Jun 18, 2013

Archiving Home Videos

Over the last few weeks I've been capturing a tape at a time of my uncle's old home videos on VHS. They span from 1989 to the mid 1990s, with a couple of tapes from a New York trip in 2001. In all there's been over 30 hours of material, and the goal has been to archive the footage on mini-DV tapes and an external hard drive to then burn DVD copies. It's a slow process, but I'm happy to preserve the few moments of my childhood that were caught on tape too.

What has struck me most in doing this is not just the obvious of how much time has passed and how people have changed, but it's how the tapes themselves have degraded over two decades. Some of the footage is particularly grainy and there are lots of audio dropouts on some of the tapes. The reality is that stuff like this can be easily lost if it's not backed up and archived over the years. I've even found this to be true of pictures backed up on CDs just a decade ago - some of them don't hold up at all.

In some ways this project was motivated by the loss of my aunt, because it emphasized just how valuable these memories were. In general, I think it's been a reminder of how important our photographs and videos really become as time passes. Sometimes they're invaluable in triggering specific memories. 

In any case, I'll be sure to share any of the gems from my childhood that I come across as the archiving continues. In the meantime, you might want to get busy backing up your own memories tucked away on VHS before it's too late.

My sister picking her nose on camera, haha.

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