Capturing Our Past

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How often do you watch your VHS tapes?

I’ve been spending a few years now (😮) capturing old video tapes and photos. Ever since our wedding in 2014, where I scanned several photos for our slideshow, I have desired to capture everything that’s not already digitized.

This includes old VHS, mini DV (etc) tapes and photographs. It also then includes me cleaning up that content. Whether it’s taking the VHS and upscaling it to a 1920x1080 file (which doesn’t fix quality, but it makes the file size larger and files a TV better), or cleaning up scratches on an old photograph. It’s been keeping me busy when I have the time.

For VHS tapes, I started capturing old VHS tapes that my mother and father-in-law had. Many of them contained old footage of my wife as a child. I initially captured the tapes to Mini DV tape and then to my old Mac through Final Cut Pro. Then I transferred that to my new Mac and cleaned up the files. Then I upgraded to a device that I can plug into my computer USB, the other end then connects directly to the RCA cables from the VHS. I can then capture directly to my computer that edit with using either Quicktime or a Video Capture program.

For photography, I simply scan old photos in bulk and then cut them up on my computer, cleaning them up along the way.

Organizing the files is key. I try to label photos I’ve scanned, so I know I can access them digitally. For video, I label the VHS tapes as “digitized” and name the files after what the tape has written on it.

It’s fun to see the old items brought back to life, it enables them to be shared on social media with ease and brings new light and life them them. Light they may never had shed on them aside from a casual glance after getting a photo processed or watching a VHS on TV once.

- The Media Buff

Check out more information on how I can help you with your own video conversion or photo digitization.