“I’m just an average person that wants to properly

preserve my family media without spending a

fortune. I want to trust the company I'm working

with, feel confident that they will take good care of

my media and give me something back that I can

easily use now and in the future."  

Many times a week, we get a call like this from an average consumer client who is quite often confused

from all the information they read from the web. They want to make the right decisions to preserve their

family media. They don’t want to spend a fortune doing so, but they also don’t want to get a poor quality

conversion or digital versions that will quickly become out-dated. They don’t want to give their media to

someone or some company that may loose or damage their collection. They basically want a company

they can trust, who will do a nice job for them, offer them great service and give them what they need.

They also want to know how to properly preserve the digital versions of their family memories so that they

can be used and enjoyed far into the future.  

As the owner of Media Transfer Service, I've been working with audiovisual media my whole career - almost

40 years. Although I don’t particularly care for the word “blog”, this page is devoted to covering some basic

topics to help the average consumer through the process of digitizing their family media collection. We’ll

add to this page on a regular basis and hopefully it will help guide you through the proper steps you need

to take, while enjoying the process. If you have questions that are not covered in this blog page, please

write us and we’ll include them with our answers in future updates.

The basic topics we intend on covering are:

How do I store my original media both before and after the digitization process?

Why should I digitize my media now and what are the costs of waiting longer? 

What should I do to check my media for problems and organize my media before I begin

the digitization process?

How do I choose the right company to digitize my family audiovisual media?                                     

What digital format choices are there, to digitize my media to?

How do I preserve the digital version of my family media so I don’t loose it?

What technologies do I use to easily play and enjoy my family audiovisual media?

How do I store my original media both before and

after the digitization process?

Many families choose to keep their media collection in the basement because it is cooler than the rest of

the house. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst places to store audiovisual media because basements

hold more humidity than floors above ground. We hear clients say all the time - "well my basement is

finished, I have forced air and I also have a dehumidifier in my basement so storing my media there should

be fine." Well actually, it's not - there's a reason people have dehumidifiers in the basement and not on the

first or second floors of their homes. The house our family lives in has a poured concrete foundation, no

sump pump. Our house has good drainage on sandy soil. Our basement is finished and we have forced air

heating and air conditioning. We have a dehumidifier in my basement with an automatic pump, so we

don't have to remember to change our the water collection bin in the dehumidifier, All this being said, the

relative humidity in our home is always higher in the basement than on the first floor. Sometimes 10

points higher or more.

Any room with more than 50% relative humidity for any length of time can develop mold and mildew which

loves to grow on videotape, motion picture film, audiotape, old disk recordings, slides, larger transparent

photographic media and photographic paper. Humidity also promotes sticky shed and soft binder

syndrome, a common breakdown which can effect your video and audiotapes to the point that they

require a baking treatment to stabilize tapes before they can be played back for digitization. Humidity also

promotes vinegar syndrome which commonly effects both acetate based films (movie film, slides, image

transparency negatives/positives) and older audiotapes. This is a common breakdown where acidic acid

leaches out of the acetate base. When acetate based media has been exposed to humid air, then stored in

an air tight container (Ziploc bags, Tupperware, metal tins or metal boxes) there is nowhere for the acidic

acid vapor to dissipate and the airtight container creates a micro-environment where the acidic acid

vapors build up and get stronger as time passes. This speeds up the breakdown process logarithmically.

The end result is media that becomes so dry and brittle that it cannot be digitized.

There's also the gravity factor. If a pipe in your house bursts, where does the water go?......down! We find

the safest place in the house to store your audiovisual media, is on the first or second floor - in a place

where no overhead water pipes exist. Attics, garages and rented storage spaces that are not climate

controlled should also be avoided.

Once your media has been digitized, we VERY HIGHLY recommend keeping your original media - don't

throw it out. Any media containers should let your media breathe. Motion picture films should be stored in

vented inert plastic reels and tins. Slides and other transparent film media should be stored in proper

archival sleeves. Photographs in acid free photo binders, boxes or inert plastic sleeves. Audio and

videotape can stay in their original paper packaging. Same with many disk recordings unless the sleeves

and outside album covers are contaminated. All media should then be kept in a vented plastic container or

cardboard box. Again, make sure your media can breathe. For links to companies that offer archival media

storage, please see the bottom of this page.

Please join us in the next section, where we will cover the best time to digitize your media - waiting for

even better technology or potential lower costs, verses the negative costs of waiting longer.

Why should I digitize my media now and what

are the costs of waiting longer?

