How to digitize a Betamax videocassette

About Betamax

_86606056_img_20151110_102027

Before you start

  • Make sure the MT-VIKI video switch is switched to the “BETAMAX” option. The video switch should be located close to the video stack.betamax-video-switch
  • Turn the Sony Betamax player on. Make sure your tape is rewound – if not, use the player controls to rewind it.

betamax-player

  • Open the computer application Machina. machina-icon
  • In Machina, navigate to the “Setup” tab and check that the application options are appropriate for your projects. If you’re not sure, the following settings should work for most projects (and should be the default settings in Machina).machina-setup
  • Note the Video and Audio directory in the right-most column – if you want to save to a folder that’s not the default, make sure to change these settings. Do NOT save files to the desktop – you will max out computer space very quickly.

Digitizing in Machina

  1. Navigate to the “Capture” tab in Machina. Edit the clip name and reel name fields to match the title of the video or project you’re digitizing.machina-capture
  2. At the bottom of the screen, click the red button to begin capture. The screen will be blank until you begin playback of the tape in the Sony Betamax player.
    • You may have to start playing the tape first before recording in Machina if you get the error message “No video input is detected.”
  3. When your tape begins to play back, note that the quality of the video will look terrible in Machina—it will look normal in the video file created when you’re finished. Click the button at the bottom again to stop recording.

Combining audio and video

If your video is very long (one hour or more), Machina may not save your audio correctly. Double-click the .wav file to check its playback! If it is silent:

  1. Open the software program Audacity.
  2. From the File menu, choose Import… and then Raw Data (at the bottom). Change the following settings:
    • Stereo (not mono)
    • 48000 sampling rate
  3. Audacity may take up to a full minute to comply.

  4. Now choose Export… to save the repaired audio file. Make sure Audacity is saving as a 32-bit PCM file (usually it’s fine).

Next:

  1. Check the folder you selected to save Machina outputs. You should find two file types for your project – an .avi (video) file and a .wav (sound) file.
  2. Right-click the .avi file to open the file in VirtualDub.VirtualDub1
  3. Before editing the video, go to Audio ? “Audio from other file…” and find the .wav file associated with your project. If you edit the video before this step, your image and sound will not sync properly and you’ll have to start over. Save the file and rename the file as something that distinguishes it from the Machina files (i.e. “living-the-story-001-picture-and-sound-FINAL”).
  4. To remove a blue screen or empty space at the beginning and end of your project, go to Edit ? “Set selection start” when you have found the beginning of your video by dragging the bar at the bottom through the keyframes. You can eliminate dead space at the end using the same process – Edit ? “Set selection end.” Save your file.VirtualDub2
  5. Your final file (video and audio) will be an .avi file. To convert it to something else more standard for burning a DVD copy, use the HandBrake application (instructions on this tool coming soon).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

Troubleshooting

Machina displays the error message “No video input is detected.”
  • Are the cables for the Betamax player and video switch plugged in? Is the video switch toggled to the BETAMAX input?
The video quality is still terrible after digitization!
  • This is harder to fix, because the issues may be the quality of the tape itself. Turn the TBC on when playing the tape in the Sony Betamax player to correct for some of the poor sound and visual quality.

time-base-corrector

How to digitize a U-matic videocassette

About U-matic

250px-U-matic

Before you start

  • Make sure the MT-VIKI video switch is switched to the “UMATIC” option. It should be located near the video stack.umatic-video-switch
  • Prepare your U-matic tape in the Sony U-matic videocassette player. Turn the playback machine on, and rewind the tape if necessary. The machine is very loud, don’t be alarmed.sony-umatic-videocassette-player
  • Open the computer application Machina. machina-icon
  • In Machina, navigate to the “Setup” tab and check that the application options are appropriate for your projects. If you’re not sure, the following settings should work for most projects (and should be the default settings in Machina).machina-setup
  • Note the Video and Audio directory in the right-most column – if you want to save to a folder that’s not the default, make sure to change these settings. Do NOT save files to the desktop – it will max out computer space very quickly.

