us to pick up and deliver to them at no cost. Under the Personal Delivery, we cover the area from East LA to the West Side, Northridge at the north and Culver City at the south. If you would like to benefit from this service and have an order with us totaling over $500, please request so from one of our customer service staff.

Will my family history be secure shipping back and forth?

While no firm data exists, the estimated rate of lost packages by FedEx and UPS is less than 1% (USPS is estimated at just over 1%). On top of that, one should assume that a good portion of these lost packages are simply being misplaced and could generally be retrieved within a few days. During our existence, we have not yet encountered any package that was lost. Using FedEx or UPS with tracking number for shipping is considered a better option. Please do your own research about shipping, and please understand that we only provide general information, and not advice.

 

Where can I find information about packing properly?

There is plenty of information on the internet. We have some general advice we got from the eBay site and have included that with our Shipping Form that can be downloaded in the GET STARTED page.

 

Storage

 

What is the best way to store my old tapes?

We always suggest that you keep your old tapes if you can, at least until the day that the last VHS player on earth will cease to exist. The optimal storage conditions for tapes, are away from any magnetic fields such as speakers and drives, and in a dark, dry, clean and cool environment. There are some dedicated storage facilities that specialize in storing media for long term, however these can be expensive. If you can designate an area in your house that is not being used, ensure that your tapes are placed away from any magnetic inducing device, get no direct light and are kept in closed box, you should expect your tapes to last much longer. Having said that, it is important to note that analog consumer grade tapes, such as VHS, Beta etc. were designed to last for about 30 years. We are currently at the last leg of these tapes life cycle.

 

What is the best way to store my old film?

Overall, pretty similar to the question above, however, film is not being affected by magnetic field. For film, the most critical factors are temperature (the lower the better), the lack of light (it is an optical media) and the cleanliness of the environment.

 

What is the best way to store my discs?

Optical discs, such as DVDs, CDs and Blu-rays, are generally more robust and sturdy than tapes and film, with the exception that discs are generally handled bare, while film and tape is spooled or enclosed in a cassette. Therefore storing discs in an environment where they will not be moved around is critical. Discs may be affected by temperature, yet not to the extent of tapes and film. Same goes for temperature, dust, humidity etc. As long as you keep your DVD in its cover, it should be well preserved. We recommend the flexible plastic poly cases, since the do not easily break like the sturdy plastic covers.

What is the best way to store my files?

When it comes to storing your files, the best protection is making backups (or duplicates), with one being a drive that is not usually powered on and used. The second very critical element is the brand of the drive. Many consumers choose to buy the cheapest drive they can find, often times at generic electronic retailers. That is a grave mistake, since these drives are not made to last and are not as durable as the more professional and commercial brands. While drives overall came a long way and are not better than ever, we still recommend factoring in the leading brands in durability, and not making a selection solely by price. The general rule of thumb is – if it is sold at a consumer electronic retailer – it is of inferior quality (Fry’s is an exception). If it is offered at a store that does not specialize in electronics – run away. You’re taking a chance. The brands we recommend and like the most are LaCie and G-Technology. They offer warranties and honor them too. They are both US companies, and they respect and believe in customer service. There are other brands, which as good as well, and we simply do not recommend them. Please do your own research before making any choice.

 

Insurance

What if my content has a commercial value or some unique value that must be preserved?

If you happen to own content that has commercial value, real historical value or some other type of value that may be higher than of the average home video, you will want to consider storing the original along with the transfers at a dedicated media storage facility. With all the wonders and advancements of digital technology, from a pure technical point, analog media still offers superior quality in some instances, and should be correctly preserved. These dedicated media storage facilities offer a 24/7 climate-controlled environment, which is fire-proofed, bonded, dry and secure. If you cannot afford to lose your content, it is not worth taking any risk.

 

 

 

We hope we were able to answer some of your questions here and hopefully you got a bit educated and entertained too. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at our toll free number at 1 (855) 551 5857 and we will do our best to answer.

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