I've said many times, "If your house was on fire, you only had one arm, you're headed down the stairs to the front door and there's a bag full of money on the left at the bottom of the stairs and a bag full of your priceless family memories on the right, which one would you grab as you headed out the door?". If you're taking the time to read this article, the answer is obvious. At the present time, you have a collection of unique one-of-a-kind family memories that can easily be lost by one of many household disasters. Water, fire, theft, accidental physical damage along with playing your media in an old playback unit, all put your media at risk. Your media is also aging both naturally and by contamination issues as discussed in the first portion of this article and there are many less common forms of aging that slowly effect your media. While one considers all the ways media is quickly or slowly lost, it's also important to consider with each year that passes, it gets more expensive to maintain legacy playback equipment to digitize your media. For example, there are no new professional analog videotape or audiotape playback machines being made. The last professional VHS format video deck made by JVC ceased production in 2012. The devastating 2011 Japan Tsunami wiped out almost half of all Sony legacy broadcast video deck replacement parts. One of the best slide scanners ever made went out of production in 2011 and the company that made the scanner ended support for repair and parts two years after. There is only one company remaining in the United States that refurbishes video deck playback heads. When they close their doors, only used heads cannibalized from older players will be left. Original manufacturer "new in box" replacement rubber belts, pinch rollers, etc, for playback decks are becoming harder and harder to find as the rubber parts begin to decay. Simply put, the longer you wait to digitize your media, the more expensive it will be. Some clients ask if there are any advantages in waiting for new technology or equipment that will offer a measurable difference in quality or lower costs from what is being used today? This is an excellent question. There will always be technical advances but people have been digitizing audiovisual media in earnest for many years. Most of the technical development in equipment for digitizing audiovisual media has already been made. We feel the small gains to be made in waiting for another 4-6 years are not outweighed by the disadvantages of waiting longer.  On the upside, once your media has been digitized, think of how often it will be used, shared and enjoyed by members of your family. Copies are made quickly and easily. And now you also have the peace of mind that it is far less likely that your family media will be lost forever. Digitizing your family media is an investment - no doubt. But if you lost your family media tomorrow, what would you pay to get it back? Probably more than 10 times the cost of digitizing your media today.  In the next segment, we'll cover how to organize your media before you begin the digitization process. Some simple techniques and processes will help to make a better outcome and save both time and money in the process.
Copyright © 2018 Media Transfer Service, LLC. All rights Reserved
Proud Member Affiliation
Media Transfer Service 317 Main Street Eyer Building - 3rd floor East Rochester, NY 14445 (585) 248-4908 mtsinfo@rochester.rr.com
BLOG
Copyright © 2018 Media Transfer Service, LLC. All rights Reserved
“I’m    just    an    average    person    that wants     to     properly     preserve     my family    media    without    spending    a fortune.      I      want      to      trust      the company     I'm     working     with,     feel confident   that   they   will   take   good care    of    my    media    and    give    me something    back    that    I    can    easily use now and in the future."  

Many  

times  

a  

week,  

we  

get  

a  

call  

like  

this  

from  

an  

average

consumer   

client   

who   

is   

quite   

often   

confused   

from   

all   

the

information  

they  

read  

from  

the  

web.  

They  

want  

to  

make  

the

right  

decisions  

to  

preserve  

their  

family  

media.  

They  

don’t  

want

to  

spend  

a  

fortune  

doing  

so,  

but  

they  

also  

don’t  

want  

to  

get  

a

poor   

quality   

conversion   

or   

digital   

versions   

that   

will   

quickly

become  

out-dated.  

They  

don’t  

want  

to  

give  

their  

media  

to

someone  

or  

some  

company  

that  

may  

loose  

or  

damage  

their

collection.  

They  

basically  

want  

a  

company  

they  

can  

trust,  

who

will  

do  

a  

nice  

job  

for  

them,  

offer  

them  

great  

service  

and  

give

them  

what  

they  

need.  

They  

also  

want  

to  

know  

how  

to  

properly

preserve  

the  

digital  

versions  

of  

their  

family  

memories  

so  

that

they can be used and enjoyed far into the future.  

As the owner of Media Transfer Service, I've been working with

audiovisual   

media   

my   

whole   

career   

-   

almost   

40   

years.

Although  

I  

don’t  

particularly  

care  

for  

the  

word  

“blog”,  

this  

page

is  

devoted  

to  

covering  

some  

basic  

topics  

to  

help  

the  

average

consumer  

through  

the  

process  

of  

digitizing  

their  

family  

media

collection.   

We’ll   

add   

to   

this   

page   

on   

a   

regular   

basis   

and

hopefully  

it  

will  

help  

guide  

you  

through  

the  

proper  

steps  

you

need   

to   

take,   

while   

enjoying   

the   

process.   

If   

you   

have

questions  

that  

are  

not  

covered  

in  

this  

blog  

page,  

please  

write

us and we’ll include them with our answers in future updates.

The basic topics we intend on covering are:

How do I store my original media both before and after

the digitization process?

Should I digitize my media now or wait - is there new

technology around the corner that could be better for

my specific media - verses the costs of waiting longer? 

