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Digitize Your Home Movies Before It’s Too Late

As some of you may have read in my other blog, Generation Ivory, I digitized old home movies for my family for Christmas. They absolutely loved watching the movies on Christmas Day at my grandparent's house.

If you have old 8mm and Super 8 movies like that laying around your house or in your parent's or grandparent's house it is so important to get those movies digitized before it is too late. Old film like that can easily get destroyed or fade. In many of the clips from the rolls I digitized the color was faded and needed color correction. When film is properly stored in the proper climate, humidity, etc. it can last a long time, but if it is stored in boxes in the attic of basement, they are easily susceptible to getting ruined.

You may be asking yourself how you are supposed to take that old film and digitize it so you can put it onto a DVD. There are many companies that have the equipment necessary to digitize the film and can even make DVD's with music and transitions for you.

When searching on the internet for "home movie digitization", most of the companies that are pulled up in the search results are most likely out of state. You can ship your home movies to these companies and have them digitize it, and in return they will send back the original film along with the digitized copies. That is something that many people, including me, are not that comfortable with. I know how many shipping companies including the postal service handle many of the boxes and throw them around. Your purpose is to preserve those memories and when you ship them across the country you never know what could happen to it.

I recommend finding a company that is local, or at least a place that will only take a day to ship. Having it ship in one day makes it less likely that damage will occur as there are fewer people it goes through and just plainly shorter time. I found a place near me where I was able to ship it to them one day, and the very next morning it was received in their shop.

Depending on when you get them digitized and how much you have to digitize will determine how long it will take them. I sent my film (abt. 1500 ft.) to get digitized right before Thanksgiving and received the originals and digitized copies back in about 3 weeks. Most places will do express ordering if you need it.

You may be wondering how much something like this costs? Each place varies on the price and depending on how much you are digitizing. The place I sent my home movies to was very reasonable compared with some of the other places I checked - plus it was pretty close to my home.

Here is a brief summary of the prices I received to give you an idea.
  • $19.95 Set-up Fee
  • 15¢ ft. - Standard Definition
  • 20¢ ft. - Hi-Definition(I chose this option. I figured if I am going to do it, I am going to do it so it is great quality.)
  • 7¢ ft. - Color Correction if needed(I didn't think I needed it so I didn't do this option. I should have because I had to then spend a lot of extra time myself and do the correction. It would have been worth the extra 7¢ for them to professionally do it.)
  • $32.95 per DVD(with this option you cannot put the files onto your computer and edit them yourself. DVD Player only)
  • $20 to put files onto an External Hard Drive(allows you to put files onto your computer and edit yourself. They gave me the option to use my own External Hard Drive or purchase one from them. 3,000 ft. of film = about 60GB for Standard Definition. Hi-Def. is more.)
  • 3 Types of files 
    • MJPEG
    • MPEG - most compression
    • AVI - best quality
Again, those were the prices that I received when I had my home movies digitized and prices will vary depending on where you choose to have them digitized.

In my opinion, old home movies like this are great because you can actually see (and sometimes hear) what your parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents acted like on camera. It is sometimes pretty funny to see. I highly recommend you get all your old movies digitized so they can be preserved to share with future generations.

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