Converting Old Media to a Newer Format

Parent Q&A

  • Hello, I have a video that is currently on a DVD, which I'd like to have made into a digital file. Does anyone know of a business that does this? I am hoping to find a company that comes highly recommended because I'm so worried about losing this video that has a lot of sentimental value, and is the only copy I have. Thanks!

    Check out East Bay Media Center on Addison Street in downtown Berkeley. I had some old film footage converted to different media and they were very helpful and reasonably priced

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions & Recommendations Related Pages

2010 - 2013 Recommendations

Transferring data from old computer floppy disk

Sept 2013

I just found an old computer floppy disk with some information that I'd like to access but don't have a disk reader. I'd like to have it converted to a CD. Does anyone know if there's a service in town that does this? Thanks so much! old floppy disk owner

I've converted many 3.5-inch floppy disks for my clients and would be happy to do so for you. I maintain a machine with floppy drive so I can convert either Mac or Windows formatted floppies. If there is only one disk it will only take a few minutes.

I also maintain conversion software to convert old file formats to newer ones, such as WordPerfect or AppleWorks to Word. I can perform batch conversions of large numbers of docs quickly. I highly recommend converting old files now, rather than procrastinating until it's impossible. It has already gotten to the point where most such conversions require using an old machine/operating system.

If they are 5.25-inch floppies, there are online services that can convert them for you. Here is one, there are many others:

You can find past recommendations for my services on BPN: Becky Waring becky [at]

8 mm to DVD

April 2012

My parents arrive this Thursday to town and my dad is bringing with him some 8 mm films that he took when I was a child. I would love to show them to my husband and daughter! I would like a recommendation of a place where they can convert these 8mm films into DVD keeping or improving the quality of the movies. Thanks Andrea

Sarber's Camera in Montclair Village did this for me - great job and reasonably priced... Maggie H

Convert super 8 movies to DVDs

Oct 2011

I want to get my parents' super 8 movies transferred to DVDs and don't know where I can do this. The only relevant recommendations on the BPN website are almost 10 years old. Not so super

For my camcorder movies, I bought a converter thing that attached to the camera and then to my computer. It then converted the movies to a video file that I then burned to a DVD. The converter thing cost $100 at the Apple store.

If you can't do that, Costco does video conversions at prices almost identical to the prices I paid through Groupon/Living Social to convert my old 8 mm videos to DVD. I would use them, if I had video conversion work to do in the future, since the Groupon/LIving Social companies I went with really didn't do a great job on the conversion. not gonna use Groupon/Living Social again for video conversion

Please call Debbie Ojeda at Saving Memories, 510-724-5197, email is ojedahouse [at] Debbie does a beautiful job converting old video to dvd and at the most reasonable rate I have found - about $10 each. I needed this done a few months ago and called around for quotes that ranged from a minimum of $15 to $30 plus. Debbie wants to provide this service to people without charging exorbitant prices. She is located in Pinole, just off highway 80. Please give her a call. She will do a wonderful job with what you need done.

She also makes wonderful slideshows, putting your photos to background music of your choice for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, memorial events, retreats, any event that culd benefit from such a presentation. I have seen a lot of slideshows and say without any doubt that Debbie's are the best - very professional and done with a personal touch that shows care and concern for the event being portrayed. Please give her a call. You will be so glad you did!! Precious Perry

Costco photo services converts movies to DVD. They have a menu driven approach so if you want a specific piece of background music for example Costco probably isn't what you're looking for. I dropped off 10 3inch reels last week, estimate is $50. It's the first time I've used this service so i can't speak to the quality yet. Anon

Audio Visual Consultants, 3738 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610 510-839-2020 888-913-9657, has given me excellent media conversion service. AVC's work is professional and the customer service is, too. A long-time customer

Converting older personal VHS tapes to DVD

Oct 2011

We have many hours of home movies from our older camera that used those smaller vhs tapes. We have a standard VHS size converter that you put the smaller tape in to play it in a tape player. Please recommend anyone who converts these to DVDs as economically as possible. Thanks... anon

We were very happy with Audio Visual Consultants at 3738 Grand Avenue in Oakland. Nikki

Audio Visual Consultants has a store on upper Grand Ave, north of the Grand Lake Theater. I have used AVC on several occasions to get tapes transferred to DVDs. Their quality is professional and their customer service is excellent. They are open Monday-Friday. Contact: info [at],, 3738 Grand Avenue, Oakland, 510-839-2020. Pam

