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World Backup Day 2014

Posted by cpapciak on March 31, 2014

worldbackup

Today marks World Backup Day 2014! What does this mean? World backup day is one day a year where people pledge to backup their most important digital files to ensure they don’t get lost due to data corruption, natural disasters, human error, or any number of ways you can lose data. Files going missing, photos becoming corrupt or your hard drive dying – it’s more common than you think. Having a backup could save you when you need it most!

A backup is a second copy of all your important files such as your family scanned photos, home videos, documents and emails. Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe. This will ensure that if something goes haywire with your computer, you can rest assured that you have a reliable backup of all your most important files.

Here are some rather shocking statistics from the World Backup Day website:

* 30% of people have never backed up their data
* 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute
* 29% of all data loss disasters are caused by accident
* 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month

Backing up files with an external hard drive:
If you choose to backup your files into an external hard drive, it’s important to keep the drive somewhere safe and preferably away from your computer in case some sort of disaster strikes.

Windows auto backup instructions:
1) Click the Start button.
2) Type “backup” into the search box.
3) Click on Backup and Restore.
4) Choose “Set up Backup”.
5) When Windows has finished preparing, select your external hard drive and click Next.
6) Click “Let Windows Choose” and press Next.

Mac instructions:
1) Open the Apple menu (in the top left of your screen) and choose System Preferences.
2) Click on “Time Machine”.
3) Click “Select Disk”.
4) Choose your USB hard drive from the list and select “Use Disk”.

You’re done! Your Mac will back itself up automatically from now on. If you’re using a MacBook, make sure to plug in your hard drive regularly so it can save your files!

Backing up your files online
You can also back up your files online, which often provides an additional layer of security, though requires internet access in order to retrieve your files. A simple way to start saving your files to the internet is by using OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive to backup the most important things you’re working on right now.

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Planning to Edit Video From a Playable or Data DVD?

Posted by cpapciak on March 20, 2014

There’s a couple things you should know if planning to do video editing from files that have been burned to a DVD, either as a playable movie or digital files loaded onto a DVD.

Often times, in order to fit large amounts of video onto a single DVD, the files must be compressed down to MP4 or other format which, since compressed, loses a lot of the data from the original video file. This data loss can present itself in the form of artifacts in your video, low pixelation, screen tearing, blurry scenes and more. In other words, if you transfer the data from the DVD to the computer for editing, the quality is not the same as that of the originally uncompressed video used to create the DVD. It also takes a lot of processing power to edit the compressed video, and although you can fix this problem by converting it to a less compressed video format (such as AVI), you will still see a quality loss. Also when you re-render that video that has previously been on a DVD it will re-compress again and you will notice more than a little loss of detail.

As you can see, this can be problematic, especially if the project is an important one that you need free from errors and looking as good as possible. The recommended way to edit your digital video files are to load them onto a high capacity external hard drive. From there, all of your uncompressed videos can reside within the drive, ready for editing at any time, with no loss in quality.

If you’re wondering what type of hard drive to buy, you should first know that digital video captured through a computer runs about 13gb per hour of video. This means that if you transfer 20 hours of footage, you’ll end up with about 260gb of uncompressed video, ready to edit. Also, you need to make sure you have free space equal or greater than what is currently on the drive. For instance, if you have 260gb of video and plan to do some editing, it is recommended to get a drive with at least 500gb to compensate for renders, clips, snippets, and whatever else you may try along the way.

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What Are the Best Blank DVDs to Use?

Posted by cpapciak on March 13, 2014

Many people are starting to realize that the need to transfer their important family memories onto DVD is rapidly approaching. Many people have already transferred their home movies, but unfortunately, they transferred them onto inferior, poor quality discs. As a result of this, some are losing their family memories MUCH sooner than they would have ever thought! If you are planning to transfer important data to DVD, we recommend doing some quick research about the best blank DVDs to transfer your camcorder videos onto.

It’s been reported that over half of all media you find in the major retail stores are of inferior quality. Simply buying the ‘best’ name brand, or most expensive media on the shelf will not always yield high quality discs. With great care, these inferior discs will maybe last you 10 years before the dye and adhesives start to break down, thus ruining the data and rendering the disc unplayable. Due to this reason, it’s recommended to use archival media that is rated to last decades with proper care. Purchasing poor-quality discs will, in the long run, only lead to lost time and money.
Taiyo-Yuden Spindle

With important data such as home movie transfers or scanned photos, it’s best practice to use an archival-grade media to store them onto, as well as an external hard drive. The discs we use to transfer all the media we receive such as slides to DVD, video to DVD, film to DVD, etc. are rated to last over 100 years! This will allow you more than enough time to guarantee your data’s safety, and an opportunity to keep that data with you for the rest of your life. The brand we recommend is Taiyo-Yuden, which is manufactured out of Japan. We have found these discs give us the least amount of errors and headaches. There are a couple other great brands such as Verbatim +R/-R discs, Sony DVD+R/-R discs, however, these are getting harder to find.

