Ingest, Digitizing Encoding, Restoration, Standard Conversion, Upscaling Video Audio Editing, Postproduction Authoring Others About me Imprint Home FAQ

FAQ - Or: A little interview

The questions are divided into the following chapters:

Question: Which customers do you want to address with VS-Media?
Answer: Mainly, but not exclusively, commercial customers, public organisations, TV stations or DVD-publishers, who are not satisfied with the actual quality of their master tapes, or who are challenged by problems like consumer media as source media. No matter if you work with Betacam or other common broadcast formats, if Laserdisc or VHS is your last resort to recover audio or even video for a rare movie, if you have technical documentations on rare formats like the Laserfilm discs from aerospace manufacturer McDonnell Douglas - you will get fuill service, beginning with high quality ingest, over restoration and filtering, up to playout-ready encoding for digital broadcast archives or DVD- or BluRay-Master for the upcoming release. All you need and only the things you need. Just omit any option you won't need, because for what would you need a DVD menu for digital playout? Short: The customers I am aiming to are customers with a sense for quality, who insist on individual service.
Do you need services besides the video segment? I can also help you in the range of webdesign or programming.

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Question: Consumer-media in professional surrounding?
Answer: Sounds uncommon, but yes! You are a broadcast station and plan a new version of a funny home video show? Your viewers won't send you Betacam tapes from their private accidents. And although these are home videos, you won't have to rest on home video quality. You are publisher or distributor and a audio track or even the entire video material can only be found on an old release on consumer media like Laserdisc or VHS? You think the quality won't satisfy your customers? Give it a try and you may be right - or you are not, because experience is the key to quality even on sources that look quite bad on the first look. Many valuable training and schooling videos still sleep on home- or semipro formats. Schools often used the VCR format from Grundig and Philips, car manufacturers often used U-Matic for technical documentation or seminars and lectures have been filmed on VHS or Betamax camcorders. You are a publisher and not satisfied with your actual DVD-Menu? Or you need a new DVD menu because the rights for the old one expired? There are so many examples to be quoted. Consumer media and professional media are treated equal: Analogue sources stabilized and digitized in highest quality possible, optionally analogue as well as digital materials can be filtered in a complex way, legalizing to broadcast-safe colours is also possible. And you decide about the target format, always keeping focus on highest compatibility to your equipment and the equipment of your customers.

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Question: And what about broadcast and other professional media?
Answer: Possible at any time! Actually I just begun with my media services. And as anyone who is new in this business, I am facing a little dilemma: No customers, no professional VTR, because they are quite expensive. But no VTR, no customers - or not that way? Betacam players for all formats can be rented at any time. Please coordinate the details with me an advance. Most likely I will rent a Sony J-3/902 or J-30SDI to achieve a broad range of meda compatibility. For Betacam SP with FM audio, I will rent a Sony BVW-60/65/70/75 series.
I don't have a problem in saying that I don't own a Betacam VTR. You may agree in that 15000 Euros for a Betacam VTR or even 80000 Euros for a HDCAM SR are quite expensive if you don't know that the VTR will achieve regular earnings. Another advantage for you: If I rent my VTRs from a dealer or the local public broadcast station, you can rest assured that I get a player which is always maintained in the necessary intervals and no old player from some online auction which should have been maintained 5000 operation hours ago. This makes the opreration more safe for your tapes.
As I am very experienced in analogue signal processing, I also focus on buying formats like 1" open reels of Type B (Bosch) or Type C (Ampex). So it will only be a question of time until your old treasures from your archive can be processed in the good quality you know from me.
Anyway, I am keen in accepting any format, either on rented VTRs as well as on players/recorders bought specific to the project. It should be possible at any time to start a U-Matic SP or D9 Digital-S project, as rental or used players are easy to obtain. But it is not hard to guess that it could take "a bit longer" to prepare such a project for formats like Bosch Lineplex Quartercam. Send your inquiry for any format at any time, I will inform you as soon as possible about possibility, prices and estimated time.

