Q: Why are www.video99.co.uk services so much cheaper than
the other companies?
A: Because this service is run by a video engineer who is more
interested in doing a good job than making a huge profit. Profits
are largely fed back into video equipment so I can provide more
options, video formats and services, and keep my video equipment
collection all running. The quality goes into the recordings, I
don't waste your money on fancy packaging or "free" printed
covers. The disks supplied in sleeves and are printed with the
video99.co.uk logo and have your title carefully handwritten
on them and space for you to add more detail if you
wish. We also save you 20% because we operate nicely
below the VAT threshold limit (may have to change in 2017).
Q: Do DVDs come in boxes or sleeves?
By default the DVDs are supplied in plain sleeves to keep the
costs down. If you would like your DVDs in boxes with colour
printed inserts, these are just £5.50 per DVD (falling to £3.50 per DVD
when taking extra copies), and are ideal for gifts. These boxes
show a number of still shots taken from the tapes, and are very
attractive. When taking several DVDs, boxes may be doubles,
triples or quad to save space unless you specify single boxes only, and
this lowers cost too. Each box is £5.50 plus £1 for each
additional DVD, so £5.50 for a single box, £6.50 double box, £7.50
triple box, £8.50 quad box. Boxes for extra copies are £3.50 for
single boxes, £4.50 for double, £5.50 for triple, £6.50 for quad.
These boxes are made up to a very high standard, a lot of work goes
into carefully selecting beautiful shots for the covers, and they are
printed by colour laser printer so they will not fade. Normally
each DVD box design is specially made showing pictures from the DVDs
within that box, but for large jobs where some customers would like the
same design for several boxes, the price falls to the "extra copies"
price for the first set too.
Q: How do I pay, where do I send the tapes?
A: Please contact
me first and I'll send you the postal address to send the tapes,
it's near Plymouth. Special Delivery is the best option for
precious recordings. I don't want to publish the address here, I
think you will understand. If you know roughly how much the
transfer will cost from the information on the www.video99.co.uk web page, or
from having received a reply from me, then you can pay by cheque to video99.
Sometimes I will suggest I look at the tapes and then give the exact
price. In this case you can then send a cheque, or if you have
access to Paypal
you can use this but there is a small charge to be added. Many
customers now use bank transfer which is quick and free. It's
risky to send cash of course but UK Pounds or (by prior agreement) the
equivalent in Euros is OK if it can be sent safely. Please
avoid use of staples in the packaging.
Q: Is the quality good?
A: The quality is excellent. Very often people have
commented on how much better the transfer results are than they
tapes. This is because I use top quality equipment and I know how
to get the very best out of it. Of course, if your original
recordings are very poor, were already copies, or the tapes have become
damaged, then the results may be less than perfect but still generally
much better than you will get on your home equipment. Most
recordings are run through an expensive Digital Timebase Corrector
which allows me to make subtle technical corrections to the
picture. Sound is also very important, so I use Hifi Stereo
equipment for any video tape which might be in stereo including
Q: Can you fix problems with the recordings?
A: Sometimes, it depends what is wrong. If the colours are
wrong, too green, too blue, or too dark for example, then I can often
improve upon these problems. I have expensive Digital Timebase
Correctors which allow for some adjustment of picture
imperfections. But they can't perform miracles, if the recording
is very grubby and shaky then it will not completely fix the
problems. A common problem with copied tapes is that the colour
"shifts" downwards or to the right of the rest of the image, and I can
compensate for this and other defects. Here is a
picture of a tape which I recently repaired and recovered the
Q: Are tapes safe?
A: Absolutely. You can send them by Special Delivery if the
recordings are important to you, and they will never leave my location
until returned to you. I usually send the DVDs on ahead so you
can be sure you are happy with them before I return the tapes.
