|Problem tapes||Why won't my new DVD play?||Why is a DVD so costly?|
|Will I see better quality image?||Will DVDs last?||Is getting a DVD worth the cost?|
Imagine that your hand was placed on a railing, and that you were instructed to use the railing as a guide while you walked into a dark cave. Now imagine that 300 feet into the bowels of the earth, the railing ended! You would stop in your tracks, unable to go forward because of the lack of information about what lay ahead.
Your video tape has the same problem. Control track is like the railing in the cave, telling electronic equipment what to do. No control track -- no railing -- and the electronic equipment stops dead too.
One of the most common causes for a lack of control track is rewinding the tape in the camera to see what you've recorded. When the tape is wound forward to a new start position, a small unrecorded portion of tape may be created. This unrecorded portion has no control track on it. Your tape will stop playing each time our digital equipment encounters a "no control track" portion of tape. You can usually tell when there is no control track on the tape by the presence of "snow," little black and white dots and speckles on the screen, and a hissing sound coming from your speakers.
How to solve the problem?
The charge for this copy depends upon the length of your original tape -- $12 for up to a one-hour tape, $15 for up to a two hour.
The DVD that is made at VideOccasions, or at any similar video production facility, however, utilizes an entirely different technology. We use a disc that is surfaced with an organic dye, a dye which is sensitive to an infrared laser, and whose qualities are changed when the disc is "burned" by the laser in the disc recorder.
When the laser beam in your DVD player strikes the dye surface on the DVD, some of the light is reflected back to the machine's reader. Unfortunately, not all recording media (discs) and players comply with industry standards and occasionally the player -- especially if it is a so-called "first generation player," manufactured before 2001 -- will not read correctly the light beam information reflected back from the disc. Compatibility can also be affected by the quality of the video being transferred to DVD, since this determines several aspects of the format used in "burning" the DVD.
Every disc made at VideOccasions is checked on a Pioneer DV-341 (2001) "first generation" player for sound and image quality, and to verify that the menu options function correctly. Only after we have verified that everything is working correctly will we release your DVD to you.
In the unlikely event you have problems playing a VideOccasions DVD, please contact us immediately!
Making a DVD is fairly equipment and labor intensive, too. Creating a 30 minute DVD requires nearly two hours of equipment time, and operator time is spent prepping the video files, creating a title page and checking the DVD after it has been created.
Here at VideOccasions we've just invested in new DVD equipment. It's much faster than what we had before, and it allows for far more creativity in making title pages and menus. We can even print the picture of your choice on the face of each DVD, and make as many copies as you need.
We've been able to lower our DVD prices every year, coming down from our 2002 price of $50 for any DVD, regardless of its length, to our current prices of $50 for a two hour disc and only $40 for a disc less than an hour in length, with copies costing $20 for a two hour disc and $15 for one hour or less.
Q: Will transferring my tapes to a DVD enhance the quality of the original?
Q: Will transferring my tapes to DVD make them look worse?
Digital information requires a great deal of storage space on the computer, and on a DVD as well. In order to place a useful amount of information onto a DVD, a special computer program compresses the information. It does this by looking at each of the 30 frames of information found in a second of video and deciding what has changed from frame to frame.
By analogy, here's how compression works. Imagine that there is an automobile sitting in a barn. You are asked to make a report on 30 observations of this scene. You draw a richly detailed picture of what you see on the first viewing -- the barn interior and the car.
Between observation 2 and observation 25, nothing changes except for some hay that is blown across the floor, and some subtle changes in the position of the branches outside the barn window. These changes are so subtle that you don't bother to draw new pictures. Your report says: "For details of observations 2 through 25, refer to the drawing for observation One."
At observation 26, however, the barn door begins to open, and by observation 30 two people have entered the barn. Well, the barn interior hasn't changed from observation one, and neither has the position of the car. So you copy the drawing you made for observation one (minus the blowing hay and the movement of the tree branches) and insert the new information -- the door opening and the people -- into your drawing.
What I've described here is comparable to what is called "lossy" compression, the kind of compression that is employed when your VHS tape is digitized and converted into the compressed format that winds up on a DVD. Just like my example of the barn drawing, where what is lost are the subtle changes in the blowing hay and the gently moving branches, subtle changes in the digital information are dropped out during compression, resulting in some slight loss of image quality.
That's why video shot on digital cameras looks so much better on DVD than video shot on "old technology" VHS or 8mm cameras. The image quality is vastly better to begin with, and what's lost through lossy compression is hardly noticeable.
Q: Will my DVD last a lifetime? Is the DVD the optimum way to archive video materials?
As for whether the DVD disc will survive the ravages of time, it probably will if kept protected in a case. As to whether the technology to play it will survive, who knows?
Q: Is it worth the gamble; worth the cost?
Last updated 10/28/04