Tag Archives: Buckhurst Hill

Buckhurst Hill area coverage – and beyond

Video Artisan’s studios are based in Clays Lane, Loughton, Essex (within easy reach of Buckhurst Hill). Therefore our location is perfect for servicing South Eastern England with London Underground connections and the M25. Furthermore, Stansted Airport is within 30-minutes drive from our studio edit facilities.

Our studio-based services range from full-broadcast specification edit facilities – to carrying out format and video transfers for members of the public. We also have a small filming studio ideal for talking-head greenscreen filming.

In addition, we cover corporate filming assignments throughout the world. This includes offering freelance camera operator and video editing services to client producers, agencies and other video production companies. With various cameras, lenses, camera mount systems, rails, sliders, lighting and sound kit we can cater for most video assignments.

Find your way from Buckhurst Hill

To book an appointment at our studios please contact our office on 020 3602 3356 and download our location map here.

Please contact Kevin Cook for further advice on our various video production and conversions services. kevin@video-artisan.com or call 020 83602 3356

Video Training

Bespoke Video Training

The continued rise in demand for online video has seen us providing bespoke media and video training packages to all manner of clientele. In the past month, this has included basic one-to-one coaching to local businesses though to specialist aviation industry training as far away as Brunei!

Though online video has been with us for some years, organisations are now really starting to understand how video can drive their business forward. And, for many, buying in video training and doing it themselves is the most logical way to achieve this.

CAT Video Training

A great example of how a Video Artisan bespoke video training package can help a business grow is our relationship with CAT Publications (Conference And Travel Publications). CAT have been creating print, online, educational and research content for the international events industry since 1987. Their editorial expertise and industry knowledge has helped them maintain their position as the most trusted resource for anything “events industry” related.

CAT are not shy about harnessing the power of video though. We have produced many films for them in the past five years – with numerous event documentaries on their M&IT Awards, Agency Challenge and Masterclasses. However, the next logical step for them was to start repackaging their extensive editorial output into a video format. The long-term aim is to create a vibrant online video channel of up to the minute news content and comment on the events industry across several their publications.

Video Training at CAT
Everyone enjoying the video training at CAT

Having already experimented outsourcing the the video element of this with their Intellectual Capitals product, they soon realised the most cost-effective and time-efficient approach would be to invest in the skills of their existing editorial team. They obviously didn’t need any guidance in journalism – but a well-structured video training and support package would enable them shoot, edit and produce compelling content, in-house. This would mean they could get their video content out faster and build even greater engagement with their audience.

More than just Video Training

Apart from the video training element of this service, Video Artisan also helped CAT with their investment in the kit needed for their in-house productions. This included specifying a lightweight camera system suitable for roving reporters, video editing software and all the video accessories needed to create professional looking videos (see notes below on the kit).

The initial training was spread over two days – starting with the principles of creating video interviews, developing a house-style and basic camera craft and sound recording techniques. Practical filming assignments were then followed with guidance on how to package up footage and other media assets using Edius editing software. The final steps included outputting settings and how to share content on social media platforms and achieve the best possible search engine visibility.

This is very much an ongoing relationship with CAT. The initial support package means we are going to be very instrumental in helping them to create their first two or three real pieces of video content. By then they should be well on their way to achieving their goals. However, as their video channel develops, there will be further involvement from Video Artisan that will see CAT evolve into the leading resource of video news and feature content for the events industry.

Your video training needs

Our main strength at Video Artisan is our ability to shape and develop video training services for any application or size of organisation. Through our extensive industry contacts and partners we can offer complete media training solutions – covering technical, creative and on-screen performance coaching to broadcast standards. If you’re thinking of creating your video content in-house, please get in touch for more details on our bespoke video training services. Email kevin@video-artisan.com or call 020 3602 3356.

NOTES: Video Artisan specified the JVC GY-HM170 compact 4K camera, E-Image EG03A2 tripod and accessories – sold as a bundle through ProAV . Additional filming kit included RODE NTG1 shotgun and Filmmaker Kit radio mic system. This configuration was chosen because its ability to easily shoot in either automatic, semi and manual modes – enabling their journalists to concentrate on the story but giving them the ability to develop their manual camera control skills over time.

Edius Pro 8 editing software was chosen for its ease of use and ability to incorporate source material in a range of formats. This is also the main editing system used by Video Artisan and therefore enabled easy remote support to CAT on future projects.

