Remember when you were kid? There were special moments that mom or dad caught on camera. Maybe there were some embarrassing moments too. Maybe there were moments you’d like to relive again and again, but you can’t until now. Those old 8mm cameras and projectors were eventually replaced with VHS and those are now (mostly) sitting in a dump heap somewhere.
What we’re left with now are digital versions of everything. Thankfully, most of the old analog stuff can be digitized.
Hire Someone To Digitize Everything For You
The easiest way is to let someone else digitize your analog life. Hand over your stuff to a third- party company and then wait for a DVD to arrive in the mail. It’s going to cost you money possibly a lot of it. But, at the same time, it’s the most “handsoff” approach there is.
Get A Video Card That Supports RCA or SVideo
If you’re like most people these days, you don’t have RCA or SVideo inputs on the side of your computer, unless you have a desktop. Even then, you might not. If you do have these inputs, your job is easy buy some RCA or Svideo cables.
If you don’t have the necessary inputs, buy a video card extension that contains the RCA or S- video inputs. It will either plug into a USB port (which you should have) or an empty PCI slot (which you may or may not have).
If you decide to use the RCA inputs, your audio and video will have a lower quality output than if you use the Svideo. Decide which you will use now.
Plug one end of the cables into your video card extension and then plug the other end into your camcorder or VCR.
Fire Up The Old Camcorder
Fire up the old camcorder, launch the native video recording software on your computer (i.e. Windows Movie Maker), and start recording. Walk away and don’t disturb the video.
Review The Video
Review everything before you start editing to make sure everything was recorded.
Be very careful here, especially if you only have one master copy of your home videos. If you edit something, it may be lost forever. So, do a good job with the editing. In general, the goal with editing is to give continuity as well as meaning to all of the shots you have. If you’ve taken a lifetime of photos (or if your mom did this), you want to try to distill everything into essential moments.
What were your toddler years like? Can you get photos that tell a story? If so, put them together in such a way so as to let others know what your life was like. If you have video, try to incorporate that as well. Cut out inessential moments moments that you either find too embarrassing, shots that were blurry or out of focus, or shots where it’s not clear what the shot is of.
Also, feel free to get rid of photos that you just plain don’t like.
Sharing the video can be done one of several ways. First, you can share using P2P file sharing. This is probably the coolest way to share your creation. Just go to Vuze.com and download their free bittorrent client. Set it up, and you’re ready to share your video with anyone else who has P2P file sharing software.
If you want to share video using video sharing sites, YouTube is probably everyone’s favorite. However, Vimeo will give you a more professional feel, and you don’t have to deal with the same kind of ads that you’ll find on YouTube. Either way, you can set your video privacy and share the video with only those whom you want to.
About the Author
Rita Silva loves her work as an archivist. With a heart for future generations and a knack for modern preservation methods, she enjoys turning her career skills into useful insights for preserving the past for family and friends.
Photo Credit: Flickr via Creative Commons