Recording artist Paul Simon had a hit song back in 1975 called “50 ways to leave your lover.”
While I couldn’t think of 50 reasons to digitize your old photos, videos and films I did come up with close to a half dozen compelling reasons to not leave your old media just sitting deteriorating but to take action by digitizing them as soon as possible.
I started The Video Editor in the fall of 1993 here in Southern California. In October of that year the Laguna Firestorm destroyed over 300 of my neighbors’ homes along with all of their photos, films and videos.
Safety And Peace Of Mind
Reason number one to digitize your old photos, videos and films is safe keeping and peace of mind, knowing that if a natural disaster were to occur whether a fire, flood, or tornado your media has been saved on the cloud and on a convenient thumb drive. Many of our clients once all the photos and films have been digitized will provide family members a cloud link for them to view and even to download the family memories. So not only do you have a backup but family members do as well.
As we mentioned above, sharing a Google cloud link with others is the fastest way for invited guests (family members) to access, watch and to download. Here’s how it goes at The Video Editor, once we have digitized all the photos, films and videotapes we upload to Google Drive for our client. In the folder are additional folders containing photos, films and videos. Each client is given a private link to that folder which they can share with others. From a computer, phone or tablet a viewer can click on the link and have access to all the media in that family folder. Each viewer can download the files to their own computer if they’d like for future viewing. We provide that storage link for 60 days, so clients are encouraged to download the videos.
Another sharing option is to buy additional DVD sets, or USB thumb drives and physically hand out or mail out to others. Sharing memories has never been easier.
The average collection of old media from our clients averages at about three to four decent sized boxes containing, photos, 35mm slides, photo albums, 8mm movie film reels and various sizes of videotape including VHS, regular 8 video, hi8, miniDV, VHS-C and more.
Once we digitize all the media and have backed up everything we return all of the original media. You then have the option to continue to hold onto all the originals or to recycle the media.
I’m in the video transfer business, have been for 30 years and I still shake my head everyday when I see 3 boxes of videos, home films and a huge amount of photos that now are all stored on a 2 inch thumb drive. It is amazing. Many clients purchase several thumb drives from us to give to family members and a copy to put away into a safe deposit box.
Just think of all the additional storage area you’ll be able to reallocate to the closet or garage.
Stops Deteriorating Media
It goes without saying really, but every physical item has a limited shelf life. Photos developed with chemicals and special paper are made to last a long time but not for several lifetimes. If you need proof just look at some of your oldest photos, they are probably torn, faded (some yellowed or browned) because the chemicals used are breaking down with light and the environment (dust, temperature, humidity and more).
Films and 35mm slides were processed with chemicals as well and are vulnerable to the same natural elements. Many film reels and slides have come to us having been improperly stored with extreme temperature changes and those films smell of vinegar (chemicals breaking down) and the film is no longer flat but curved, curled, bent and brittle causing them to no longer able to be used or viewed. Sad, because these were the families last efforts at documenting their family history.
By digitizing your media it basically comes with the promise that no more deterioration will take place. When digitized, your photos are no longer chemicals subject to fading they are now digital (a series of zero’s and ones) that won’t fade, scratch, tear, rip etc.
Ease Of Viewing
At some point we all had VCRs and videotape cameras, but seemingly in a blink of an eye all that changed. Many of us don’t even have a working VCR (video cassette recorder) or camera anymore. So now we have boxes of videos and home movies that we can’t even watch any longer.
The good news is once you have digitized that entire collection of media you have many options to watch those memories not only in the present but also in the future.
Digitized media as we mentioned can be stored in the cloud, on a thumb drive or on discs. Viewing options are now easy. While DVDs are still a storage and viewing option they are becoming less popular in this era of streaming video. Remember DVDs are a physical product and are subject to the degrading elements of heat and dust, as well as chemical breakdowns. Of bigger concerns are scratches, nicks and fingerprints on the discs. These are the real villains in this story, rendering the media useless.
If you elect to watch DVDs your DVD player hooks up to your television. But judging from history and how quickly VCRs went away I would think twice about the longevity of DVD players.
Another option is to have your memories stored in the cloud. (Google drive, DropBox or other service) This option is deemed reliable as everything is backed up with redundant systems for safety. Although with this option you will have to pay a monthly or yearly storage fee. Once on the cloud you simply log in to your account and stream (watch) your memories to your computer or TV. Here you’ll have the ability to fast forward, reverse and jump anywhere in the video. Any sound found on the originals are included once they were made digital. In addition you can download all your memories from these services to your computer or a hard drive for additional security.
A USB thumb drive is probably the least expensive option to store and to view your memories from. Simply plug in a USB thumb drive to your computer and watch right there. A thumb drive is a physical device but has no moving parts. Sure it can be misplaced (lost), in extreme circumstances it can be smashed, bent, etc but at its price point several can be purchased to serve as back ups.
If you were to ask me for my advice, I would suggest for the ease of storage and viewing, to get the cloud option and a thumb drive.
In reality there are may be more reasons to digitize your old photos, videos and films but at some point you personally have to decide am I going to make an effort to digitize my families legacy or not? You’ve read some of the top reasons why you should.
I get it, this is a huge undertaking and you want to do this digitizing only once. So I think it gets down to whom you trust with your media memories. Who provides the safety and security and the guarantee that it gets done right the first time.
As I can’t talk for my competitors let me tell you my company The Video Editor. I founded this company in 1993 nearly 30 years ago. We have the experience and knowledge to successfully digitize photos, films and videos. With hundreds of thousands of happy customers from all over the United States and very strong word of mouth referrals we take pride that we do it right.
While we deal with old media we are constantly looking to improve our film transfers, photo scanning and video transfers. Fortunately new transfers machines do come on the market that continue to improve quality. We invest in these tools to continue to provide our customers the absolute best transfers.
Safety issues are addressed in every stage of our service. When you order on line at thevideoeditor.com we ship you a safe ship digitizing kit that is designed to safely transport back to us your memories. We provide you a prepaid UPS shipping label with tracking so we can watch its progress en route. Once inside The Video Editor we keep
you informed as to the status of your project and email you a return shipping notification upon completion. All orders are backed up and insured to provide additional security in the return shipping.
We pride ourselves by providing the best customer service before, during and after you receive your project back. Quite frankly we wouldn’t have made it 30 years without that commitment to our customers.
I trust this article was helpful to your decision making process. Digitizing and preserving your old analog media simply makes sense in so many areas. Now when you compare companies to transfer your media you have answers to your questions.
Don’t over pay for digitizing services; this is a fairly straight forward approach. Our pricing is fair and honest without surprises.
The cost of seeing grandma and papa again, baby’s first steps, family holidays, PRICELESS!