Starting the year as we mean to continue!

We were expecting a quiet start to 2013 – but it was not to be. Not that we’re complaining, of course.

Following the predictable pre-Christmas rush in the latter half of November and most of December 2012 (up to within a few days of Christmas Day itself, in fact), we were half expecting January and February to be quiet, with a reduced flow of video digitising and transfer work during the post-festival gloom. But it was not to be!

Image of professional video capture suite

Our professional multi-format video capture suite

Oh no. In fact, business has been much better than expected with a constant flow of transfer work in the form of small, one-off jobs and larger, longer term contract assignments as well.

It’s good for any business to have a mix of larger, longer-term contracts and smaller more specialised assignments.

Even though SimplyDV is a small business, we’ve been lucky to secure a number of larger commissions to digitise whole collections of older analogue videotape recordings for archival and instant retrieval purposes; back in March 2012 (and after a competitive tender in which we were chosen even though we weren’t the lowest-price bidder) SimplyDV commenced the digital transfer of the whole of The Reg Walker Video Archive for a private client. Reg, who passed away in 2009, was born and bred in Beverley in East Yorkshire and was well known as an enthusiastic video-maker who shot and edited over 450 hours of video footage designed to document life in his home territory.

After his passing, a member of Reg’s family asked us to manage the whole process of carefully digitising over 450 hours of VHS, S-VHS and MiniDV footage using Apple’s ProRes422 video format on two 2TB (Terrabyte) and one 3TB hard disk drives for later editing in Apple Final Cut Pro X. Eventually, a selection of these unique movie insights will be uploaded to a special Vimeo channel for all to see and share.

The assignment was eventually completed at the end of October 2012, to the satisfaction of both our client and ourselves.

A large number of a client's VHS videocassette collection on a desk

Part of the Reg Walker collection awaits digitising from VHS and S-VHS to ProRes422 on our Apple Mac

Voices of the Bletchley Park veterans

In January 2013 we were asked by the Bletchley Park Trust to digitise a number of videotaped interviews with veterans of World War Two who had connections with the world-famous code breaking centre situated in Bletchley, to the south of Milton Keynes.

The interviews were originally conducted by a television production company and recorded during the early part of 2004 as part of the build-up to that year’s bi-cententenial celebrations of Operation Overlord – more commonly known as the D-Day Landings which took place on June 6th, 1944. The transfer of 50 digital videocassettes were required for use with Bletchley Park’s education programmes and also for archival purposes. We were very pleased to take on the job and turn it around within 10 days of taking delivery of the material. We get all sorts of material for transfer but the interviews with WW2 code breakers does take some beating!

More than just video transfers, too!

Although we don’t really advertise the fact, we do actually undertake audio (sound) transfers as well. In fact, 2013 has turned up several commissions; a couple of private customers have asked us to digitise their 1/4″ reel-to-reel audio tape recordings to CD but without ¬†doubt the biggest commission so far this year is from a faculty at The Open University in Milton Keynes that has commissioned SimplyDV to digitally transfer and archive over 500 academic research recordings made over a period of at least 30 years.

Such tapes (some of which need careful handling before and during transfer) require a lot of physical storage space – whereas even large hard disc drive arrays don’t! The job is expected to run through until late May 1013.

Not forgetting our other customers, either

Of course, once the big jobs are running there’s not much to do unless we have a range of smaller jobs to do as well, and to that end we’ve been lucky to be running home video transfers of common formats like VHS, Video-8, Hi-8, MiniDV and even Digital-8 to DVD. Interestingly, we’re being asked to create digital files not for playback on DVD discs but for exporting to files that can be viewed on iPads and other mobile devices.

One customer recently asked us to digitise a whole set of camcorder cassette tapes which could then be imported into a brand new Apple iPad he’d bought as a Christmas present for his wife. We helped to create the files and provided advice on how he could add the files to the iPad prior to it being repackaged in time to put under the Christmas tree! All worked out well and we hope the lucky lady was very happy to have instant access to the video clips of the family growing up over the previous 10 years!

Yep, here at SimplyDV we can give your old video recordings a new digital life!

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