Preserve family memories to digital files or DVD, before it's too late. WE BEAT ANY PRICE!

Heirloom Video Has Been Serving Familes for 15 Years. We Take Great Joy In Transferring Your Family Treasures To Digital Media Using The Latest Technology And At A Very Fair Price.

Our transfer service includes editing your files to clean up or reorder your tape or film according to your preferences.

Magnetic Tape (VHS and 8mm) Deterioration

We transfer many tapes for customers and we are amazed at how many of them are deep into the stages of deterioration.  In as little as 8–10 years, tapes can suffer deterioration, and total life expectancy is less than 20 years. A tape frequently shows a lower quality of picture crispness just after 5 years.

We specialize in transfering your precious family tapes, films, etc., to digital files, along with the DVD (which will soon be obsolete).

So why does videotape deterioration happen? There are three main parts to a videotape:

1. Physical plastic tape

2. Magnetic particles (iron oxide), which contain the video and audio

3. The "binder," which is glue that holds the magnetic particles to the plastic tape

These particles act like tiny bar magnets and are changed into patterns when the tape passes over an electromagnet during the recording process. When the tape is played back, the patterns are picked up by a playback head and become the video image. Over time, the binder glue weakens. When this happens, the magnetic particles lose their adhesion to the tape.

Why does the binder glue weaken? 

1. Some of the magnetic particles are rubbed off every time it is played.

2. How the tapes are stored affects the glue. Also, high humidity, or a room where the temperature changes dramatically, affect the tapes. Plus, VHS tapes are vulnerable to sudden data loss resulting from static shock or strong electric fields, such as those generated by TVs and other electronics. 

Even worse, the magnetic particles can become separated from the binder just over time, a process that accelerates as the tape gets older. This happens because as the binder absorbs more and more water from normal humidity, it swells and exposes more surface area – absorbing even more moisture.

What are the signs of a weakening binder?

1. Faded color and audio changes.

2. The timing and color signals that the tape outputs to the VCR also start to fade. 

3. Straight lines begin to look a little wavy, rolling lines can appear on the video, and the picture can start to jitter because your VCR has trouble picking up the necessary signals. Eventually, a tape will become unwatchable and the video completely gone.

We hope this helps you understand that the vulnerability of videotapes make them the most unsuitable media for long-term storage of precious video memories. This is why we strongly recommend you convert your tapes to DVD or a digital file format (i.e. Mpeg4) as soon as possible.