You can transfer VHS tapes to DVD yourself! After realizing how quickly it would add up at 10.00 or so a tape - I went online and did some research into doing it at home - and saving money in the long run. I found high ratings for the Sony DVDirect (VRD-MC6) Recorder. This is one of the best purchases I have made in a long time. It is super easy to use - you just plug your VCR into it, put a DVD in the recorder, and push play. The DVDs have the same quality as the tapes, from what I can tell. You can also plug video cameras directly into the recorder, as well as memory cards, and make DVDs that way. The prices on this machine range from 159.00 (Costco and Walmart online) to 199.99 (Best Buy). There are several other recorders out there in the same price range. Happy transferring! Anon

Has anyone scanned/digitized all their old photos?

Sept 2011

We have a huge collection of old slides and a lot of antique photographs that I've been thinking about digitizing. (And I don't really want to spend $250 on a scanner so that I can then spend hours and hours scanning this stuff - we have a lot of it.) Has anyone done this? Experiences / recs? I know that some companies outsource to India, and I'd rather not ship my precious memories abroad. Experiences welcome! knee deep in boxes of photos

we used good and responsible. cost 22 cents or something a photo, or maybe more. they would either take things out of albums and put them back or charge less if you took them out yourself. i think they do it in ca. good luck! anon

You can try calling local reprographics companies. BPXpress is one I use for printing/scanning, 510-559-8299. also try photo restoration type places, like A-1 Photo on Univ Ave, 841-1233. there are others listed in yellow pages. they do sometimes outsource these kinds of tasks so be specific. alex c

Yes, we used digital pickle in SF for ALL of my husband's childhood photos. Great experience. They also have a drop off in Walnut Creek, and maybe you can also do it by mail. We presorted the photos, so that the digital file we got back had folders for each year. Sending the photos overseas seemed too weird even though we read good reviews and the prices were cheaper. Email me if you have additional questions. Have fun... we are so happy we did this! tmargulici does all their scanning here in the Bay Area. My parents are slowly but surely getting 50+ years of slides and photos scanned, and GoPhoto's been great to work with. Going Digital

Hi--I know you mentioned fear of shipping out of town--but I had an outstanding experience with ScanCafe (google them for contact info). Not only were they substantially less expensive than local services, but they took on making digital images of a very unusual format-- about 3 inch square positive 'slides' taken in India in the 1930's and 40's that most other services refused to touch. And the quality of the digital images was quite good (considering the originals were far from perfect...). They handled everything as promised and sent the originals and digital files back in the time frame promised. recaptured the past...

I posted this question a few years ago and got several suggestions. After researching them, the cheapest one (and local) was the Ritz Camera store at the Safeway shopping center at 51st & Broadway.

You get a certain number of photos digitized for one price. It was a crazy number, maybe 500, and the price reasonable. There was a second option, which cost more, for a higher resolution scanning, but honestly, the regular scans seemed great to us. anne

We use a local lab that whose driver picks up the photos from our store on Tuesdays. They charge 50-75 cents per scan and they perform color correction and cropping. Much better than the cheapie places. AVC Video Production 3738 Grand, Oakland 510-839-2020 Open M-F 9:00 to 5:30 PM stu sweetow

Convert Slides to DVD

Sept 2011

I'd like to convert two carousels of slides to a dvd format. The last information on this in the archives is from 2005, and I'm wondering if the technology has gotten better or cheaper since then. Anyone done this lately that can recommend a service that had good quality and a reasonable fee? Thanks for the tip! Slidin' into the 21st century

Check out GoPhoto ( - they are super conscientious and friendly, Bay Area based and co-founded by a fellow Cal alum. Going Digital

Costco will do this service! -Anon

There are products out there that you can use yourself. Mine is like this... w= converted

Digitizing Slides

Nov 2010

I have a large quantity of slides (2,000+) that I'd like to digitize, preferably in a high-resolution format that's ideal for making prints, too. I'm wondering what the best, most economical method for doing this is. Use a service? Buy my own equipment? Is there a cost-efficient service out there? If I were to purchase my own equipment, what to buy and where to buy it? Thanks. leila

Check out GoPhoto (, which scans and digitizes photos and slides. Full disclosure: My friend (and fellow Cal alum) is one of the founders -- but I'd recommend them regardless. They do all the work right here in the Bay Area and their prices are reasonable - $0.29/item to scan slides, negatives and paper photos. I'm helping my parents digitize their slide archive, and the folks at GoPhoto have been super nice to work with. Happy To Have Someone Else Do the Work

I own a business that provides slide digitizing. It is about 75 cents per slide. We use a lab that picks up on Tuesdays and they scan in 300 DPI resolution. The driver picks up from our store and returns the slides on CDs. They don't send them out.