Video training with Edius
Video training with Edius
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Video to MP4 in Loughton Essex

Video to MP4

Video to MP4

Video to MP4 is on the up!  Just a few years ago we were almost exclusively converting VHS, VHS-C, 8mm and DV tapes to DVD. That’s still a significant part of what we do, and DVDs are going to be with us for many years to come, but our customers are starting to appreciate the convenience and benefits of having their videotape collection converted to MP4 files and supplied on USB stick.

So what is driving the change of video to MP4?

USBs are the "now" format!
USBs are the “now” format!

Our Video to MP4 conversion has many benefits over and above conversion to DVD. Without getting too geeky, MP4 (which is a digital video file format) has the potential of displaying much higher resolution images. However, this aspect is really only important if you have high definition videotapes that need converting. As with most things in life, you get out what you put in – so your never going to get high definition video from a VHS tape original. Sorry, but that’s a fact.

Where MP4 is extremely clever is that it compresses video more intelligently than the compression format used on a standard DVD (which, for the geeks among you, is MPEG2). Without any appreciable loss of quality you’ll only get around 2-hrs of standard definition video on a single-sided DVD (which has around 4.7GB of storage capacity). In MP4 format you can compress the video much more efficiently enabling you to get many more minutes into less storage space at a similar quality.

However, as clever as this all sounds the main benefits which our clients really like about our video to MP4 conversion service are:

1 – Easy to view

Most modern TV’s have the ability to playback MP4 files directly from a USB stick. Yes it’s true.. look on the back of your TV set and you’ll see a socket/s which you’ve probably not used before. Pop the USB stick in and select it from the source on your remote and, hey presto, the MP4 video files will play back just the same as they would if played from a DVD. MP4 files will also play back on BluRay players, mobile phones, tablets, media servers and more!  Go on, dare you! See if you’ve got a USB socket on your TV set.

video to MP4 - USB socket
2 – Easy to copy

Whilst it’s easy for us geeky people to copy DVDs, not every customer wants to download ripping programs from dubious sources and fill up their computers with rarely used programs. Just pop the USB stick in your computer and it will appear like any other drive. Drag and drop the MP4 files on to your hard drive and it’s all backed up safely.

3 – Easy to share

Not only can you easily make additional copies on USB sticks (or we can do it for you), but you can also upload your MP4 files to the likes of YouTube and share them with the rest of the world (or at least family and friends). Simply open a YouTube account and start uploading! If you don’t want to share them with any Tom, Dick or Harry use YouTube’s privacy settings to restrict viewing to the audience you want.

4 – Easy to edit

MP4 files are also a doddle to edit. Most computers come with basic video editing software – and for those that don’t there are some neat and very cost effective programs that will allow you to chop out the bad bits, add titles, music and effects that will make your home movies much more enjoyable. Full resolution files can also be supplied (call 020 3602 3356 for details).

5 – Easy to store

Finally, USB sticks take up much less space in our ever-more cluttered lives. They’re certainly much more compact than the videotapes we’ve converted for you.

Costs of converting video to MP4

What our clients like most about our video to MP4 service is that it costs about the same as converting to DVD. For details on our pricing structure please visit our website section here – www.video-artisan.com/video-to-dvd/

 

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Making your videotape to DVD conversions last forever

Videotape to DVD forever
How to make your memories last a lifetime or more!

A client asked me a great videotape to DVD question today…

“Which is the best way to ensure that my videotapes and cine films you’ve converted to DVD last as long as possible? They’re very precious family memories and I don’t just want these to last for a few years – but basically forever!”

First of all, I’m not talking here about how to create the best quality conversion from one media to another but rather advising a client on the best solution for ensuring longevity once analogue videotape to DVD (VHS, 8mm, VHS-C…) has been carried out.

If they wanted to know how to squeeze every last drop of quality out of their original material and digitize it into the best possible file type for storage or playback, that would be a whole different series of blogs!

Making your videotape to DVD conversions last forever

Once digitised on to DVD you can copy the disks as many times as you like, without further loss of quality. It’s quite a simple process on a PC and once copied there you can back-up the files to DVD or USB stick. I would personally do both.

Recordable DVDs are based on an organic material within a layer in the DVD being burnt with a laser; and through poor handling, storage, excessive light exposure, repeated playback and faulty playback machines, this layer can become corrupt over time. The solid state memory on a USB stick is more robust (albeit that you still have to care for it), but not currently so accommodating for playing back the media files they contain.

To further secure the data you could also back these USB sticks up to an online cloud storage facility. However, each DVD will contain up to 4.7GB of data, so this might take considerable time to upload.

