Old Family Movies
Oh those old family home video tapes! Remember them? Using a video camera the size of two large loaves of bread, we took dozens and dozens of VHS tapes of our children and grandchildren. But what's happening to those tapes now? Do you even have a VCR player to watch them?
If you're like me, you have dozens of dusty VHS tapes taken in the 1980s and 1990s in storage or on a bookcase in the family room. You don't have a VCR, you can't watch them and day by day, year by year they are degrading.
There are most likely movies of different family reunions and almost certainly many of the family members are no longer with us. There's a movie clip of little Joey taking his first steps. How about the movie of your oldest winning a medal at Graduation? So many family moments and if you're like me you're starting to worry that they'll be lost forever if you don't do something
One of my sons has been urging me to transfer all our old home movies to digital format, preferably to a DVD so that they are preserved for a few more years. Why do I say "a few more years"? Because technology changes and a format that is viewable today will not likely be viewable in the future.
Earlier this week I finally got around to ordering something I hope will allow me to transfer the old VHS tapes to digital. First I did my homework. I read dozens of reviews. I compared capabilities of different devices.
So I opted for a one-touch capture, which basically forms a link from a VCR to your computer via a USB port, enabling conversion and transfer of a VHS tape, and then a burn to a DVD.
Thank goodness I have a mother-in-law who still watches old VHS movies on a VCR! I borrowed it yesterday to make the transfer.
I'll let you know how it goes and whether or not I am able to preserve and digitize those precious family memories.
I'm still struggling with the whole process but I am really enjoying watching bits and pieces of the home movies we took back in the 1980s! So far I've watched my youngest son's 5th birthday party where he asks "Can I open my presents now?" every few minutes, my oldest son reading a story called "Skindiver" (complete with actions) to his 5 year old brother, watched my youngest son's Kindergarten Christmas play, a very old family reunion that I'd forgotten we held, and many other snippets of family life when my boys were young.
I've laughed, I've chuckled and I've shed a few tears. The reality is that many of the family in these videos are deceased. That's life but it is sad to see them smiling and laughing and realize they are no longer with us.
Converting Tapes to DVD
But it's worth a bit of sadness to preserve the memories. So far I have managed to capture and burn almost 2 hours of tapes to DVD. Mind you I can only watch them on my computer as I wasn't able to convert them to be viewable in a DVD player but I'll figure that out eventually. For now I'm just happy to have them in digital format.
It's a very long process though so I hope my boys aren't in a rush for these. I think they'll be so pleased to watch that they won't mind the wait.
Using the One-Touch Video Capture Unit
|Back of old VCR|
1. Download the software and set that up first
2. Next I hooked the cables that came with the unit to a borrowed VCR
3. Plugged the other end into my USB port
|USB port plug-in|
I used the following:
* Video: Video Format NTSC_M Video Source Composite
* Capture Button: Capture Video
* Snapshot: jpg (although I don't plan on capturing any still photos)
* Record: DVD
These settings worked for me. They might not work for you so try different settings if you need to