Modern Australian Magazine

Saving History One VHS Tape At A Time

  • Written by Logan Peranavan


Remember those old VHS or Betamax tapes? Or Super 8? Can you still remember a time when VHS tapes were how everyone watched movies and camcorders caught our memories on tape? Yes, dear readers, there was a time when Blockbuster bestrode a world stage before Netflix and other streaming sites emerged.

Unfortunately, time is catching up with those tape-bound memories. Information stored on the old magnetic tape formats is in very real danger from physical degradation and playback obsolescence.

When Magnetic Tape Ruled

Sony released its consumer camcorder the Betamovie in 1983. Its mini Betamax cassette tape provided consumers with instant access to memories and major milestone events. Thus home-video history was made.

Dramatic changes in technology evolution have left many of us with our precious memories stored in older formats.

People often discover a forgotten stash of old home videos or movies. They may not want to hang onto cartons of VHS tapes or 8mm films but they want to save those memories on a digital format.

Corrosion Is Not Your Memory’s Friend

Once, seemingly every home used to have a camcorder or Super 8 camera. Those VHS cassettes or reels of 8mm film are now gathering dust in storage or garages across the country.

All those old memories currently stored on magnetic media are slowly corroding away. Magnetic tapes, such as VHS tapes and audiotape or cassettes store information on plastic tape layered with metal oxides. As time passes the magnetic fields on these tapes dissipate and the information can no longer be read.

Today those videotapes are classified as ‘at-risk media’ due to its vulnerability to surface pitting and corrosion, while the technology we use to watch it is disappearing fast.

Tragically, scientists give tape-based data just 15 to 20 years before it's totally unsalvageable.

Hence, converting those mouldering videotapes or 8mm film stock to a digital format is becoming increasingly urgent.

Striking Gold

As VHS tapes are no longer in production, occasionally, there’s value waiting to be discovered lurking in those boxes of old VHS tapes.

After all, scarcity usually spikes prices. Years ago, the Disney organization released Black Diamond Editions of several of its most beloved animated classics.

Today those rare re-releases can be worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars each. So, when you are sifting through those boxes of old VHS tapes, keep your eyes peeled for those purportedly multi-thousand dollar Disney Black Diamond VHS cassettes.

If you come across any of the high-demand classics such as Fantasia, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, The Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp, The Sword and the Stone, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin and Aladdin and the King of Thieves, The Fox and the Hound and 101 Dalmatians you could be in the money.

Take your find to Tapes To Digital. They’ll check the tape quality and clean it if necessary. Then you are all set to cash in on your good fortune!

There Is A Solution

Fortunately, the gurus at tapestodigital.com have the very latest technology available enabling them to transfer information from those old magnetic tape formats to today’s digital formats.

Their VHS converter service offers a variety of equipment capable of converting everything from professional 1-inch tape to VHS and audiotapes.

Final Observation

Since the Lumière brothers screened the world’s very first motion picture back in 1895, media capture technology has continuously evolved. Inevitably today’s media formats will, in turn, become tomorrow’s digital dust collectors. Make future media conversions simpler by storing your files in clearly-labelled folders on your computer and ensuring they are backed up on a cloud storage service or an external hard drive. Better still, do both.

Australia Today

Important 2020 SEO Trends You Need to Know

Diana Smith

The landscape of SEO is evolving with each passing year, which is why, if your business depends on its online presence and search engine ranking, this is a topic that’s definitely worth your attention. You see, it’s not just about being easier to discover. It’s also about the reputation and ...

how fraudsters take advantage of those in need

Cassandra Cross, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Law, Cybersecurity Cooperative Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology

Australians were also cheated out of A$400,000 last year in charity scams.Dean Lewins/AAPThere’s been an overwhelming outpouring of love and support around the world for those impacted by the bushfires, from social-media donation drives to music concerts to authors auctioning off their books. ...

Catherine Hay Thomson, the Australian undercover journalist who went inside asylums and hospitals

Kerrie Davies, Lecturer, School of the Arts & Media, UNSW

Catherine Hay Thomson went undercover as an assistant nurse for her series on conditions at Melbourne Hospital. A. J. Campbell Collection/National Library of AustraliaIn this series, we look at under-acknowledged women through the ages.In 1886, a year before American journalist Nellie Bly feigned in...

