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DigiMemories - a service from Milwaukee PC

Convertible Media Types

Milwaukee PC can convert many different types of traditional media such as photos, film, VHS, negatives and audio recordings to digital files. Not seeing a specific type of media? Please contact us.



8mm, Super 8, or 16mm Film

Commonly associated with old reel type projectors, this was the early stages of home movies and could be with or without audio.

8mm Film is actually based on 16mm Film, with twice as many perforations along each edge. Only 1/2 of the width of the film is exposed, and once the film reaches the end of the takeup reel, it is flipped to allow access to the other half of the film. 8mm is normally recorded at 16 frames per second. Developed by the Eastman Kodak company during the Great Depression, it was released to the market in 1932 as a less expensive option to 16mm film for home movies.

Super 8 Film was similar to 8mm, but came in cartridge form, making it easier for amateur film makers to use. Super 8 film was released in 1965. It featured an improved image quality. Unfortunately, some cameras for Super 8 featured cheaper plastic film gates and pressure plates which was less reliable for keeping the image in focus.

16mm Film itself looks similar to 8mm film, but the frames are larger (hence 16mm vs 8mm) and was available in both silent and with audio track. Introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923, 16mm film was marketed as an inexpensive alternative for amateur film makers. In the 1930s, 16mm film began to make inroads to education. Adding optical sound tracks, and the addition of Kodachrome in 1935, gave an enormous boost to the market. Extensive use in WW2 led to a huge expansion in professional filmmaking post-war. The advent of television boosted the use of 16mm film, due to cost and portability advantages over 35mm film.

Common causes of damage to film - Common mold, dirt, and dust can result in a dull or dim image, and poor audio. Over time, all Acetate film can deteriorate commonly called 'Vinegar Syndrome'. This is commonly noted by a strong smell of vinegar, and the film itself eventually shrinking, becoming brittle, and separating it's layers. Once Vinegar Syndrome begins, there is no repair. It is very important to digitize film before this happens.

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Video Cassettes

Video Cassettes

Video Cassettes came in a variety of types, like VHS, Beta, and Camcorder

Milwaukee PC can digitize most types of video cassettes. This includes digital conversion of video cassettes such as VHS, VHS-C, MiniDV, Hi8, Digital8, and BETA tapes

VHS (Video Home System) cassettes are the most common form of the home video tape systems. Developed by JVC in the 1970s, VHS was released to the public during the latter half of the decade. VHS and Betamax (Beta) had a "war" between the two standards, due to longer playing times, faster rewind/fast-forward, and a less complex tape transportation mechanism. In addition, the open standard for the technology allowed for mass production without licensing costs.

VHS-C is a smaller version of standard VHS cassettes. VHS-C was introduced by JVC in 1982. Designed for use in home camcorders, VHS-C could be played in standard VHS players with the use of a special adapter.

MiniDV Cassettes are a magnetic media like other video cassettes, but designed for recording digital video. MiniDV were designed initially for amateur use, but have taken off in professional productions also. DV (Digital Video) format for storing video was launched in 1995. It was created with joint efforts of the leading producers of video cameras at the time. MiniDV cassettes hold about 13GB of data for 1 hour of video.

Hi8 cassettes are smaller cassettes designed for camcorders. In the 1980's, Sony introduced Hi8 to counter the introduction of Super-VHS. Hi8 offered a vast improvement compared to standard VHS, with a quality roughly equal to Laserdisc.

Digital8 cassettes are smaller cassettes designed for camcorders that record video in the digital format. Digital8 was introduced in 1999, and is the digital form of Hi8. Digital8 uses the same base cassettes as Hi8, but it has to be recorded at 2x the speed, so it cuts the time available on a cassette to half of the same tape in Hi8 format.

Betamax (Beta) was Sony's design for the home video cassette market. Beta was released in the United States by Sony in November 1975. Although it was released prior to JVC's VHS standard, it lost the videotape format war.

Common causes of damage to video tapes - All types of video cassettes are vunerable to the same types of damage. Heat, mold, and mildew from improper storage can damage the tape material. Machine malfunction can "eat" the tape and cause physical damage. Also, over time the magnetic material on the tape will break down and can cause distortion to full loss of the contents.

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Photos Slides Negatives

Photos, Slides, and Negatives

Printed photographs, 35mm slides, and original negatives

Milwaukee PC can digitize printed photos, and any type of strip negative or individual slides

Photographs are a physical copy of an image captured either on film or directly to special paper. Photography dates all the way back to 1824, when the first process called heliography was invented by Nicéphore Niépce, but it was a bit different than what we are familiar with today. His process would take several days of exposure time to make the image. Through many years of innovation and invention, photography evolved to what we are more familiar with today. Color photography as we know it didn't really come into the more modern form until the 1930s.

Slides are a transparent media that when light is shown through it, and via some level of magnification, displays the image on a surface for viewing. Slides in one form or another date all the way back to the 17th century, in what was called a lantern slide (also known as a magic lantern). Lantern slides were a transparent image on glass, and was introduced in 1849. Lantern slides were large compared to today's slides, measuring 3 1/2 x 4", and were fragile since they were on glass. Today, most people are familiar with 35mm slides, which were invented in 1935.

Negatives, in the form most people are familiar with, are the inverse color image that printed photographs are created from. When a picture is taken, the film is exposed to light to capture the inverse color image that then is developed into the printed photograph. The current form of negatives was not developed until around the 1930s. Prior to this, a "negative" was actually applied to a plate, and then "developed" into the printed photograph.

Common causes of damage - Improper storage is one of the most common causes of damage. Heat and humidity can drastically cause damage to printed photographs. Of course, most people are familiar with damage over time, even in properly stored photos. Fading and cracking of printed photos are common over time, even when properly stored.

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Audio Sources

Audio Cassettes, Reel-to-Reel audio, DVD/CD copying

Printed photographs, 35mm slides, and original negatives

Milwaukee PC can convert audio cassettes, compact cassettes, and reel-to-reel audio. We also offer CD and DVD duplication

Audio Cassettes are a small cartridge using magnetic media, commonly for recording and playing back music or voice audio. Audio Cassettes were first introduced in the United States by Philips in 1964. They were introduced under the trademark name Compact Cassette.

Reel-to-reel audio tape is where a magnetic tape is stored on a supply or feed reel, fed thru the player or recorder to a takeup reel. Reel-to-reel audio can trace it's beginnings all the way back to the late 1920s where the German-British Blattnerphone used steel tape to record. It was brought to America when Jack Mullin, an audio engineer with the US Army Signal Corps was introduced to it during World War II. Mullin worked to develop machines for commercial use, hoping to attract Hollywood film studios to the format for soundtracks. Audio Cassettes took over the home market after their introduction in the 1960s, but the lower quality (fidelity) of the cassettes kept reel-to-reel in use for more commercial and professional audio recordings.

CD and DVD Copying - We can copy most CDs or DVDs. However, we cannot copy pre-recorded items such as Music CDs or movie DVDs you purchase.

Common causes of damage - Since Audio Cassettes use a magnetic media like video cassettes, they are prone to the same causes of damage. Heat, mold, and mildew can cause damage to the media causing loss of the audio. Physical damage to the media can corrupt the audio. Also, over time magnetic media can lose the audio stored on it.
CD/DVD discs are susceptible to surface damage such as scratches and cracks, which can make them unreadable.

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Note: Milwaukee PC cannot duplicate any copyrighted materials (i.e. pre-recorded VHS or audio cassettes)