open reel vtr


The Community Conversion Lab is VSW’s on-site digitization lab for converting magnetic tapes and film media for access and preservation.

The Conversion Lab is currently able to transfer 16mm film, 1/2″ open reel magnetic tape, 3/4″ U-Matic, U-MaticSP, Beta, 8mm, Hi8, VHS, mini DV tapes, and 1/4″ Open Reel Audio. Tapes are inspected and cleaned before transfer, and treated for Sticky Shed Syndrome and Binder Hydrolysis in our on-site media oven if necessary.

Please consider a tax deductible donation to help us preserve and share this important media.


still from “Mothers-Daughters Workshop” (VSW Collection), EIAJ-1 1/2″ open reel, during transfer

Transfers are completely supervised by a lab technician, who produces a transfer log and MD5 checksum upon completion. Vrecord, software based on AMIA Open Source’s ffmpegdecklink, is used to capture the video signal and allows the technician to monitor luminance and chrominance values. The Conversion Lab produces archival quality digital files, and access and mezzanine files on request.

AV Towers - Conversion Lab

The Conversion Lab has been working to digitize and make accessible the VSW Film and Video Collection, including tapes from the Portable Channel Collection and tapes donated by Nancy Rosin chronicling Rochester’s history of redlining and police brutality.