Frequently Asked Questions

Most Common Questions

1. Where are you located? What times are you open?2. How does this work?3. How much does this cost?4. I have some shows I want to digitize. Can you coprighted works?5. Do you work with companies and institutions?6. Can we do this project in chunks or batches?7. Should I digitize to a DVD or a USB Thumb Drive?8. How do I play these on my TV?9. How many movies can you fit on a DVD or USB Thumb Drive?10. Will you organize my movies and pictures?11. Will you edit and enhance my movies and pictures?12. Can I order multiple copies of DVDs and USB Thumb Drives?13. What if I don't know what's on my tapes? What if they're blank?14. Will you scan my pictures in order and put them into albums?

Getting Started

15. How do I get started?16. Do you throw away my originals?17. I am out of state or far away. Can I mail you my items?18. What if I need my items before a certain date?19. What if my item is damaged or broken? Can you recover it?20. Do you do pickups?21. Is it true my physical items are decaying?22. Should I throw away my originals after you've digitized?

What you get back

23. How should I back up my digital versions once I get the USB Thumb Drive back from you?24. What type of file are my movies saved as?25. What type of file are my pictures saved as?26. What is the "cloud" and how do I get my items in the "cloud"?27. Do you do archival DVDs (that last 1000 years)?

Types of items we digitize

28. Do you have a complete list of formats you can handle?29. I don't see my item on your list of formats. Can you still convert it?30. I have camcorder tapes, but i'm not sure what format they are? Can you convert them?31. I have VHS tapes, but they are smaller? What are these?32. Do you do slides and negatives?33. Can you pull movies and photos from DVDs, CDs, and memory cards?34. Can you pull movies and photos off my old computer or phone?35. My tapes are from my time overseas. Can you convert foreign tapes?

Enhancements

36. Do you clean my items before you scan them?37. Do you enhance my movies and pictures? Does it cost anything extra?38. Can I make edit requests?39. Can you edit out movie scenes?40. I have some shows I want to digitize. Can you coprighted works?41. Can you make a slideshow or compilation?

Photo organizing

42. Will you organize my photos into albums?43. Will you scan my photos in the order I gave them to you?44. Will you caption and date my photos?45. Will you geotag my photo metadata?46. What photo organizing program do you recommend?

Most Common Questions

1. Where are you located? What times are you open?

We are located in Southfield, Michigan. You can find directions here. We are open Monday-Fridays, 9am-6pm. However, if you’re dropping items off, we can work around your schedule. We occasionally have weekend availability. Please contact us for more details.

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2. How does this work?

1. CONTACT US: Most people have a lot of questions and custom wishes at the outset. We've found the best way to handle this is to have you complete our  "Get Quote" Form (click to open). This lets us know the scope of your project so we can answer your questions, give you an accurate estimate, and provide you with a turnaround time.  If you are happy with our estimate and turnaround time, the next step is to drop off your items.

2. GET US YOUR ITEMS:  90% of our clients drop off their items at our Southfield location. We'll work with you to find a time that is convenient for you. If desired, we also do free pickups on orders over $500 that are in the Metro Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb counties). We have a $50 service fee for pickups on orders under $500 in Metro Detroit. For pickups outside of the Metro Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb counties), please call or email us.Please contact us if you are going to mail us your items (we prefer to have the tracking number beforehand). Upon receiving your items, we will provide a receipt acknowledging we have received them.

3. APPROVE FINAL PRICE: Once we have your items, we will provide a final quote within 2-3 business days.

4. WE DIGITIZE: After you approve the quote, we digitize your items. This process usually takes 4-6 weeks. For orders with more than 100 movies or 4,000 pictures, additional time may be required. We will let you know upon sending the quote.

5. PAY AND PICKUP: Once we are finished digitizing your items, we will send you an invoice and provide a free preview link hosted on our google drive. The invoice will contain links to pay by credit or debit. You may also pay in-person by cash or check. Upon receiving payment, we will give you your originals and digitized copies.

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3. How much does this cost?

We have an quote form so we can give you a close estimate of the final costs. Additional fees may apply if the items are damaged or you require additional services beyond the included services (e.g. extensive editing, etc.).You may also call us at anytime to get an estimate over the phone.

