| The quality of VCD video is worse than VHS video
Although VHS is analogue while VCD is digital, VCD is a low bitrate video format. So low, it is worse than VHS.
This is why we recommend converting VHS to DVD
Here are some frequently asked questions of our services.
- Why should I convert to a digital format as early as possible?
Every time you play a tape, the tape rubs against your player heads and this causes a slight unnoticeable wear and tear. You may not notice this immediately, but with every play, the video quality is slowly fading off. When you make copies of an analogue tape, it always results in a lower quality image. Here are more scenarios of tape wear
By converting to DVD, you enjoy the follow advantages
- Playing it on a player which has damaged heads
- Fungus growing on the tape
- Storing tapes without fully rewinding it, causing both sides of the tape to 'harden' with mould, giving trouble when trying to play
- Frequently played tape resulting in frequent rewinding of the tape causing high stress
- Demagnetism due to Earth's magnetic field
- Forget about noisy tape rewinding, With DVDs, quickly navigate to any section of the tape with a few presses on the remote (we add 5 minute chapter marks free of charge)
- Easily make 1:1 copies of the DVD with absolutely ZERO audio and video loss. This is due to the digital encoding, hence any copy you make will be an exact 1:1 copy. Make copies easily for your friends and family using your home computer and DVD writer. Check out our DVD backup guide.
- Lasts longer (in theory - 100 years - in reality, it depends on the environment and handling)
- Less physical contact. The data portion of the disc is touched only by the DVD laser beams and disc tray, only a laser beam reflects off the surface of the disc when playing the tape minimizing physical contact. So you can play the DVD as many times as you want!
- Even if the laser heads are dirty, it will not damage the disc
- Occupies much less space as compared to a bulky VHS tape
- What is included in the conversion prices?
Our prices are competitive and reflects the amount of work we perform for every conversion. Our studio is located in a home office thus saving on rents and utility bills. This is why we are able to offer you lower rates than other professional video studios.
If you are wondering how you can get much lower prices at some mom-and-pop neighbourhood retailers, this is because many perform the conversion for you using low end consumer grade VHS-DVD dual decks. Some go a step higher and use low end consumer grade hardware TV capture devices (e.g. Hauppauge, Pinnacle). Quality is sacrificed when using such ill adapted equipment for professional services.
We use professional high end capture equipment with two pass encoding - the first pass to analyze the video and the second pass to do the actual encoding. We spend more than 3 hours for every hour of video we process. Real time video encoding uses low CPU processing to reduce the number of dropped frames but this sacrifices the quality of the end result as every frame is processed as quickly as possible rather than as best as possible.
If you want the best possible quality, we offer just that. Still not convinced? Try our conversion services with a single tape first and see the results for yourself.
- Can you provide us with some clientele?
We've done video conversions for clients such as
and Lubrizol Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, we can't put up the whole list of our clients as that would be violating their privacy.
- Why do we need to call first before coming to your office?
Due to many customers coming directly to our office with Cine, Film, Record, Super8, BetaSP and BetaCam tapes and reels, we have removed the address. Unfortunately, we do not convert these formats. Hence, please call us and make an appointment before coming.
- Do you entertain international customers?
Yes we do. We've done conversions for US and UK customers before. However, please note that delivery charges will be considerably higher. Contact us for rates.
- Will you fix all defects of my tapes when you convert?
If your tape is fungus-free but still plays with some defects, the converted discs will also inherit the defects. This is why we recommend converting the tapes as early as possible because, with each play of the tape, the quality degrades.
If we find that most of the tape at the first 3 minutes has some defect (e.g. scrolling picture, no picture, no audio, other defects in video/audio), we will ask you for permission before proceeding to convert. If no permission is given, we don't convert and you don't have to pay.
For fungus infected tapes, we can only convert tapes that have very minor fungus. This is because from our past experience, playing mouldy tapes snaps the tape easily and causes damage to our players as well. For such tapes, please notify us well in advance so that we can notify you of your options.
