Get to see your memories trapped on Memory Cards
When the memory card starts to fill up on your digital camera, what do you do? Two things normally, and that is to either buy a new card or copy the card’s contents over to your computer, HDD or Cloud Storage facility. These are both good solutions, but the contents often get lost over time and are never viewed again. Would it not be better to get them converted to a more viewer-friendly format?
At Tapes2USB we convert Memory Cards to USB or DVD. These formats are much more compatible with Smart TVs, Computers, iPads and Set-top boxes – as well as, in the latter instance, DVD players!
Digital video and stills cameras have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years – with current models recording video in exceptional, 4K or even 8K resolutions. However, this increase in quality has resulted in an ever-growing need for greater storage capacity. Whilst the storage capability of SD, MicroSD and CF cards has kept up with the pace of this demand, the cost of continually buying new cards is quite astronomical. You simply cannot keep buying new memory cards each time they become full.
So, let us look at the second option – which is to copy your files over to some other device and then re-format the memory card and start recording again. This is a much more sensible approach and is what the professionals do. At our parent company, Video Artisan we have many memory cards in constant cyclic process of being recorded on, dumped off and then re-formatted for use.
The task ahead of you
The real work in this is making sure you have a structured approach to managing the files once they are off the memory cards. This so-called “data wrangling” is a big part of what we do in the video production industry.
Prior to the digital era we would rarely re-use master tapes which would be kept as part of the project back-up. That was reassuring but also a massive drain on storage space. Once we started using memory cards it was a matter of getting used to downloading the card contents into a structured file system, backing that data up two or three times, editing and processing the raw images and then reformatting the cards and starting the cycle again.
But most customers are not looking for such a complex solution. Most of the time they will simply just want an easy way to view their photos or videos on a medium they can keep and find easily. Converting the memory cards to USB or DVD is the perfect answer – but there are still some things to keep in mind.
Considerations when converting the memory cards to USB or DVD
Digital stills cameras will enable you to set up the frame in various screen ratios. This includes traditional 16:9 widescreen landscape mode, but also square and wider formats too. More importantly, users will often do the thing you would never do with a video camera and that is to shoot in vertical or portrait position rather than landscape.
This is fine for viewing on a PC or social media sharing, but when you display this image on a normal TV the picture is only going to occupy a tall thin central part of the screen – or be rotated 90-degrees. Worse still, the image might be stretched and distorted to fill the screen. Very ugly – and not very complimentary if you are not tall and thin already (like me!).
This becomes a major consideration when exporting memory card stills or videos to DVD – which has a fixed aspect ratio of either 16:9 or 4:3. USB is not such an issue as the files can be of any shape when displayed within a computer screen but, when you display them on a traditional TV, you will be facing the same tall, thin picture issue – or the horrible squashed, stretched or twisted one mentioned above.
You either live with that tall thin, twisted image or you edit them. For still images this means rotating them first. For video images though – which can often have been shot portrait on a stills camera – you will need to do what is called an ‘XY Zoom’ and crop the video picture top and/or bottom so that it fills the standard 16:9 frame. You might not want to zoom all the way in, but you can certainly fill the frame better and include the main action by adjusting the framing.
Even better results can be obtained by ‘Panning and Scanning’ the image where you make constant adjustments to the framing to ensure the best possible framing is maintained throughout the footage. This is going to take time, skill and some specialist software.
Tapes2USB memory cards to USB or DVD Service Levels
Whatever you want to do with your memory card videos stills, we pride ourselves on offering clients an adaptable service to this problem. At the basic level we can simply extract the files from your card and put them on a USB stick for storage. If you would rather not give us access to your camera to do this, we can set up a DropBox facility for you to upload the files to and we then carry out the conversion to USB. Depending on the number of files, this may cost as little as £20.
We can also carry out a complete re-frame and edit service and output the results to DVD or USB. This is a much more involved process which is quoted on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever you are trying to achieve, please get in touch with us to discuss your options. It might not be as expensive as you think – and you will be able to sleep a little easier knowing that your beloved memory card images are saved forever.
Please call 020 3602 3356 or email info@Tapes2USB.co.uk