Digitizing in Machina

  1. Navigate to the “Capture” tab in Machina. Edit the clip name and reel name fields to match the title of the video or project you’re digitizing.machina-capture
  2. At the bottom of the screen, click the red button to begin capture. The screen will be blank until you play the U-matic tape in the Sony player.
    • You may have to start playing the tape first before recording in Machina if you get the error message “No video input is detected.”
  3. When your U-matic tape begins to play back, note that the quality of the video will look terrible in Machina – it will look better in the video file created when you’re finished. Click the button at the bottom again to stop recording.
  4. If you can’t see the video at all, turn on the TBC during playback to see if it improves the playback quality.

time-base-corrector

umatic-before-tbcU-matic playback without TBC

umatic-after-tbcU-matic playback after turning on TBC

Combining audio and video

If your video is very long (one hour or more), Machina may not save your audio correctly. Double-click the .wav file Machina created to check its playback! If it is silent:

  1. Open the software program Audacity.
  2. From the File menu, choose Import… and then Raw Data (at the bottom). Change the following settings:
    • Stereo (not mono)
    • 48000 sampling rate
  3. Audacity may take up to a full minute to comply.

  4. Now choose Export… to save the repaired audio file. Make sure Audacity is saving as a 32-bit PCM file (usually it’s fine).

Next:

  1. Check the folder you selected to save Machina outputs. You should find two file types for your project – an .avi (video) file and a .wav (sound) file.
  2. Right-click the .avi file to open the file in VirtualDub.VirtualDub1
  3. Before editing the video, go to Audio ? “Audio from other file…” and find the .wav file associated with your project. If you edit the video before this step, your image and sound will not sync properly and you’ll have to start over. Save the file and rename the file as something that distinguishes it from the Machina files (i.e. “living-the-story-001-picture-and-sound-FINAL”).
  4. To remove the blue screen at the beginning and end of your project, go to Edit ? “Set selection start” when you have found the beginning of your video by dragging the bar at the bottom through the keyframes. You can eliminate dead space at the end using the same process – Edit ? “Set selection end.” Save your file.VirtualDub2
  5. Your final file (video and audio) will be an .avi file. To convert it to something more standard for DVD burning, use the HandBrake application (instructions on this tool coming soon).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

Troubleshooting

Machina displays the error message “No video input is detected.”
  • Are the cables for the U-matic player and video switch plugged in? Is the video switch toggled to UMATIC input?
The video quality is still terrible after digitization!
  • This is harder to fix, because the issues may be the quality of the video itself. Turn the TBC on when playing the U-matic in the Sony videocassette player to correct for some of the poor sound and visual quality.

time-base-corrector

How to digitize a VHS cassette

Before you start

  • Make sure the MT-VIKI video switch is switched to the “VHS” option. The video switch should be located near the video stack.
  • Turn on the Magnavox VCR player, and toggle the switch to VCR input.

magnavox-vcr-dvd-toggle

  • Make sure your VHS is rewound. If not, rewind it in the Magnavox VCR player.

magnavox-vcr-player

  • Open the computer application Machina. machina-icon
  • In Machina, navigate to the “Setup” tab and check that the application options are appropriate for your projects. If you’re not sure, the following settings should work for most projects (and should be the default settings in Machina).machina-setup
  • Note the Video and Audio directory in the right-most column – if you want to save to a folder that’s not the default, make sure to change these settings. Do NOT save work to the desktop – it will max out computer space very quickly.

Digitizing in Machina

  1. Navigate to the “Capture” tab in Machina. Edit the clip name and reel name fields to match the title of the video or project you’re digitizing.machina-capture
  2. At the bottom of the screen, click the red button to begin capture. The screen will be blue until you play the VHS in the VCR player.
    • If you get the error message “No video input is detected,” you  may have to start playback of the VHS before you start your capture in Machina.
  3. When your VHS begins to play back, note that the quality of the video will look terrible in Machina—it will look normal in the video file created when you’re finished. Click the button at the bottom again to stop recording.

machina-capture-2

machina-capture-actual

Combining audio and video

If your video is very long (one hour or more), Machina may not save your audio correctly. Double-click the .wav file to check its playback! If it is silent:

  1. Open the software program Audacity.
  2. From the File menu, choose Import… and then Raw Data (at the bottom). Change the following settings:
    • Stereo (not mono)
    • 48000 sampling rate
  3. Audacity may take up to a full minute to comply.