- The magnetic strip in the tape has been torn/snapped/damaged. Can you repair it?
Unfortunately, we no longer provide repair services or references for VHS, miniDV, MicroMV or VHS-C tapes.
- How long does a VHS / Hi8 / Video8 / miniDV / Digital8 / MicroMV to VCD/DVD conversion job take?
Most are completed within 24 hours. However, if delivery is required, the courier company takes up to 6 hours to courier the tapes to us, making it a total of 2 days for you to get back the converted tape and disc.
Also, conversions of multiple tapes need more time. For each tape conversion, it requires one day. So for conversion of 5 tapes, please allow us 5 days. If you need your tapes converted faster, please ask for Super Express Service.
- What are your shop's opening hours?
1pm to 11pm. We are open on most weekends and public holidays too. However, please call before coming.
- How do I reach your shop?
We now have a interactive map of our location at the Contact Us page. However, please call before coming to ensure we are around to receive you.
- Can I combine two or more VHS / Hi8 / Video8 / miniDV / Digital8 / MicroMV tapes into one DVD?
Yes. This can be done at no additional charge. Please note that PAL and NTSC video cannot be put in one DVD Video disc. Please note that the video tapes will still be counted as two separate units. For example, if you want to put two 30 min tapes into one DVD, it will be $20 x 2 + $8 = $48.
- Are the converted DVD discs playable in all DVD players?
As long as your player supports DVD-R (a very popular recording format) and the TV standard (PAL/NTSC), it should work.
Please note that we do not make any guarantees that it will play in your player, but if it does not work in any PC as well, its most likely a problem in the conversion and you should contact us for a free re-conversion. No company can promise 100% playback compatibility with DVD-R or DVD+R discs.
Note that in the US, only NTSC (not PAL) DVD discs will be able to play in set-top DVD players.
- Are your video conversions guaranteed?
If the disc does not work in your player and in your PC, please let us know for a free re-conversion.
- Can NTSC DVD Video discs play in Singapore?
Yes, you don't have to convert them to PAL, as most DVD players in Singapore already support the NTSC format, which is used in countries such as United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan.
However, do take note that commercial region coded DVDs which are not region coded for Southeast Asia will not work in Singapore as Singapore's players are region coded for Region 3 - Southeast Asia.
If you legally own and brought over a DVD and simply want to be able to play them in Singapore, you can use AnyDVD software to play the disc or create a copy of the DVD disc to play on a DVD player temporarily. The copied disc will then be playable on any DVD player worldwide.
- What is the level of confidentiality and privacy of my submitted video tapes/discs?
Your videos are processed by only a single person in most cases. That person is assigned to the conversion, authoring and all processes related to the conversion of the video. At rare occasions, a second person may be needed to handle the workload. Do let us know if we are handling sensitive documents so as to ensure strict handling by one person for the whole process.
With regards to viewing of the tape's content, it cannot be avoided as we need to see the parts of the video to ensure that the process is going well. We believe you understand that we cannot transfer video content without viewing parts of the video in the various stages of the video conversion process to ensure the video is being converted properly. Please be assured that we value our customer's privacy and any video we convert will be treated in the highest privacy level possible.
- I have not played my tapes and they are mouldy with visible white specks on the black tape. Can you still convert?
We're sorry, but we do not take in mouldy or fungus infected tapes. They have caused damage and lots of cleaning work for us in the past hence we do not do these kind of tapes anymore.
- I just want this 5 minute clip from the video tape but I am not sure where it is. Can you help?
Performing such a service will require lots of time as we need to play through the entire tape. Due to the time needed, we charge $50 per hour of tape you want us to search. To avoid this situation, please tell us the start time-code and end time code with a description of the start scene. The time-code is the time from the beginning of the tape to the part you want us to start and stop converting.
