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Home /Science / Inside Look: How Memories are Digitized

Inside Look: How Memories are Digitized

By Katy Sommerfeld

As technology has progressed over time, the analog media formats of the past have become outdated and new digital formats have taken precedence. Print photos, film negatives, video and audio tapes are a thing of the past: the digital download is the reigning king of media right now, due to its convenience and accessibility. However, those older formats must be digitized in order to be brought into the digital age and to be produced into CDs, DVDs, and digital downloads. In order to bring media from the past, like old movies and records and photographs, into the present, they must be digitized. But how does this process work?

At Southtree, we digitize our client’s original photos, tapes, film, and audio cassettes by hand in our 52,000 square foot facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our employees take great care in their work, making sure to preserve and create the best quality of all your originals so that they will be returned to you in perfect condition and so that the digitized versions of these originals will also be in perfect condition.

Files We Use

For your print photographs, Southtree converts the originals into a digital JPEG format. This is a widely used format for images because of the ability to adjust compression settings within a JPEG file. The degree of compression in a digital image can adjust the resolution and image quality of the file as the storage size of the image is changed. With a JPEG file, you can easily send and share your digitally downloaded images and the image quality will be preserved well.

For VHS tapes and film, the MPEG-4 file format is the way to go. This is one of the newer file formats for video and film, and it is one of the best and most commonly used for digitization purposes.

For audio cassettes and reel-to-reels, Southtree uses the Waveform Audio Format to save your newly digitized audio files on. The Waveform format is excellent for storing and playing back your audio files, and can be easily accessed via PC or Mac playback systems such as Windows Media Player or Quicktime.

What Happens After Digitization?

Once all your originals are digitized at our facility, we will download the digital files onto your choice of either a thumb drive, DVD set, or you can opt to get a digital download sent to you. We will send the digital files to you, along with your originals, and they will arrive conveniently on your doorstep.

Once you open your digital files, you can share them with friends and family by email or social media, or you can host a viewing party and view the newly digitized media with all your loved ones gathered around!

That’s all there is to it! Digitization is such a great idea if you have original media like photos, tapes and films lying around. It’s important to digitize these materials because they can become worn out and damaged over time. Consider sending in your originals to Southtree today, and before you know it we’ll have your digitized files ready for you to see and relive your favorite memories all over again!

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