Digitizing Your Memories: A Project to Embrace

While it’s not something we place on the top of our priority list, it’s a good idea to digitally convert your video memories. If you don’t, there’s a chance your videos could slip away forever.

According to the National Film Preservation Foundation, the delicate cellulose acetate plastic of 8mm, Betamax and VHS formats are a recipe for decay. Less than perfect storage conditions over time will cause rusting, faded color and rot that renders a video useless.

Affordable film capturing software and video adapters bridge the digital gap between these vintage mediums to safely extend the shelf life of precious videos for years to come.

Conversion With 8mm Film

As the grandfather format of home videos, developed by Eastman Kodak, 8mm film utilizes projectors to play 50 feet of perforated film on a spool.

Without outputs to link composite cables between a projector and computer, 8mm digital conversion requires professional-grade equipment consisting of the right light source, gate and camera for proper capturing.

For conversion of 8mm to DVD at Dig My Pics, your best option is to go to a professional, who will produce quality frame-by-frame transfers of your video. At $10 per 50-foot transfer, you can save both time and money in the digitizing process.

And Now for VHS Users…

To start the digital conversion of VHS content, you will need four major components:

• A VCR to play VHS tapes.

• Capture hardware like the Elgato Video Capture adapter with RCA composite cables to allow communication between the analog VCR and your PC.

VHS Capture software that is compatible with your adapter to record, edit and finalize video.

• Storage space on a hard drive, DVD or USB flash drive to house digitized video.

Steps for VHS Conversion

After installing the capture software, connect the RCA composite cables that came with your hardware device. Match the plugs to the color-coded inputs on the back of the VCR. Yellow is for video while red and white are for audio.

Next, plug the other ends of the composite cable into your adapter. Insert the USB connector into your computer.

Place the VHS tape into the VCR deck and launch the video capture software. You may be prompted to select the estimated length of your video to determine if you have the necessary megabytes or gigabytes of storage space.

To play analog videos on HD televisions, choose an aspect ratio of 16:9. Once you choose these fields, start recording. When recording is complete, you can customize the video’s length through basic editing.

The final step of the digital conversion process determines how you’ll save the video. You can save it to a designated folder or hard drive, upload to YouTube or edit in video authoring software.

Video authoring software is ideal for advanced editing. These applications enable features like menu creation, color correction, compression and burning to DVD.

The digital conversion of Betamax or camcorder tapes utilizes similar capturing concepts. The adapter and composite cables will plug in the same way as long as you have a compatible input device for the type of video format requiring conversion.