Benefits of Converting Your Priceless Memories to Digital Media


Time and Use are not kind to your old home movies, slides, photographs, audio cassettes and videotapes!


Did you know:

  • Movie film shrinks and gets brittle with age
  • 35mm slides and photographs gradually lose their color
  • Tapes degrade each time you watch or listen to them, and can deteriorate after ten years even if they just sit on the shelf
  • Nearly all of these media require outdated or obsolete equipment.

DVD's and CD's, on the other hand, have ideal characteristics for the long haul. They have a life expectancy of over 100 years. In fact, the Library of Congress and National Archives use digital media for long term storage, so should you. Your memories are priceless treasures which should be preserved for your enjoyment and for future generations.

What is DVD?

DVD is the next generation of video storage. With the capacity for high quality sound and video, DVD has surpassed videotapes as the new industry standard in quality video storage. A DVD is similar to a CD (compact disc), but has 8 to 10 times the storage capacity. DVD is the first video format that will truly last a lifetime.

Why go DVD?

Most people are aware that you can purchase Hollywood movies on DVD. But the real breakthrough of DVD for millions of people is the ability to store video footage, films, photos and slides accumulated over decades onto this durable media.

Some of the many reasons to convert to DVD include:

  • Tape is a great medium to shoot in but a poor one to store in.
  • Tape heads wear on the tape during every viewing and chemical processes are at work destroying your tape even while it sits on a shelf.
  • Tapes as little as 10 years old could be in serious jeopardy from wear, disintegration, and magnetic fields.
  • A DVD, on the other hand, should last 100 years if properly cared for. And the image is as good on the 100th year as it is the first time you watch it.
  • DVD's are sealed and have no moving parts; they can play repeatedly without damage because the data is written and read by lasers, without physical contact between the DVD and player.
  • Transferring your videos and films to DVD is a good "insurance policy" for your treasured memories, ensuring they are digitally archived for viewing and enjoyment of future generations.
  • Instead of fast forwarding to a specific spot in your video, a DVD lets you skip right to a specific point, bypassing all of the video in between.
  • No rewinding when you've finished viewing your video!
  • A DVD Menu lists "Chapters", which are the places where you want to be able to skip to (usually a new scene, event, or designated time interval).
  • By pressing the MENU button on your DVD player's remote, you can access your menus and navigate to a specific point of the video.
  • The best thing about DVD is the quality of the video.
  • A normal VHS tape only offers 240 vertical lines of resolutions, whereas a DVD allows a full 480 lines of vertical resolution and an amazing 540 lines of horizontal resolution.
  • Your picture is much sharper and more detailed.
  • Please NOTE: the quality of DVD video is a function of the quality of the original source material, meaning a DVD copy of a VHS tape cannot improve a poorly recorded or degraded original VHS video tape. The advantage of DVD is that the image quality does not degrade with time or repeated playback.
  • DVD's can be copied without loss of signal (unlike analog video tape).

General Media Storage Care and Preservation Tips

The ideal conditions for storing film are in a controlled environment. Low temperatures and low humidity improve the chemical stability of movie film. Fresh film stored at normal household conditions (70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% Relative Humidity) will have an average lifespan of 40 to 50 years before significant signs of decay occur (e.g., vinegar syndrome and color dyes density loss). Reducing the temperature by 15 degrees Fahrenheit increases the number to 100-125 years.

  • Do not store films in an attic. Temperatures will vary too much throughout the seasons, and extreme heat in the summer can severely damage the films.
  • Do not store film near heaters, plumbing pipes, radiators, sprinklers, windows, electrical sources, or sinks.
  • Do not store film in direct sunlight.
  • Avoid high humidity—do not store in a basement. Most basements are quite humid and perfect mold. Also, a basements are prone to flooding.
  • Avoid exterior, south-facing walls or locations that receive direct sunlight.
  • For films with magnetic soundtracks, keep away from magnets such as those found in stereo speakers, heavy-duty electrical cables, etc.
  • Avoid any locations near chemicals, paints or exhaust. When combined with high relative humidity, chemical fumes, including those found in everyday air pollution, can cause film to deteriorate and images to fade.

