Need to preserve your old tapes? Ask us!

By Alex Morris, British Universities Film & Video Council

In November last year Sony announced it would stop producing Betamax tapes, after 40 years of production! To many, the news Betamax was still being made probably came as a surprise, and although it doesn’t mean existing tapes will automatically degrade, never to be played again, it does highlight how obscure the format has become. 

Audiovisual items like Betamax tapes, and other old and obsolete formats, often contain fascinating footage from bygone days, but this footage risks never being seen again. Analogue formats degrade naturally – so it’s important to preserve what’s on them before the content is lost forever.  

Digitisation is the best way of making these formats accessible to the widest possible audience, preserving the content on them for future generations. 

At the British Universities Film & Video Council we offer a digitisation service to open up content on old and obsolete formats to the wider world. 

Our rates are affordable for education institutions and charities, and we provide a free advisory service on how best to preserve your audiovisual assets. 

We have completed a wide variety of fascinating projects over the years, including digitising a series of tapes from the private archives of The Goldsmith’s Company; an audio recording of the opening of UCL’s School of Pharmacy by the Queen and video art from 1970s experimental artist Eddie Newstead.

Our service is open to everyone; whether you’re an individual with a mountain of old family videos, or an organisation interested in converting an entire library for archival or online purposes, we can help.

Find out more at www.bufvc.ac.uk/digitaltransfer and get in touch by emailing digitaltransfer@bufvc.ac.uk.

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