help needed digitizing videotape

| 7 Comments

When Gerald and I got married in Jamaica, back in 1993, a lovely Irish couple videotaped the ceremony for us, and gave us the tape.

The problem is, the tape is a European format that we never had the ability to view. It's a PAL8 8mm videocassette. Specifically, a Sony Metal MP90, which says in various places on its case that it's "P5-90MP," "Video8," and "PAL8".

I would really, really like to be able to preserve this tape (and even watch it someday...). Is there anybody within the reach of this blog who has equipment to decode the tape and transfer it to a digital video file? I would be so grateful...

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Update: A point of clarification. There are plenty of places around here (including several departments here at RIT) that could help me transfer this if it were a standard US tape format (like NTSC). But this is a European (PAL8) videotape format, which not many US video shops support.

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Update 2: Never mind. I found a place online (APM Studio in Boca Raton, FL) that will convert the PAL 8mm tape to an NTSC-format DVD for $14.95.

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Update 3: Wow! Seems our ed tech center here at RIT may be able to do it for me. Very cool. Thanks, Brock, for letting me know...I probably should have checked with them first!

7 Comments

Liz,

A quick search and I found a video transfer service in your city. There may be others.
Animatus Studio
34 Winthrop Street
585 232-1740 (voice)

The problem is that most video transfer places in the US won't be able to handle the European video format of this tape. :(

You may just have to plan a road trip to Toronto (unless you find a firm that you can trust with receiving and returning your precious single copy).

Again, no endorsement, just one of many firms in the city across the lake
http://www.mgxproductions.com/transfer.htm

Hi Liz,

It looks like that particular videotape is still being sold, so there's a good chance it will work; it probably just needs to be converted from PAL to NTSC so you can view it. There are lots of places online that do PAL to NTSC conversion, or you can probably find a local tape-to-DVD place or a camera store that has a PAL deck and does conversions. The format really shouldn't be a huge problem; it's a pretty common conversion.

My colleague down the hall tells me that our Media Studies dept. does it for about $25... you might check around and see if any of your AV folks do the same.

ETC has equipment that can can convert between PAL and NTSC, and I'm fairly certain that they have an 8mm machine (I used to work there, but now I can't remember). You want to talk to someone down at Master Control, in the basement of the library. Go in the door to the left of the steps that lead up into the Library lobby, or give Scott Sevensma a call - x2581.

I'm afraid my video player broke a few years back and I never replaced it - though obviously video transfer services here in Norway would be able to do it.

Actually, searching for a Norwegian place, I found a Canadian place that'll do it:
http://www.angelfire.com/film/tmtv/prices.html#intercon

and if they do it in Canada, surely there'll be somewhere in the States, too? Good luck!

(Oooh, I'd love to see an excerpt on your blog!!)

I'm glad your problem is/appears to be solved. In general, Indian groceries and other establishments that serve a Desi clientele have the best rates on converting PAL8 tapes, I've found.

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on January 14, 2005 3:51 PM.

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