Excerpted from:


  • Handle tapes gently.
  • Keep tapes in protective cases when not in use.
  • Eject tapes from playback unit when not in use.
  • Rewind tapes after recording or playback
  • Store tapes on end (like books on a library shelf) to prevent deformation.
  • Inspect tapes for damage or contamination before use.
  • Protect both tapes and machinery from dust and debris.
  • Keep tapes in a stable environment.
  • Acclimatize tapes before use if they are hot or cold.
  • Store tapes in a cool and dry place (a dust-free, temperature-and-humidity controlled environment—68 degrees F and 20-30% relative humidity is recommended for the safe home storage of videotape).


  • Touch tape surfaces with bare hands.
  • Put pressure on reel flanges.
  • Leave videotape inside playback unit for any prolonged length of time.
  • Stack or place objects on top of unprotected tapes.
  • Store videotapes lying flat.
  • Force tapes into cases or machines.
  • Drop or throw tapes.
  • Splice any portion of a video tape.
  • Place tapes on or near sources of magnetic fields.
  • Play or spool tapes that are dirty, contaminated or wet.
  • Play or spool tapes on a dirty, misaligned or malfunctioning machine.
  • Store tapes in an area subject to dampness or possible pipe leaks (e.g., basements).
  • Expose tapes to food or beverages.
  • Expose tapes to temperature extremes.
  • Expose tapes to UV radiation, including the sun, for extended periods.

Excerpted from:
The Association of Moving Image Archivists, Fact Sheet 16 - The Do's and Don'ts of Magnetic Tape Care: Minimum requirements for proper handling (page 29).

  • Store tapes according to the environmental standards for magnetic media, which specifies cool and dry conditions. Temperature: 40 - 65 degrees F (+ or - 2 degrees); Relative Humidity: 30% (+ or - 3%).
  • Store all tapes vertically in acid free protective boxes or containers that protect them from dust and debris. Do not store them on wood shelving or in a basement or attic.
  • Do not expose tapes to direct sunlight.
  • Store tapes away from magnetic fields and sources of vibration.
  • Tapes should be wound evenly and smoothly on cassettes or reels before storage.
  • Wear cotton gloves when handling original or archival tapes; fingerprints can cause damage to the tape.

Excerpted from:

  • Store your photographs in the coolest and driest spot in your home that stays that way year round. Finished basements frequently are cool, but they are usually too damp for photo storage unless they are dehumidified, but there is still the possibility for flood damage or water backup. Dampness should be avoided as it causes photos to stick together, and promotes mold growth. Above ground, interior closets maintain fairly constant temperatures throughout the year, and should be considered for storage.
  • Albums are an ideal storage method for photographic prints, especially snapshots and heirloom photographs—the photographs can be safely stored and organized, and safely viewed, without inflicting damage from frequent handling. Albums should be used to store selected groups of photographs, as they are expensive and somewhat bulky storage options.
  • Do not display photographs in direct sunlight or under direct fluorescent lighting. Always use acid-free matting board to protect the photograph from harmful materials in frames (especially wooden ones) and Plexiglas, which may loosen the emulsion layer of the photograph.
  • Label photographs as to who, what, when, and where. Write with a soft-lead pencil only in the margin of the reverse side. Better yet, write all the information known about the photograph on acid-free paper and enclose that with the photograph in an acid-free envelope or acetate sleeve.
  • The safest, and most expensive, way to store photographs is to mat them in high quality, acid free ragboard, or mat board. This method is excellent for photos that are to be framed and displayed. The use of matting between the photo and glass serves many functions. The most important is an additional safety layer over the picture and the glass can help reduce the Ultraviolet light from reaching the picture; the matting's function is to help prevent the adhesion of the two, should condensation form between the photograph and the glass.

Excerpted from:


More Info/Links


Listed below are links to sites that provide information on storing and protecting your treasured items.

Caring for Your Family Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has an excellent web site which provides a wealth of information pertaining to the care and preservation of important documents and family archives.

Caring for Your Collections

The Preservation Directorate of the Library of Congress provides advice on the care of books, videos, and other media in your collections.

Caring for Personal Collections

Valuable information from Library Preservation at Harvard University.



Contact dac Video Productions today for a free consultation and learn more about the benefits of converting your precious, family memories to long-lasting DVD!