Canada's most affordable and flexible Beta To DVD service.

  • A personal service by a videographer with 10 years of video experience.
  • Costs just $15 per video hour (Betamax, $25 for Betacam SP); extra copies are just $10.  Lowest professional transfer prices in Canada and the USA, but with the highest quality.
  • Turnaround time of 2-4 days for 6 hours or less.  6.5 - 10 hours require up to 7 days.  More than 10 hours will require additional time.
  • NTSC/PAL/SECAM Betamax and Super Betamax to DVD or Computer file.
  • Resume reels of actors, camera operators and producers provided for TV, movie industries and casting agencies.
  • Verbatim AZO DVD's used for all DVD transfers.

Transfer Your Beta To DVD Today!

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Betamax/Super Betamax/Enhance Definition (ED) Betamax


Introduced in 1975, Betamax was the first successful consumer video tape format on the market.  By using a wider track width and threading design that put less strain on the tape than it's competitor, VHS (introduced in 1976 by JVC), Betamax offered a higher quality picture. 

Unfortunately one of the drawbacks to Betamax in Canada and the US was it's one hour running time (in the UK and France where PAL/SECAM was used, this was not an issue, since with the TV standards the tape ran slower and allowed for a 2 hour, 10 minute recording time) and only one recording speed.  This was due to Sony's demand that the tape be the size of a paperback novel, and was able to fit in a pocket.  When VHS came out in 1976 it's best playback mode (SP) offered a minimum 2 hour record time, while in its worst mode it could record up to 10 hours. This allowed studio's to issue 2 hour movies on VHS, while the average consumer could set the VCR to record a sporting event or multiple shows without having to worry about running out of tape.  In 1977 Sony rectified this error by releasing a Betamax that could record and play back both the original B1 speed, as well a new BII speed that moved the tape across the heads at half-the-speed of BI, but at the same time cut down the picture quality (albeit, the picture quality was still better than VHS offered even on it's SP speed).

In 1979 Sony introduced yet a third speed, BIII.  With this speed Betamax players/recorders could record up to 5 hours of video on a L-830 tape (one company has even released a L-1000 tape that could record up to 6 hours in BIII mode).  Unfortunately this was a little too late, even though Betamax managed to hang around for another 23 years (yes, it lasted in Japan till 2002, even though in North America Betamax had all but disappeared by 1995).

In 1983 Sony introduced a revolutionary system for Betamax.  Up to this point Betamax had relied on it's linear audio, whether mono or stereo, to provide sound, but due to the speed of the tape passing over the record/playback head, the audio could range from clear (in BI) to very muddy (in BIII).  Because VHS moved it's tape past it's head at a faster speed, VHS was able to offer better sounding linear audio, even in it's SLP mode.  Due to this problem, Sony introduced Beta Hi-Fi which encoded an FM frequency carrier within the video track.  Hi-Fi offered a 500 kHz difference in signal quality for Betamax, and did not rely on the speed of the tape in order to give high-quality audio.  Unfortunately, VHS Hi-Fi was never able to match this, as it only offered a 150 kHz difference between it's linear and Hi-Fi audio.   

In 1985 Sony introduced Super Betamax in an attempt to deliver a death blow to VHS.  Regular Betamax players could playback Super Betamax recordings, although the picture would be over modulated.  This would make area's of the picture, where it went from light to dark rather quickly, sparkle 1.  In 1988 Sony brought out the Enhanced Definition (ED) Betamax format.  This increased the luminance channel to a level that surpassed even the best broadcast equipment out there.  Unfortunately Sony priced this new version of Betamax at a level where most consumers simple could not afford it, but a number of professionals and even a few TV stations started to adopt the ED Betamax as a cheaper alternative to the broadcast level Betacam and Betacam SP decks.  Of course, in order to obtain this higher luminance, a different tape was required.


One thing to note, even though ED was considered to be broadcast quality and it used the same metal tape as Betacam SP, the way the information was recorded, ED Betamax is incompatible with Betacam SP, just like Betamax and Super Betamax, even using the same ferric oxide tape that non-SP Betacam used, are incompatible with Betacam/Betacam SP, due to all three Betamax recording the signal in the composite format, and both Betacam's recording in component format.


