RaineStudio is located in the vibrant Grand Lake district of Oakland, California. As a small studio — not a big transfer house — we give unique, personalized attention to every customer and every job. Whether you’re converting one tape or a hundred, your order will be approached with the same level of care and dedication to obtaining the best possible result.

Courtesy of Stu Maddux


Your proprietor is John Raines, whose background includes television and radio production as well as a career in software development and consulting. His preservation work is featured in the recent documentary Reel In the Closet, which premiered last June at San Francisco’s Frameline Festival.


Frequently asked questions

How do I know what I’ve got?

Usually, you’ll find the media format printed on the label or stamped into the carrier. If not, you can try our handy identification tool. And you’re always welcome to take a picture and send it along in case you’ve come across a UFO (Unidentified Found Object).

Do you work with Format X?

Please take a look at the Services page for a list of formats that are ready to go. If you’ve got something else, don’t hesitate to ask! We’ll sometimes acquire new (old) equipment to support a particular request, and if not, we can refer you to someone who does work with it.

How do I get my media to you?

You’re welcome to drop media off in person or ship it via the carrier of your choice. If you’re shipping, please pack your media like the precious, one-of-a-kind material that it is! We recommend sturdy cartons with plenty of padding — envelopes of any kind are inadequate and may not protect your media.

What do I get back?

We supply two digital files for every piece of media:

  • A full-quality master suitable for archiving and further production. This will be DV in an AVI container for video or LPCM in a WAV container for audio.
  • A high-quality working copy, compressed to a more convenient size for everyday use. This will be AVC in an MP4 container for video or AAC in an M4A container for audio.

We can supply any other common codec/container on request. For example, if you’re working on the Apple platform, you may wish to receive an MOV for video instead of an AVI.

For serious archival work, we can also supply checksums for future assessment of fixity. This will be an MD5 file (for the whole file) plus a framemd5 file (checksums per stream packet).

How do you deliver the files?

Smallish files (up to about 1 GB) can be delivered by internet. But most files, especially video masters, are too big for uploading. In that case, you’re welcome to supply a flash or external disk drive or we can furnish one at your expense. We’ll tell you what storage size is required when we discuss the details of your order.

How do I watch/listen to my files?

The working copy files that you receive will play back on just about any computer, mobile device, or dedicated media player. The master files that you receive can be handled by any professional media editing or processing tool. If you have special needs to ensure playability, please let us know and we’ll supply the best file format for you.

I’m a dinosaur. Can I get a DVD?

Absolutely! DVD mastering is one of many additional postproduction services that are available. We can compile your media into one or more DVDs with menus and the whole works. Blu-ray is another option, though usually not justified for the limited resolution of legacy media.

What’s your turnaround time?

Most requests can be accommodated within a week (excluding return shipping time). Naturally, large orders can take longer. We’ll give you a firmer estimate when we discuss the details of your job.

How much does it cost?

Every order is quoted individually and our rates are very competitive. To obtain a quote, contact us with information about the type and quantity of media you would like to preserve.