The other day a wonderful woman contacted me. She shared some fabulous stories about producing musical performances in the ballroom at The Benson Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon. Fifteen years had passed too quickly and she was missing the music and the familiar faces of her past. She was concerned about the quality of her tapes and wanted to know if I could convert them so she could watch the performances with some of her girlfriends. I shared with her the following steps to prepare her tapes:
- Gather together all of your old VHS tapes (all sizes) and put in one place. Having all your tapes in one place allows you to see your collection in a new light. The box full of tapes is a box full of priceless memories of your children, holiday celebrations, birthday parties, family reunions, etc..and they are in danger of being lost forever.
- Clearly label tapes with date and events if possible. Tapes generally have some information scribbled on the label. In addition, use your knowledge of your camera equipment to help determine the dates or timeframe (if unknown).
- Prioritize conversion based on oldest tapes first. Videotapes lose their magnetic signal over time. The quality and color of your memories deteriorate due to the friction between the VCR head and tape, and the tape grows brittle and eventually breaks – even when sitting on a shelf!
- Decide if you want copies made for back-up or if your will copy yourself. DVDs can be duplicated by copying or burning them. I highly advise making a copy of your DVD collection in case of damage or theft. If your computer has a DVD burner you can make copies on your own. Remember to label and store your copied version in a different location.
I picked up my client’s tapes and returned them a week later. They are converted to DVD and labeled with the title, date and run-time. When I arrived at her house she was very excited and was planning to watch the DVD’s as soon as she got back from her hair appointment.
If you are struggling with a gift idea for Father’s Day or an upcoming birthday – think about converting some of your old videos – I guarantee it will be a most memorable gift.