Welcome to the Perfect Image Video Blog! Find articles and tips relating to Video Production, CD/DVD Duplication, and Media Transfers.

How Long Are My VHS Tapes?

If you still have a VHS player you can put the tape in and the speed that the tape was recorded in will light up either SP, LP, or EP. SP stands for standard speed and can hold up to two hours on a regular VHS tape. LP stands for long play and you can record up to 4 hours and EP stands for extended play and you can record up to 6 hours.

You may also be able to time your tape out to see how much footage if you VCR counts in hours, minutes and seconds. You simply rewind the tape to the beginning reset the time and fast forward it until the counter stops counting. If you know longer have a VHS VCR then you may bring in your tapes and we will time them out for free.

Duplication vs. Replication

Perfect Image Video will duplicate your CD or DVD disc when you need them in small quantities of up to 500 copies. On occasion we will do more than 500 disc when your dead line is 2 to 3 days. We duplicate your disc directly from your CD or DVD master and each duplicate copy will be an exact match. Once the duplication process is complete we have several printers to print your image directly on the disc and are capable of printing over 2000 disc per day. If your order requires paper printing we have a full print department to handle any size order. The advantage of the duplication process is you can order any quantity and the turnaround is usually 24 – 48 hours.

CD/DVD replication is done when you order 500 copies or more. Replicated discs are stamped from a glass master that is made from your original CD or DVD. The glass master is used as a mold to create an exact replica of your master disc. The process involves injecting melted high grade plastic onto the master mold to form the disc. We then apply a thin layer of metal to provide a reflection needed for the CD or DVD players to read. The metal layer is coated with lacquer and UV cured for protection. The disc face is now ready to be printed on and packaged to your needs. The advantage of replication is a lower price based on quantity. Most orders are complete in 5 – 7 working days.

Reel Sizes and Time

After transferring film for over 25 years one of the most common questions we hear is: What size reels do I have and how much time is on each reel? 8mm film reels are usually one of the following – 3 inches = 50 feet, 5 inches = 200 feet, and 7 inches = 400 feet.

When we want to estimate the amount of time that a film transfer will be the rule of thumb I use is 3 minutes per 50’ of 8mm or super 8 film. This is not exact to the second but will get you close enough to know how much time you have. If you have 16mm film then the time will be less since it runs at twice the speed. So a 50’ reel of 16mm will be 1.5 minutes in running time.

Understanding Video Codecs

When you talk about “watching a video,” you’re probably thinking about a combination of one video and one audio stream. They are not two different files, you just have the video file. It could be an AVI file, MP4 file or another kind of video codec. These are just container formats, like a ZIP file that hold multiple kinds of files within it. The container format defines how to store the video and audio streams in a single file.

When you “watch a video,” your video player is doing at least three things at once:

1. Interpreting the container format to find out which video and audio tracks are available, and how they are stored within the file so that it can find the data it needs to decode next
2. Decoding the video stream and displaying a series of images on the screen
3. Decoding the audio stream and sending the sound to your speakers
4. A video codec is an algorithm by which a video stream is encoded. Your video player decodes the video stream according to the video codec, then displays a series of frames on the screen. Most modern video codecs use all kinds of tricks to minimize the amount of information required to display one frame after the next. Some videos don’t actually change all that much from one frame to the next which allows for high compression rates resulting in a smaller file sizes.

There are lossy and lossless video codecs. Lossless video is much too large to be useful on the internet, so let’s focus on lossy codecs. A lossy video codec means that information is being irretrievably lost during the encoding process. Like copying an audio cassette tape, you’re losing information when encoding the video source, and degrading the quality every time you encode. Instead of the “hiss” of an audio cassette, re-encoding a few times will make the video look blocky, especially during scenes with a lot of motion. (This can happen even if you encode straight from the original source, if you choose a poor video codec or set the wrong parameters.) On the bright side, lossy video codecs can offer amazing compression rates by smoothing over blockiness during playback, to make the loss less noticeable to the human eye.