Q: Some tapes contain sensitive material, is this safe with
A: I'm often asked this. Transfers in the past have
included court case evidence, irreplaceable footage of deceased friends
and family, "private" personal recordings, and of course lots and lots
of children growing up. Your tapes are always treated with the
utmost care, and neither the tapes nor the video files created from
them are ever copied, distributed, placed on vulnerable computer
networks or otherwise compromised in any way. I'm a family man
myself with a wife and young children, so I absolutely share your
concerns with security of your recordings.
Q: How long with DVDs last?
A: It's not really known how long DVDs will last,
but if you are careful with storing them it should be long enough that
you can consider it to be a very long time indeed. I use top
quality (expensive) DVDs, not the cheap ones I know some of my
competitors use. Furthermore, the great thing about DVD is that
you can easily copy them using a computer with no loss of
quality. I don't use any encryption on the DVDs I supply, so
software such as Nero (PC) or Toast (Mac) can easily make exact
duplicates. If you want to be very cautious, you could make
copies of the DVDs I supply, in about 5-10 years from now, and then
keep making replacements every 5-10 years. Alternatively, you can
use Nero etc. to make an image files of the DVDs (the file type will be
.iso for example) and then readily make up extra copies from these
images at any time in the future. There's an interesting item on BBC news
subject. The most important thing anyway is to look after your
DVDs, don't scratch them or subject them to temperature extremes or
moisture. If you want your recordings to last forever, then
consider instead taking them as DV-AVI video files on a computer hard
disk, these are ideal for backing up, uploading, copying and editing
with almost any PC or Mac video editing software. Most customers
now take video files rather than DVDs. Any questions, just
Q: Will you transfer copyright tapes? What if the tape
A: I am only providing the transfer service, I must leave
copyright to you, the owner of the tape. In most cases, making a
single copy of a recording you already have, such as a film or a TV
programme, would be considered to be "fair use". Copyproof VHS
tapes (those encoded with Macrovision) may be copied but only for "fair
use" quantities. Example: I was asked to copy a set of
copyrighted training tapes from VHS to DVD for a marshal arts
instructor. I did this, and the instructor was so pleased with
the results he asked me to duplicate sets of them for his
students. I reminded the instructor of his copyright obligations
and we decided that the one set of DVDs was enough.
Q: I couldn't fill in your form, it didn't work
A: We have a simple
order form. If this doesn't work or isn't helpful, just
email me and I'll
help you personally. Include your postal address, and any
information on how many tapes you have, and I'll get back to you
Q: I don't want the tapes returned once I have the transfers.
A: We always recommend that you do take tapes back,
just to be on the safe side, however I can dispose of tapes if you are
really sure. If you've paid for return post already and then
change your mind and decide not to take them back, then the postage
charge will already likely cover the disposal cost. If you've not
paid for return postage and want me to dispose of tapes for you, the
cost is generally 30p per tape (except miniDV, micromv and other
exceptionally small formats). The 30p per tape charge goes
towards our trade waste disposal charge. Tapes are disposed of
around two weeks after the work has been sent, or earlier if you tell
me that you are happy for the tapes to go.
Q: Do you only copy to DVD, or can you copy to tapes or other
disks or computer file?
A: Increasingly, customers prefer video files to DVDs. I
can copy tapes to hard disk (see next question) for use with computer
editing, and I can also copy to video tapes including VHS, S-VHS,
miniDV, DVCAM and more. I can also take snapshots from your video and
make a CD of pictures if required. See next answer about computer
A: Very quick. Smaller jobs are usually done same day, and
longer ones with lots of tapes only take a few days. The reason
is that I have several sets of DVD recording equipment and more video
recorders of various types than I wish to count, so often I can carry
out more than one job at once.
Q: You do a lot of different kinds of video tapes, are there
any you don't do?
A: Unless someone would like to tell me otherwise, I believe
video99.co.uk has the largest selection of video cassette transfer
formats on offer in the UK. I don't do reel-to-reel video
tapes of any type, nor film but can recommend Chris at Save
who does cine films and slides. Nearly all recordings from
equipment sold outside the UK are possible. Just
email me if you can't find what you want on my video99.co.uk web page
because I am adding new formats and capabilities all the time.