We also need a description of the starting scene as your VCR's timer may be slightly off. Otherwise we recommend converting the whole tape and cutting out the scene using free software such as VirtualDub.
- My tape is copyrighted or has copy-protection or has Macrovision protection. Can you convert it?
Yes - however, you will need to declare and sign a copyright waiver and affirm that you have the right to make an additional copy to it. There will otherwise be no additional charges. NOTE: You are allowed to make only one copy of copyrighted media you own for your own personal backup purpose 'for preservation and other purposes' under Copyright Act Section (113) Subsection (2) "Copying of sound recordings and cinematograph films for preservation and other purposes "
(a) if the cinematograph film is held in the collection in the form of a first copy — for the purpose of preserving the copy against loss or deterioration or for the purpose of research that is being, or is to be, carried out at the library or archives in which the copy is held or at another library or archives;
the making of the copy does not infringe copyright in the cinematograph film or in any work or other subject-matter included in the cinematograph film.
- Do the DVD discs you create have any User Operation Prohibitions (UOPs), Prohibited User Operations (PUOs), Macrovision, Content Scramble System (CSS) or region code protection?
- Do you add any watermarks or scrolling marquees in the DVD discs?
No we don't. Not even in the disc media itself. We stick all labels on the holder of the DVD only. The resulting DVD is 100% free of any Bootstrike.Com branding.
- Can I make copies of the DVD? Can I copy it to my hard disk and play from there?
Yes, we even have a guide on making backups of our converted DVDs. Please note, for copyrighted videos, you are not allowed to make more than the one backup copy we make for you.
- Can you convert PAL / NTSC / SECAM / MESCAM videos?
We can convert PAL and NTSC videos. For SECAM and MESCAM tapes, we may be able to convert it except for S-VHS NTSC tapes.
- Can I throw away my VHS / Hi8 / Video8 / miniDV / Digital8 / MicroMV tapes after conversion?
Having mentioned that converted videos are not a 1:1 copy (see explanation), we recommend storing the tapes in airtight containers in a cool dry place for future technologies such as Blu-Ray which promise higher quality conversions for your VHS / Hi8 / Video8 / miniDV / Digital8 / MicroMV tapes.
Make backups of your DVDs at least once per year. The easiest way to do this is to store the digital files in the hard disk. We have a guide on how to do this.
Finally, before you dispose the tapes, ensure that the converted copies have been converted fully without major issues. Mistakes can happen and you don't want to end up accidently throwing away precious memories.
- Do you make chapter points for DVD videos?
Yes. Depending on the length of the video, we make chapter points at intervals of either 3 or 5 minutes. This is at no extra cost and performed on every DVD conversion we do. We do not do chapter marks for VCDs.
- Can you convert S-VHS?
Yes, except for NTSC S-VHS tapes. They will be charged at VHS rate.
- Can you convert VHS-Compact (VHS-C / S-VHS-C)?
Yes, except for NTSC S-VHS tapes. They will be charged at VHS rate.
- Why don't miniDv or Digital8 or MicroMV video conversions have Digital Enhancement?
These formats record video in digital format, hence there is no need for such enhancements. VHS, Hi8 and Video8 uses an analog system, hence requiring digital video enhancements, stabilization and filters to port it properly to digital so as to preserve the original video as best as possible.
- Does a DVD conversion improve the original tape's quality?
No but depending on your player, you may get a better quality video. For example, if you play your VHS tapes on a 2 head VCR, the images will be noisy and grainy and audio will be mono. With our players, the tape is played using high end decks.
- Can you convert Standard 8 (also known as Video8) tapes?
- Can you convert NTSC tapes?
Yes. We can convert NTSC miniDv tapes, NTSC VHS tapes, NTSC Digital8 tapes, NTSC MicroMv tapes, NTSC Hi8 tapes and NTSC Video8 tapes but not S-VHS NTSC tapes.
- Can you convert Audio Cassette / Microcassette?