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Question: Why should I trust you?
Answer: Asked better: Why shouldn't you? You can trust somebody or you won't, and if you won't, the trust may grow during a long time of cooperation. You may don't know me, but you also don't know my competitors, so you don't know whom to trust more. But I can give you facts. Did you ask yourself, why the prices for DVD transfers of consumer media are so cheap e.g. in the well-known online auctions? DVD recorders are so cheap since the last years and copying is just "fire and forget": You press play and record and here we go - few Euros earned. A bit improvement of the picture quality seems to be possible in using a DV converter with filtering option. When I was younger, I also tried around with these converters, but the result was not satisfying, neither the conversion nor the filtering. I am aiming to one target: Top-notch quality! The hardware and software I use cannot simply be bought in some supermarket amongst washing machines, refrigerators or popular music. My players are maintained and in good condition. Also a lot of money has been invested into a complete SDI-based infrastructure, and the knowledge how to use it has grown over many years. Many of my competitors did not learn their business from the scratch but are hobbyists who made their hobby to a part-time or full-time job. Or maybe they even only recognized that the DVD recorder and the old Betamax recorder from grandfathers attic can be used to earn some money. Learning by doing and the enthusiasm of a hobbyist are not bad and often result in a good feeling for quality, but also bear the risk to stick to all the false information you may have learned during all the years you did it your way. My experience is the result of three different occupations: Hobby, academic studies as well as other reference books and my normal job outside of my own business - The hobby is responsible for my sense of quality, because for my own recordings only the best was good enough, the theoretical knowledge was gained during studies and from books and the practise could be done in my job.

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Question: Which hardware and software do you use?
Answer: Surely, I will answer you in parts, but otherwise I don't want to reveal everything. Druid Getafix did also never reveal the receipe for his magic potion which made the Gaulish villagers invincible. But everyone knows: One important ingredient was the mistletoe. And this is the time, I will introduce some of my "mistletoes" from my "video magic potion" to you. As I am specialized on analogue media, a good digitizing is important. Specially for composite and S-Video sources, much quality can be achieved or destroyed by the decoder, which decodes the analogue coded signal back to the components Y, Y-R and Y-B. For this step, I trust on technology from Snell&Wilcox, specially on the Golden Gate decoder, the most sophisticated hardeware in video decoding and the top-range device of the high quality SDI decoders from this manufacturer. This promises maximum sharpness and minimizes typical composite decoding artifacts like dot-crawl or checkerboard patterns. The video is now in SDI format with YUV 4:2:2 in 8 (optional 10) bits per colour channel and contains absolutely synchronous embedded audio. It is now recorded to the PC and will be processed further. The Snell&Wilcox processors also incorporate digital inputs complying to the standards SMPTE-259M-C (SDI Component Digital ), SMPTE-259M-A/B (SDI Composite Digital) and SMPTE-259M (Parallel Composite Digital) which makes it possible to apply their filters to SDI signals or to decode Digital Composite to the more common Digital Component. The Emmy-award-winning "Prefix" filter technology can be used to improve the picture quality. Also there is an option to filter "offline" on the PC. This often takes longer, but is even better than the realtime filtering. Which filters I use, as well as their parameters which decide over success and fail of filtering operations, are a well-kept secret, but I can assure you, that there are also commercial filters amongst, although I also still use some very good open source filters. Also MPEG2 encoding is one of my secret specialties. It could achieve twice the runtime at equal or better quality than other encoders can do. And it always keeps maximum compatibility, as also the Dolby Digital encoder does, which is a product of Dolby.

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Question: Sophisticated SDI-converters instead of USB- or Firewire boxes? Large files with uncompressed videos instead of lossy DV- or MPEG2-recording? Complex filtering instead of two mouseclicks to configure the filters? Top-notch encoding software instead of DVD-recorder or Click&Play programs? An experienced engineer instead of a hobbyist using the equipment? What are my advantages as a customer?
Answer: One thing for sure: Quality and compatibility without compromises!

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Question: Why no private customers / end users?
Answer: Did I say so? Surely, I will also serve you as a private person. But you should know that quality costs. The prices offered by the button-pressers with their consumer DVD recorder are barely enough to pay my expenses for the power my devices consume. Maybe I am even not the most expensive competitor, but I never want to be the cheapest. I claim to offer the best quality and always want to prove this. But for sure, I will always be the competitor with the best price-performance who is worth every cent of the probably a bit higher price. If your material is worth it for you, you are a welcome customer.

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Question: Quality costs - But how much?
Answer: Let me cite some sentences from the welcome page: "Fixed prices don't fit to individual service. So you won't find a price list here. A good service is an individual service. As individual as your needs, as individual as yourself!" Just contact me by Mail and state your needs: "This is what I have, this is what I need" - Which format do you have, how many hours of material, what target format do you want. I will send you an individual quotation.

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Question: Now that the business details are clear - why are the menu items in the page navigation arranges diagonally?
Answer: This should remind of the helical scan recording, which nearly any video tape recorder uses.

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Volker Schauff Media Services - VS-Mediendienste - Small business according to German law 19 (1) UStG - The Imprint
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Fernseh- und Kinotechnische Gesellschaft
SMPTE - Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers - Associate Member
FKTG - Fernseh- und Kinotechnische Gesellschaft e.V. - Individual Member

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