Another option is to purchase a slide scanner. Make sure you get one that has an auto-load feature and has enough memory to work quickly. Otherwise it could take you a long time to scan each slide. Don't get a standard flatbed scanner if you want high resolution. You may have to spend over a thousand dollars to get a good one. Even the $500 Nikon has gotten mixed reviews because some slides get jammed. Avoid the temptation to send your slides out. Even if they go FedEx, unless you have duplicates, your originals are at risk. Some of the low cost mail order slide transfer services outsource to India. Our store: AVC Video Production 3738 Grand, Oakland Open 9-5:30 M-F 510-839-2020 stu sweetow

I recently was exploring similar services. I found Montclair Photo with great reviews. I haven't gotten there yet but they are an independently owned business, have their own lab and apparently due great work. Leslie

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Old photos -- recs to scan to disc, make prints?

Oct 2009

I would like to take all the old family photos and get them put onto discs, maybe reprint some. The archives offered great recommendations for getting old movies converted (thank you!) but nothing on this. Is there a reason that nobody does this that I don't understand? I'd prefer to have it done professionally (better quality scanner?) and b/c it's a large number of pics but, of course, like not to pay an arm and leg. thanks, anne

Scanning old family photos, slides, negatives: consider SCAN CAFE. This is a company located in India that performs high resolution scanning, onto a CD, for very reasonable cost. Two phtography friends of mine have used their services several times, and highly recommend them. The down side is the turn-around time, because your photos and slides are mailed to India and back -- takes over a month. They provide the mailing labels, and have arrangements with Fed Ex, or one of the big companies. And I hear they do a very good job. Their cost is much less than local companies. Check them out on the internet. GW

Transferring LP to CD

Oct 2009

I have an old LP from my childhood that I want to put on CD. It has a lot of scratches. I'm thinking there must be a way to not only record from turntable onto CD, but to eliminate the scratches. Is it outrageously expensive? Any recs are appreciated. Thanks. 56 and nostalgic

Our studio uses a technician who picks up from us. He has scratch and pop removal software and has done remarkable jobs for our clients. The price is $50 for up to an hour-long LP transferred to CD. You can drop it off during our open hours. Then when you pick it up, you can listen to the CD before paying. If you don't like the quality of the CD there will be no charge. AVC Video Production 3738 Grand, Oakland 510-839-2020 Stu Sweetow

I bought a gizmo that transfers tapes and LPs to your computer, from which you can burn CDs. It cost $60. I can't remember the name, but I bought it at Sam's, which is like Costco, and electronics companies should sell it, too. It's a small device with a long cord that you attach to your stereo and your computer. The only catch is that you have to do it manually and wait for the album to play in order for it to record. Therefore, it takes a long time to transfer an entire collection. It has controls for eliminating pops and scratches and works really well if you have the patience to do it. Linda

VHS to DVD Transfer

Sept 2009

I have about 20 VHS tapes I would love to have transferred to DVDs. Most shops charge $20-$30 per tape. Is there anyone out there that will do this for less? I'm happy to provide the disks myself. Thanks so much!

I think that the Audio Visual Consultants on Grand Ave in Oakland will work out an hourly price with you (don't know if that would work out to be more or less than the $20-30/tape), but it is probably worth asking them. We have had great response and work from them. 29467.html Nikki

Do you know the lengths of your tapes? We frequently can combine two or more tapes onto a single 120-minute DVD for $29 plus a $10 combining fee, rather than having to charge $29 per each tape. Today we completed a job where we combined five VHS tapes to one DVD and saved the client lots of money. We charge $10 per combining fee, and his total was $69 rather than nearly $150 if they were on separate discs.

Why don't you bring in your tapes to our store, and we can figure out the least costly way to transfer them for you? At no added charge we can boost the audio or brightness and correct colors. And we use industrial-grade discs that have an inkjet surface that we can print labels onto.