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4. I have some shows I want to digitize. Can you coprighted works?

Unfortunately, no. We cannot digitize copyrighted material. If you have copyrighted movies or shows on family VHS tapes, we have to delete those scenes.

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5. Do you work with companies and institutions?

Yes! We’ve done projects for parks, museums, and film studios.

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6. Can we do this project in chunks or batches?

Nearly all our clients digitize in batches. People tend to have huge collections. It’s more affordable to do it in batches. Some clients are also nervous about handing over their entire collection at once. We completely get it. That’s why we recommend doing this project in batches.

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7. Should I digitize to a DVD or a USB Thumb Drive?

We can preserve your memories on a Thumb Drive and or DVDs. Both formats protect your movies and photos from the physical elements and natural decay.

Thumb drives can be played on any computer and smart TV. Thumb drives also allow you to transfer your movies and photos to additional backups like your computer or cloud storage account. We can fit your entire collection digitized on one thumb drive.

DVDs are the quick-and-easy option, though they are increasingly going out of style with the younger generation and cannot hold as much as a thumb drive. If you want to do DVDs, we still recommend doing a thumb drive.

With the way technology is going, we recommend always getting a thumb drive and then adding on DVDs if desired.If you’re digitizing photos, we highly recommend thumb drive over the DVD format.

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8. How do I play these on my TV?

DVDs are simple. Just put it into the DVD player and hit play. The brand of DVDs we use work on 99% of DVD players. If you have an issue, just let us know.

Thumb drives can also be played on TVs. Should you want to play these on your TV, we will ask you to provide us with the name brand of your primary TV. This way we can format the drive so it plays on the device.

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9. How many movies can you fit on a DVD or USB Thumb Drive?

A thumb drive can hold your entire collection. We’ve worked with clients where we’ve put 100+ movies and thousands of pictures on one thumb drive.

DVDs are tricky. We use dual-layer DVDs that can hold roughly 4 hours of footage.

From what we’ve seen:

- VHS tapes can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours. Depending on the length of the home movie, it may have to be broken up into different DVDs.

- Camcorder tapes are usually under an hour and can each fit on one DVD

- Film (8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm) can vary depending on the length of the film. Most folks have 3-inch 8mm or super 8mm reels, which are about 3-4 minutes in length. In such cases, we can make compilation discs with multiple movies.

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10. Will you organize my movies and pictures?

1. Movies: We caption all home movies based on the label (‘Vacation, July 1969’) and then organize them in chronological order to the best of our ability.

2. Photos:

a.
Captioning of Albums or Groupings of Photos (included with standard fee): We can caption groupings of photos (whether they are in albums, boxes, baggies, or rubber-banded together). For example, if you have a stack of photos in a baggie and it is labeled “1989”, we would digitize the photos and put them into a folder called “1989.”

b. Captioning of Individual Photos - either as the title of the file or as its Metadata (extra fees apply): We can transcribe your handwritten captions on the back of each photo and apply them to the photo (either as the title or the metadata caption) at an additional 40 cents per photo.

c. Additional Metadata Work (Date, Location, Keywords, People) (extra fees apply): We can provide this service at an hourly rate.

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11. Will you edit and enhance my movies and pictures?

Yes! We offer free enhancements that come with every order. We also offer additional enhancements for an extra fee. You can read more below.

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12. Can I order multiple copies of DVDs and USB Thumb Drives?

Yes, of course. We can make copies, which is easier than making the copies yourself.

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13. What if I don't know what's on my tapes? What if they're blank?

If you give us a tape and it is blank, we reduce the fee for that tape to just $3.00.  This small fee is to account for the time and effort spent on our end to convert the blank tape.

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14. Will you scan my pictures in order and put them into albums?

Yes, we will scan your pictures in order. You had them that way for a reason!

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Getting started

15. How do I get started?

1. CONTACT US: Most people have a lot of questions and custom wishes at the outset. We've found the best way to handle this is to have you complete our  "Get Quote" Form (click to open). This lets us know the scope of your project so we can answer your questions, give you an accurate estimate, and provide you with a turnaround time.  If you are happy with our estimate and turnaround time, the next step is to drop off your items.

