Video transfer and conversion – actually in Milton Keynes!

Several of our clients have noted lately that some of our competitors show up in search results as serving the Milton Keynes area but, on closer interrogation, are actually situated many miles away!

We took a call from a potential customer the other day in which the very nice lady asked “Are you actually based in Milton Keynes?” to which we responded “We most definitely are!” We can’t help noticing that this is happening more and more of late. Apparently, there are businesses just like us who claim to be in Milton Keynes merely to grab your business although in reality they’re anything but local. Not very helpful to you, is it?

Not entrusting your precious recordings with parcel carriers

The one thing we hear time and again from customers is that they would really prefer to drop their items in rather than entrust them to parcel carriers. This is understandable despite the fact that our experience doesn’t back this up; in over three years of operation we have not experienced a single problem in this respect, but it’s natural for you – as a prospective client – to be worried that your home or business video recordings might get lost or damaged in transit. That’s why you’ll prefer to hand your media materials to us in person in the knowledge that they have arrived safely.

Easy to find – and you can park, too!

Since February 2012, SimplyDV Limited has been based at the Milton Keynes Business Centre where we occupy secure first-floor space on a business park that was built as recently as 2008. Not only is our unit secure, but the building itself has two layers of internal security and the whole site itself is secured by gate access out of normal business hours. An elaborate closed-circuit TV system exists to provide added security for your videotapes when in our care.

The business centre itself provides a relaxed and friendly environment, not only those who work here but also for our many visitors. When we’re not here (perhaps because we’re out visiting clients and so on), our friendly and efficient reception team are here to assist you with your enquiries and make available for collection your completed recorded media and files.

Professional video transfer and archiving in Milton Keynes – your best local choice

In short, if you’re looking for a good video transfer service close to you in Milton Keynes then make SimplyDV your first choice – and don’t be tempted to use a business that merely attracts your attention through the use of clever but deceptive search engine tricks. Don’t worry – you can trust us. Your recordings are our passion!

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All Betacam format transfers in PAL and NTSC

Thanks to continued investment in hardware and software, SimplyDV is now pleased to announce that we’re now equipped to undertake the full range of Betacam tape transfers in both PAL and NTSC formats.
Image showing Betacam, Betacam-SP, Betacam-SX, MPEG-IMX, Digital Betacam, Betacam Oxide logos

We can transfer any Betacam format – in PAL and NTSC too

Whether you’re looking for a straightforward copy of Betacam, Betacam-SP, Betacam-SX, Digital Betacam (DigiBeta), MPEG IMX or standard original Betacam oxide tape to DVD or to an editable file format such as 10-bit/8-bit Uncompressed Quicktime file, ProRes422 (any profile), MPEG-4/H.264 or even DPX sequence files then we can do it for you. We’re also able to undertake transfers from any of the above formats in either PAL or NTSC standards, too.

Large and Small format tape cassettes

We can handle both the large and the small tape cassettes, so all you have to do is to send us your tapes for transfer without worrying about whether they’ll be transferred. We’ll do the rest.

Prices

We’re now offering all Betacam tape format transfers in both PAL and NTSC at a standard rate according to the tape running times. These are as follows:

  • Tape up to 30 mins = £20.00 per tape;
  • Tape up to 60 minutes = £30.00 per tape;
  • Tape up to 90 minutes = £40.00 per tape.

Depending on the destination format (eg: DVD disc, ProRes422, 10-bit/8-bit uncompressed Quicktime file, MPEG-4/H.264 file, DPX delivered on Hard Disc Drive or USB stick, Memory Card, etc) we are also able to offer discounted prices on volume in excess of 10 units.

Archiving videotapes to digital files in bulk quantity?

We’re being increasingly asked to undertake bulk archiving work for libraries, museums and archives seeking to move their tape-based assets into more accessible files. If you or your organisation have such requirements, then please contact Colin using the Contact page or telephone 01908 698938 during office hours.

Whatever your Betacam transfer and digital archiving requirements, we’re committed to providing the best quality of product and of service.

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When you need something doing quickly…

Yep – ask a busy person! There’s a lot of truth in that age-old expression – but it’s one thing to do a large job quickly and quite another to get it done properly.

Okay, so I know I risk shooting myself in the foot pretty quickly, but never mind. As it is, the months of February and March 2014 have been the busiest in SimplyDV’s 12-year history; coping with the last-minute rush for bulk archiving to digital formats has been a major struggle – but it’s better than having a proper job.

Image of SimplyDV's main capture suite being used to ingest VHS tapes to Quicktime 10-bit files

Ingesting a collection of 1996 Channel 4 rushes tapes to Quicktime 10-bit 422 Uncompressed video files.

