Should I clean my media before sending it to you?
No. We have lots of practice cleaning media without damaging it or inadvertently erasing significant history such as labels or notes.
For film in particular, improper cleaning can scratch the surface, so it often makes the most sense to scan film as-is, and then clean the scanned images digitally.
Should I preview my media before sending it to you?
Please don’t try and preview media yourself, as you may inadvertently and irreparably damage it. Talk to us — we are usually happy to evaluate it at no charge.
For film — handle it as little as possible, but if you really want to check, unroll some and hold it up to the light.
Don’t run old film through a projector. Film shrinks over time, so the sprockets may not sit properly in the film perforations, and trying to play the film could shred or rip it. Splices can weaken over time and could break apart.
It is best to send film to us first. We have years of experience handling fragile media, and our machines use sprocketless scanning that advances gently and slowly.
For magnetic tape (videotape, reel-to-reel, audio cassettes etc) — please don’t try to play it. It may be suffering from “sticky tape syndrome”. The binder, or glue, that binds the iron oxide to the tape can seep through and make the tape sticky. Playing sticky tape can damage it.
Our best practices for working with sticky magnetic tape are from the Library of Congress. What they do to preserve history is what we do: we use specialized equipment that heats, then cools, the tapes slowly and in a controlled fashion.
How do you deliver the digitized files?
How would you like them delivered?
We can upload to a private secure server, provide on a hard drive, provide a user-friendly disk (DVD, CD, BluRay), provide a DCP.
We can also provide multiple versions — for example .TIFF files on a solid state hard drive for archiving and a web-friendly movie file or DVD for user access.
Just let us know what you need.
How does the media get back and forth between you and me?
We are located in Rochester NY (yes, where Kodak is headquartered), so some clients prefer to bring in and pick up media in person. Sometimes we are able to come to you to pick up the media. Some clients ship media.
What will it cost to digitize my media?
Clients come to us because their needs are unique — they have uniquely valuable content, their media is unusually fragile/in an unusual format, or they want to build a long term relationship with a supplier they can trust to handle large and varied archival collections with care.
Our clients are not generic, so it is almost impossible to give a generic quote. We are happy to assess your media and will provide an individualized plan and quote at no charge.
We are also experienced in supporting longer-term grant proposals.
So please talk with us — we love hearing the stories of your collections!
What will it cost to make my video?
The cost of a video depends on many factors.
What kinds of new shooting are needed, and where? Will interviews be news-style, formally set up and lit, or in-studio? Will a specialized camera such as a drone be needed? Are there special audio demands? Will there be animation? Will archival footage be used and is it already digitized?
The best way to start the discussion is with your budget. If you are not sure of your budget, we are happy to talk with you about your goals and how to achieve them.
There is never a charge for an initial consultation.
How long will it take to digitize my media?
We are a small personalized operation, so if you need rapid turn around, we can almost always provide it.
We do appreciate though, having the extra time to do things carefully.
For instance, particularly in seasons with extreme weather, part of the process of protecting the media is to stage the media and let it acclimate to the environment at our lab before we play it.
Please let us know if some portion of your collection has priority, or if you have a grant or event deadline so we can make sure that you get what you need when you need it.
What if my media looks damaged?
Don’t panic. Send it to us. We might be able to save it. Don’t try and fix it yourself though, as amateur efforts can easily cause additional damage.
We can usually tell if media can be saved, and we’ll ask you in advance if we think that it will cost extra or risk the media to try and play it.
What about metadata?
Our clients have typically managed their own unique metadata requirements, but if you know what you want, let’s talk and see where we can help.
Where do you do the work?
We do all the work ourselves at our lab and studio in Rochester New York.
My history is really important. Why should I trust you with it?
There are many vendors who can digitize your media, and most of them do a good job. However, many work at an industrial scale, with banks of machines and limited supervision. They also rarely provide high-level restoration services, and may deliver lower resolution files. This can be wonderful if your goal is simply to capture a good-enough image for today’s viewing.
Our goals, however, are to recreate the experience of the recording as it was at its best, and provide you with an archival-quality master for the future. You can see the difference in the results.