'What subjects do I choose for my last years of school?'

Susanne Gannon, Associate Professor, Western Sydney University

Locking yourself into one career path too early may be risky.from shutterstock.comWe are being asked to do work experience this year, in a field we might like to work in. We are being asked to think about choosing electives that are directing us towards our career choices.I have no idea what I want ...

To improve firefighters' mental health, we can't wait for them to reach out – we need to 'reach in'

Erin Smith, Associate Professor in Disaster and Emergency Response, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University

Many firefighters will by now be exhausted, having been on the front line of Australia’s bushfire crisis for weeks or months. This bushfire season has been unrelenting, and the hottest months of summer may still lie ahead.In part, the toll is physical. The flames are high, they are intense, an...

Holidays & Travel

Five things to take when traveling to New Zealand

New Zealand is a sovereign island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean region. It is known to be a country of scenery, mountains, waterfalls, caves, beautiful lakes, golden-sanded beaches...

Benefits of hiring a car for your vacation

Car Rentals are an alternative that is being increasingly used by travellers, particularly in the twenty-first century. Small-cost airlines allow us to fly to any city in the world for...

Best Places to Rent a Car in WA

If you are in Western Australia and you are looking to rent a vehicle, whether you are in the area for holiday or you are a resident, it is important...

5 Digital Free Holidays: Take a trek and get back to nature

Our current digital age has connected us to each other and the vast opportunities around the world like no other time in history. And yet, sometimes we need to get...

Places to visit on your first trip to North America

This vast continent, home to one of the biggest countries in the world, is certainly not an easy thing to explore. Its diverse array of cultures and peoples, cities full...

Must-Visit US Destinations for Australians

Australia is a sought-after travel destination for tourists from around the world for its incredible cities, beautiful landscapes, history, culture, and beyond. Tourists flock to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold...

5 Reasons For Visiting the Netherlands in Spring

The Netherlands is a stunning part of Europe and according to Markus De Jong, travel expert at adviesjagers.nl Australians love to visit the Netherlands as part of their travels around...

Winter fun in Colorado

Colorado is one of the most visited states in the United States due to the numerous beautiful places evenly distributed in every part of the State. There are lots of...

Essential Personal Hygiene Tips for Traveling

Staying healthy and maintaining good personal hygiene are two of the most important aspects of traveling, but it might not always be easy to achieve. As crucial it is to...

Fashion & Beauty

Basic Clothing Items Found in Almost Everyone’s Closet

Usually, everyone enjoys a closet crowded with clothes, yet no one has anything to wear when an event shows up. This is more like a ‘global problem’ faced by women...

Differences between chandelier earrings and drop

Earrings have been playing a significant role in embracing the beauty of women for ages. The history of earing shows its importance even from 2500 B.C. with time, and more...

Six reasons why sunglasses are more than a fashion

An accessory item which occupies half of your budget is those sunglasses that you just bought. Ever wondered why? They first became trendy when some of your favorite celebrities...

Tips to Add Richness to Your Look

You’re heading straight into 2020 with only one goal in mind, making it your most trendy year ever that’s filled with luxury fashion, but like a lot of things, it’s...

The 5 Winter Accessories Every Stylish Woman Should Own

Winter seems like the perfect season for accessorizing. As we tend to wear mostly monochromatic outfits during the colder months and love to style multiple shades of grey, camel, and...

5 Ways to Style Your Winter Wardrobe Essentials Into Versatile Outfits

Winter is undoubtedly one of the most fashionable seasons. Trendy, yet cozy outfits are a trademark of the colder months, and it seems that there is no limit set on...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

Embarrassed of your teeth? Here's what you can doWant to become a ballerina? Here's what you should know10 Signs You Are Obsessed with ShoppingArchitects and interior designers reveal what will shape the homes of a new decadeTips To Transform Your Bedroom With An Ecstatic ViewFive things to take when traveling to New ZealandBenefits of Cosmetic Surgery10 signs you're obsessed with cleaning5 Healthy Snacks To Bring To The OfficeExperts Think We Should Repair Items MoreIs Dental Floss Really That Useful? Dentists Weight InThings to keep out of your children reachTips To Maintain Your High-Quality CookwareTips for planning perfect picnic for new yearsBenefits of hiring a car for your vacation