How to Digitize Your Old Music and Videos at Home
Posted by brandonharris on January 3rd, 2020
Most people have at least a few boxes of old videos and music lying around somewhere in the attic or a storage closet, thinking that as long as they are kept safe, they will remain in good condition and can be played at any time.
However, the truth is that no matter how well you protect your music and video recordings, sooner or later, they will succumb to environmental factors and start deteriorating.
Therefore, if you want to ensure that your videos and audio recordings remain intact and can be preserved for future generations, the only permanent solution is to have them digitized.
And the good news is, today, there are plenty of ways how you can digitize your collection using an audio or video conversion service.
Let’s explore some of the most popular and the most effective approaches that you could opt for below.
Digitize Audio Using Software
If you have recordings that you want to digitize, it’s easier today than ever before, and almost anyone can do it if they have a computer.
And while the sound quality from converting cassettes into a digital format won’t be ideal, that doesn’t matter if you are doing it for nostalgic reasons, or if you are digitizing personal audio collections such as recordings of your family, your own music, or significant events in your life.
To digitize cassettes, vinyl recordings, or almost any other type of analog audio, you will need a simple set up, which involves the record player for that format, such as a cassette player, a cord that can connect the player with your sound card’s line-in jack, and a software tool that can interpret the sound and turn it into a digital format.
One of the simplest and easiest to use software tools is called Audacity, which is a completely free solution that has all the necessary functionality that you could need when digitizing your audio collection.
After installing, you will first need to set up the software to suit your needs by downloading the LAME MP3 encoder to enable exporting MP3 files.
Then, you will need to decide on the bit rate of your recordings. You should make it at least 256Kbps, although if you’re converting audiobooks or speeches, 128Kbps could also be sufficient.
If you have connected your record player to the computer, once you press play, you should hear the sound coming from your computer’s speakers, which will confirm that the audio is ready to be converted.
When you confirm that everything’s working, press record, and later cut and separate each song or audiobook chapter into different sections.
Digitize Audio Using Professional Services
The above set up for digitizing audio tapes and vinyl is not too tricky, so you even those less tech-savvy should be able to go through the process without much complication.
However, if you feel that the process might be too difficult, don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it manually, or have recordings that have suffered damaged and may need to be restored, it’s better to opt for professional digitization services that have the experience and the equipment to ensure the best possible results.
Convert Video Yourself
If you have a collection of home videos that you want to preserve, the only way to do that is by converting those videos into a digital format.
However, even though the process has similarities with converting audio, it is actually a bit more complicated, involves more steps, as well as more equipment that you’ll need.
Basically, just as with audio, you will also need an output from your video player or camera and input into your computer that would be able to interpret the video and turn it into a digital format.
If your computer isn’t equipped with a special input for capturing analog video, you will need to buy an adaptor that plugs into a USB port and is able to convert the incoming data. You will also need a cable that will connect the USB adapter to the machine that can play the analog cassettes or film.
Luckily, since many people want to convert their home videos, there are plenty of options to choose from, and you just need to find one that is reliable and within your budget.
However, keep in mind that not all converters are created equal, and the options that are available for the casual user aren’t designed to restore quality and sometimes won’t produce results that you will be happy with.
Digitize Using Video Conversion Services
Digitizing old home videos or various recordings isn’t easy, and even if you go through the entire process, you can never be sure that the quality will be worth it.
Therefore, when it comes to video, it makes much more sense to seek out the services of a professional cassette or 8mm film to digital conversion service, which can ensure that your videos are handled with care, restored and converted in a way that maintains or even improves the quality of the original recording.
When digitizing videos, you not only need the right equipment but also need to have enough experience to handle different challenges that can come when dealing with various recordings and formats in which they are stored.
What’s more, you also have to take into account the time that it can take – even researching, finding, and purchasing the right adapter is a lengthy task, and then you’ll have to go through the entire process of converting each tape and cataloging it, without any guarantees that the results will be satisfactory.
On the other hand, when working with a digitization company, you can hand over the tapes and rest assured that the materials are handled with care and converted using the most cutting-edge technology that is available, which all but guarantees that the result is the best that can be achieved in your situation.
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