Unfortunately, we do not provide this service anymore.
- Do you buy in Sony HandyCam® DCR / TRV / HDR / HVR / HDV / Digital8 Video Camcorders or VCR / VHS tape players?
Yes, please contact us with the Model Number of your hardware. We buy in spoilt devices as well as High Definition camcorders
- Do you have any camcorders, bags, power adapters or players for sale?
Please see our Items For Sale page.
- Do you do Video Restoration?
The definition of Video Restoration is fuzzy. If it means that the tape is played at the highest quality equipment with video adjustment via processing amplifiers (procamp), then yes, we do video restoration.
If it means to edit the converted video via video editing software to correct video deficiencies, we do not do this.
- Do you sell external USB hard drives?
No, but we can refer you to some sites that sell such products with home delivery when you contact us. As a rough guide, 1 hour of uncompressed AVI takes 13GB. The sweet spot for hard disks is 500GB for best price/space ratio, but we recommend going for the latest 1TB 2.5 inch drives as they offer much more portability for their space.
- Can you convert 1080i High Definition HDV miniDv tape?
Yes. but only PAL (50i) tapes. They will be converted to Standard Definition DVD, which means the video will be scaled down. You can request for High Definition DV-AVI format which can only be played in computers or a smaller file sized WMV format, which requires Windows Media Player to play. We make no guarantees on whether the conversion is possible as there are many HD tape formats. If conversion fails, we will return you the tape at no charge.
- Can you remove blank areas in my videos?
There are some companies who provide this 'feature' on their conversions. They are most likely using a capture device that does not accept a unstable signal hence 'pausing' the conversion automatically. This causes videos with unstable signals to be skipped 'automatically' as the capture device is not able to catch up. This causes unstable video to be skipped as well. At our studio, our capture devices can tolerate such unstable signals and convert them as it is.
- Do you keep backups of the converted videos?
As our standard policy, we keep backups of converted videos for a minimum of two days. After that period, the backups will be queued for deletion. Please note, request for backup data retrieval are chargeable.
- My VHS is a 180 min tape, but the content is only 50 minutes. Will I be charged for 3 hours?
Definitely not! You will be charged only for the first hour if the content is only 50 minutes and not charged for 3 hours.
- Why are your DVD-Rs more costly than the standard DVD-R cakes?
The price of the DVD-R includes the cost of the Made in Japan Taiyo Yuden High Quality DVD-R (a very reliable brand), cost of standard compliant DVD-Video format preparation, cost of writing to the DVD and cost of verification of data written to the DVD to ensure the highest end quality product for you.
- But what difference does Made in Japan Taiyo Yuden optical media make?
Check out customer reviews at Amazon or Google to find various reviews online.
- Can I still provide my own media discs and save on the $8?
As explained above, the $8 charge is not only the cost of the DVD disc itself. If you want to provide your own media, $6 will still be charged for standard compliant DVD-Video format preparation, cost of writing to the DVD and cost of verification of data written to the DVD to ensure the highest end quality product for you.
- If I only want the AVI file and provide an external hard disk, do I still need to pay $8?
No. Only the $20/hr conversion fee will be charged. Note that the AVI file can only be played on computers.
- My tape is only 20 min. Will I be charged for the full hour?
Yes - we charge by per hour block. So even if your tape is 5 min, the charge will be one hour unit. However, we understand that paying for a little bit extra may be a bit too much to swallow so we allow up to 10 minutes over before we count it as an additional hour as a friendly gesture :).
That means, if your tape has a total length of 1 hr 9 min, we'll count it as 1 hour only. On the other hand, if it has 1 hour and 11 minutes, it will be counted as 2 hours.
- What payments do you accept?
We accept cheques (aka checks), cash (only if self-collecting), inter-bank transfers and ATM transfers at no extra surcharges. Other payment types may incur extra surcharges.
- Do I have to make full payment first?
