Beta tapes, VHS cassettes and 8mm films may be things of the
past, though some people are still holding on. But going from
outdated to sleek is just moments away
Vinyl: 12-inch platters we fondly put on our turntables so a needle could lovingly caress the music out of them. Along with audio cassettes, Beta video tapes and VHS cassettes, the big black records have been forced down the road toward obsolete, replaced by the sleeker, faster, high-quality media of today: CDs, MP3s and DVDs.
Some of us, though, are still hanging on to the media of yesteryears – and it’s time for an upgrade.
That’s where Mike Tervooren comes in. Tervooren, owner of Media Master, makes a business of updating media, such as transferring VHS to DVD, audio cassettes to CD and even putting 8mm films onto DVD. Tervooren works from his Hollister home and serves residents of Gilroy, Hollister and Morgan Hill.
Now is a good time to update home media, Tervooren said, because no newer or better kind of media is on the horizon – CDs and DVDs will be the media of choice for some time. Having up-to-date media can improve listening and viewing pleasure, and even preserve cherished memories, such as in the case of Hollister resident Karen Phillips Aeschliman.
Aeschliman’s father, who died five years ago, used to play guitar in a country band. When Aeschliman listened to the only recording she had of his music – on cassette tape – she was disappointed by the poor sound quality and pesky interference. So, she brought the tape to Tervooren.
“I wanted a better copy of the music and I wanted it on CD because that’s what most of us have now,” Aeschliman said. “I was so pleased with the outcome. The static is gone and it sounds really, really good.”
Aeschliman played the CD of her father’s music after Thanksgiving dinner this year.
“I can’t tell you how special it was – it really was the neatest thing,” she said. “It was so nice to hear his voice, and my kids were so thrilled to hear grandpa’s voice again.”
Gilroy resident Kathy Vargas recently took some old family videos to Media Master because she wanted to give DVD copies of them to family members for Christmas.
“I’m not really handy with computers and I don’t really have time to do all that copying,” she said. “But I was in Blockbuster recently, and almost all the movies there were on DVD, so I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really glad I made the conversion.'”
It’s not always necessary, however, to hire a professional to upgrade outdated media.
“I have no qualms telling people if what they want done is something they can do themselves,” said Tervooren. “After I explain what they’d need to do, sometimes people decide to give it a try and I never hear from them again, and sometimes they decide they want me to do the job anyway.”
If you want to try updating home media on your own, here are some basic instructions from Tervooren:
Transfer Vinyl and Tapes to CD
“The simplest way is to use a stand-alone CD recorder,” Tervooren said. Plug the recorder into the stereo receiver that has the tape player or turntable hooked up to it. Put a commercial blank CD in the recorder, which costs $100 to $200, and follow the instructions to make the copy.
The process is similar to copying one audio tape onto another, Tervooren said.
“You’re not improving audio quality; you’re literally preserving the sound exactly as it is on the tape or record,” he said.
Transfer VHS to DVD
Electronics retailers sell machines that have one slot for VHS tapes and one slot for DVDs. These machines often play both kinds of media but will also burn DVD recordings of the VHS tapes. This will not improve the picture quality, but it will preserve the tape in the condition it’s in. The recorders cost $100 to $200.
Get CDs onto an MP3 Player
Once music is on a CD, most computers come with software to help you get the sound onto an MP3 player, such as an iPod. Examples of these computer programs include iMusic or RealPlayer. Just put the CD in your computer and follow your program’s instructions.
Things To Take To A Pro
Some media updates, such as transferring 8mm films to DVD, require specialized equipment. Beta tapes are another example. Tervooren estimated that one in 10,000 people still have a Beta machine. If you have home movies on Beta tapes and can’t find one of the 10,000, bring the Beta to a pro to update.
Other things, such as using computer programs to improve sound quality, may not be worth the time and expense if it will only be for a few small projects.
If you’ve already updated your audio tapes or records to CD, a professional can take the new format and fix the sound quality for you. It doesn’t have to be done at the time of updating.
There are several computer programs that can convert music that has been transferred to CD into MP3 files. The programs can also help improve the sound quality of the music; for example, by taking the “click” and “pop” sounds out of a recording made from vinyl.
These programs involve a more complicated process and a lot of patience, Tervooren said.
“There’s definitely a learning curve, but you don’t need to be a computer geek,” he said. “You at least have to have an interest in computers and be willing to invest some time to learn the programs.”
Most stand-alone CD recorders or DVD recorders are available from any electronics store. Some computer programs that help with improving sound quality, such as Roxio and Nero, are also available, but they may be too much for specialized jobs.
If, for example, you only want to take clicks and pops off a recording made from vinyl, Tervooren said to search the Web site www.download.com. Programs specifically designed for this task are available to download for a fraction of the cost of programs such as Nero.
User reviews for each download are also posted next to each program, making it easier to decide which program is best for you.
Update your media
To leave your media in the hands of a pro, drop off your video or audio tapes at Postnet Postal and Business Services in Hollister at 1760 Airline Highway, Suite F, or in Morgan Hill at Postal Stop, 15650 Vineyard Blvd., Suite A.
Tervooren does regular pickups at both places, then returns the finished products to the place customers dropped off their media. Fees range from $30 to transfer videotape onto DVD and anywhere from $50 to $125 to transfer audio tapes to CD. Media Master does not reproduce any material covered by copyright laws.