2. GET US YOUR ITEMS:  90% of our clients drop off their items at our Southfield location. We'll work with you to find a time that is convenient for you. If desired, we also do free pickups on orders over $500 that are in the Metro Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb counties). We have a $50 service fee for pickups on orders under $500 in Metro Detroit. For pickups outside of the Metro Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb counties), please call or email us.Please contact us if you are going to mail us your items (we prefer to have the tracking number beforehand). Upon receiving your items, we will provide a receipt acknowledging we have received them.

3. APPROVE FINAL PRICE: Once we have your items, we will provide a final quote within 2-3 business days.

4. WE DIGITIZE: After you approve the quote, we digitize your items. This process usually takes 4-6 weeks. For orders with more than 100 movies or 4,000 pictures, additional time may be required. We will let you know upon sending the quote.

5. PAY AND PICKUP: Once we are finished digitizing your items, we will send you an invoice and provide a free preview link hosted on our google drive. The invoice will contain links to pay by credit or debit. You may also pay in-person by cash or check. Upon receiving payment, we will give you your originals and digitized copies.

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16. Do you throw away my originals?

No. We give your originals back to you. Once digitized, we recommend putting your originals in long term storage.

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17. I am out of state or far away. Can I mail you my items?

Absolutely. But please contact us if you are going to mail us your items. We prefer to have the tracking number beforehand. Upon receiving your items, we will provide a receipt acknowledging we have received them. Please note that we do charge a shipping and handling fee for mail in projects.

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18. What if I need my items before a certain date?

We complete most projects in 4 weeks. We currently do not offer expedited service, because we feel it detracts from our service to other projects.

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19. What if my item is damaged or broken? Can you recover it?

1. Repairing Cassette-Based Movies: We can certainly attempt to recover your home movies. We have extensive experience repairing VHS and other types of cassette tapes. The fee to repair your tape starts at $10 per tape depending on the amount of damage.

2. Repairing Film: Usually the issue with film is that it is dirty or it has been spliced together poorly. We fix these issues when we prep your film for scanning so there is no extra charge.

3. Repairing DVDs or Memory Disk/Cards: We can attempt to repair your DVD or Memory Disks. With DVDs, the issue is usually scratches. We can fix the scratches on the DVDs in moderate cases. Often an issue with DVDs or Memory DIsks/Cards is data corruption. We have software that can attempt to repair the issue. The fee to repair your DVD or memory card starts at $10 per item depending on the amount of damage.

4. Pictures: We can photoshop big tears and scratches. A quote would be provided based on the amount of work desired.

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20. Do you do pickups?

We also do free pickups on orders over $500 that are in the Metro Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb counties). We have a $50 service fee for pickups on orders under $500 in Metro Detroit. For pickups outside of the Metro Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb counties), please call or email us.

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21. Is it true my physical items are decaying?

YES! These are physical items in the real world and decay just like anything else.

VHS and camcorder tapes are in particular danger. The magnetic tape that the footage is held on was designed to last 10-25 years, and most of these tapes were filmed in the 1980s and 1990s. NPR wrote an article about the VHS crisis here.

While 8mm and 16mm family films are older than VHS tapes (because they were usually filmed originally in the 1950s-1970s), film is more durable than magnetic tape. We have had many clients express their surprise at how well their family films held up over the years. That said, if not stored properly (which many family films are not) family films tend to get brittle and warp, which hampers the quality of the transfer. We've had quite a few clients with family film that was damaged by water, drywall, and mold.

Physical photos typically do not decay as fast as tape and film, but are always exposed to the occasional house flood or fire. It is always said that when one’s house is on fire, the photos are the first thing the family runs in to save. We also see alot of damage from the family taking them in and out of photo albums over the years (scratches, fingerprints).

Digitizing your items protects your family’s memories from the wear and tear of time and effectively freezes them in their current state. They will no longer decay once digitized.

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22. Should I throw away my originals after you've digitized?

Once digitized, we recommend putting your originals in long term storage.  This serves as a “backup of last resort” if you were to misplace the digital copies. Though note that VHS and Cassette tapes may likely not be playable in 10-20 years. Pictures and film, if properly stored, can continue to last a long time.

