U-matic transfer to DVD, Uncompressed Quicktime and Digi Beta


We’ve been honored recently to have won a large contract to help in the digital migration of an extensive educational video archive by the transfer from U-matic archive copies to uncompressed video files.

While the archive had been stored in an suitable environment and rarely if at all played, they had not survived well. The Sony branded tapes from the 1970s and 1980s all exhibited binder hydrolysis or sticky shed syndrome. We were still able to get good transfers though using our range of U-matic machines, particularly the Sony BVU-950P and For-A Time Base Corrector.


christian sumner

Hi What device (brand, model) of TBC do you use to transfer U-matic tapes before digitizing to computer. I have a Sony BVU-950 and would like to archive some SP tapes with DUB output to convert to a better solution – Y-358, RGB, etc. – before going to computer.
Thanks in advance for a reply.


Hi Christian

We have several external Time Base Correctors (TBC’s) and 2 BVU 950P VTR’s, one of which has the optional internal TBC card.
An older TBC would be the most appropriate for you, one with Advance Sync out and Drop Out Compensation. We have the For-a 310P which is good.

Brian Grant

I have a number of old Sony U-Matic Video Tapes, which contain music clips 4 to 5 minutes in length. I also want to archive before they disintegrate. If I record them using the \Device Native\ Setting in Quicktime 7, is that the best quality file I can achieve. I am aware they will be large files. Do you know of a better way to archive this footage? I want to make individual Qucktime files and archive them on either DVD or blu ray discs as Quicktime files

Thanks for any advice

Brian Grant


HI Brian
The quality of your quicktime files will depend on your analogue machines and the hardware you are using to digitise the footage. If you are using one of the cheaper firewire based products it will probably use DV encoding which is a compressed format. For the highest quality you could create 8 or 10bit uncompressed quicktime files but your hardware would need to support this. Blackmagic and AJA cards will let you do this and are very good.

Brian Grant

Thanks for that. I have a Mac Book Pro 1GHZ Power PC G5 and a Canopus ADVC 110 capture card. If I use Qucktime on its own should I just have the recording preferences set to Device Native, or should I use a programme like Final Cut Pro?

Thanks for your help so far

Brian Grant

HI Brian

Your Canopus uses the DV codec, you can’t capture uncompressed with it. The best quality you will get from it is as you said earlier by using the Device native setting in your capture software. As long as you don’t recompress the files, any software that can use the AVDC110 card will give you the same quality capture.

Philip Du Toit

I work in a filming company in South Africa. We have resently started converting all sorts of old films and tapes. i recently got a request for the conversion of u matic beta tapes. i have no idea what they are. Are they like the normal beta tapes? Can you convert them the same way or do you need any special hardware and software?

Hans Jansen

I am very interested in more information about your U-Matic digital migration project.
We have about 200 short movies which are recorded on 35 hours BVU-SP and want convertetd this to uncompressed files on harddisk. We have 2 BVU 950sp recorders with internal TBC and an external FA450p TBC. What connections for data transfer would be the best and what A-D converter is a good choice.
Thanks, Hans Jansen, jansen.hans@home.nl

chris halsall

I could really do with some help.
I have about 200 umatic taped documentaries (and the player) that I need to transfer to best quality digital. I have no idea about the software or hardware needed for this, but I am about to buy a new mac book pro. Do I need a converter? Can you advise on any software I should get?
thanks in advance

Michael Ramsey

Great Bear,

I am interested in a quote converting 4 – ¾” U-Matic tapes into DVD as is. Each tape is on a Scotch High Energy UCA20S with 20 minute run time.

Thank you,

Mark Williams

Hello I have a request for a large quantity of Hi band umatic tapes that need to be digitized.
Could you do this.
I;can be contacted on 083-250-0153
Many thanks

Hi Mark

Thanks for your comment – I’ve replied to you by email.


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