Q: Should I send original camcorder tapes or send VHS copies?
A: Always send original tapes rather than copies, even if you
have to ask me to edit some parts out of the tapes for you. I
would rather do that than have you lower the quality of your precious
recordings by using VHS. All modern camcorders and almost all
camcorders built in the last 20 years, are much better quality than VHS.
Q: Are the testimonials real? Are there more comments
A: All the testimonials are very real. I leave in spelling
errors and grammatical styles so you can see this. There are
other replies which I don't include just because they say nothing more
than "DVD works, please return the tapes now, thanks", and that
wouldn't make very interesting reading. Also I have some people
who leave a comment the first time they use my services and come back
with more batches of work, but don't do new testimonials. Some
people don't have email so don't send a testimonial.
Q: Do you do discounts?
A: Yes of course. Basic Menu
DVDs are mostly £13 and fall to £9.50 each for 10 or more. Video
to hard disk rates are all reduced from 10+ hours.
Quantity discounts can apply to other options too. With VCR N1500
and VCR-LP N1700 formats the discounts are smaller, I'm already around
one third of the price of the competition and these tapes tend to be a
lot of work. I may also offer a discount if you would be kind
enough to place a link to video99.co.uk on a popular web site which you
Q: Will you take my old machine as payment?
Some video recorders will be taken as part or even occasionally full
payment for a transfer. Mainly I am interested in Betamax models such
as any Sanyo front loader, or top loaders VTC5000 and VTC5150. Sony
models of interest are SL-C9 and onwards, but really I can't use any
top loader Sony including the SL-F1 nor the SL-C6. As well as Betamax
models, I may be interested in almost any video recorder which is not
VHS. Generally I do not require camcorders, with a few
exceptions such as Digital 8 and miniDV models from Sony. Most video
recorders can be posted for about £12 and I'll
give discounts of maybe £20 or more so sending a machine can be a good
way to reduce costs.
Q: Will the DVDs play in my DVD player?
A: I use the most compatible DVD-R type of disk which will play
in around 95% of domestic DVD players. A few computer drives,
games consoles or old DVD players might possibly struggle with any kind
of recorded disk. If you find you cannot play a DVD, I can send
an alternative disk for you to try at no charge. I use the
highest possible quality disks for maximum compatibility, so playback
problems are rare. Sometimes a recorded DVD won't play on Windows
Media Player; I would recommend avoiding this particular program, use
alternative DVD player software such as the excellent Nero Showtime
which comes bundled with Nero CD/DVD writing software.
Q: Will you transfer tapes recorded in another country?
What does "Television System" mean?
A: Tapes recorded on equipment intended for use abroad will be
recorded using the television system from that country. There are
generally three television systems; PAL as used in UK, NTSC used in
USA, SECAM used in France. For an explanation of all this, see this
page. I generally record DVDs with the PAL system, but the
tapes could be recorded in one of the other systems. If your tape
is recorded on equipment intended for a country which does not use the
PAL television system, then email
me so I can advise whether my equipment will accept your particular
recording, but I can accept almost any recording from anywhere in the
world. If you require NTSC DVDs for use abroad, this
is possible but there may be a small extra cost.
Q: What is Deluxe Menu?
video title at the start of each video tape, and chapter points
inserted at the start of new recordings and subject material. Titles
for each chapter of your choice, if the information is provided with
the tape. Icons show what each chapter contains. This is all very
similar to the kind of professional DVD video you can buy and rent. Up
to 90 minutes of video footage copied to each DVD for ultimate picture
quality, or around 110 minutes with very good picture quality. If
necessary I may be able to extract small segments of garbage
recording (bits of TV programme mixed with your prized camera footage
for example), and I can also clean up the video material if necessary
using a semi-professional digital timebase corrector to help improve
wobbly recordings. Everyone who commented on this service has been
delighted with the results. Cost for most formats is £22 for the first
DVD and just £3.50 per extra copy. See more
Q: What is Basic Menu?
straight run of your video tapes onto DVD. A new title will start with
each video tape, and I will try to name these appropriately. Chapter
points approximately every 5 minutes, these will not be labelled.