We are open weekdays only 9-5:30. We are across from Safeway on upper Grand. Stu Sweetow, sweetow [at] Audio Visual Consultants Video Production, DVDs, Editing Visit Our Storefront Studio 3738 Grand Ave, Oakland 94610

Transfer mini-vhs MP tapes to DVD

March 2009

I would like our family movies to enter the digital age and have our mini-vhs MP tapes transferred to DVD. Can anyone recommend a service that would be reliable and reasonably priced in Oakland/Berkeley or SF? Thanks! Karen

Try Audio Visual Consultants on Grand Avenue in Oakland . A few months ago, I walked into AVC on Grand Avenue (near Lakeshore area) and was treated kindly by everyone there. They not only transferred the videos to DVDs, but they did it quickly, for a reasonable price, labeled them all perfectly and called me when they were ready (earlier than expected!). This was SO worth outsourcing (I'd tried to do it myself and lost a weekend). I'd go there again for any transfers to DVD. All my mother's home videos from the 30s and 40s are all preserved on DVD, and we couldn't be happier. Audio Visual Consultants 3738 Grand Ave Oakland, CA 94610 (510) 839-2020 Elisa

LP to CD converters

Feb 2009

I bought one of these devices for $60 at Sam's Club, and I used it for recording tapes to my computer. If I wanted, I could then transfer them to CDs. The sound quality seems fine. I haven't used it for LPs yet, but it is capable of transferring them, too. I don't know about it magnifying extraneous sounds on LP, but it seems to work well for cassette tapes. One warning, this is a very labor-intensive job. You really need to be around to start and stop the process of recording, then you can break the recording unto individual songs (or make sure the device automatically broke them at the correct places)and label them with names. Note: the device I'm talking about connects your computer with your player. I'm not remembering the name of it right now. Something like Xitel. It's a tiny device with a lot of cord to reach between stereo and computer. Linda

Hi, Look at CostCo's website for ''turntable'' and you'll see an LP to CD converter from ION for under $100....they deliver. I just bought mine but haven't had the time yet to use it, so I can't say anything about its quality....... ios_lrh

Convert old videos to DVD

May 2008

I've got heaps of old videos that I would love to convert to DVDs but am not sure how to proceed. Are there places I can get this done? Or, since I have a large number of them, would it make more sense to buy a VCR/DVD combo that might allow me to make my own copies. Since I'm a bit (a lot!) technology phobic any guidance would be welcome. Thanks.

While helping my clients get organized we always run into piles of tapes and old reels of film. I always recommend this site They do a fantastic job and its user friendly. The Organizer Guy

Dear Technophobe... After purchasing a well-reviewed VCR/DVD combo that records DVDs for the same purpose you wanted (transferring old VHS tapes onto DVD), I set out to take care of business. I ended up finding myself in the middle of a frustrating project. Not only did the DVD burns not always format correctly, but it seemed if I did too much transferring from VHS to DVD, the DVD player (not recorder!) would start malfunctioning so I couldn't even enjoy my well-earned Netflix at the end of a day.

I finally got wise and outsourced. What a relief. AV Consultants on Grand Avenue in Oakland will do it for you--we are working with Stuart Sweetow there. He was so responsive when I asked him about it (and even offered to help me troubleshoot my project) that I sent my husband down there right away with all my mother's old home videos (VHS) so I could surprise her with a new family DVD collection for her upcoming birthday. I'll be interested to hear if anyone's had any luck with some of the other combo DVD recorders. It's a purchase I regret, and I'm so happy to have handed it over to a pro who will turn it around in no time at all! 510-839-2020 at 3738 Grand Avenue (not far from the Grand Lake Theater) Best of luck, Elisa

VHS & MiniDV transfer service to DVD?

Feb 2009

Can anyone recommend an affordable service that can transfer mini DV cassettes and my old VHS tapes (including the 20 week ultrasound of my son) to DVD? I'm trying to join the 21st century and get rid of a pile of this stuff without losing the memories or spending a fortune. I'm not up for buying the software and doing it myself so I wonder if there's any service in the East Bay/Bay Area that does a good job affordably? Thanks so much for the recommendations. Anon

Try Costco...They do a great job and for $20 each (2 hrs.). It takes about a 3-wk turnaround. Karen

Try Costco. We just had some 8 mm film transferred to CD and I believe they do VHS tapes and other formats to DVD as well. Good quality and much cheaper than anything else I could find at the time. If you aren't a member, you'd have to find a friend who is or buy a membership which may be worth it if you have a lot to transfer by the amount you'd save going elsewhere. anon

