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Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Digitizing Audio and Video Cassette Tapes

Nan Barnes

We talk to a lot of people working on personal and family histories who have audio or video recordings of relatives telling stories about how it was “back in the day.” Almost all of them are concerned that these cassettes or VCR tapes are deteriorating or that the equipment to play them is wearing out. They are worried that these pricesless recordings will be lost.

Today we’ll look at the segment of LifeHacker’s “Step-by-Step Guide to Digitizing Your Life” to see how to preserve audio and video tape.

Converting a cassette to a digital recording is easy. Cassette recorders players  stereo output ports and computers have stereo input ports which you can connect with an inexpensive 1/8” stereo cable. Any software capable of recording audio on your computer will work with the cassette player. LifeHacker recommends Audacity which is available for free download if you need recording software BIAS SoundSoap that can help remove imperfections in the recordings, such as crackle and hum.  Roxio Spin Doctor is software designed to help make the entire process easier.

For more detailed information LifeHacker offers an article titled Alpha Geek: How to Digitize Cassette Tapes. There’s a link below.

When converting analog-to-digital video your DV camera may have conversion capabilities   you can can use it to digitize just about any analog source.  All you'll need to get it onto your computer is software that can handle a DV stream such as Apple's iMovie and Final Cut Express/Pro (Mac) or Windows Movie Maker.  If you don't have a digital video camera, you can also use TV Tuner cards with composite input or digital video bridges made specifically for the purpose of converting analog video.  For more information, covers the analog-to-digital conversion process in greater detail.

Unfortunately on worn out VHS tapes the signal may jiggle and cut out. Recording it may require a professional VHS recording deck with a time corrector. If this is the case, it may be able to seek out a service which has the equipment to make the conversion for you.

If you have Hi8 tapes you have another option.  Sony created Digital8 camcorders that have the ability to digitize Hi8 tapes in-camera and output a DV signal.

Click here to read the complete LifeHacker Step-by-Step Guide to Digitizing Your Life

Click here for Alpha Geek: How to Digitize  Cassette Tapes

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