What should I do to check my media for problems and

organize my media before I begin the digitization

process?

How do I choose the right company to digitize my family

audiovisual media?                                     

What digital format choices are there, to digitize my

media to?

How do I preserve the digital version of my family media

so I don’t loose it?

What technologies do I use to easily play and enjoy my

family audiovisual media?

How  

do  

I  

store  

my  

original  

media  

both  

before

and after the digitization process?

Many  

families  

choose  

to  

keep  

their  

media  

collection  

in  

the

basement  

because  

it  

is  

cooler  

than  

the  

rest  

of  

the  

house.

Unfortunately,   

this   

is   

one   

of   

the   

worst   

places   

to   

store

audiovisual  

media  

because  

basements  

hold  

more  

humidity

than  

floors  

above  

ground.  

We  

hear  

clients  

say  

all  

the  

time  

-

"well  

my  

basement  

is  

finished,  

I  

have  

forced  

air  

and  

I  

also  

have

a  

dehumidifier  

in  

my  

basement  

so  

storing  

my  

media  

there

should  

be  

fine."  

Well  

actually,  

it's  

not  

-  

there's  

a  

reason  

people

have  

dehumidifiers  

in  

the  

basement  

and  

not  

on  

the  

first  

or

second  

floors  

of  

their  

homes.  

The  

house  

our  

family  

lives  

in

has   

a   

poured   

concrete   

foundation,   

no   

sump   

pump.   

Our

house   

has   

good   

drainage   

on   

sandy   

soil.   

Our   

basement   

is

finished  

and  

we  

have  

forced  

air  

heating  

and  

air  

conditioning.

We  

have  

a  

dehumidifier  

in  

my  

basement  

with  

an  

automatic

pump,   

so   

we   

don't   

have   

to   

remember   

to   

change   

our   

the

water  

collection  

bin  

in  

the  

dehumidifier,  

All  

this  

being  

said,  

the

relative   

humidity   

in   

our   

home   

is   

always   

higher   

in   

the

basement  

than  

on  

the  

first  

floor.  

Sometimes  

10  

points  

higher

or more.

Any  

room  

with  

more  

than  

50%  

relative  

humidity  

for  

any  

length

of  

time  

can  

develop  

mold  

and  

mildew  

which  

loves  

to  

grow  

on

videotape,  

motion  

picture  

film,  

audiotape,  

old  

disk  

recordings,

slides,      

larger      

transparent      

photographic      

media      

and

photographic  

paper.  

Humidity  

also  

promotes  

sticky  

shed  

and

soft  

binder  

syndrome,  

a  

common  

breakdown  

which  

can  

effect

your  

video  

and  

audiotapes  

to  

the  

point  

that  

they  

require  

a

baking  

treatment  

to  

stabilize  

tapes  

before  

they  

can  

be  

played

back    

for    

digitization.    

Humidity    

also    

promotes    

vinegar

syndrome  

which  

commonly  

effects  

both  

acetate  

based  

films

(movie   

film,   

slides,   

image   

transparency   

negatives/positives)

and  

older  

audiotapes.  

This  

is  

a  

common  

breakdown  

where

acidic   

acid   

leaches   

out   

of   

the   

acetate   

base.   

When   

acetate

based  

media  

has  

been  

exposed  

to  

humid  

air,  

then  

stored  

in

an  

air  

tight  

container  

(Ziploc  

bags,  

Tupperware,  

metal  

tins  

or

metal  

boxes)  

there  

is  

nowhere  

for  

the  

acidic  

acid  

vapor  

to

dissipate    

and    

the    

airtight    

container    

creates    

a    

micro-

environment  

where  

the  

acidic  

acid  

vapors  

build  

up  

and  

get

stronger   

as   

time   

passes.   

This   

speeds   

up   

the   

breakdown

process  

logarithmically.  

The  

end  

result  

is  

media  

that  

becomes

so dry and brittle that it cannot be digitized.

There's  

also  

the  

gravity  

factor.  

If  

a  

pipe  

in  

your  

house  

bursts,

where  

does  

the  

water  

go?......down!  

We  

find  

the  

safest  

place  

in

the  

house  

to  

store  

your  

audiovisual  

media,  

is  

on  

the  

first  

or

second  

floor  

-  

in  

a  

place  

where  

no  

overhead  

water  

pipes  

exist.

Attics,  

garages  

and  

rented  

storage  

spaces  

that  

are  

not  

climate

controlled should also be avoided.

Once   

your   

media   

has   

been   

digitized,   

we   

VERY   

HIGHLY

recommend  

keeping  

your  

original  

media  

-  

don't  

throw  

it  

out.

Any  

media  

containers  

should  

let  

your  

media  

breathe.  

Motion

picture  

films  

should  

be  

stored  

in  

vented  

inert  

plastic  

reels  

and

tins.  

