VHS TAPE CONVERSION FAQ

We take our service of digitally converting your VHS and other tapes extremely seriously.  We know that these are irreplaceable family heirlooms filled with precious memories.  

We are often asked a lot of questions regarding our VHS Tape Conversion Service – Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

Do you do VHS conversions onsite?

We convert 100% of our VHS conversions onsite here in Minneapolis, MN

What kind of tapes can you convert?

We can convert VHS, Beta, SD Card, 8mm, Hi-8, Mini DV, Film Slides, Reel-to-Reel Audio

Have you ever lost a tape brought in for conversion?

No we are a small business and all of our VHS conversion happens on site by our own hands

Have you ever had a VHS tape destroyed?

No, some tapes have come in that are already destroyed due to mold, or improper storage.   We are unable to perform miracles

Do repair VHS tapes?

We can do some basic repairs as necessary on a best effort basis for simple situations like when a tape breaks

Have you ever lost customers VHS tapes to a fire?

No we provide our VHS Tape Conversion Service under a fire suppression system in our temperature controlled, secured commercial business park location.  Your tapes are likely more safe in our warehouse than your home

Are your VHS Tape conversions guaranteed?

Yes however we highly recommend that any digital files we’ve converted to you are uploaded to both an additional offline storage medium (hard drive/laptop) in addition to a cloud based backup such as google drive or icloud

Where are you located?

We are located centrally near the intersection of Hwy 169 and Hwy 494 in Minneapolis, MN (Bloomington technically) 

Can you restore VHS Tape?

No, as with all conversion or archival, the quality of the output will be determined by the quality of the input

Will I charged if my VHS Tape is empty?

No, since there is no vhs tape content to be converted, there is no charge for empty tapes

Do you watch the Videos you’re converting?

No conversion is a 1-for-1 process.  A 90 minute Tape will take 90 minutes to convert.  Quite simply there are not enough hours in the day

How long will it take?

That depends on a how many tapes we have in the conversion queue and how many tapes you have brought us to be converted. If you have a deadline like a funeral or memorial please make sure to tell us at dropoff time

Do you take extra care with VHS tapes?

Yes we know these are your precious memories and we do everything within our capabilities to make sure that they are handled with care and converted for future generations to enjoy. 

Give us a call at 952-944-0083 or Contact Us via email to discuss having your precious VHS Tapes converted to digital for long term archival.

Having a Problems Copying Large Files Onto a USB Drive?

One of the most common issues when trying to load data onto a USB drive is when you know your drive is big enough but your computer is saying that there isn’t enough space on the drive.

USB Drive Formatting is Probably to Blame. 

Most USB drives ship preformatted with FAT32 file system.

File Allocation Table (FAT) is a file system developed for personal computers. Originally developed in 1977 for use on floppy disks, it was adapted for use on hard disks and other devices. It is often supported for compatibility reasons by current operating systems for personal computers and many mobile devices and embedded systems, allowing interchange of data between disparate systems.[3] The increase in disk drives capacity required three major variants: FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32..

-wikipedia
Custom Printed USB Drive

FAT32 is often chosen by USB Flash Drive manufacturers because it is widely adopted having been in use for decades. It is also not a proprietary format meaning that they don’t have to pay a licensing fee. Businesses like when they can eliminate an expense.

The problem is because FAT was developed so long ago it is unable to handle contiguous file sizes over 4GB. Now back in the 90’s this was not a problem; file sizes were small, storage was expensive and people were stingy with their data. Today is a different story. High Def video files can get monstrous in size- 4GB worth of ones and zeros gets eaten up in the blink of an eye.

THIS IS THE MOST COMMON REASON THAT YOUR DRIVE REPORTS AS TOO SMALL WHEN YOU KNOW ITS A LARGE ENOUGH CAPACITY USB DRIVE.

Your problem is not that your USB Drive is too small.  It is that you have a file that is too big to be written to the FAT file system.

What is the solution for Flash Drives that are formatted FAT32 if you need to load a file over 4GB?

Simply Reformat the USB Drive!

USB DRIVE REFORMATTING STEP 1.

Navigate to Windows File Explorer

USB DRIVE REFORMATTING STEP 2.

Right Click on your USB Flash Drive and Select “Format” from the drop down list.

