100 Betacam SP, 3/4″ U-matic, and S-VHS Tapes Transferred to Digital Files

3/4″ U-matic, Betacam, and S-VHS Videotapes Digitized to HD mp4 Files

 AV Transfers 100 Hours of Betacam SP, 3/4″ U-matic, and S-VHS Tapes to HD mp4 Files

Northern California Municipal Committee’s Broadcast Videotapes Converted to Digital Files


AV recently converted almost 100 hours of broadcast Betacam SP, 3/4″ U-matic, and S-VHS tapes to High Definition Files for a Northern California political action committee. The local San Francisco Bay Area committee has been advocating for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people in the surrounding counties since 1984. The tapes provided to AV were primarily 1980’s broadcast recordings from a public access cable TV program which provided a creative platform for those in the local LGBTQ+ community. The subject material consisted of art, literacy, interviews, talks with healthcare professionals, highlights of local members, and commentary in relation to the LGBTQ+ community. AV Conversion Services was happy to transfer and preserve these historic tapes to Digital Files so they can be edited, shared, and played for many more years to come!



Three Formats:

    1. 3/4″ U-matic: U-matic tapes were introduced in 1971 as the first video format to transition from an open reel to a cassette style. 3/4″ U-matic tapes were the professional standard for broadcast edit masters throughout the 1970’s.
    2. Betacam SP: Betacam SP tapes were released in 1982 and quickly took over as the new leading broadcast industry video format. These tapes offered higher quality than the U-matic videotapes. This is due to the splitting of the luminance and chrominance into alternating channels which created 300 lines of horizontal luminance resolution and 120 lines of chrominance resolution.
    3. S-VHS: Super VHS, typically known as S-VHS, was released in 1987 as an upgraded version of consumer-level videotapes. Super VHS recorded video signal using a larger bandwidth. Thus, it offered an increased resolution from 250 lines (VHS) to 400 lines (S-VHS). 



Transferring Betacam SP, U-matic, and S-VHS tapes to Digital: 


1) Pro Equipment / Capture / Stabilization

We used our professional 3/4″ U-matic and Betacam SP Decks to capture the broadcast tapes straight into our editing suite. The S-VHS tapes were captured with a built in TBC stabilizer using our JVC S-VHS decks. The TBC helps to balance unstable video and produce a more steady picture. AV Conversion Services provides routine cleaning to the heads of the decks to ensure the best image and audio possible. We also use each tape only one time as a playback source.

2) Noise Reduction 

To obtain the best possible audio, AV captured both the left and right audio channels and raised the gain to about -6db. Then, we applied noise reduction to sweeten and enhance the sound.

3) Editing

AV edited out any extra dead air and/or TV Snow. Thus, the digital files were only the recorded portion of the tapes. 

4) Export / HD Upres 720 60p

AV output the files using the H.264 Codec (maximum bitrate) and enhanced the resolution to 1280 x 720 60p. 60p enhances the videotapes because it adjusts the interlaced even and odd fields to become 60 full frames per second. This allows for more seamless motion and helps produce a sharp picture without any jagged edges. Now the files are HD 720 60p mp4 Files that can be edited, uploaded, shared, or played almost anywhere.

5) Labeling / Storage Device

Each tape became a separate mp4 and raw file. AV labeled each of the files by number and transferred them onto a single Hard Drive. 


Video Transfer to mp4 USB Hard Drive


The 3/4″ U-matic, Betacam SP, and S-VHS tapes are now preserved as HD mp4 Files and reside together on a single USB hard drive!



Let AV convert your old movies today!

Videotapes wont last forever and will start to degrade over time so its good to know some of the most common signs that your tapes are breaking down. If you hear a high pitched screeching sound when trying to play your tapes, it’s possible they have sticky-shed syndrome. Sticky-shed syndrome happens when the binders on the magnetic tape start to break down. Once these binders begin to degrade, the tape sticks to itself which prevents playback. These binders may also begin to break down when they absorb moisture. This is especially common when tapes have been stored in a humid environment.

Don’t risk losing your home movies forever! Let AV Conversion Services transfer and preserve your memories today.



Do you have Videotapes you would like Converted to Digital Files?


Check out our Video Transfer pages for options and pricing.


AV Conversion Services



703 Woodside Road, #8

Redwood City, CA 94061