Slides  

and  

other  

transparent  

film  

media  

should  

be  

stored

in  

proper  

archival  

sleeves.  

Photographs  

in  

acid  

free  

photo

binders,  

boxes  

or  

inert  

plastic  

sleeves.  

Audio  

and  

videotape

can  

stay  

in  

their  

original  

paper  

packaging.  

Same  

with  

many

disk  

recordings  

unless  

the  

sleeves  

and  

outside  

album  

covers

are  

contaminated.  

All  

media  

should  

then  

be  

kept  

in  

a  

vented

plastic  

container  

or  

cardboard  

box.  

Again,  

make  

sure  

your

media  

can  

breathe.  

For  

links  

to  

companies  

that  

offer  

archival

media storage, please see the bottom of this page.

Please  

join  

us  

in  

the  

next  

section,  

where  

we  

will  

cover  

the  

best

time    

to    

digitize    

your    

media    

-    

waiting    

for    

even    

better

technology  

or  

potential  

lower  

costs,  

verses  

the  

negative  

costs

of waiting longer.

Why  

should  

I  

digitize  

my  

media  

now  

and  

what

are the costs of waiting longer?

I've   said   many   times,   "If   your   house   was   on   fire,   you   only   had one   arm,   you're   headed   down   the   stairs   to   the   front   door   and there's   a   bag   full   of   money   on   the   left   at   the   bottom   of   the stairs   and   a   bag   full   of   your   priceless   family   memories   on   the right,    which    one    would    you    grab    as    you    headed    out    the door?".   If   you're   taking   the   time   to   read   this   article,   the   answer is obvious. At   the   present   time,   you   have   a   collection   of   unique   one-of-a- kind   family   memories   that   can   easily   be   lost   by   one   of   many household    disasters.    Water,    fire,    theft,    accidental    physical damage   along   with   playing   your   media   in   an   old   playback   unit, all    put    your    media    at    risk.    Your    media    is    also    aging    both naturally   and   by   contamination   issues   as   discussed   in   the   first portion   of   this   article   and   there   are   many   less   common   forms of aging that slowly effect your media. While   one   considers   all   the   ways   media   is   quickly   or   slowly lost,   it's   also   important   to   consider   with   each   year   that   passes, it   gets   more   expensive   to   maintain   legacy   playback   equipment to    digitize    your    media.    For    example,    there    are    no    new professional      analog      videotape      or      audiotape      playback machines   being   made.   The   last   professional   VHS   format   video deck   made   by   JVC   ceased   production   in   2012.   The   devastating 2011   Japan   Tsunami   wiped   out   almost   half   of   all   Sony   legacy broadcast   video   deck   replacement   parts.   One   of   the   best   slide scanners   ever   made   went   out   of   production   in   2011   and   the company   that   made   the   scanner   ended   support   for   repair and    parts    two    years    after.    There    is    only    one    company remaining   in   the   United   States   that   refurbishes   video   deck playback   heads.   When   they   close   their   doors,   only   used   heads cannibalized     from     older     players     will     be     left.     Original manufacturer   "new   in   box"   replacement   rubber   belts,   pinch rollers,    etc,    for    playback    decks    are    becoming    harder    and harder   to   find   as   the   rubber   parts   begin   to   decay.   Simply   put, the   longer   you   wait   to   digitize   your   media,   the   more   expensive it will be. Some   clients   ask   if   there   are   any   advantages   in   waiting   for new   technology   or   equipment   that   will   offer   a   measurable difference   in   quality   or   lower   costs   from   what   is   being   used today?    This    is    an    excellent    question.    There    will    always    be technical      advances      but      people      have      been      digitizing audiovisual    media    in    earnest    for    many    years.    Most    of    the technical   development   in   equipment   for   digitizing   audiovisual media   has   already   been   made.   We   feel   the   small   gains   to   be made   in   waiting   for   another   4-6   years   are   not   outweighed   by the disadvantages of waiting longer.  On   the   upside,   once   your   media   has   been   digitized,   think   of how   often   it   will   be   used,   shared   and   enjoyed   by   members   of your   family.   Copies   are   made   quickly   and   easily.   And   now   you also   have   the   peace   of   mind   that   it   is   far   less   likely   that   your family   media   will   be   lost   forever.   Digitizing   your   family   media   is an   investment   -   no   doubt.   But   if   you   lost   your   family   media tomorrow,   what   would   you   pay   to   get   it   back?   Probably   more than 10 times the cost of digitizing your media today.  In   the   next   segment,   we'll   cover   how   to   organize   your   media before    you    begin    the    digitization    process.    Some    simple techniques   and   processes   will   help   to   make   a   better   outcome and save both time and money in the process.
Proud Member Affiliation
Media Transfer Service 317 Main Street Eyer Building - 3rd floor East Rochester, NY 14445 (585) 248-4908
BLOG