Digitizing Family Videos

I’ve been digitizing my family’s archive of old home movies from videotape.

Look, here’s a video I edited of my grandparents, mom, and uncle at Seaside Heights in NJ, 1956. Filmed by my late grandfather, Didi.

If you’ve got family archives on outdated tech it’s pretty easy to enjoy and share old movies in digital  format. Here’s how I did it.

DIY from video tape to Mac or PC . 

We bought a little MyGica igrabber Nano USB converter capture  It plugs from the VCR to your mac, and you can easily install the software and start copying tapes over in minutes.

There are also a few others out there, such as this guy for PC  or maybe this guy for Mac. (However, I haven’t tried those.)  If you’re on a Mac, you can easily grab the movies and bring them into iMovie to edit them and add music, or make compilations. It’s also easy to share them socially from any computer or burn a DVD.

My sissy Amy as a 1970s cowgirl.

My sissy Amy as a 1970s cowgirl.

I like to copy tapes by segment since it makes it easier to organize and edit later, but there’s no reason why you can’t just set it up to copy and walk away. I spent an hour or so cueing up the video segments I wanted to digitize, but your home movies might be more organized than mine.

A few notes: make sure you don’t record over segments, rename your recordings once you’ve finished them and before you start another… this happened to me once. Also ensure that the sound is recording; when I shut my computer closed for the night, the driver crashed and  the next day, I recorded a few segments sans audio before noticing.

Transferring from Film to Digital

I didn’t have to do this, but if you still have the film and a working projector, I’d say borrow or rent a digital video camera for the weekend, put it on a tripod, set up the projector, and record away. Then import the digital movie to your computer for editing, sharing, or burning a DVD.

If you can’t, brick-and-mortar giants such as Walmart  and  Costco DVD,  small businesses such as just 8mmDVD, or online companies like ScanDigital or iMemories are a reasonably priced solution.

Happy archiving!

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