By using a Sony SL-HF2100 I can transfer you Regular and Super Betamax tapes by S-Video to a Canopus ADVC-300 that converts your Beta video to a digital DV-AVI/MOV.



BETACAM

Introduced in 1982, Betacam was designed as the Professionals version of the Betamax format, that could also allow videographers to use Betamax cassettes in an emergency if they need to.  However, unlike Betamax that recorded in Y/C Composite, just like the U-Matic format, Betacam recorded in the Component standard, which allowed one channel for the luminance information and two other channels for the chrominance information.  Unfortunately Betacam (Oxide) didn't take off all that well, due to the oxide tape not being able to offer the quality of video that Sony was hoping for.  So in 1985 Sony introduced the Betacam SP format which used Metal tapes to get an even better picture quality.  Since 1985 Betacam SP became the industry standard for Standard-Definition broadcasting, and even now in 2017, many stations still use Digital Betacam/Betacam SX playback VTR's that are backwards compatible with Betacam SP, and allow the stations to play anything from new commercials that were produced in standard definition, to old news stories and TV shows that are only on Betacam SP.


But by using a Sony UVW-1800 and going to a Canopus ADVC-700 by Component Video and XLR Audio, I can transfer your Betacam (Oxide) and Betacam SP tapes to a DV-AVI (Windows) or DV-MOV (MAC) so that you can edit the videos in your computer.  Or I can also transfer your Betacam tapes to Mini-DV tape which has been rated as being equal to Betacam SP video quality, but still gives you the ability to have a Digital copy, that only requires from you a Mini-DV camcorder and a computer that can accept Firewire.  Another option, which is not the best for editing, is putting your video onto DVD.   DVD compresses your video a lot more than DV, plus if your footage includes video that you shot for green/blue-screening, then DVD's chroma sub-sampling really hinders you in that compartment, due to DVD using a 4:2:0 sub-sampling, whereas DV uses a 4:1:1 (for comparison, even though it is analog, Betacam SP has been rated as having a 3:1:1 chroma sub-sampling in the digital world).  4:1:1 keeps your channels separate, whereas 4:2:0 combines and averages your chroma channels (think of how in the analog world, S-Video gives you a separate luminance from your composite chroma).


Resolution Of Betamax/Super Betamax


Regular Betamax's luminance bandwidth ranged between 3.5 and 4.8MHz, while it's chroma was stored at 688kHz.

By comparison VHS's luminance bandwidth ranged between 3.4 and 4.4MHz, with it's chroma was stored at 629kHz.

Super Betamax's luminance was increased to a range of 4.4 to 5.6MHz while retaining the 688kHz chroma.

Enhanced Definition Betamax luminance ranged from 6.8 to 9.3MHz, while retaining the 688kHz chroma.


How To Request A Betamax/Super Betamax/Betacam SP Video Transfer

Please fill out the form at the top of the page and I will get back to you with in 2-3 days with an estimate.  If you are not sure of how long the tapes are.  Please be advised that I will not transfer copyrighted, pre-recorded tapes (i.e. Star Trek : The Motion Picture), as I will not be involved in blatant copyright violation.  However, if you have a letter or some other form of permission from the copyright holders giving you permission to have me make a copy or X number of copies, then I will transfer the tape, but you will have to get that permission before any transferring is started!  If you have recordings that are of a very personal nature, I do ask that you let me know this before placing the order. 


Transfers of Enhanced Definition Betamax tapes are currently unavailable.


Transfers To DVD

All DVD transfers use Verbatim AZO DVD-minus-R discs.  I've used Verbatim for many years and these discs are, by far, the best discs.


Transfers To Video Files

Options include transfers to MP4 and DV-AVI on USB stick or hard drive. 

Transfers To Other Tape Formats

Options include NTSC Regular/Super Betamax to NTSC S-VHS, VHS, DVCPRO, MIni-DV and Betacam SP.


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Copyright 2013-2017 Trevor Thurlow Productions


1. For more information please take a look at the information here.