The company we’ll discuss in this review is a less-known service for scanning and digitizing old media. Charter Oak Scanning began in 2013 by Robert and Candice Webb. They decided to start Charter Oak after witnessing the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, where many lost their documents and family memories.
Include Shipping Kit
WHAT THEY DIGITIZE?
Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, Hi8, Digital 8, MiniDV, MicroMini, DVDs, MiniDVDs
VHS, VHS-C, Hi8/D8, MiniDV, PAL, Betamax, Betacam, Unimatic, Type-C Video Reel
8mm, 16mm, Super 8
8mm, Super 8, 16mm from 3" up to 7"
Photos, Negatives, Slides
Prints, Prints larger than 8x10", Slides, Stereo/3D Slides, 35mm Negatives, Medium Format 120/220 Negatives, Large Format Negatives, Negative Wheels, Scrapbook Page Capture (12x12), Flatbed Scan, CD Rip
Audio Cassette, 3" 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel, 5" 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel, 7" 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel, DAT Audio Tape, Vinyl Record Transfer 33/45/78 RPM, PCM Audio on VHS/Beta, CD Rip
Floppy disk, SD cards, Compact discs
Video Conversion Price
$14.99 per tape + free digital download
$10 per VHS, VHS-C, Hi8/D8, MiniDV, PAL tape
Film Conversion Price
$14.99 per 50ft. + free digital download
$15.95 for a 3" film (50ft)
Photo Conversion Price
$0.49 per photo scan
$0.39 per photo scan
Slide Conversion Price
$0.49 per slide scan
$0.39 per slide scan
Negatives Conversion Price
$0.49 per frame scan
$0.49 per negative scan
Audio Conversion Price
$15.95 per audio cassette transfer to digital
Other Media Price
$14.99 per DVDs or MiniDVD
DIGITAL COPY PRICES
Download is FREE
iMemories Cloud $7.99 per month or $49.99 per year
Flash Drive for $15.95
Old Media That Charter Oak Scanning Digitizes
Here is a list of all media types they digitize:
- Videotapes: VHS, VHS-C, Hi8/D8, MiniDV, PAL, Betamax, Betacam, Unimatic, Type-C Video Reel, DVD Rip
- Old Films: 8mm, Super 8, 16mm from 3″ up to 7″
- Photos: Prints, Prints larger than 8×10″, Slides, Stereo/3D Slides, 35mm Negatives, Medium Format 120/220 Negatives, Large Format Negatives, Negative Wheels, Scrapbook Page Capture (12×12), Flatbed Scan, CD Rip
- Audio: Audio Cassette, 3″ 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel, 5″ 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel, 7″ 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel, DAT Audio Tape, Vinyl Record Transfer 33/45/78 RPM, PCM Audio on VHS/Beta, CD Rip
- Legacy Media: Floppy disk, SD cards, compact discs
NOTE: If you have tapes that you’re not sure if there are any recordings on it, then Charter Oak Scanning won’t charge you for blank tapes like other services might.
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How Does Charter Oak Service Work?
Like with most digitizing services, you must gather all the media you want to send. Then, when you gather everything and know the correct number of items, you can then go to their website and place an order for the amount you have.
After you choose the amount, you will be asked how you want to receive your new digital copy. You can choose from:
- Flash Drive for $15.95
- Hard Drive for $56.95
- Movie DVD Set for $5.95
- Data DVD Set for $5.95
- Google Drive (price varies by format)
- Dropbox (price varies by format)
When you place an order, you will be charged 25% of your total estimated value. Also, you need to print the price estimate and place it with your media.
We tried to find on the site how to pack your media and which container to use, and we couldn’t find any information or advice. So it is your responsibility to pack properly.
Here are some simple tips for properly packing your old media.
- Use a sturdy or crush-proof box.
- Fill the container with shock-resistant cushions. Also, put cushions between the media, so they don’t rattle and damage during shipping.
- Put your media in waterproof or zip bags to prevent humidity or water damage during shipping.
- Use a shipping carrier that has a good package tracking system!
Charter Oak Scanning offers multiple choices for delivering the package to them, such as:
- Dropping off your order by yourself at their studio in Stonnington or any other location they allow
- Instead of driving yourself, schedule a pick-up from your home or workplace in Connecticut & Rhode Island.
- Sending by yourself
When media arrives at Charter Oak studio, they will:
- Send you a confirmation of media with the sales order
- They will call you if they have any questions.
- Your media will be labeled with your order number and last name.
After all that, the Charter Oak team will start processing your order and digitizing your media.
Their expert team can repair most problems with old media during digitizing, and they won’t charge you for that. Also, they offer digital film restoration and photo restoration, but for these services, you need to contact the service and discuss additionally.
Turnaround time is generally 2-3 weeks from receiving your order, but it might take longer depending on the size of your order.
After completing your order, they will contact you regarding the full payment and arrangements for returning your media. For the original media, you can either have it returned to you or not. Also, if you choose not to have your old media back, they will keep it for 1 month after you receive your digitized files, and after that period, they dispose of them.
If you, later on, decide on extra copies, slideshow, video memory, or photo book, they keep your files for 90 days so they’ll be able to create it.