What Video Artisan offer as a solution

In these situations we first suggest an additional DVD copy of each videotape transferred (see pricing here) and suggest these are stored away in a sealed box, in a dry and reasonably stable temperature environment (not the loft). Whilst the longevity of recordable DVDs is not actually known, stored in these conditions they should definitely last a lifetime.

Once converted to DVD (see prices here) we can then show clients how to copy the files to a USB stick, or offer to provide the whole service (supply of an 8GB USB stick and copying the video files to them) at an additional cost of £10 per converted tape.

USB and DVD
USB and DVD – belt and braces

Making these digital files last forever is then just a matter of the client (and everyone who comes after them) keeping on backing up or copying the digital files to whatever technology happens to evolve. That’s the hard part!

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Videotape to DVD for converting VHS, VHS-C, DV, Video8 and many other videotape formats

Videotape to DVD conversions Title
Videotape to DVD conversions by Video Artisan

Videotape to DVD – and every other combination

Video Artisan has been converting videotape to DVD for many years now and specialise in providing our clients with a fast, efficient and discreet service. Primarily aimed at customers who are looking for a local company to carry out their videotape to DVD conversions who prefer not to trust their precious memories to a postal service, we take great pride in helping our clients preserve and archive them on a more convenient and up-to-date format.

With day and evening time drop-off facilities in Loughton, Essex – we regularly carry out videotape to DVD conversion services to clients throughout Essex, London, Hertfordshire and beyond.

What is the benefit of videotape to DVD conversion?

The most common reason for our customers wanting to convert their videotape to DVD is that they no longer have a working machine to play them back on. However, there are a number of other benefits to having your videotape converted to DVD.

  • Whilst there are no advantages in terms of picture and sound quality (the quality of the original recording governs this), some modern DVD playback machines will up-scale the image when played back on a high definition screen giving the impression of a better quality image.
  • DVDs offer a much more sophisticated and quicker playback function – allowing you to quickly search through the content of the DVD. If you opt for our premium videotape to DVD service we can also add chapter points throughout the DVD enabling you to skip to designated parts of the recording.
  • DVDs also require much less storage or shelf space and, depending on the videotapes being converted, can hold the contents of a number of tapes on a single disk. (See sections below on tape capacities)
  • DVDs, if converted properly, can be played back on a variety of machines. These include standard DVD players, Sony PlayStation, Blu-ray players, Computers with DVD drives and portable all-in-one DVD player/screens. Whilst no format is guaranteed to last forever, DVDs are still widely manufactured and supported in new optical disk technologies.
  • Once converted to DVD it is very easy to make further copies – without losing any further quality in the recording. Video Artisan can provide these additional copies for a few pounds at the time of converting the videotape to DVD and recommend this for archiving purposes. Whilst the lifespan of a DVD, if stored correctly, will last for many years the memories they hold are very precious so it is always advisable to back them up.
  • Converting videotape to DVD involves digitising the pictures and sound and storing them in a digital format on the disk. Our standard service results in a disk which can be played back in a range of devices (see above) – but these files can also be imported into a video editing program for further copying and editing on a computer. Exploring the disk on a computer will reveal folders that contain files with a ‘.VOB’ suffice. By copying these to your computer and renaming them with a ‘.MPG’ suffice you can carry out more refinement yourself – although it might result in degradation if further compression is added. Alternatively, Video Artisan can convert the videotape into a range of edit-ready file formats for you to use directly that will help you retain as much quality as possible (available by separate quotation).

What is the most popular videotape to DVD conversion service?

Without doubt, the most regular videotape to DVD services we carry out is good old VHS to DVD. With literally millions of feet of VHS tape still in existence, holding many thousands of hours of family memories, these represent over 70% of the conversions carried out here at Video Artisan. Whilst there are a few VHS players available to buy new, the format is obsolete and the vast majority of machines are either defunct or coming to the end of their useful lives. Whilst it is a robust format, playing back your VHS tapes, or any other videotape format come to that, has the potential of damaging the tape beyond repair – especially when the machine has been poorly maintained, stored in damp or dirty conditions or simply not regularly powered up and used.