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What you get back

23. How should I back up my digital versions once I get the USB Thumb Drive back from you?

We are big advocates of the “3-2-1” rule for backups, which is:

3: Create one primary backup and two copies of your data
2: Save your backups to two different types of media
1: Keep at least one backup file offsite

For most clients, this means taking your USB drive and putting one copy of your movies and pictures on your computer, and a second copy into a cloud service like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud.This ensures that if you misplace or damage your thumb drive, you would have additional copies on your computer and in the cloud.We can also prepare additional copies of the thumb drive (fees apply).

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24. What type of file are my movies saved as?

We save your movies in the MP4 format, which is the most widely used format for movies in the world.

MP4s can be played on any Smart TV, Tablet, Computer, Phone, or Social Media site.We can save your movies in additional formats by request (fees may apply).

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25. What type of file are my pictures saved as?

We save your photos as JPEG, which is the most widely used format for photos in the world.

We can save your photos in additional formats, such as TIFF, by request (fees may apply).

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26. What is the "cloud" and how do I get my items in the "cloud"?

The cloud is online storage. Rather than saving files on the hard drive inside your physical computer, you are saving them online. By saving your files in the cloud, you protect them from the sudden crashing of your computer or if you were to lose your DVD or thumb drive.

We recommend all our clients put their files from the thumb drive into the cloud.Many companies sell cloud storage, usually for under $5 a month. If you have an Apple computer, you may already be paying for iCloud, which offers file storage.

If you have a Windows computer, you may already be paying for OneDrive, which is cloud storage. Dropbox and Google Drive are two other popular cloud storage programs.

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27. Do you do archival DVDs (that last 1000 years)?

Yes, we can do archival DVDs, which are said to last 1000 years (extra fees apply).

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Types of items we digitize

28. Do you have a complete list of formats you can handle?

Yes, we have a complete list of formats we can digitize or copy here.

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29. I don't see my item on your list of formats. Can you still convert it?

In many cases, yes. Additional fees may apply. Call us for a consultation.

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30. I have camcorder tapes, but i'm not sure what format they are? Can you convert them?

Odds are, if you have camcorder cassette tapes, they are one of these five formats: VHS-C, VIdeo8, Hi8, Digital8, and MiniDV. We can digitize all five formats.

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31. I have VHS tapes, but they are smaller? What are these?

Likely a Betacam tape or VHS-C. We can digitize both!

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32. Do you do slides and negatives?

Yes, we’ve done thousands of slides and negatives!

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33. Can you pull movies and photos from DVDs, CDs, and memory cards?

Yes, we can pull movies and photos off DVDs, CDs, and memory cards at $10 per item. Extra fees may apply if the items are damaged and need repair.

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34. Can you pull movies and photos off my old computer or phone?

Yes, we can pull movies and photos off of your old computer or phone for a separate fee.

Please call us and we can provide a quote.

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35. My tapes are from my time overseas. Can you convert foreign tapes?

We have a universal VCR and can convert PAL and SECAM VHS tapes.

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Enhancements

36. Do you clean my items before you scan them?

Yes we do! This is critical for providing the best possible capture. It also helps keeps our machines in tip-top shape.

Movie Cassettes: We clean all VHS tapes with a Tapechek professional cleaning machine. We clean our camcorders and VCRs after every job.

Movie Film: All film is cleaned with a gentle silicon cloth and cleaning solution designed just for film

Photos: We clean each photo with a gentle silicon cloth and air pump

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37. Do you enhance my movies and pictures? Does it cost anything extra?

We have a set of "standard" enhancements we do 'free of charge' with every order.

STANDARD ("FREE") ENHANCMENTS :

Standard ("Free") Enhancements - VHS and Camcorder Movies:
- Clean physical VHS
- Brighten dark picture
- Delete blank footage and start and end
- Delete daytime TV from family movies

Standard ("Free") Enhancements - 8mm and 16mm Film:
- Clean physical film
- Add leader tape / repair broken film
- Brighten dark picture
- Delete blank footage and start and end

Standard ("Free") Enhancements - Pictures (Prints, Albums, Slides, Negatives):
- Physical "by hand" cleaning of every individual picture to reduce dust and debris
- Exposure adjustment of darker pictures
- Conversion to pure 'black and white' of old 'black and white' photos that have tinted yellow or red

ADVANCED ENHANCEMENTS

We have a set of 'advanced' enhancements that we can do upon request (extra fees apply). It is usually best to make these requests after receiving your digitized originals back from us. We can provide you with a quote.