No icons, no fancy menus, and probably no editing of unwanted material
but I may be able to make small edits for you. A digital
timebase corrector is used to help clean up wobbly recordings. Up to
150 minutes per DVD. You will be very happy with the quality of these
recordings, it is only the DVD menus which are basic. Cost for most
formats is £13 for the first DVD and just £3.50 per extra copy. See more
Q: I have no idea how much it will cost...
A: If you don't know how long your recordings are, or whether
there is anything useful at all on the tapes, then I can look at them
for you and report back. If you tell me what you have, I'll give
you a rough estimate of the cost before you send them, and then an
exact cost later. You can then send payment as necessary.
If you decide not to go ahead, you owe me nothing apart from return
postage on the tapes (if you want them back). Most transfer
services charge to let you know what is on the tapes, but I like to be
Q: Can you do something special for me? Can you help
with damaged tapes?
A: Yes, I'm flexible with special requirements. These might
include your company logo and printed titles on the DVD, or DVD-Rom
rather than DVD-Videos, hard disk transfers and more. Other
special requests include recording to S-VHS or miniDV rather than DVD,
major editing jobs, repairing damaged / snapped cassettes
(repairs usually charged at £5) and more, just
ask. However I offer a tape transfer service, not a full tape
restoration service. I can try to run tapes which are mouldy,
sticky or otherwise damaged, and can clean up such tapes in some cases,
but I do not recover water-damaged tapes for example. Here is a
picture of a tape which I recently repaired and recovered the
recordings. I can also record audio cassette, open reel audio
tape, dictation machine tapes, DAT and MiniDisc onto CD or
computer. So if you want something special, just ask.
Q: Can it be done even cheaper by putting more onto each DVD?
A: My cheapest service with basic menus, will take up to 2 hours
and 30 minutes on each DVD. I would recommend limiting this to 2
hours where possible for even better results. It is true that
much more than this can be recorded on a DVD but the quality will
suffer, and I wouldn't want you to be disappointed. Furthermore
(and this may be the opposite of what you expect!), the lower the
quality of your original tape, the more important it is that we don't
squeeze too much onto a DVD. So if you have used Long Play on
your tape for example, it is best to keep the DVD recording as short as
possible. Do you really want to know why? In a nutshell it
is because the video tape "noise" (grubbiness on the picture) consumes
the DVD's "bandwidth". For example: If you had a very clean
recording from two really good miniDV tapes which added up to 2:34, I
might consider squeezing them onto
one DVD to keep your cost to a minimum; but if you have a mediocre
quality full 4 hour
VHS tape then it really should be split onto two DVDs.
Q: Are the DVDs in widescreen?
A: Normally I will record your tapes straight to DVD with no
change in the shape of the picture, so older recordings will still be
copied with the 4:3 picture shape they started in. This gives you
the best possible picture resolution, and you can usually adjust this
with your TV set when you play the DVD. If your recordings are
widescreen, then the DVD will reflect this, there are no black bars
added. If you particularly need the shape to be changed to or
from widescreen, let me know and I'll see if I can carry out your
request. Recordings are of course in standard definition like the
original tapes, they can't be converted to high definition.
Q: I've recorded over my precious tape, help!
A: If you have recorded over your footage, on any video cassette
format (VHS, Betamax, Video8, miniDV etc.) first remove the record tab
or switch it so you can't make the same mistake again, then if you have
a suitable player go through the tape to see if any of your original
material remains. Do you see a new recording, or just a blank
screen? Maybe the recording has not been overwritten but is not
playing for some other reason; if you think this may be the case then email
me and I'll see if I can help. If you have definitely
recorded over you wanted material then I'm afraid it is all over.
All video recorders make an excellent job of erasing old recordings
before making a new recording so there is absolutely zero chance of an
overwritten recording being recovered. Anyone who says otherwise
is talking rubbish, sorry.
Q: Help, I've cracked a DVD!