Charter Oak Digital Pricing
The pricing for videotape to digital conversion is broken down into three price categories.
For $10 per tape:
For $12 per tape:
For $95 per video reel:
- Type-C Video Reel
For movie film transfer, the price is defined by the length of the film:
- $15.95 for a 3″ film (50ft)
- $19.95 for a 4″ film (100ft)
- $34.95 for a 5″ film (200ft)
- $49.95 for a 6″ film (300ft)
- $68.95 for a 7″ film (400ft)
There are quite a few options for scanning photos, and all of them differ from each other when it comes to pricing:
- Prints, slides, and 35mm negatives cost $0.39 per piece.
- Prints larger than 8″x10″ cost $2 per piece
- Stereo/3D slides cost $0.79 per piece
- Medium format 120/220 negatives cost $2.10 per piece.
- Large Format Negatives cost $3.50 per piece.
- Negative wheels cost $14.95 per wheel
- Scrapbook page capture 12″x12″ cost $2 per page
- A flatbed scan costs $5.95 per page
- CD rip for photos on a CD costs $5.95
You can take advantage of the bulk discount price after purchasing 500 or more prints or slides.
For the audio to digital transfer, prices are:
- $15.95 per audio cassette transfer to digital
- $15.95 for a 3″ 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel
- $25.95 for a 5″ 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel
- $39.95 for a 7″ 1/4 inch Audio Reel to Reel
- $19.95 for DAT Audio Tape transfer
- $15.95 for a Vinyl Record Transfer 33/45/78 RPM
- $19.95 for a PCM Audio on VHS/Beta
- $5.95 for transferring CD tracks to MP3 files
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As with any other company, we checked whether Charter Oak Scanning and Digitizing is legitimate and how satisfied customers are with the service. Although we did not find a huge number of reviews like with some other companies, those we did see were excellent. So on Yelp, the company has a 5-star rating, and on Google reviews, they also have a 5 out of 5-star rating. So there’s no mistake that Charter Oak company is one of the better-rated digitizing services.
How Does It Compare to iMemories, One of the Most Popular Choices for Digitizing
iMemories has over 15 years of experience in converting old media into digital and stands as one of the best-rated and most popular choices among customers. On the other hand, although Charter Oak is a newer company, it surprised us that it gained trust and satisfaction among customers. Honestly, both services are excellent choices with few differences between them. For a simple comparison, we made a list of each company’s offerings.
Ordering and Shipping
Making an order with Charter Oak is not complicated, but when it comes to shipping, it’s a different story. Yes, we said that they offer three ways to deliver media, but if you cannot deliver the package yourself, you need to pack and mail it instead. You are fully responsible for the media arriving at the studio safely. On the other hand, iMemories offers both mailings by yourself and ordering iMemories SafeShip Kit, which is the most popular option among customers.
SafeShip kit is a crush-proof box designed to send old media to the facility safely. In the box, you will find all necessary items such as:
- Waterproof bags for packing photos and videos
- Shock-resistant bubble cushions to prevent media damage during shipping
- Free shipping label to iMemories via FedEx
If you are unsure that your tapes have footage, you can also include them and label them like Check for Blank Tape, and the cost for checking these tapes is $0.99 per tape.
Charter Oak, at the start, will charge you 25% of the estimated price, and on completion of the process, you will be charged with the rest, including any additional charges that may not be in the first price estimates.
When iMemories receive your media, it will inspect, estimate your media, and send you a free no-obligation quote that tells you exactly how much it will cost with an applied discount (if you have one) to complete the order.
Additional Enhancements Besides Digital Transfer
During the digitization process, Charter Oak offers free repairs for most issues with old media, and you can also ask them for a photo restoration quote.
iMemories during the digitizing process will enhance your memories for free and make them look as good as new. They will also repair or “splice” broken tapes without losing any footage, free of charge.
What Digital Copy Options Are You Getting From Each Service?
iMemories offers media transfers to:
- FREE digital download
- Portable Hard Drive with 1TB of storage.
- iMemories Cloud + The iMemories App
Charter Oak offers media transfers to:
- Movie DVD set
- Data DVD set
- Hard Drive
- Google Drive
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Communication and Tracking With Both Services
With Charter Oak, they’ll notify you when they receive your media and when the order is processed, and they will contact you if they have any queries. For any additional info, you need to contact them.
iMemories is a whole different story when it comes to process tracking. With them, you will stay informed in real-time and know each step the media goes through.
Honestly, among all digitizing services, they have the best tracking of media during its process, and it’s a good feature when the whole process can take weeks to get done.
We can say that from both services, you can expect 2-3 weeks to complete your order from the day of receiving your media, but it all depends on the amount and type of your media.
Will Original Media Be Returned To You?
Both Charter Oak and iMemories will return all your original media with the completion of the order.
So, Which is Better For You, Charter Oak or iMemories?
Both Charter Oak and iMemories are great companies with different benefits. It ultimately depends on what you need and what is most important to you. If you want the ease of not worrying about shipping or getting free enhancement of your media, then iMemories is the better option.
However, if you feel confident in your ability to pack and mail items yourself, Charter Oak is a great choice for digitizing your memories at an affordable price. No matter which company you choose, be sure to take advantage of their free services to get the best possible results for your memories.