Hitting the ground running at the start of 2014

Expecting a nice relaxed start to the new year after a last-minute pre-Christmas rush it was quickly evident that there would be no such luxury; late January saw a request from Stevenage Museum to digitise a large library of audio recordings, all of which were made as part of the town’s Oral Heritage Project in 1986 and totalling almost 200 hours. That wasn’t a problem. The catch was that they were needed before the Museum’s budget cut-off at the end of March.

Then came a request from the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford, for a very similar job – three collections of oral history project recordings made on audio cassette circa 2004 and 2005 totalling 120 hours and with a similar deadline. In both cases, the recordings were required as 16-bit 48 kHz WAV computer files for use in further editing work and ultimately in museum exhibits.

Did it all get done on time? Of course it did – thanks to seven-day working for three weeks in March, with some days starting at 8.00am and finishing the following 2.00am!

NTSC U-matic to PAL DVD standards conversion for Cleo Laine (rear) and MiniDisc audio capture and editing on the Mac (front).

SimplyDV facilities being used to convert some of Cleo Laine’s personal video archive and to convert a client’s MiniDisc collection.

Other assignments include three large mixed-format media collections (videocassettes on various formats, audio tapes, cine films, etc) that have been brought in by private clients that require digitising to editable computer files and also to DVD. If that’s not enough, we have an assignment to digitise a collection of television rushes tapes of shows like Channel 4’s Brass Eye (featuring presenter Chris Morris, 1997-2001) and various other comedy shows for their freelance director who wishes to build a new digital archive and also a retrospective for his own purposes.

The end of DVD is nigh?

What’s interesting is that 2014 is seeing a significant shift in the way our digitised recordings are being delivered back to clients; up until the end of 2013 the main delivery format was DVD but we’re increasingly being asked to deliver to clients on hard drives or USB thumb-drives in either MPEG-4/H.264 video files (for import and sharing via iTunes to smartphones, tablets and online dropboxes) or to full uncompressed 10-bit 422 video and ProRes422 files for editing and re-working on clients’ own computers. The other big surprise is that almost all clients requiring editable files are using Apple Mac systems. For every 10 requests for files, 9 of them come from Apple Mac users. Rarely are Windows AVI files required!

Coming soon – Digital Betacam transfers

Yes, the television and video production community is now at the point of having to consider a shift from DigiBeta (Digital Betacam) camera and studio production / edit masters to Quicktime-based file formats, so SimplyDV is in the process of upgrading kit to accomodate this. Why? Because we’re getting requests that require fulfilling!

So if you’re looking for a simple transfer to DVD of your old wedding video or a bulk transfer of audio and video tapes for your personal archive or that of your organisation, you know where to come and who to ask….

……this very busy person, that’s who!

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Digitising Audio and Video Archive Recordings

Image showing mixing and balancing sound sources using our Soundcraft EPM-8 Sound Mixer

Taking care with audio levels as we digitise clients’ precious archive recordings

Since taking up residence at Milton Keynes Business Centre in February 2012, SimplyDV has undertaken volume digitising of professional format video tape content to Microsoft AVI, 10-bit Uncompressed Quicktime, ProRes422 as well as large volume audio-cassette and reel-to-reel tape content for a number of museums, libraries and other organisations.

We’re receiving an increasing number of enquiries from organisations in the public museums and archives sector to corporate archives and also advertising agencies as well as forward-thinking private individuals who are recognising that analogue audio and video recordings really do need to be captured into the digital domain before it’s too late and the media assets themselves become unplayable and worthless.

The first three months of 2014 have seen SimplyDV being kept very busy with bulk digitising and archiving of recordings being undertaken for several organisations. These include the following:

  • Bletchley Park Trust – transfer to digital video file formats (Microsoft AVI and MPEG-4/H.264 access copies) of 50 hours of broadcast-quality videotaped content containing interviews with WW2 veterans. Also several hundred hours of oral history recordings of WW2 codebreaking veterans, made by volunteers since 1991;
  • Stevenage Museum – digitising to 16-bit WAV audio files of 197 hours of 1/4″ reel-to-reel audio tape recordings made from 1986 onwards as part of the Stevenage Oral Heritage Project, in addition to other digitising for the Talking New Towns project;
  • Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford – digitising to 16-bit WAV audio files of over 100 hours of oral history interviews recorded in the 1990s and 2000s for several projects, including over 50 hours of recordings made for the Aniseed Balls & The Missing Cannon project (memories of WW2 by Bedford residents), experiences of the Women’s Land Army in Bedford during WW2, and also Made in Bedford, audio-taped reminiscences of former employees of the former W. H. Allen engineering works in Bedford.
  • Cranfield University School of Management Case Centre – bulk transcoding of the whole of the centre’s 665 management case study DVDs into MPEG-4/H.264 digital master and access files, intended for network server access by staff, academics and MBA students.
A large number of a client's VHS videocassette collection on a desk

Part of a client’s VHS videocassette collection awaits digitising to files for editing in Apple Final Cut Pro X

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