There is a shop on Grand Ave that does just what you're looking for. Stu Sweetow at Audio Visual Consultants (AVC) will take your old tapes and combine them onto one DVD. They have top notch equipment and do a very thorough job. Find him at 3738 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610 Phone: 510-839-2020 Fax: 510-839-6464 hope this helps

Try Audio Visual Consultants on Grand Avenue in Oakland. A few months ago, I walked into AVC on Grand Avenue and was treated kindly by everyone there. They not only transferred the videos to DVDs, but they did it quickly, for a reasonable price, labeled them all perfectly and called me when they were ready (earlier than expected!). This was SO worth outsourcing (I'd tried to do it myself and lost a weekend). I'd go there again for VHS and mini-DV transfers. Audio Visual Consultants 3738 Grand Ave Oakland, CA 94610 (510) 839-2020 Elisa

8mm - 16mm - slides to dvd transfer

Nov 2008

Looking to transfer super8mm, 16mm reels and slides to dvd format. Can anyone recommend a reputable Bay Area company that does this? - they are in SF. I used them to transfer 8mm video to DVD and they were fast, professional and the resulting DVDs are great! Very reasonably priced, too. susan

I am having an old old 16mm family home movie converted by the Video Transfer Center in San Francisco. They were recommended by several people, including one of the archivists at the Pacific Film Archive, and though I haven't gotten back my DVD yet, I enjoyed talking to them, and would say they definitely seem to know what they're doing. Their website is They were close to the highway on South Van Ness. (I don't know if they do slides) in the same boat

Talk to Stu Sweetow at Audio Visual Consultants in Oakland. ph 510-839-2020, or sweetow [at] Talia

Transferring a Vinyl Record to a CD

March 2008

Has anyone had a vinyl record transferred to a cd and had a good experience? I want to transfer a vinyl 33 inch LP to a cd. However, I don't have the equipment or know how to do it in a way that preserves the sound quality. Any recommendations of people who do this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Anon

My husband is a musician, producer, and audio engineer and here are a couple of sites he mentioned that do it: Diana

My husband has been transferring vinyl to CDs at home. He has a USB turntable, but says any turntable will work, as long as it has an input connector. The turntable he has came with EZ Audio Converter, which was free. However he greatly prefers CD Spin Doctor. It is expensive, but worth it. It is simple to use, and takes the pops/crackles out of the record as it records if you want it too. I have heard the results and they are great. partner to a music fanatic

Transferring 8 mm film to DVD

Feb 2008

My dad came across our old home videos and I'd like to transfer them to DVD. Has anyone done this? Any recommendations in the Berkeley area? Media novice

We got DVDs - one for each of the four ''kids'' - from our 1950s 8mm movies from Stu Sweetow at AVC on Broadway in Oakland. (510)839-2020 It was a big project. It took 3 DVDs to hold the whole set of films. And, we love the results. Eliot

Film to DVD transfer

Jan 2008

I am looking for a reputable place to have my old student films (shot on super 8 and 16MM film) transfered to DVD. I had a film ruined once by a place in LA that did a shlock job, so I'm pretty cautious now. Anyone had any experience with a local transfer place they liked? lisa

I would suggest Video Transfer in San Francisco on South Van Ness(?)... very knowledgeable and great service. dgwallis

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Transfer vinyl LPs to CD format

November 2006

I recently unearthed a pile of my old LPs in the basement (hello again Bay City Rollers!). I'm going to unload most of the LPs, but a couple of them from my early childhood are not currently available on CD. I would love to hear them again and have my kids be able to hear them too, but we don't have a turntable anymore. Is there any local business that will record my LPs to CD? Is it even legal?
S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

I am not a lawyer, it is generally considered legal to make copies of LPs for your own personal use Ernie

Check this out. You can evidently do it youself with an Album CD Burner (Restoration Hardware Catalog). Part # 3605.0553 if you want to do your own search on their website

And, yes, it's legal, just as you could make a tape for your personal use. Technically, I don't think you should then sell the LP, but ... who's gonna know if you do.

My advice -- don't get rid of any of your LPs. If you have the space, hang onto them! I inherited my parents' LPs and have added my own, to have a large and varied vinyl collection that I cherish. If you must, however, there are many software programs that help you convert your vinyl to MP3s -- just google ''vinyl to MP3'' for a start. If you want to skip figuring out how to wire analog to digital, you can also buy a record player that plugs into your computer and converts directly to MP3s -- check out the Hammacher Schlemmer LP to MP3 record player I don't know of any stores that provide this service, as it's one thing to convert your own personal collection -- but may be considered illegal to convert other people's collections. Good luck! Vinyl Fan

Do you know about DOWN HOME RECORDS? They are on SanPablo Avenue just past Whole Foods in ElCerrito. They have a parking lot. Those folks know EVERYTHING or will find out for you and it's OK to bring kids in
That is always my first place to ask.