  4. Now choose Export… to save the repaired audio file. Make sure Audacity is saving as a 32-bit PCM file (usually it’s fine).
  1. Check the folder you selected to save Machina outputs. You should find two file types for your project – an .avi (video) file and a .wav (sound) file.
  2. Right-click the .avi file to open the file in VirtualDub.VirtualDub1
  3. Before editing the video, go to Audio ? “Audio from other file…” and find the .wav file associated with your project. If you edit the video before this step, your image and sound will not sync properly and you’ll have to start over. Save the combined sound/video project as an .avi and rename the file as something that distinguishes it from the original files (i.e. “living-the-story-001-PictureandSoundFINAL”).
  4. To remove the blue screen at the beginning and end of your project, go to Edit ? “Set selection start” when you have found the beginning of your video by dragging the bar at the bottom through the keyframes. You can eliminate dead space at the end using the same process – Edit ? “Set selection end.” Save your file.VirtualDub2
  5. Your final file (video and audio) will be an .avi file. To convert it to something else, use the HandBrake application (instructions on this tool coming soon).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

  1. Remove your VHS from the JVC VCR player and take it with you – be kind and rewind if you borrowed it!
  2. Make sure you have all your video files on your USB stick/hard drive. SLIS Library offers portable HDs for personal checkout if you forgot to bring one.
  3. Exit Machina and VirtualDub.

How to digitize a vinyl record

Before you start

  1. Load your vinyl record onto the Pioneer PL-990 turntable.
    • Determine what speed your record should be played at – 33 1/3 RPM (more common, also known as LPs, usually 12″ in diameter) or 45 RPM (usually created for singles, will have a larger hole in the center and requires use of the disc adapter located on the left of the turntable). Press in the button on the left of the turntable to toggle 45 RPM.

      Pioneer-PL990-Turntable
      Turntable playing a 33 1/3 RPM vinyl record, adapter for 45 RPM records visible to the left.
    • Press PLAY to check the sound quality of your record and adjust speed as needed. The turntable has very small speakers; it is best to listen to the sound through the Audio-Technica headphones. Adjust the volume of the headphones using the TASCAM US-366 audio interface.
  2. Push the “IN 1” button on the MT-VIKI switch for AUDIO (do not change any settings on the VIDEO MT-VIKI located behind the computer monitor).MT-VIKI-Audio-Turntable

Audacity Settings

  1. Start the Audacity software by clicking on the Audacity logo Audacity logo in the ribbon at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Check that the following settings are correct:
    • The button bar should read, left to right: “Windows WASAPI,” “Line In (TASCAM US-366),” “2 (Stereo) Recording,” “Speakers (TASCAM US-366).” Audacity button bar
    • At bottom left, Project Rate (Hz) should read “96000.” Project rate setting

Digitizing in Audacity

  1. With your record loaded on the turntable, click the “Record” button in Audacity.         Audacity record button
  2. Press “Play” on the turntable. You will be able to see whether Audacity is capturing the audio if the blue line starts to jump around, creating “waveforms.” You can monitor the sound quality during recording with the Audio-Technica headphones.
  3. When the record is finished playing, click the “Stop” button in Audacity. AudacityStopButton
  4. Save your file (to your own USB stick or external HD) by going to File ? Export Audio. We recommend exporting to 16-bit .WAV or .AIFF (not MP3).
    • If you plan to edit the file more in Audacity, you can save it as an Audacity project (*.aup).
  5. Metadata Editor will open automatically for each exported file after choosing the file format in the Export Audio dialog. If you have this information, enter it to the best of your knowledge (you can always enter it later by re-opening the file in Audacity and going to File ? Edit Metadata.Audacity-Metadata-Editor

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

  1. Remove your record from the turntable and take it with you – people do forget!
  2. Make sure you have all your files on your USB stick/hard drive. SLIS Library offers portable HDs for personal checkout if you forgot to bring one.
  3. Exit Audacity.

Troubleshooting

How do I get rid of audio silence in Audacity?

  • Click on menu item Effect ? Truncate Silence and then clicking OK.

I can hear the record through the headphones, but Audacity isn’t capturing anything!

