Category Archives: Video to DVD

Video to DVD Welcome

Looking for advice and help on video to DVD conversions?  This section of the site includes information and advice to customers looking for all types of video conversion services.  Video Artisan have been serving the Loughton, Epping Forest and surrounding areas for many years.   We can convert all common videotape formats and cine film to DVD or MP4.

Articles in this category will give you advice on the best possible video to DVD conversion services we offer.  Furthermore, it will provide updates on the latest techniques on how to preserve and share your video and cine memories more efficiently.

Our vast array of technology helps us deliver the best possible video conversion service for various tape formats.  This includes VHS, VHS-C, DV, MiniDV, 8mm and DVCAM.  We can also offer cine film and slide conversions and convert video from camcorder hard drives and phones.  In addition, we compress video to give you the best quality-to-HDD space.

We also offer a range of services to businesses who are looking to capitalise on their media archive.

Cine to DVD – achieving the best conversions

We’ve been getting more cine to DVD enquiries lately – as well as tons of VHS and videotape to DVD conversions.  There still seems to be reels and reels of cine film out there just waiting to be loved again so I thought I’d better update my conversion process to match the interest.

Cine to DVD
Cine to DVD conversions – time to update your memories

I’ve always tried to retain as much of the original film quality as possible during the transfer process.  I don’t claim to do a piles and piles of cine to DVD each year but the stuff I do carry out is done with tender loving care.  The final result makes the whole family archive viewing process much more enjoyable… just pop the DVD in your player and you’re off.  No more family arguments as everyone struggles to set up a screen, projector and then feed in sprocket-chewed cine film.  More often than not these days the client simply doesn’t have a working projector so those precious memories never see the light of day.

I don’t have the throughput to justify the highly automated frame-scanner converters but believe I still turn out a pretty reasonable job using the much-used projector and video camera system.  Basically, the film image is projected through a mirror set at 45-degrees and then on to rear side of an opaque screen – which is then filmed from its front side with a video camera.

I use a Canon DSLR as my capture camera which gives me a full HD video which is then edited, tweaked, cropped, compiled and then output to a standard definition DVD.  Capturing at full HD does give me the option of supplying it to the client in Blu-Ray format too – but the vast majority end up on DVD.

The results from this method can vary quite considerably depending on how the system is set up and the quality of the mirror/screen combination.  There are also some modifications to the standard projector that can be made to squeeze a little bit more out of the film stock.

Cine to DVD Projector Modifications

The vast majority of cine films that I convert are either Standard 8mm or Super 8mm (I can convert any gauge though).  The sprocket and frame size differ on these formats but a dual-gate projector can play both back happily.  Switching the projector between formats engages the correct sprocket gearing and alters the gate size within the projector so that the projected image has a nice and clean frame edge.  This is great for projection but the process also masks off part of the exposed image on the film.

Filing out these gate frames enables me to capture more of the original film content.  I can then crop the video files and re-frame the image in post production to ensure every little corner of the film is on screen.

Another modification to the projector that helps is to alter the quality of light coming out of the projector lamp.  These lamps tend to produce a very focussed source of light which is great for projection but not so good for cine to DVD conversions.  Diffusing this light source helps smooth out any hot spots and helps create a more evenly exposed image.

Converting a Eumig 502D for Cine to DVD – adding diffusion to the lamp

Projection Perfection

The really rudimentary method of cine to DVD conversion is to simply project your film image on a wall or screen and then film that with your video camera.  This has one major disadvantage as your projector will have to have a slightly different angle of approach to the wall/screen than your video camera (they can’t both be in exactly the same position).  The image will therefore never be truly square and your focus will vary slightly from one side of the image to the other.  You’ll also have to do this in darkness as your room lights will need to be turned off in order to get a clear image on the wall/screen.  It works, but it’s not brilliant.

You can of course buy a purpose made cine to DVD conversion screen – and they will help you to get a better conversion than the method above.  However, the cheap conversion screens have a fundamental flaw in that the mirrors are generally standard back-coated.  Light passing through the mirror will split when it hits the front surface of this glass – part of which passes through the mirror and back out to the rear side of the opaque screen and part reflected directly off the mirror front surface.  This causes a slight double-image to be projected on to the opaque screen and a conversion that isn’t as sharp as it could be.

Good quality cine to DVD conversion screens overcome this problem by using front surface mirrors.  All of the light from the projector therefore bounces through the light path as one image – giving a much sharper conversion.

Cine to DVD Black Box

Excluding light from the projected image is important too to help you capture the widest possible contrast.  Some of the basic converters have no light exclusion at all, whilst others acknowledge the problem but only provide minimal hooding over the front surface of the opaque screen.  A simple rule – the more light excluded from the front surface the better.

To get the very best quality conversions I’ve built my own cine to DVD black box unit as there didn’t seem to be an off the shelf solution that solved all the problems.  This includes a porthole suitable for most projectors, made to measure front surface mirror and opaque rear projection screen – all housed in a light exclusion matt black box with enough hooding to enable me to operate it in a fully lit room.

Cine Black Box
Cine to DVD Black Box – with roof taken off

The front surface mirror was specially made for me by Vacuum Coatings Ltd of Walthamstow who specialise in all kinds optical coatings and scientific mirrors (they provide the glass for Autocue too apparently).  They also hand-frosted the front projection screen for me too.  The box construction is MDF.

