Photo Scanning Leader Tackles 6 Billion Home Videos
BURLINGAME, Calif., May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — ScanCafe, the most trusted photo scanning service, with over 54 million images scanned, has launched today its service for editing and transferring consumer video tape content onto DVD.
Another Race Against Time
Video tapes, like VHS, have been one of the most successful consumer products ever fielded, and some 6 billion tapes have been sold in the US, with an average length of 2 hours each. That’s 12 billion hours of footage of new babies, first steps, weddings, barbecues, and graduations.
But video tapes were never meant to be a permanent medium, and irreparable signal loss strikes them in as soon as 20 years, even when stored under optimal conditions. Yet less than 1% of these memories have been transferred to digital, a much more durable and lossless format. The remaining 99% are still very much at risk.
“Our mission is really a race against time,” said Sam Allen, CEO of ScanCafe. “What strikes us about videotaped memories is that they are in even worse danger than photographs. Once a tape’s signal is degraded, or it cannot be played in a VCR, that memory is lost forever.”
Scanned by Hand
Video “transfer” services have been in existence for some time, but the majority of these are services where a tape is placed in a machine, played, and a DVD comes out on the other end. ScanCafe takes a different tack: video tapes are digitized by a technician, using studio quality equipment, and then reviewed and edited in detail, by hand, to address the many issues that plague old tapes:
- Color correction. Done by scene, to address faded colors.
- Picture stabilization. Jittery signals, which can cause brief moments of empty, black screen during display, are a problem with some media. ScanCafe can fix this by replacing the tape’s poor tracking signal with a consistent new one, all done digitally. Also, some tapes exhibit unusually bad flicker, and in many cases that can be repaired as well.
A Hollywood Experience
Once the video tape’s content are digitized and repaired, they are assembled and authored onto an advanced, Hollywood-quality DVD, complete with:
- Special effects to make watching old home videos more like watching a Hollywood movie. Customized graphics, menus, and other effects make old memories new.
- Manual scene selection. Automated services create a new “scene” every time a camera is turned off. But humans know when scenes start and end, not software.
- Manual trimming. This removes unwanted empty footage and preserves fade-ins and fade-outs that automated solutions might cut off.
The price for each video tape (up to 2 hrs in length) is just $14.99, including editing and an archival-quality DVD. No other service makes all of this available at any price, and those that even provide a portion of it charge about twice as much. Formats supported include VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Betamax, VHS HiFi, Hi 8, Digital 8, and MiniDV.
Founded in 2006, ScanCafe is an award-winning scanning service, serving pro photographers and amateur enthusiasts alike, that is dedicated to preserving consumer memories. ScanCafe scans and digitally repairs old photos, slides, negatives, and video tapes by hand, creating digital files that can be safely stored and shared forever. ScanCafe has successfully scanned and repaired over 54 million images to date, was named best scanning service by Money magazine, and cited for highest quality by Popular Photography and MacWorld. ScanCafe is based in Burlingame, Calif., and serves customers in the United States and Canada. For more information on ScanCafe, please visit http://www.scancafe.com, or follow conversations at http://www.twitter.com/scancafe.