You may have seen some companies promoting the fact that they transfer media onto “Gold Archival DVDs”. There are some facts about the gold DVDs everyone should be aware of. Gold discs have much lower reflectivity than compared to the standard dye DVDs, which causes a lot of disc read and write errors and other compatibility issues to occur. Many of the gold discs we tested had a much lower successful burn rate than compared to the Taiyo-Yuden brand. If you are considering transferring your own media yourself, ensure that the hard work you put into converting everything over to the digital world will not be in vain. Invest the couple extra bucks to get the archival quality media when transferring your video to DVD, that will ensure you never lose a precious memory again!

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Videotape Restoration Tips and Helpful Advice

Posted by cpapciak on March 5, 2014

The goal of videotape restoration is to create a product that looks or sounds better than the source. This can be accomplished through a variety of ways, and commonly uses a combination of factors to achieve the desired results. Results will often vary, depending on the condition of the video, and what combination of techniques or equipment you’re using.

As with audio restoration, there is no one true method for eliminating all video errors. It can often be a tedious, time-consuming process of trial and error until you achieve the desired results. Experience and skill plays a large factor in video restoration, as with experience, you begin to notice how to diminish certain effects using various hardware and software tools.

Hardware

The first phase of the video restoration process is running the tape through high-end equipment in order to get the clearest video signal you possibly can. The VCR you use to transfer the video is actually the most important piece of equipment for VHS restoration. Video restoration is directly proportional to the quality of the source signal, which makes this step crucial to the VHS restoration process. Using a sub-par quality deck will only cause more problems down the road when it comes time to digitally correct the errors in your video.

vcr

Finding a VCR capable of providing you with great results can be tough to find, especially since nowadays they don’t seem to be near the quality they were in their heyday. For a quality deck, I would suggest searching ebay, or local classifieds such as Craigslist, or the daily newspaper. Your best bet is to find an old Sony or Panasonic that’s still in good condition with clean heads. Consumer or cheap VCRs you’d find at the local department stores will not get the job done, and can often leave your videos looking worse than before. For this step, expect to spend $300-400 for a VCR that can provide you with any sort of positive results. A VCR with a built-in time-based corrector would be the best bet for restoring old VHS tapes back to their original glory, but these can get expensive quick.

You’ll also need to obtain a high-quality video capture card for your computer. Do some research and make sure you invest in one that can deliver quality results. While it’s usually best to steer clear of the cheaper USB types of video capture hardware, they can work in a pinch. For best results, we recommend that you stick to an actual video capture card, or an advanced firewire unit such as a Canopus.

If quality is your main concern, I also suggest purchasing a standalone TBC (time-based corrector), which will remove the damaged timing from the VHS tape, and replace it with a solid timing which can heavily improve the quality of video you produce. This will help to remove flickering and other motion errors associated with older VHS tapes. This is also pretty expensive, but is a must-have for any serious video enthusiast.

Software

Most video editing programs have some restoration tools available. It usually just depends on what program you feel comfortable working in. Check out Virtualdub for a great free program that can produce amazing results when combined with the right settings and plugins. When capturing video, it’s recommended to capture to uncompressed AVI format, and then apply the filters when encoding to MPEG.

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Top Image Hosting Sites of 2014 and How to Use Them

Posted by cpapciak on February 13, 2014

The internet is full of all kinds of different websites this day and age. Image hosting sites have really boomed in popularity over the years. Do the the sensitive nature of images, these sites offer many advantages ranging from security to ease of use. Most are aware of image hosting of some form, the most common being the common Facebook uploaded images and Facebook albums. Facebook hosts so many images that they are spending millions of dollars per month just to expand to new servers in order to meet everyones image hosting demands!

With image hosting, most people would simply want to upload their photos to a photo album and be done with it. For simple online storage such as this, Facebook is an excellent option. Facebook image uploading provided an extremely quick and easy method of uploading, and not to mention, your photos will be instantly part of the largest social networking site on the planet in the process. Due to the ease of use, popularity, and functionality of Facebook, it has quickly risen to the zenith of the internet world.

In addition to Facebook, there are several other hosting options to choose from, with each having it’s own advantages. These sites are particularly advantageous if you want an image hosting option that’s not anchored to your personal Facebook account. Photobucket provides a great platform for image hosting. After signing up for an account, uploading is only a few clicks away. You can also set up custom links and tags for all your images for easy sharing with friends or family. Albums can be customized to match the intent of the user, as well. Each album can be given a different background to match their image’s theme, whether it be Christmas, or Summer themed. The one drawback of Photobucket is that they do have bandwidth limitations on the free accounts. To get around this, you’d need to upgrade a Pro account, but the cost is negligible at less than $2 per month.