USB DRIVE REFORMATTING STEP 3.

Under “File System” select either exFat or NTFS and click the start button. Windows will notify you once your formatting is complete. Both of these file systems are capable of handling larger files.

*Quick note – you may want to research with file structure is right for you. I believe that NTFS is better for linux and exFat is more native to Windows. These selections will be exacerbated by those looking to utilize their USB drives as bridge across OS.

MAKE ABSOLUTE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE CORRECT USB DRIVE SELECTED AND THE CAPACITY LISTED MATCHES!  YOU DO NOT WANT TO REFORMAT YOUR PRIMARY HARD DRIVE.

Now that your USB drive is formatted to a modern file structure you should be able to drag and drop or copy your files larger than 4GB to the drive.

This covers one of the most common issues you will come across when data loading USB Drives. I hope it helps remove some frustrations you might have incurred. If you have problems you cannot solve or would like help with data loading a large quantity of USB drives we would love to help you out.

You can always reach us at 952-944-0087 or contact us via email.

Digitize Your CD Collection Today

Frustrated that your entire music CD collection is now useless due to new vehicles shipping without a CD player?

Send us your CD Collection and we can scan and convert them to digital!

How does CD Conversion work?

  1. You ship us your CD Collection.
  2. We use automated robotics to scan your CD Collection and convert to digital.
  3. We export your music onto a USB Drive and return it with your music collection.

Pump Up the Jams
in your new car
with Digital Conversion
of Your Music!

Journey back in time to the first time you listened to your favorite album with your favorite people.

Why Digitize Your audio CDs Now

Future Proof your Music Collection!

Take back ownership of your tunes!

Forget about data limits!

Listen anywhere!

Is CD Conversion a Real Business?

We know, we know…believe me, we know! It’s a weird business. We all used to make our own mixtapes and custom CD’s all the time.

Heck we might have even made some of those albums you listened to.
We remember when computers and your brand new car all had CD players and we actually owned our music too!

Unfortunately most modern vehicles and computers no longer ship with CD players and drives. That means people can’t easily rip their old collections.

We had enough customers and car dealers asking for CD conversion service that we decided to provide it.

If that’s you we’d love to hear from you. Call us at 952-944-0083 or contact us and we can discuss converting your CD collection to digital so you can enjoy those tunes and get back to rocking!

Professional DVD or Bluray Disc Mastering With Ease!

If you stick to the basics and follow these simple tips below you’ll be on your way to professional disc mastering created with as few hiccups and snags as possible.

1. Communication is Key

Smooth Operator…Coast to Coast LA to Chicago…

Nothing and I mean nothing can replace speaking directly with your studio or the production company regarding your master. Email can work but sometimes picking up the telephone is the simplest way to get from point A to B.

Bluray Mastering is required for 1080p Resolution

2. Content Delivery – The Correct Way

Check with your Disc Mastering Production Partner for vendor specific protocols for delivering content.  Many will prefer delivery on physical media (DVD, USB, HDD) but will be open to delivery digitally.  Remember to speak with your publisher regarding file size, runtime and filenames to make sure you are on the same page.

3. Provide a Manifest

Make sure to list your files and exact file names and run-times in the order you want them to play.  You can use md5 or sha hashes for digital continuity testing or you can use run times both can work. 

Laying out your files on a manifest, wire-frame or outline will help make sure your project is completed correctly on the first revision.

4.  Determine total run time and output

Standard DVD using the most common resolution and frame rates typically will yield around 90 minutes of runtime.  Dual Layer DVDs and Blu-ray are available which can extend your run-times per disc but come with added costs.  Think about your audience and your content when determining whether a multiple disc solution vs a dual layer solution might be the right fit.  In some cases we may be able to stretch the run time by adjusting frame rates and/or resolution but this is always at the cost of quality. 

It can be a tough decision to make and sometimes paying a little extra for a physical master to review at home can be worth the cost.

5.  Menu Considerations

Do you want to provide a menu for your audience to navigate or is the project better suited with an autorun where the disc starts playing through upon insertion. POS videos of product demonstration videos may benefit from looping.  If you do want a menu – it is imperative that you provide a high resolution digital file in the proper aspect t ratio to use as your background. 

DVD resolution is 480p so for legibility make sure that your use large bold san serif fonts and keep them away from the edges.