Transfer of VCR mini tape to DVD

October 2006

We lost our old camcorder. It was an older model that works with small video tapes. After recording your footage, you then use the camera itself to transfer the mini tape onto a regualr size VCR video tape. Well, since we lost (it was stolen) the camcorder, we now have several mini tapes with precious footage of our kids that we want to have transfered onto regular sized video tapes, or actually now we would prefer them transfered to DVD's. Where could I go to have this done? Any idea of how much it might cost me? not a movie maker

See if can help you - I sent them some full-size VHS tapes and they digitized them for $5 a pop. You have to download them and burn them onto your own DVDs, but it sure beats $20+ per tape for the fancy conversion services. They do super 8 and other weird formats, so may do mini-VHS, too. Their customer service (via email) was good, too. JP

August 2006

I've checked the archives but can't seem to find a recommendation for a place that will transfer our Sony Mini DV Video Cassettes to DVDs. There are some old recommendations from '02 about transferring Super 8s to VHS but given the new technology I'd love a recommendation of a business who can help me with this (preferrably in Oakland or Berkeley if possible). Thank you! Swimming in tapes

Krishna Copy in Berkeley does an excellent job Ellen

I'm sure A-1 Photo on University can do it for you. Andi

Transfer VHS & 8 mm videos to DVD/discs

August 2006

We have a lot of family videos--VHS and mostly 8 mm--that we would like to have transferred to DVDs. Nothing fancy, no music, no restoration necessary. Any recommendations for someone who can help us with this. We know we could get the machine and do it ourselves but we don't have the time. Thanks want to watch!

I can't remember the name of the place (sorry!) but it's on Grand Ave in north Oakland, right across the street from the Safeway on Grand Ave. (about 4 blocks south of where Oakland Ave crosses Grand Ave.), and a few doors down from the Copy Plus shop, past the Uhuru furniture place. Their awning has the word ''video'' in it, and their windows advertise their services for making wedding videos. They Xfer anything to anything. They're reasonable, it's a nice local small business and they're friendly, competent and professional. I had a lot of DVDs and VHS's made from digital video ''movies'' I had made for my kids' college sports recruiters. They do titles, too, on the tapes----they can do it all. Good luck Needed help and got it

My mother-in-law recently had all her old super-8 movies (taken from the 1960s on) transferred to three DVDs at A-1 Photo in Berkeley (on University). We got a copy and they came out great. Not sure what she paid but she definitely thinks it was worth it. They handle all media and can put anything on DVDs. Here's a link: Andi

Stu Sweetow of Audio Visual Consultant can do this kind of work well. AVC is across the street from Safeway on Grand Avenue in Oakland and has been in business over 20 years. 3738 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610 510-839-2020 Open Mon - Fri 9:00 to 5:30

Transfer VHS home movies to DVD

April 2006

Our home movies - mostly from the 50's (YIKES) - were transferred many years ago to VHS. We now would like to transfer them all from the VHS to DVD (I don't think there is any audio in these - silent era, you know). Is there a person or business in Berkeley that will do a good job with this? THANKS!

The East Bay Media Center on Addison in Berkeley could do the transfer for you. Melanie

Digital Pickle in sf transferred some High 8's to DVD for me and did a great job at a reasonable price and in a short amount of time. They have a website - google 'em. NightNurse

Convert video camera tapes to DVD

October 2005

Hello - I have a few years worth of Video camera recorder tapes that I would like to convert to DVD at an affordable price. I found one source but it was quite pricey. Does anyone have recommendations?

