The “REEL” Truth About Transferring Home Movies To DVD

A DVD is just too unstable for your precious home movies

One of the things that most people don’t consider or understand about having all their home movie media on film and tape transffered to a DVD is that they have done nothing to preserve their legacy for future generations.  While DVD’s are a convenient play back format, transferring  original material to a DVD is just making  a low quality copy from your master.  Even “GOLD” DVD’s are just a marketing scheme and are not infinitely  more stable than any other type of DVD.

4gig of Home Movies

Most people are surpirsed when I tell them  DVD is a low quality copy of their original.  It is like you had an original Picasso  painting for example.  But instead of framing your Picasso, you took a photocopy on your home photocopier, framed it, hung it on the wall, and rolled up the original or even worse, through it away.  The copy will never be as good or as detailed  in this example, because that is the quality that the photcopier can render. It is a watered down versio no f the original.  Get it? It is the exact same with your film and tapes.

 

 

A DVD will not be the common playback format of the future.  We have already lived through the demise of film projectors, VHS players, etc, and the future obsolescence of DVD is inevitable.

Another thing people often don’t think about is that you  can not easily edit a DVD.   One of the things people often feel anxious about before they transfer their films is getting things in the correct chronological order.  This is a

challenge, because unless the date and event is written on the reel or tape , we might not know what is on it, and we no longer have the correct playback machine for that kind of film and tape.

 

Today, most computers have easy to use editing programs where you can cut and paste snippets or “golden nuggets” together to tell a compelling story.  These tools make it so easy and fun to be “head of your own studio” so you can bring the past into your digital life and share on social media, create a YouTube Channel , watch on your iPad or any smart device.  Try doing that with a  DVD.  After all, editing is why people love watching a good movie.  Take out the slow, boring and blurry parts so we can focus into the good parts.

 

A couple of years ago, my aunt and uncle “downsized” from their family home to a condo complex for seniors.   Proudly, my uncle showed me his new media center beautifully built into a bookcase.  He had always been an audio and media buff and bought the best of the best.  In this cabinet he had a player for Mini-dv tapes, a Hi-8 tape player, a VHS player, a DVD player and a Blu-ray disk player – all top of the line, all brand new. He said, “I’m so glad you put all of Papa’s films on DVD a few years ago.  There would be no room for a projector!”

 

I looked at him and complimented him on the beautiful new equipment.  Then I shared with him the information below, which made his jaw drop!

 

 

HAIL TO THE HARD DRIVE – EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING

 

Today, the hard drive changes it all.  We can migrate all our home movie media onto a portable hard drive.  The price of the drives keeps going down, and the storage capacity keeps going up.

 

This can be a challenging concept to get across to people, even really smart people like my uncle.  The hard drive has eliminated our need to have so many machines to playback our media on.

 

The process that accomplishes this migration of many formats onto a hard drive is accomplished is actually quite simple. The benefit is that now all your different mediums are speaking the same language!

 

 

HOW IT’S DONE

 

In order to properly archive and preserve your home movie you have to create a  Digital Master.  This allows you to repurpose the material in many fantastic ways.  The process  by which this is  accomplished  so that  all your formats are on one device and speaking the same language is actually quite simple.

 

  • All your different formats are transferred as data files by a company offering that service.
  • Then, these new files are downloaded by that service provider  onto the hard drive.
  • The hard drive is plugged in to your computer.
  • The files show up on the device as play lists. One file for each reel of film or videotape.
  • Simply click on the one you want to watch.
  • Files can be downloaded to your computer or uploaded to the Internet. You can watch the files on any of our modern playback devices, including our TV, ipad, or smart phone or streamed over the internet.

 

The conversion to data files  should be done by a company that specializes in this type of work and  uses state of the art HD equipment that does not compromise the integrity of the original material .  Sadly, lots of companies, both big box and mom and pops are doing work on terrible equipment that can potentially damage you film.  You also want to make sure the files are HD files  (commonly referredto as a CODEC) such as Pro Res , not low quality FTP files.  If they files are small enough that they can be emailed to you, than the quality is low enough that it is inferior  to what the original material looked like.

 

 

As consumers, we are getting used to the idea that we will probably get a new computer or cell phone every few years.  We have the mindset of, “I’m getting the latest version and keeping up with technology.”

 

This is also true of hard drives.  The price of the drives keeps going down and storage capacity goes up. Migrating your media that is already in a data file format to another hard drive every few years is fast, cheap and easy; just the cost of another drive. There is no loss in quality when you migrate the data digitally from one drive to another because you are keeping it in the same form, and you will never have to re-transfer the material.  That is a crucial point.

 

For more tips like these, check out my website www.homemovielegacy.com  Rhonda Vigeant

One comment

  1. Vickie Macri says:

    Indeed, hard drives are better because they are more convenient and easy to save. With DVDs, there is always the risk of losing it or not working because of the scratches. With the hard drives, you just have to do updates.

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