Blu-ray Logo

6. Resolution Considerations

This is one of the tougher questions for duplicators to answer.  DVD is a more widely available format than Blu-ray.  But any footage shot within the last ten years is likely 1080p or even 4K.  If you want to maximize your resolution Blu-ray is the solution you are looking for.   If you want to maximize your compatibility DVD may be your answer.  Smart customers are purchasing bundles which include a mix or ratio of each. 

Video Format Map

7.  Format Considerations

Audiences in the US will need video content formatted in the NTSC format.  Most audiences outside of the US (OUS) will require video content formatted in PAL.  Think about where you intend to distribute your content when determining the proper formatting.  **each format may be considered an additional title and charged according.

8.   Future Proofing Considerations

Now is the time to think about having your duplicator output a high resolution digital file for future distribution. Putting your content in the highest resolution on a large capacity USB Drive or cloud service provider so that you can distribute it digitally if necessary is a wise choice.  Ask your publisher about any additional fees, they may only add nominal cost.

9.  GIGO

GIGO Is a common acronym that stands for Garbage-In-Garbage-Out. Really it is just a crass way to say that disc producers aren’t magicians. They can’t add resolution to your footage. The output quality will depend on the quality of the video content you provide us.   We can do some minor corrections but we can’t fix bad audio or make low resolution or low frame rate footage look HD. 

For the best possible output provide us with your highest quality footage.

10.  Measure Twice Cut Once

Make sure to review your content multiple times prior to submission to make sure there aren’t any glitches, stutters or audio problems.  It is imperative that the content you provide is ultimately free of defects.

If your looking for more details about Blu-ray Production and the shift that's on from BDR as a content delivery vehicle to that of an artist support model head on over to our sister blog and read all about it -  The shift in Blu-ray Production.

We’d love to work with you on your next Disc Mastering Project 

Please call us at 952-944-0083 and we can discuss any questions you may have

USB DRIVE & SD CARD PROJECTS

Objective – promotional or content delivery?

1.    Promotional

  • Capacity required
  • Packaging required
  • Branding/Custom Printed
  • Custom Shapes
  • Lanyards

2.    Content Delivery

  • Capacity
  • Custom printed
  • Packaging
  • Regulatory Concerns: REACH, RoHS, CE etc?
  • Speed: USB 2 vs USB 3
  • Quality – is the quality of the nand sufficient
  • Bootable or Embedded Software
  • Lifecycle – one time use or long term?

Regardless if your USB or SD card project is promotional or content delivery we can help you pick the right solution.  Our knowledge and experience will help you seamlessly deliver your project on time and under budget.

Call us today to discuss how we can help you deploy your next USB or SD card project.

International Disc and USB partners for North American Distribution

We are helping International customers every day that need a partner to help with distributing their CD, DVD, Bluray or USB project to North American Customers.

We can help with:
* PAL to NTSC conversion and remastering
* Authoring
* USPS Postage Bulk Rates w/ tracking

* Affordable per unit fulfillment
* Graphic Design
* Unique Barcodes for merchandising
* Paypal or other payment options available
* Quick Turnaround
* Onsite
in stock packaging options

Call us at 952-944-0083 if you need help getting your content to your US fans or customers.

Rimage Disc Printer Problems – Lines on my Print

Do your disc prints have unexplained vertical white lines on them?

Dust or debris on your printhead is the most common problem associated with vertical lines that appear on your thermal printed discs.

What can I do to fix these problems-

Keeping your work environment clean is vital to minimizing the dust and debris that can build up on your printhead, causing a line in your print. Using a cleaning kit (swab & solution) regularly can help remove a buildup of dust or debris.

When cleaning your printhead it’s very important to never use anything that is abrasive, metallic or sharp. These types of objects can scratch the printhead and once it’s damaged the only option moving forward is replacement. If you’re unsure let us do the work for you

Is my Rimage Prism or Everest printhead damaged, or does it just need to be cleaned?

That is a question that may require us to physically inspect your printer.

What can Techware do to fix these problems-

Sometimes more work is needed and that’s where our service techs can help. We have the ability to break down your machine for a true deep cleaning. This removes the tough build up. We also work to identify any other problems that may be lurking in the printer. We’ll only recommend replacing faulty parts when absolutely necessary.