So now the system and process is all tested, tweaked and ready for the next cine to DVD job to come in.  I’m not the cheapest guy around for this service but I like to think I do a good job.  You can get it done a lot cheaper in fact, but I think those guys know their worth better than me so I won’t comment. ; )

For details on our cine to DVD pricing please click here.  If you are not sure how much film you’ve got please give us a call for a quote.


Video converted to DVD

Like a lot of people offering this service we’ve been inundated with video converted to DVD requests in the past couple of weeks – all leading up to Christmas family gatherings and the reliving of old memories.

VHS video converted to DVD
Read on for details on our video converted to DVD services

Whilst there’s been a fair spread of different formats to convert to DVD, the conversion service that dwarfs all others at the moment is VHS to DVD. There’s literally thousands of miles of VHS tape out there and no one wants to buy a player once their old deck starts to play up. It seems to me that customers are becoming more and more concerned about their precious tapes being chewed up and lost forever if played in an old un-serviced VHS player.

Therefore finding a reliable, fast and efficient company to get your video converted to DVD is very important  – and if you are in the Essex, East London or Hertfordshire area you’d be hard pressed to find a company better than Video Artisan.

Act now to get your video converted to DVD

As video to DVD conversions have to be done in real-time (a 2-hour videotape takes 2-hours to ingest – after which it needs to be authored to DVD) there isn’t much time left in order to get your video to DVD completed before the family arrives. If you are needing your videotapes converted (or cine films, slides to video, camcorder hard drives etc)  please note that our last orders will be taken in the middle of next week (19th December) to ensure we can deliver for Christmas. For details on pricing please see our dedicated page here.

Video to DVD (or other services) in an emergency!

Except for real emergency works, our studio will be closed from midday on Friday 21st December and will open again on 2nd January. Calls to our land line (020 3602 3356) will be directed to our mobile (0777 153 5692) over this period – and we will be monitoring emails ( too if you have any questions.


Cine Film and Slides to DVD

Our marketing efforts on our cine film and slides to DVD services have really started kicking in now.  I know that some people don’t enjoy doing this kind of work but I think its a real honour to help preserve and restore my customer’s precious memories this way.  I also find it incredibly interesting!

Cine film converted to DVD
8mm and Super8 cine film are the most common types around

Cine Film and Slides to DVD

When I started Video Artisan I wasn’t going to be pushing this side to the business too hard, and don’t pretend to be the cheapest company around, but I’ve been finding a lot of customers that were initially interested in our VHS to DVD conversions were chuffed to find out that we can convert pretty much any format to any other format.

Anything and Everything Converted

Family collections of cine films are without doubt the most popular – but recently I’ve converted slides, camcorder hard drive contents, prints, PowerPoint slides, 8mm videotape, Betamax tapes, DV tapes, DVCAM tapes….  Having been in and around this industry for over 25-years now I’ve made many, many contacts and I don’t think there’s a video or film format that I couldn’t lay my hands on (or know a man that can) and get material converted to something more up to date.

Give me a try!


Delivering VHS to DVD flyers

I’ve been killing two birds with one stone for the past week – 1/ Getting the message out locally about our VHS to DVD conversion services and, 2/ Getting some exercise in!  Delivering flyers has never been so beneficial.

VHS to DVD flyer
Save my legs – download your PDF copy by clicking the above

The flyers were printed by my dear friends at N2 Visual Communications, but all the setting out and wording was done by yours truly.  I know its not the most amazing piece of printed literature or wonderful prose, but it is to the point.  It’s great having the knowledge on how to prepare such a thing for print as it can save me a packet!  I’m also not adverse to doing this kind of thing for other companies too if you are in need.

Just to prove hand-delivered flyers still work, the phone started ringing almost immediately!  It’s not all VHS to DVD though as I’ve got standards conversions, DVD duplication, cine to video and editing work so far – and all within the local confines of Loughton, Debden, Buckhurst Hill, Woodford and Chigwell.  Essex is obviously in need of me!


New website section on VHS to DVD conversion


Having had a comparatively slow couple of days this week it has given me time to get a more detailed information page together on my VHS to DVD conversion services.

VHS to DVD conversion services
Mind out, your VHS machine might want to chew up your precious memories!!!

Though some conversions had already started filtering through from my original “passing mention” on my facilities page, I really wanted to get something more substantial together as VHS to DVD is one of those services that’s just getting bigger and bigger.  I’m also geared up for many other video and file conversions – and if I can’t do it myself I certainly know someone who can!

VHS to DVD disc
Convert your VHS to DVD before its too late

When I first got involved in the video business back in 1985 it was all Cine to Video conversions (which I can still do).  Over the years I’ve converted many thousands of feet of cine film, stacks of 35mm slides and just about every other form of redundant media to the current day media.  Whilst this has mainly been for the home market I’ve also carried out many conversions for businesses and local authorities.

We’ve now reached a point where people’s VHS machines are dying, tapes are breaking up and all those precious memories are at risk of being lost forever.  Whilst we were all led to believe that VHS recordings were going to last for hundreds of years the truth is that poor handling, storage and (most commonly) defective players can swiftly bring an end to the images and sound recorded on videotape.  Once lost there is very little you can do to bring them back – so getting them converted to DVD is a great way to archive them and enable today’s generation to enjoy the wonders of the past.

Get the low-down on our VHS to DVD services

See – not only am I a great videographer but I’m also a bit of a superhero too!!!  Contact me today for more details or simply check out the VHS to DVD section in the main menu above.  Please also contact me if you have any other conversion, duplication or specialist media requirements.