Denevi in Castro Valley had the best price I could find. They specialize in wholesale (i.e., they do work for places like Walmart and Longs) but they will take retail customers. Helena

I recommend Stuart Sweetow, owner of Audio Visual Consultants, to convert your tapes to DVD. His prices are reasonable and he has been in business in Oakland for over 20 years. He is a true professional and a pleasure to work with. Here is his contact information: AVC, 3738 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA (510) 839-2020, Pam

Costco sells a VHS-- DVD recorder for about $200.00. If you have a number of tapes, it might be cheaper to buy that then have someone do it for you..... anon

I was faced with the same problem. I had 35 analog hi-8 tapes. So I bought a new SONY digital-8 camera for cheap ($300 at Frye's) and a new Dell desktop (that we needed anyway) with a DVD-writer, and video editing software for under $100. For the amount of money it would have cost me to pay to have those tapes converted, I instead put that money toward the hardware/software to do it myself. And I can keep on making my own videos/DVDs. It does take time, but it's very worth it. bill

Try Rick MacIvor. I have used him to transfer old movies to dvd. His prices are reasonable and he does a great job. sara

Reel-to-reel tape to CD

Nov 2005

My sister was helping our mom go through some boxes when they uncovered a stack of reel-to-reel tapes. Mom says, 'oh, one of those is of my wedding.' !!! We have no reel-to-reel tape player, and sis and I would love to get these things copied to some durable media we could actually listen to...where can I have that done? And what does it cost? The tapes are currently in Orange County, so Southern California recommendations are welcome -- or I could bring them home next time I visit and have it done here. Holly

Check out:

I am probably going to send some of our 8mm and VHS their way. anon

Call Stu at Audio Visual Consultants. They convert old tapes to CDs and have been in business over 20 years. They have a store on upper Grand Ave, north of the Grand Lake theater, but they are closed on weekends. Phone 510-839-2020. Address: 3738 Grand Ave., Oakland. Pam

Transferring videos to DVD

March 2005

Any recommendations for transferring videos to DVD? Only one recommendation in the archive, and that was from 2002. Wondering if there is more info now. Thanks! Ellen

A friend of mine owns a service that converts videos to DVD's. Here is his information: Conversion of videotapes to DVDs starting at $29 at AVC Audio Visual Consultants. They have a storefront studio at 3738 Grand Ave in Oakland and are open M-F, 9 to 5:30. They do the work in house, use top quality discs and check each disc to verify that they are recorded properly. They take VHS tapes and camcorder tapes. They won't copy copyrighted material unless you own the copyright. They also make additional copies of DVDs for about $5.00 to $15.00 depending on quantity. Stu Sweetow Audio Visual Consultants Video Production, Editing, DVDs 3738 Grand Ave Oakland, CA 94610 510-839-2020

We had quite a lot of this we wanted to do, and found the copy shop prices awfully expensive. Two weeks ago, we discussed this with our wonderful Macintosh consultant, Bruce McLaughlin, and then bought a DataVideo DAC 100 for about $160.

Bruce and I tried it out last week and it worked like a charm. Play VHS videos into the DAC, and they end up digital on the hard drive for downloading to a DVD or iMovie, etc. Even works with Windows. Bruce is, as we speak, mulling over whether to offer this service to clients, either with the DAC I bought or he buys his own.

So this is a matter in transition -- but in the co-housing frame of mind, it really seems silly to me for a bunch of people each to own a device, whether lawnmower or washing machine or DAC-100 that they use only a few hours a week.

(Bruce: John

If you have a lot of videos and you are slightly technically inclined, you could buy a standalone DVD recorder and do it yourself. Costco and Sears have them for as little as $150, although units with a built-in VCR will be significantly more costly. David

Heritage Audio/Visual in Albany can do this for you. Please see: for details. Patrick

Copying old photos/slides to DVD

Feb 2005

I'm looking for a company that can take old photos and slides and create a DVD that's set to music. Any ideas? Price range? Memory Maker

Marin Filmworks in San Rafael ( offers this service at a reasonable price. I would trust them to handle your old photos and slides with care. I use them for all my photo jobs and they are a professional lab with great customer service (the owners work the front desk!) Good Luck! photo pal

Contact Rick MacIvor of Digital Duck: rick AT He does wedding video work as well. Melanie

I'd like to recommend my brother-in-law's new photo montage business. He does excellent quality work, at reasonable prices. I have seen dvds set to music that he has done for new babies and for a 90th birthday party, and both were great. He is also able to take your old photos or slides and do restoration work on them. Infomation about his company, HandMade Digital Video, and prices are listed later in this newsletter in response to the request for a photo montage recommendation. good luck! jolie

I had a ''tribute video'' created for my dad's 70th birthday back in November. Karen Alvarez is great and especially good at transitions from slide/picture to slide/picture. She created a wonderful video for my family and there were no dry eyes in the house. Here is her website: Louise

I highly recommend Tommy Rosen and Kia Miller to put together your family montage. They are exceptionally creative, professional and personal. You can email them at tommy AT Good luck. universalspirits

Try Stu Sweetow. I forgot the name of his shop, but he does tape to DVD conversions very well. 510-839-2020.