Our techs thoroughly clean the printer, then adjust & calibrate and restore your Rimage printer to like-new condition.

Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on new disc printing equipment when we can restore your systems for a fraction of the price.

Visit  our Disc Printer Repair page and get your repair started today.

Tips for putting your Graduation Ceremony on USB Flash Drives

We are seeing a large uptick in customer inquiries about Graduation/Commencement USB projects as COVID-19 has altered the in person celebrations dramatically.

I thought it might be beneficial to some folks that are newly tasked with creating Graduation Video USBs to answer a few common miss-steps in regards to USB production.

When you’re getting ready to produce a USB project here are some key items to keep in mind:

1. Actual Size vs Marketed Size – Actual size is always smaller due to Gigabytes vs Gibibytes

2. Format Concerns: Most drives are preformatted Fat32 which limits continguous file size to under 4GB. ExFat and NTFS allow for larger file sizes but are a bit more limited in their universal adoption.

3, Speed Concerns – Read/Write speeds will be a key factor in projects that run directly from the drive. If you intend to playback 4K footage directly from the drive you may want to invest in USB 3 drives rather than USB 2.

4. Spoilage – 2-4% spoilage of Promotional grade USB flash drive is not unheard of. Buy a few extra so you are not scrambling last minute to fill your gaps at walmart or bestbuy.

These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when your gathering information or starting to think about utilizing flash drives for content delivery.

We stock USB drives in just about all capacities and print and data load for customers all over the world right here in Minneapolis, MN.

We are always available to discuss your next project and of course answer any questions that you might have.

Surgical Masks and Disinfectant Sprayers to fight Corona

Techware Distribution is utilizing its extensive knowledge of Medical Supply Chains to bring COVID-19 fighting supplies to the medical community and general public.

Through our Maxoptix subsidiary that has been serving the medical community for over twenty years we will be distributing supplies to help fight the Corona Virus spread.  FDA and CE certified Disposable surgical masks are available for purchase at www.Maxoptix.com  on our COVID19 Supplies sub page.

1. Non woven face mask.
2. Low breathing resistance with high filtration efficiency.
3. 3 layers of filtration, non-allergic, non-stimulating materials.
4. Conforms to international standards: CE,FDA
5. Ethylene oxide sterilization
6. Size 17.5 x 9.5cm;
7. Sterile Packing: 20pcs/bag

 

We have also teamed with the worldwide  leader in Industrial Electric Sprayers to bring the powerhouse M2 Electric Sprayer from Multi-sprayer Systems, Inc to our customers. 

This powered sprayer features a 2 gallon tank perfect for industrial disinfectant tasks associated with the fight against the Corona Virus.

Techware is committed to supplying the American medical industry and other industries with protective masks, sprayers and other Covid-19 gear.

Is your Rimage Printer “End of Life?”

 

Have you been told your Rimage PrismPlus printer and/or duplicator is end of life (EOL) by Rimage?

What does end of life mean?

Maybe your printer/duplicator can’t be fixed, maybe spare parts are no longer available, maybe as a cost cutting measure they’ve eliminated anyone on staff that knows how to repair your Everest printer.

One thing we know for certain –  it means Rimage would like you to throw it away and buy a brand new one from them. They all have one thing in common, every one of the aforementioned excuses steer you towards costly capitol intensive purchases buying new and often unnecessary equipment.   The cost on these Rimage Producer systems are roughly equivalent to shiny new car.

Good thing there is no EOL in the vehicle segment I guess.  We think it’s outrageous to scrap perfectly good disc producers.  That’s why we’ve worked so hard to source replacement parts and train our employees so that we can extend the life of your equipment.

If you need help, then give Techware a call to go over our cost effective Rimage repair options. We fix Everest II, Everest III, Everest 600, PrismPlus, and full systems like the 3400, 5400n, 7100n, 8100n, Amigo, 7200n and 8200n on a daily basis.

 

Have you have been told by the manufacturer that they want to ensure you an excellent end user experience and then deny you any help at all with your current Rimage printer? Give us a shot and call 952-944-0083 or mike@techwaredist.com

Our goal is to show you real customer service and savings, period. After all, these Rimage machines are designed and made to run for 10 or more years. Let us help you with that.

Hope to hear from you soon.