Advanced Enhancements - VHS and Camcorder Movies:

*ADDITIONAL FEES APPLY*
*BY REQUEST ONLY*

- Tone and Color enhancements (flat fee)
- Reduce grainy visuals (flat fee)
- Reduce audio buzz/fuzz sounds (flat fee)
- Convert from Standard Definition (640 x 480) to High Definition (1280 x 720) using artificial intelligence (flat fee)
- Scene removal or compilations (quoted $85 per hour)
- Title screnes (quoted $85 per hour)
- Deliver ProRes files (flat fee)
- Deliver original original DV files (flat fee)
- Custom cover art on DVD (quoted $85 per hour)

Advanced Enhancements - 8mm and 16mm Film:

*ADDITIONAL FEES APPLY*
*BY REQUEST ONLY*

- Crop out edges of film (flat fee)
- Reduce grainy images (flat fee)
- Sceme removal or compilations (quoted $85 per hour)
- Deliver ProRes files (flat fee)
- Deliver original original DV files (flat fee)
- Custom cover art on DVD (quoted $85 per hour)

Advanced Enhancement- Pictures (Prints, Albums, Slides, Negatives):

*ADDITIONAL FEES APPLY*
*BY REQUEST ONLY*

- Tone / Color Correction (flat fee)
- Dings, Nicks, and Scratches Reduction (flat fee)
- Dings, Nicks, and Scratches Removal (quoted $85 per hour)
- Red Eye Removal (flat fee)
- Tear Repair (quoted at $85 per hour)
- Slideshows (quoted at $85 per hour)
- Upscale resolution using artificial intelligence (flat fee)
- Deliver TIFFs  (flat fee)

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38. Can I make edit requests?

Absolutely. See above for the difference between free and advanced edits. Once you receive your previews on Google Drive, you can request “Advanced Enhancements.” We can provide you with a quote on how long these requests would take.

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39. Can you edit out movie scenes?

Absolutely. See above for the difference between free and advanced edits.Once you receive your previews on Google Drive, you can request “Advanced Enhancements.”  We can provide you with a quote on how long these requests would take.

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40. I have some shows I want to digitize. Can you coprighted works?

Unfortunately, no. We cannot digitize copyrighted material. If you have copyrighted movies or shows on family VHS tapes, we have to delete those scenes.

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41. Can you make a slideshow or compilation?

Yes, we have made slideshows for clients before. Please contact us for details.

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Photo organizing

42. Will you organize my photos into albums?

We can caption groupings of photos (whether they are in albums, boxes, baggies, or rubber-banded together).

For example, if you have a stack of photos in a baggie and it is labeled “1989”, we would digitize the photos and put them into a folder called “1989.”When you open your thumb drive, each album or grouping will be one folder, clearly labeled.

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43. Will you scan my photos in the order I gave them to you?

Yes. You had them this way for a reason!

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44. Will you caption and date my photos?

Captioning of Individual Photos - either as the title of the file or as its Metadata (extra fees apply): We can transcribe your handwritten captions on the back of each photo and apply them to the photo (either as the title or the metadata caption) at an additional 40 cents per photo.

Additional Metadata Work (Date, Location, Keywords, People) (extra fees apply): We can provide this service at an hourly rate.

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45. Will you geotag my photo metadata?

We can provide this service at an hourly rate.

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46. What photo organizing program do you recommend?

This is a tough one! We tend to recommend Apple Photos, Google Photos, or Forever.com.

Most people consume photos on their phone. If you have an iPhone, the Apple Photos has features where you can sync your photos into the cloud and your Apple Photos program on the Mac. If you have an Android, you likely consume your phones on Google Photos.

Forever.com is also a great choice to store your photos. It is cloud-based and can stick with you if you change phone brands.

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