A: Think I'm a miracle worker? Well yes I am
actually. Provided the DVD is not broken in two or more, then I
may be able to recover it. Here
is a DVD which a customer had of her once-in-a-lifetime
skydive. It was cracked in her suitcase on the way home. I
was able to create new playable DVDs from this which looked as good as
the original, and all for a very modest cost.
Q: What kinds of DVD are there?
A: Normally I will record your tapes to DVD-R because this is the
most compatible type. But I can offer DVD+R if you require, just
let me know if you think your player only takes this type. What
other types of DVD exist? There is DVD-RAM, and I can do this too
if you require, one customer has taken this format so he can edit the
recordings himself. Though I use rewritable DVD-RW disks
internally, it would be unusual for you to require these, and even more
unusual to require DVD+RW. These latter types are re-writable or
eraseable and are used by computers and some DVD recorders.
Q: I was just looking for some help on copying miniDV
camcorder tapes to DVD myself
A: What, expecting free help here? Well actually I don't
mind giving a little free advice, so here goes: There are three
normal ways to do this. Basically: 1:
Plug the camcorder into a DVD recorder with analogue cables (audio and
video, or preferably audio and s-video). Play on the camcorder, record
on the DVD recorder. Done with care, the results are very good, and it
does give you the option of displaying the date on the screen for a few
seconds each time a recording begins on a new date. I use this method
sometimes. If the camcorder or DVD recorder does not have an S-video
socket, then this is not really a good solution. If the DVD recorder
does not have a DV (or Firewire) socket, it may be the only solution
(next time buy a better DVD recorder!). You can edit as you go along. 2: Plug the camcorder into a DVD recorder with a DV (or
Firewire) cable. The DVD recorder will have menus to guide you through
the process of copying this way. In theory it should give better
results that the analogue method, but in practice and can be a little
fiddly, especially if there are gaps in the recordings on the tape or
you want to do some editing as you go along. 3: Plug the camcorder into a PC or Mac with the DV (or
Firewire) cable. Then use software such as Pinnacle Studio 14
to capture all the recordings from the tape, and edit together as you
wish. This is very swish, but it takes a lot of patience to master the
complex software, and it's easy to get problems with dropped frames
(stuttering on the picture) unless you know how to avoid that. The
software lets you create menus for the DVD with titles and all, just
like a professional DVD movie.
Q: Which computer should I use for video editing, Windows PC
A: When I run video tapes to video files for customers, I
generally generate DV-AVI files. These are a Windows video file
format, but as they are an industry standard, virtually all PC and Mac
video editing software works well with them, such as Pinnacle Studio
for the PC or iMovie for the Mac. If you have just one or two
tapes and don't want to send a hard disk or USB stick for your video
files, I can generate the somewhat more compressed MPEG4 video file
format which also works well with all PC and Mac video editing software
(and iMovie/Mac customers tell me that it works particularly well for
them). So the video file format doesn't dictate whether you use a
PC or Mac. I can format hard disks to NTFS (PC read/write, Mac
read-only) or HFS+ (Mac only) too. There's no reason to feel that
you have to use either type of computer for your editing, you just need
something reasonably powerful with plenty of disk space. That
said, if you plan on capturing video files yourself using a Firewire
cable as described in the previous question, then in my opinion you may
have more success with a desktop PC than with a Mac for two reasons:
Most Macs have just one hard disk and you really need one for the
operating systen and another for the video files; secondly the iMovie
versions I have seen don't warn you if you drop frames during video
capture (which is an unforgivable omission).
Q: Who runs video99?