  • Check the MT-VIKI audio switch. Is the turntable (IN 1) button pressed?

How to digitize 35mm film

About 35mm film

Digitizing film is trickier than slides, which are protected from most of the preservation dangers of handling by their mounts. When handling 35mm film, try to touch only the edge of the film with clean or gloved hands.

The PrimeFilm7200 film mount can hold six frames at a time, which means that it is best suited for digitizing short film strips or individual frames from photography projects. To digitize a film strip, you have two options:

  • Physically cut the film strip into six-frame segments. You can put the sections back together when you are finished if you have access to a tape splicer.
  • Pulling the film through the mount. This works best if the film you are digitizing is in good condition (i.e. no tears in the brackets, creases, or visible degradation) and you are not concerned about preserving the film strip afterwards.

Before you start

    1. Turn on the PrimeFilm7200 scanner. The switch is on the back of the unit. When you turn scanner on, the button on the top right will turn blue.CyberViewX-Icon
    2. Open CyberView X5 on the computer.
    3. Load the film into the six-frame image holder.PrimeFilm7200-35mm-Film-Mount

Digitizing in CyberViewX

  1. Adjust the CyberViewX scan settings as needed.
  2. When you are ready to scan your first frame, go to the menu bar at the top and select “Scan ? Prescan ? Prescan Current Frame” or click the button at the top with an image of an eye. This process takes approximately 10 seconds and does NOT create a digital file, but allows you to preview the image.
  3. Make any necessary adjustments to the image (i.e. rotate image). If the image quality is poor, you can change the color variation, balance, or levels in “Image Adjustment” (the button that looks like a color wheel). To undo a change, click “Revert” (the lowest button on the left).
  4. When you are satisfied with the prescan rendering, create a digital (.tif) file. Select “Scan ? Scan Current Frame” (or the button that is scanning a film frame). This process usually takes around 20-30 seconds.
  5. When the scan is complete, you will not see a rendering of the image in CyberViewX – it will be saved automatically to the PrimeFilm Scans folder on the desktop.

Post-digitization clean-up

  1. If you forgot to change your scan settings in CyberViewX, you can do so in IrfanView (the default application for viewing .tif files). Doubleclick your image to open it in IrfanView – FAQ about IrfanView coming soon!
  2. Images will be assigned generic names (i.e. “image010.tif”) by CyberViewX. Feel free to rename your images to make the content more obvious, but keep the unique identifier (010) to ensure that no two files have the same name. The Library of Congress provides some useful tips for naming conventions in personal digital archiving projects and for larger digital preservation projects (and an accompanying 4-part video series on the subject).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

  1. Remove your film from the PrimeFilm 7200 machine. Don’t forget to take it with you when you leave!
  2. Make sure that you have migrated all of your files to your USB stick/external hard drive.
  3. Exit all applications on the computer, and turn the PrimeFilm 7200 scanner off.

Troubleshooting

My image isn’t rendering in CyberViewX!
  • Did you load the film mount?
  • Make sure you’re selecting “Prescan” instead of “Scan” – images will not preview in Scan.

How to digitize a photographic slide

 

Before you start

    1. Turn on the PrimeFilm7200 scanner. The switch is on the back of the unit. When you turn scanner on, the button on the top right will turn blue.PrimeFilm7200
    2. Open CyberView X5 on the computer. CyberViewX-Icon
    3. Load your slides into the four-frame image holder. All images will need to be arranged so that the longer side is horizontal, otherwise part of the image will be cut off by the plastic mount.PrimeFilm7200-Slide-Mount

Digitizing in CyberViewX

  1. Adjust CyberViewX scan settings to meet your needs.
  2. When you are ready to scan your first slide, go to the menu bar at the top and select “Scan ? Prescan ? Prescan Current Frame” or click the button at the top with an image of an eye. This process takes approximately 10 seconds and does NOT create a digital file, but allows you to preview the image.
  3. In prescan mode, make any necessary adjustments to the image (i.e. rotate image). If the image quality is poor, you can change the color variation, balance, or levels in “Image Adjustment” (the button that looks like a color wheel). To undo a change, click “Revert” (the lowest button on the left).
  4. When you are satisfied with the prescan rendering, create a digital (.tif) file. Select “Scan ? Scan Current Frame” (or the button that is scanning a film frame). This process usually takes around 20-30 seconds.
  5. When the scan is complete, you will not see a rendering of the image in CyberViewX – it will be saved automatically to the PrimeFilm Scans folder on the desktop.

