by Walter Bane
This article was originally written in the 1980's, but the concept of converting still photography to video is still a viable business idea.
Videocassette technology has created a whole new opportunity in, of all places, the area of still photography. Instead of having to take on the endless hassle of correctly arranging hundreds of 35 millimeter slides in slide trays, many people are choosing to have their slides transferred onto videotape for more compact storage and easier viewing. Most of these family treasures are transferred to the popular VHS format.
Photographs can also be copied to videotape in a similar way. By copying photographs to videotape, you cut your storage needs and you greatly increase the convenience of viewing the pictures. You can also make as many copies as you want, so that the loss of a tape isn't a tragic loss of family history, as it might be with a single photograph. A typical videotape can hold two hundred or more slides showing for five to ten seconds each. You can tailor the timing to the customer's desires.
You don't need a great deal of electronic background or special skills to do effective videotape transfers, although knowledge of the audio/video field can help spark new ideas for your business.
The equipment for making these transfers will cost you between one and two thousand dollars for enough equipment to get started. You may want to rent some equipment at first, to see how successful you can be in your area without committing to a large investment.
You may want to start off by specializing in the slide transfers. For your work you can earn anywhere from fifty to three hundred dollars per tape. As you grow familiar with the work, you can add music, voice overs and graphics to the tapes, value-added services that can earn you even more money.
Not only can you put slides and photos on videotape. Transferring eight millimeter film or Betamax tapes to VHS has become popular as these formats go out of style. If you can't afford the equipment for this work at first, you may choose to broker the jobs to large transfer outfits until such time as you do acquire the capability.
Videotape is a wildly popular medium right now because it's versatile, convenient and inexpensive. For the entrepreneur, that versatility spells opportunity. You can hook up with camera stores, pharmacies, department stores or other outlets that will send their transfer work to you. And you can come up with new ways to appeal to the general public, expanding your moneymaking opportunities with new ways of saving their memories.
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