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Do I Have to Rewind My Tapes Before Digitization?

By Dillon Wallace

We get this question a lot. The simple answer – no, you don’t. But why stop there when you could read 344 more words on the history of rewinding videotapes? You know you want to.


Be Kind, Rewind wasn’t just an overlooked Jack Black/Mos Def comedy gem in the late 2000s. It was a way of life for VHS fans throughout the medium’s nearly 30 year lifetime.

Every time you made the trek to your local video store and rented the latest releases (or an old favorite), you’d see the slogan “Be Kind, Rewind” plastered around the store, even stickers on the tapes themselves. It was a common courtesy, a code of conduct from one VHS user to another because there wasn’t anything worse (other than you’re tape not working, of course) than renting a VHS tape only to have to anxiously rewind the whole dang thing before you could watch it.


The age of digitization

And now here we are, nearly 15  years after the final Hollywood VHS tape was released in 2006 (A History of Violence) and the question isn’t, “should I rewind this tape for the next viewer.” The question is, “should I rewind this tape so that I can properly digitize it?” Because let’s face it, your VHS tapes – the picture quality, the audio, all of it – have been and are still degrading, and the only way to properly preserve the memories stored on them is to digitize them.


But who actually has a functioning VCR these days to make sure all their old home tapes are rewound? And manually rewinding all your tapes .... nah, forget about that. Luckily, we’ve got a new videotape slogan for you and your stash of home videos.


“Didn’t Rewind? That’s Fine.”

If you’ve got a stockpile of old videotapes you’re looking to digitize but aren’t sure if they’re properly rewound, we’ve got good news for you – don’t worry about it. Our technicians are capable and more than happy to rewind your tapes as they professionally digitize them to thumb drive, digital download or DVD.


“Be Kind, Rewind” had its time and place. Now, with digitizing being the next iteration of analog preservation and memory salvation, it’s time to adopt a new slogan – ”Didn’t Rewind? That’s fine.”

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