Post-digitization clean-up

  1. If you forgot to change your scan settings in CyberViewX, you can do so in IrfanView (the default application for viewing .tif files). Doubleclick your image to open it in IrfanView – FAQ about IrfanView coming soon!
  2. Images will be assigned generic names (i.e. “image010.tif”) by CyberViewX. Feel free to rename your images to make the content more obvious, but keep the unique identifier (010) to ensure that no two files have the same name. The Library of Congress provides some useful tips for naming conventions in personal digital archiving projects and for larger digital preservation projects (and an accompanying 4-part video series on the subject).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the Desktop on the computer. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

  1. Remove your slides. Don’t forget to take them with you when you leave!
  2. Make sure that you have migrated all of your files to your USB stick/external hard drive.
  3. Exit all applications on the computer, and turn the PrimeFilm 7200 scanner off.

Troubleshooting

My image isn’t rendering in CyberViewX!
  • Did you load the slide mount?
  • Make sure you’re selecting “Prescan” instead of “Scan” – images will not preview in Scan.

How to digitize an audio cassette

Before you start

  1. Push the power button in on the TASCAM CD-A750. You should see an orange-lettered display above the CD player at left.
  2. Make sure the MONITOR slider on the TASCAM CD-A750 (between the EJECT button and the PHONES jack) is set to TAPE.
  3. Make sure the MODE slider on the TASCAM CD-A750 (just under the PLAY and READY buttons) is set to TAPE.
  4. Make sure the REV MODE slider on the TASCAM CD-A750 (to the right of the MODE slider) is set to the middle setting, which plays both sides of the tape and then stops.
  5. Push button IN 3 on the MT-VIKI switch dedicated to audio (note: not the one dedicated to video! You want the button labeled CASSETTE, not VHS). Audio Switch

Audacity and its settings

  1. Start the Audacity software by clicking on the Audacity logo Audacity logo in the ribbon at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Check that the following settings are correct:
    • The button bar should read, left to right: “Windows WASAPI,” “Line In (TASCAM US-366),” “2 (Stereo) Recording,” “Speakers (TASCAM US-366).” Audacity button bar
    • At bottom left, Project Rate (Hz) should read “44100.”

Digitizing

  1. Push the EJECT button on the TASCAM CD-A750 to open the tape drawer (please remove any cassette accidentally left inside and take it to SLIS Library staff)
  2. Put your cassette in tape-side down and with the first side facing out.
  3. Press the rewind button. Rewind button Rewinding will stop automatically when it reaches the start of the tape.
  4. Click the Record button in Audacity. Audacity record button
  5. Press the rightmost PLAY button (arrow pointing right) Play button on the TASCAM CD-A750. Wait a minute or so to be sure Audacity is capturing the audio; most cassettes start with a silent section.
  6. You can monitor the sound with the Audio-Technica headphones, or by watching the blue lines jump around in Audacity.
  7. When the tape stops playing, click the Stop button in Audacity. AudacityStopButton
  8. Save your file (to your own USB stick or USB hard drive) by going to File > Export Audio. We recommend exporting to 16-bit WAV or AIFF (not mp3). If you plan to do more work on the file with Audacity, you can save it as an Audacity project (*.aup).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the Desktop on the computer. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving audio or video files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly, and possible cause your digitization process to fail if the file size is very large. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

Post-digitization clean-up

If you wish, you can eliminate lengthy sections of audio silence in Audacity by clicking on Effects > “Truncate Silence” then clicking the OK button.

When you’re done

  1. Remove the tape and take it with you – people do forget!
  2. Make sure you have all your files on your USB stick/hard drive.
  3. Push the Power button on the TASCAM CD-A750 to turn it off.
  4. Exit Audacity.

Troubleshooting

I can hear the cassette through the headphones, but Audacity isn’t capturing anything!

Check the MT-VIKI audio switch. Was button 3 pushed?