VHS to DVD
VHS to DVD – our most popular videotape to DVD service

VHS to DVD durations

VHS tapes come in a variety of lengths, ranging from a few minutes to up 4-hours. In addition, many recorders and camcorders offered the ability to record in long-play mode, which doubled the recording length available (at the cost of a lower quality recording). Converting VHS to DVD can therefore result in one tape needing to be spread over a number of DVDs. The capacity of a DVD is also governed by the amount of compression used when carrying out the conversion – but in a similar long-play mode will hold up to 4-hours on a standard single-sided DVD. The amount on compression that is used in the videotape to DVD process will depend on the quality of the original recording and we generally recommend a standard level of compression that will allow for up to 2-hours per DVD.

VHS-C

Videotape to DVD - VHS-C
VHS-C to DVD

To help reduce the size of the camcorder many manufacturers adopted a smaller variant of VHS – called VHS-C (the ‘C’ standing for ‘Compact’). These cassettes are slightly bigger than a cigarette packet in size. The most common running time for these cassettes is just 30-minutes but there were also 45-minute variants and, as with VHS, the machines offered a Long-play mode which doubled the recording time.

As VHS-C tapes recorded in exactly the same format as a normal VHS tape they can be played back in a normal VHS player with the use of an adapter which the tapes slotted into. These are the second most common tapes Video Artisan receives for videotape to DVD conversion.

S-VHS, S-VHSC and Digital S

JVC and other manufacturers further developed the VHS format to increase the picture quality and the most common of these was S-VHS (Super VHS). Identical in appearance and offering the same recording times, these cameras and VCRs were only popular for a short period in time. The Digital S format is comparatively rare and was normally only found on professional equipment.

Video8 or 8mm, Hi8 and Digital 8

Video8 or 8mm to DVD
Video8 or 8mm to DVD

Sony also developed a compact videotape format based on 8mm tape – which are roughly the size of a pack of playing cards and could contain up to 135-minutes of video in standard mode. Further developments in 8mm tape included Hi8 and Digital 8 (90-mins recording) formats – which offered higher quality recordings.

MiniDV, Standard DV, DVCAM and HDV

Further miniaturisation of camcorder cassettes saw the introduction of various DV tape formats based on a tape width of 6.5mm. The most common of these is Mini DV, which uses cassettes roughly the size of a Swan Vesta box of matches – but a little shorter. The most common recording time of these cassettes is 60-minutes.

DV to DVD
DV to DVD

Though less common, and usually only found in high-end or professional cameras and VCRs, Standard DV tapes are larger in size and almost identical to 8mm cassettes mentioned above. Further variations of 6.5mm tapes include DVCAM, DVCPRO and, in it’s high-definition variations, HDV, DVCPRO HD.

Mini DVD camcorders

In more recent years manufacturers developed cameras which recorded to a mini-DVD disk. The disks are 8cm in diameter and offered the benefit of being playable in a normal DVD player once they were ‘Finalised’. Basically, the process of finalisation was carried out once you filled the disks up or did not want to add any more video to them. Without finalisation the disks could not be played in anything other than the camcorder itself – so it is quite common for clients to have these disks in un-finalised state and unable to play them back if they no longer have the camcorder. However, Video Artisan have specialist software applications which enable us to extract the un-finalised files and convert them to DVD. Please note, this isn’t always possible and can result in part of the recordings being unrecoverable.

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) Camcorders

Camcorder HDD to DVD
Camcorder HDD to DVD

Further miniaturisation was achieved by the introduction of camcorders with internal HDD recorders negating the need for tapes. The main drawback of these camcorders was that once the HHD were full you had to transfer the video off to another device or media. Whilst it is rare for Video Artisan to provide a conversion service for these cameras we can do as long as your camcorder is still working.

Solid State or Memory Card Cameras

The most common current camcorder recording system uses solid state technology which records to a memory card. These are usually SD cards but can include CF Cards (Compact Flash), MicroSD, MiniSD, SDHC, XD, MS Duo, MMCmicro and MMCPlus. These can all be easily converted to DVD for easy playback.

Other video formats

Whilst Video Artisan can provide all of the above videotape to DVD services in-house, we can also arrange conversion of pretty much any one of the more specialist or rare video tape and digital formats – including Micro MV, Betamax, Betamax ED, Video 2000, U-Matic, 1”, 2”, Digi-Beta, M2 and more. These conversions are carried out by separate quotation and usually take longer to complete.

Not just videotape to DVD

Audio Cassette to Audio CD
Audio Cassette to Audio CD

Whilst DVD is by far the most common format we convert to, we are also able to deliver the conversion on a number of different storage media. This includes Blu-ray, Memory Cards, USB sticks, portable HDD and data DVDs. We can also convert Cine Film to DVD too – in various gauges (8mm, Super8, 16mm and 35mm).

