Transfer old media to DVD

Digitize your parents’ collection of film reels, videotapes, slides and more and burn them onto DVDs.

By Heather Camlot

For years, my father has been asking me to do something with his 8mm film reels – “something” being converting them to a digital format so he can actually watch them again.

He’s got some great stuff on those film reels, and I’m not just talking about my brother and me as children, although we certainly think those were the glory days. No, my father has footage he shot at Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.   We watched them once, the old-fashioned way – reel-to-reel projector onto a standalone screen. They were pretty cool, but the quality was incredibly grainy and the order of the movies was all over the place. It would definitely be nice to have them restored and converted to DVD.

So when I received an email from Kodak recently about a service called iMemories, I had to take a closer look.

Here’s how it works:

  • You send your 8mm, Super 8 or 16mm film reels, VHS, Betamax, VHS-C, mini DV or 8mm video tapes, slides, negatives or photos to iMemories via regular post or UPS.
  • iMemories emails a quote of everything it received and then you give the go ahead to get things started.
  • iMemories digitizes and restores the material to the best quality possible and uploads it to a private website where you can sort, label, organize and share.
  • When you’re happy with what you see, you determine which and how you’d like them to be transferred to DVD.
  • Everything – including the original material – then gets mailed to you. You can also choose to store your films and photos online for future transfers.

The finer points:

The pricing depends on the medium. To convert a videotape or 50ft film reel is $9.99 US, a 50ft film reel with sound is $19.99 US, and slides, photos and negatives are $0.49 US each. Burning the material is $9.99 US per DVD or $19.99 US for Blu-ray. Shipping is extra.

Unfortunately, the service doesn’t support customers outside of the United States. So for our American readers, give it a try. For us Canadians, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the day iMemories becomes available north of the border.

If you’re in a hurry (you know, like me), there are plenty of small companies to choose from within Canada by doing a Google search for “transfer 8mm” or “digitize 8mm.” Just make sure whoever you select is professional and reputable. Larger companies that provide transfer services include Walmart and Blacks (for slides and negatives). Costco Canada will soon offer a full service as well (its American counterpart already does).

For a lesson it preserving photographic materials, videos and the like, the Canadian Conservation Institute offers some valuable tips.

First published September 22, 2011, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.

 

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