Heritage Audio/Visual in Albany can do this for you. Please see: for details. Patrick

Transferring photos to video

Can anyone recommend someone that can create a video from photographs. I am looking for someone creative that can create a special video for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. I want some help with the creative part (adding music and graphics) and someone who can also do the transfer. Kelley

My friend Teri Duff has a company called Family Archive Films that creates videos and documentaries for families. She has created many videos for Birthdays and Anniversaries. You can check out her website at She is very creative and has worked in video for over 12 years. She recently started this home based business so she could continue to do creative work but also spend more time with her three year old. You should call her, (510) 336-96600, and make an appointment to go look at her work. She is quite nice and easy to work with. Claudia

Transfer 8mm movies & printed photos to CD/DVD

Oct 2004

Hi, We have some old 8mm movie reels(round reel diameter is about 8cm) circa 1970's and hundreds and hundreds of printed photos that I would like to transfer to digital format on a CD or a DVD. Any recommendations on where to go, or send off to? I'm also curious about the quality of such transfers. Thanks. CK

I used Denevi in Castro Valley for 8mm transfer on to DVD. They were far less expensive than anyone else I called. They generally have corporate customers (i.e. Walgreens), but they do take retail clients. Regarding the quality, it is only as good as the originals. And compared to today's technology, the quality is very weak. I had wanted to edit the movies on my iMac, but unfortunately they use a proprietary formatting that I wasn't able to edit. Bottom line is that I would recommend them unless you wanted to edit your footage. Helena

2003 & Earlier

Transfer VHS to DVD

September 2003

Does anyone have a recommendation for a video company in Berkeley or in Walnut Creek that will transfer video (VCR) to DVD? I have a few tapes of my son that we seem to keep playing over and over for relatives. I have other videos that are seriously worn out, so to preserve my son's childhood, I need to transfer them to DVD. What is the cost of doing something like this? Thank you for all responses.

The process to transfer from vhs to dvd is not simple as the old technology of recording to vhs. DVD technolgy is still new. I have a video production company in Berkeley and the cost to transfer from vhs to dvd is expensive. If your footage was on the new camera formats (mini dv) you could then (if you own an apple computer) put the footage on the computer and compress to a quicktime movie that could then be burned to a dvd. There is so much more to the process than just this that it would take a full page to explain the details and complications of burning your own dvd. You can contact me if you would like a price,or information on the process of going to dvd format. morgan

This technology is changing very fast and getting easier every day. I have been in the process of creating DVDs from our 8 mm camera, VHS and mini DVD. Instead of using a computer I purchased a DVD recorder (latest starting prices at $450). Mine is a Panasonic which is about as easy as using a VHS recorder. Sony also has one out that looks fairly easy to use (around $800). I have made copies of weddings, births and parties videos for family members. I got DVD labeling software to give it a more professional look. There are limited books on the topic but I read ''Create Your own DVDs''. It is geared more twoards doing it all on a PC but it gives some basic background. There is also a recording DVDs for Dummies book about to be released. It might be more cost effective to do it yourself if you have a lot of footage and you don't mind spending the time. To record the raw footage is not terribly time consuming once you figure it out. The editing takes a lot more time! jlin

Access Video on Gilman in Berkeley does a good job of film transfer. My advice (unless you have deep pockets) would be to have them transfer the film onto a consumer format digital videotape rather than DVD. Then find someone with a Macintosh and iDVD (or the PC equivalent) who can burn a DVD for you. The video production houses tend to charge an arm and a leg for DVD mastering -- which, IMHO, is overkill for many consumer needs. Patrick

Create slides from digital photo files

April 2003

Can anyone recommend an online photo service (Ofoto, etc.) that makes slides from digital photo files (.jpeg)? I don't seem to be aware of any that do. Thanks. Clarisse

to have a slide (or negative) made from a digital file youcan call a professional lab like Ziba in Berkely 510-849-0776. try the slide factory in San Francisco
christina shook photography

Copy micro-sized audio cassettes


Does anyone know the best way to duplicate audio cassettes that are micro size? Most places seem set up for the standard size only. susan

Recommendation Sound Idea/The Duplicator, 405 14th Street, Suite 612 in downtown Oakland. Their telephone number is 832-5178. Shoshana