No, we will let you know the due amount once the conversion has been done. Delivery will be dispatched once full payment has been received and processed (if paying by cheque).
COLLECTION AND DELIVERY
- Is the delivery done by your company?
Delivery is performed by a third party courier service.
- How is the delivery rate determined?
The distance between our office and your location, the time range of when we can collect and whether your location is a secured/remote area determines the total charge. The delivery charge usually range from $6 to $8.
The delivery cost will increase if the quantity of tapes to convert is large.
- Can I arrange my own courier / mailer?
Sure, but you must inform us first and obtain our full address for the courier to deliver the media to. The courier must inform us before coming to our office to ensure someone is around to receive him. Hence companies like SingPost will not work out.
- How many hours can I put in a VCD/DVD?
VCD: Up to 70 minutes. Video CDs have fixed bit rates so we are not able to squeeze in more.
DVD: Up to 8 hours, but at a considerable loss of quality (picture becomes softer). We recommend 2 hours per DVD, our standard policy for best quality/space ratio.
- If I choose to make a DVD of a VHS / Hi8 / Video8 / miniDV / Digital8 / MicroMV / TV Recording, will it be an exact copy of the source?
VCD and DVD discs store video data using Lossy Compression, where bits of video data are discarded to ensure reasonable usage of the available space. If we were to put the uncompressed video data in a DVD, the maximum it can contain is only about 20 minutes! As such, the answer would be No. But wait, the algorithm is so advanced that the differences are almost unnoticeable, unless you squeeze in more than 1 hour in a DVD, at which we will have to lower the bitrate. Bitrate refers to the amount of data recorded for every second.
With every new video format, the amount of data discarded is being reduced. For instance, VCD video have a bit rate of 170 KB per second while DVD-Video can have up to 1200 KB per second, that's about seven times better quality. With Blu-Ray (up to 4500 KB per second) gaining ground, bit rates are set to increase resulting in a better copy of the original video.
- I want to edit my videos. Am I able to do so?
Sure! We strongly recommend the DV AVI format for editing. This type of format does not go through lossy MPEG2 encoding and allows you to generate a high quality end result. You will need to provide us a hard disk as the file can be very large. For an hour of video, it will take about 13GB of space.
- How exactly do you do your conversions?
We use professional level equipment to capture at uncompressed AVI and then run a cpu-intensive high quality MPEG2 encoding processing using a high end PC utilising the latest Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor. We do NOT use consumer-grade DVD dual decks or TV capture cards (e.g. Hauppauge, Pinnacle) to perform the transfer hence giving you the highest quality for your money.
For miniDv / Digital8 conversions, it is entirely digital. Digital data from the tape is encoded to the DVD format directly.
- What is the bitrate of the DVD Video that the videos are converted to?
We try to maximize quality by making use of the available space in the DVD as much as possible
If the video is <= 1.1 Hour, the bitrate is 7800kbps average Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
If the video is <= 1.5 Hours, the bitrate is 6000kbps average Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
If the video is <= 2 Hours, the bitrate is 4500kbps average Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
If the video is >= 2 Hours, it is split between 2 DVD discs with 5500-7800kbps average Variable Bit Rate
- What is the resolution of the DVD videos that the videos are converted to?
For PAL videos, it is 720 x 576. For NTSC videos, it is 720 x 480. This is the highest possible resolution possible under the DVD-Video standard as well as the resolution used for Standard Definition (SD) content such as commercial Hollywood movies.
- What is the audio format used in the DVD?
We use Dolby Digital AC3 format. At request, we can also do PCM uncompressed audio, but please note that it takes up much more space and has trouble playing in some DVD players.
- What is the bitrate of the FLV Flash Video?
We will ask for your preferred quality before proceeding to convert. The higher the bitrate, the better the quality but it will require more space and bandwidth.
Low - 200kbps
Medium - 400kbps
High - 700kbps
Contact us if you have further queries.