We can also convert audio cassettes to Audio CD. Please ask for details.

Cost of converting to DVD

The vast majority of our videotape to DVD conversions come under our standard rates as detailed here.  However, we also offer discounts on orders involving 10 or more tapes (of varying formats) – and can provide various bespoke packages including editing, captioning, duplication and specialist disk packaging. Please call for more details or visit our studio in Loughton, Essex to discuss the options.

Call: 020 3602 3356
Mobile: 0777 153 5692

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VHS and Video to DVD conversion service

Video to DVD Service – Formats

Video to DVD Service – Saving memories at Video Artisan

Our video to DVD service continues to broaden here at Video Artisan. Whilst the bulk of this is converting VHS videotapes to DVD, we’ve also been converting all manner of family memories.  This includes those stored in photographs, slides, cine film and every other common videotape, camcorder hard drive or memory card format.

Many were predicting the demise of DVD which was tipped to be overtaken by BluRay or Cloud storage.  But good old DVD has managed to keep a firm hold on its position as the playback medium of choice.  Regardless of whether that’s via a DVD player, Games Console or a computer. Nearly all older videotape formats and home movies are recorded in standard definition, so there is little advantage in converting to a high definition format (such as BluRay).

VHS to DVD video to DVD service
VHS – the most common video to DVD service

Video to DVD service – it’s all about archiving futures

Whilst DVD is still the most appropriate and convenient format to have your family archives copied over to, we also keep our eye on where things are moving to in the future. Online or Cloud storage is expanding fast and it can be a very smart way to share your memories with family and friends through social media platforms or through privately shared online storage solutions.  To meet this demand Video Artisan offer a conversion service to MP4 on a USB stick.  These sticks can be played using most modern Smart TV sets – and the MP4 file can be easily shared using platforms such as YouTube (for more information on Video to MP4 see our more detailed article here).

Whilst DVD and USB sticks are a great playback format, some customers want to edit their films further once converted so we offer delivery in a wide range of editable digital formats which are ideal for either PC or Mac editing programs.

Growing demand for video to DVD

Video to DVD - formats Common formats (from top to bottom) VHS-C, DV (or DVCAM), 8mm (or Video 8), Camcorder Cards (or Hard Drives) and Cine Film (Standard or Super
Common formats (from top to bottom) VHS-C, DV (or DVCAM), 8mm (or Video 8), Camcorder Cards (or Hard Drives) and Cine Film (Standard or Super8)

VHS tapes were first released in the late 70s and remained as the main consumer videotape format for over 20-years until DVD was introduced in the late 90s. At their peak there were more than 200 million VHS players being sold each year and many, many millions more VHS tapes were manufactured and used for off-air recording as well as for recording home movies. And despite many variations of the format being introduced (Super-VHS / SVHS-ET / VHS-C / W-VHS / Digital-S / D9), the last standalone VHS player was sold by JVC in 2008.

Whilst videotape is now considered to be obsolete, there have been many more tape formats, both analogue and digital, that have been used to record family films and home recordings. The more popular of these include Video 8, Hi8, DVC, MiniDV, MicroMV, Digital 8 and HDV. The result is billions of hours of home movies and family films that are gradually becoming harder for people to see as the players become faulty or discarded. Having a videotape to DVD conversion is therefore a really great way to bring those memories back to life.

Tips on how to store your old videotapes

Here are a few tips on how to keep your old videotapes in the best possible condition. Videotapes do deteriorate over time, so getting them converted is the best possible way to keep your memories safe and make them much easier watch and share.

  • Keep them in their box – as this will help prevent dust and moisture getting to the tape.
  • Store in dry conditions. Moisture can cause the oxide particles to separate from the tape.
  • Keep away from magnets. The recording process is based on the magnetisation of metal particles on the tape – so avoid storing near speakers or other appliances with strong magnets.
  • Avoid storage in places with varying temperatures.
  • Store the tapes upright to avoid the tape slipping on the reels.
  • Rewind tapes fully before storing.
  • Do not handle the tape it’s self.

Videotape to DVD Turnaround

We normally turnaround videotape to DVD conversions within a week – but often much quicker. This does depend on the volume of work as all videotape to DVD conversions have to be carried out in real time.  Our studios are based in Loughton, Essex – but we service all parts of London, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Please contact us for details on pricing and discounts for bulk videotape to DVD conversions – call 020 3602 3356 or 07771 535692 or email kevin@video-artisan.com.

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