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.

Home-delivered food has a huge climate cost. So which cuisine is the worst culprit?

Robert Crawford, Associate Professor in Construction and Environmental Assessment, University of Melbourne

ShutterstockOver the past few years, Australians have embraced online food delivery services such as UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog. But home-deliver...

The economy can't guarantee a job. It can guarantee a liveable income for other work

John Quiggin, Professor, School of Economics, The University of Queensland

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Australia in March 2020, the Morrison government took bold and imaginative action. The most notable examples were it...

why you may have to buy a new device whether you want to or not

Michael Cowling, Associate Professor - Information & Communication Technology (ICT), CQUniversity Australia

The Conversation, CC BYWe’ve probably all been there. We buy some new smart gadget and when we plug it in for the first time it requires an upda...

Despite appearances, this government isn't really Keynesian, as its budget update shows

Michael Keating, Visiting Fellow, College of Business & Economics, Australian National University

It is tempting to think the Australian government’s decision to spend big – bigger than ever before, an unprecedented 33% of GDP this fina...

Circa's Humans 2.0 is a visceral delight

Kate Maguire-Rosier, Honorary Associate, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, School of Literature, Art, and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney

Yaya Stempler/Sydney FestivalReview: Humans 2.0, directed by Yaron Lifschitz, Circa at Sydney FestivalThe black circular stage is lit by small towers ...

To learn at home, kids need more than just teaching materials. Their brain must also adapt to the context

John Munro, Professor, Faculty of Education and Arts, Australian Catholic University

ShutterstockResearch during the first phase of remote teaching in Victoria reported some students found the workload “too high”, missed in...

Do you feel undervalued and overworked? COVID-19 is likely to affect the employed too

Philip Weinstein, Professorial Research Fellow, University of Adelaide

ShutterstockThere’s no question the rising rate of unemployment is one of the worst consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Austral...

restoring trade with China in a hostile political environment

Tony Walker, Vice-chancellor's fellow, La Trobe University

The new trade minister, Dan Tehan, has been handed one of the Morrison government’s most demanding roles. Despite a lot of chest-thumping in gov...

The Importance of Commercial Lifts for Businesses

News Co

As businesses continue to grow and flourish, commercial buildings are becoming taller and even more extensive. As such, lifts have become a nece...

The Pfizer vaccine may not be the best choice for frail people, but it's too early to make firm conclusions

Nathan Bartlett, Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle

Reports of about 30 deaths among elderly nursing home residents who received the Pfizer vaccine have made international headlines.With Australia&rsquo...

Curious kids: how do gills work?

Culum Brown, Professor, Macquarie University

David Clode/Unsplash, CC BYHow do gills work? Tully, aged 7Great question, Tully! Animals on land breathe air, which is made up of different gasses. O...

3 Ways Your Drains Become Blocked

Samantha Ball

Oh, dear. You’re starting to see water sitting in the sink basin, slowly draining away when it should have quickly swished down the drain by n...

Holidays & Travel

Top Luxury Resorts For A Restorative Staycation In Australia

There are three main types of tourists who travel in search of wellness: those into beauty/spa-type treatments, those after the ultimate luxury lifestyle, and those who are into spiritual retreats...

7 Bucket-List Worthy Experiences in Dubai

“You only live once.” These words – often abbreviated into the sensational catchphrase “YOLO” – have become more popular with the millennial generation. But this is hardly a new idea. In...

Reasons Why you Should Book Holiday Accommodation in Hobart Tasmania

Are you considering your next Australian trip, but not sure where you should visit? The capital city of Hobart is a great option for travelers and local tourists to explore...

Exotic Experiences that You Need to Try at an Uluru Resort

Breaking the monotony of routine, we all look forward to enjoying some exotic experiences on our vacation trips. Be it going for bungee jumping or be it warming up to...

Top 3 Family Boating Activities in Townsville

Honestly, the Sunshine Coast of Queensland has so much to offer that it is hard to choose just a few of the top activities. There's nothing quite like boating in...

What Are The Most Compelling Reasons To Go For Cycling Vacation?

Many people think that cycling on vacation is a crazy idea and suitable only for cycling enthusiasts. However, it is not like that because cycling vacation is the best way...

6 Tips to Prepare for a Long-Distance Motorcycle Ride

Going on a motorcycle ride can be a saving grace, even in these trying times. The thing is that your journey can help you relieve some stress and allow you...

Enjoy Visiting Las Vegas With Navigating Safely

Spending a holiday or driving in Las Vegas could be quite fun yet challenging. When you are visiting Las Vegas for the first time and not aware of the routes...

4 Memorable Places to Visit in India

India has the second-highest population on earth, and it's rapidly catching up to China. It's also one of the more exotic locations on earth and has a diverse population and...

Fashion & Beauty

Things to Consider Before Shopping for Women’s Perfume Online

Finding the right perfume can be challenging. Perfumes are an expression of a person’s personality, and that is usually why most people are very picky about the perfume they buy. When...

How Beneficial Are Health and Beauty Courses to Aspiring Beauty Experts?

Today, one of the fastest-growing industries is health and beauty. Enrolling in courses for health and beauty brings several benefits to both the owner and the student. High-end treatments and...

A Quick History of Knitwear

Knitwear is undoubtedly a winter staple, in whatever form it may come in – whether it be an old vintage piece from an op shop or a brand new and...

Upgrade your career in beauty therapy with these short beauty courses

There are plenty of things to love about a career in beauty therapy. From the wide scope for creativity and continual development to the fast-paced industry dynamic, a career as...

Tammy Hembrow Launches Mini Saski In Time For Mother's Day

Australian fitness expert and influencer Tammy Hembrow has launched her first children’s clothing range, Saski Mini, and Unisex tracksuits TODAY in time for Mother’s Day this Sunday.   The must-have range is...

Get Through Lockdown with Retail Therapy: Buying Your First Designer Bag Online

Stuck in lockdown? Feeling worried? Maybe some retail therapy will cheer you up. And while going out to shop on the high street is certainly not recommended right now, online...



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion













Popular articles from Modern Australian

How Is Tequila Made?Why You Should Enlist The Services Of A Property StylistTop Luxury Resorts For A Restorative Staycation In AustraliaUnderstanding Employee Car Allowance Rates in Australia7 Bucket-List Worthy Experiences in DubaiThe Effects of Pollen Throughout the Year What Qualifications Are Required to Work as a Chef in Australia?How You Can Create A Café With A Shipping ContainerA Few Great Uses For Laundry DetergentHow To Make Living With Housemates SimplerGreat Tips For Buying Flowers For Valentine’s Day Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Becomes The Fastest Sports Car Safety Tips You Need to Remember Before Contacting an ElectricianHow to Choose the Best Fishing Backup & Tackle BoxReasons You Need to Consider the Services of a Licensed Electrician