Picassa, owned by Google, is another popular choice for avid photographers. Picassa is great because you can actually download the Picassa program from Google, import your images into the program, and the program will actually automatically sync the images on your computer to your online Picassa account. This feature makes it incredible easy to store your photos, as it requires next to no effort. Aside from this, Picassa also has a very clean user interface, which makes it a breeze to find what you need from the program without pulling your hair out in the process. You can download the Picassa application for Mac or PC from this link HERE.

Another site which has gained a strong following is Flickr. This is sort of like a photographers social network. People will upload photos, which can then friends can add testimonials to the images. Flickr also has a forum with an active community deeply rooted in photography. The drawback of Flickr may be only that it lacks some of the more advanced features and sharing options of the larger networks.

When planning your photo scanning job, you should have an online storage option in your mind, as it’s an extremely easy way to preserve your images. We recommend to all our customers whether they are interested in photo scanning in San Diego or slide scanning in Irvine that they always consider using online storage in addition to a hard copy.

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Best Way to Scan Scrapbooks to DVD

Posted by cpapciak on February 6, 2014

scrapbook scanning

Scrapbooking is a hobby that, in recent years, has been growing in popularity. The basic idea is to preserve memories in a more fun and creative way. The pages often contain multiple forms of media such as print, photos, newspaper clippings, to help the viewer get a better understanding of the mood and feelings associated with the memories. Scrapbooking is a relatively inexpensive hobby that can certainly brighten anyone’s day.

Recently, digital scrapbooks have also begun to gain popularity among people of all walks of life. Creating digital scrapbooks versus traditional cut-and-paste scrapbooks can save you some time and expense, as well as provide a much easier route to share with family and friends through the internet. However, many people who have been scrapbooking long before the internet was around, have many books and pages that they would love to get digitized, but have no idea where to start.

One of the common problems with getting a scrapbook digitized is that when a scrapbook is created, in order to create enough space for all of their cherished memories, scrapbookers will often use a larger-sized paper, such as “12x”12 pages, which are just a bit too big to scan on many traditional consumer flat-bed scanners. In recent years, more and more people have been scrapbooking on 8×8 paper, which makes it much easier to digitize later, if needed. If you do have a larger format scrapbook, and you happen to have access to a large format scanner, digitizing your scrapbook will be much easier!

If you don’t have free access to a large format scanner, don’t worry, there are still other great methods to scan those larger pages in. If you have a flat-bed scanner, one common method involves photo scanning a half of a page at a time, and then taking both “halves” of the page, and digitally stitching them together using image editing software. Auto-stitch is a great, simple program that can easily handle all of this. There are a few tweaks you should be aware of before starting with this. First, if the top and bottom of your page look warped or bent, try disabling the “Auto Straighten” feature in the options menu, as this has mostly to do with creating panorama images. Also, make sure to set everything to 100% scale. If you have the equipment, and time to scan the pages, this is a cheap, yet effective way of digitizing scrapbooks.

If you do not own a scanner, nor have any access to one, there is another method that you could use to digitize your scrapbook. You would need to obtain a digital camera, preferably a high quality model, and then simply take the highest resolution photo you can of your scrapbook page. Taking pictures of your pages with your digital camera is often the quickest and easiest way to digitize, but can also suffer from quality loss. Many factors can hamper the quality of your digital image such as lighting, poor quality camera, dirty lens, movement, etc. For scrapbook photo taking, it’s best to line up the page as squarely as possible, with no angle, and make sure to go with bright, indirect light, with the camera’s flash turned off.

If you are a busy person, or in a rush, or if cost is not an issue, there are many professional image scanning services who will scan the pages using their in-house large format scanner, which in turn, would provide the highest quality image for you to share or archive. If you do need a scrapbook digitized, do a little bit of research, and discover the best method for your particular needs.

Posted in Negative Scanning, Photo Scanning, Slide Scanning No comments yet

Betacam to DVD Services in San Diego

Posted by cpapciak on January 30, 2014

DVD Your Memories can transfer Betacam and Betacam SP to DVD or hard drive! Betacam tapes were developed by Sony, and first appeared on the market in 1982. Although Sony’s Betamax lost the consumer-format war to JVC’s VHS tape, a similar battle in the professional world was also fought with different results. During the 1980′s, they slowly started to take the place of 3/4″ U-Matic tapes in the broadcasting business. A few years after the original Betacam was introduced, it’s successor, the Betacam SP was developed, and slowly became the new standard. Today, companies use Digibeta, which is a digital tape format that was developed in the mid 90′s.

betacam to DVD

Betacam tapes come in two sizes, S and L. The camcorders are only able to load the S tapes, while the standalone video tape recorders could support both formats. Betacam to DVD transfers are increasing in popularity due partially to the fact that machines to play these tapes can be expensive and hard to come by. Although a more rare format, many television companies, independent film makers, or students with projects have footage recorded onto betacam tapes, with no way to view or extract the data on them. DVD Your Memories now makes it possible to view Betacam to DVD, or manipulate these tapes once again!

Do you have Betacam tapes with valuable footage still on them? Give us a call at 858-503-7965 for a free consultation!

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