A: It's a family business, most of the work being done by Coling
McCormick. About me: I gained an HND in Electrical &
Electronic Engineering (distinction in Computer Systems) from Plymouth
Polytechnic as it was, way back in 1986. I then went onto work in
the semiconductor industry in a whole range of technical and
engineering roles for about 22 years. But often I was happiest
when working on something video related, such as designing the test
programs for Teletext chips, or filming company videos. The video
transfer business started as a mere hobby in the early days of DVD
recording equipment, initially with Betamax and then onto the huge
range of audio and video formats now supported. The "hobby"
started to become more than I could handle part time, so I took the
plunge and went full time self-employed around 2008, and it has grown
since. Being an electronic engineer allows me to service all my
own equipment, and only by truly understanding the technology can you
get the very best results from the huge variety of tapes I receive
every week. Some people in this business don't have a clue about
video equipment, how a video recorder works, or electronics, so they
get stuck when things don't work. In 2013 we moved to a larger
house which gave me a dedicated air conditioned studio to work from and
workshop set aside for servicing equipment. The family consists
of myself Colin, long suffering wife Jane who also works part time,
eldest son Alex who likes electronics too, younger son Scott, and baby
Q: You didn't have my question here. Contact details?
email me and I'll
help you personally. Please read our
Terms and Conditions,
which form part of the agreement. If you would like to speak to
me personally, you can telephone Colin during normal hours on: 01752
We have an easy
order page, just select what kind of tapes you have and supply
Don't risk your precious memories with any old video transfer
outfit, some people just use a tired old video machine and a cheap DVD
recorder connected up with an aerial cable. See testimonials of
my work below, to know that the extra effort I put in really pays
off. My video recorders are properly cleaned, aligned, serviced
and thoroughly tested before your tapes go anywhere near them.
Almost all of my transfers are done with the benefit of a full-frame
Digital Timebase Corrector to stabilise the image, and I use the most
compatible DVD-R format of blank disk unless you specify
otherwise. I've been doing Betamax to DVD copies for many
years, being one of the first in the UK, and then extended this to a
huge range of other formats. As as a qualified electronic
engineer with a strong consumer electronics background, I know what I'm
doing. I'm based near Plymouth, Devon, so you can drop tapes in
personally if you live nearby.
Analysing a video test signal in my workshop using expensive digital
Video2000 machine running in my workshop with chassis in service
will have to take responsibility regarding copyright material. If
recordings are your own work, then you own the copyright. However
recordings include TV programmes, films etc., then you should try to
permission from the original artists or broadcasters. I have to
with you and your conscience! I will not get involved in
copyright infringement of course. Confidentially and security is
previous customers have trusted me with tapes including:
Court case evidence
Very personal private
Irreplaceable footage of deceased family, of weddings, of
children growing up
This site is run for the purposes of keeping
my collection of video equipment in good working order, and to make
by providing a useful video to transfer service. This is why I am
accept some models of old video recorder as part or full payment for
transfers, and why my prices are lower than the large London based
companies. It's also the reason I can put more time and effort
transfers, because I take pride in getting the best possible
you get are top quality transfers at the UK's lowest prices, not fancy
that some companies include "free". Smaller jobs are often done
same day, no need to wait three weeks like a certain company in Glasgow
known to do. You also get flexibility, I will always try to help
have special requirements.
If you have a dead or unwanted Beta video recorder in the UK, I will
happily pay the postage (typically less than
£12 with Royal Mail Parcels) to have it sent to me, so that I can try
to repair it and find a
new home. I can use all Sanyo front loader machines, also the
Sanyo VTC5000 and VTC5150, and any Sony machine from SL-C9
Unwanted Video2000 format machines may be welcome too, and early
Philips N1500 or
N1700 machines or other oddball formats. (Generally I do not want
video recorders, nor analogue camcorders of any format.) Sony
miniDV and Digital8 camcorders are also of interest. Also, if
you have any service manuals for old video equipment which you don't
need, they would also be useful to me. My
wanted list also includes:
V2000 machine with XP (extended play) capability such as Grundig
2080 or Philips V2840
Secam compatible N1700, V2000 and CVC recorders from France.
N1500 / N1502 video recorders or video heads for the same
Sanyo/Toshiba V-Cord video recorders.
Umatic Digital Timebase Corrector.
I can be contacted here if
any of these, and I may accept non-working but intact video recorders
of the above mentioned
models, in full or part exchange for transferring your recordings to
DVD or video files.