I think we can all agree that the year 2020 was challenging. One good thing that came from sheltering at home was that we had extra time to clean out closets, garages, attics and basements. If you are like us and discovered grandma’s box of super 8 and 8mm films at the back of your closet, you might be wondering how you are going to preserve those items for future generations. We have 10 tips to help you get started.
- Make an Inventory List – The first step is understanding how the movies exist.
★ Old 8mm or Super 8 film
★ Tapes or hard drives from a camcorder
★ Unique movies captured on a mobile device like a phone
- Gather and Label – Once you have a sense of the movies out there, gather them in one location like a box, drawer or large envelope. Even if you do not have the time or plan to work with them in the immediate future, having them in one location can prevent them from becoming misplaced.
- Move to Safe Location – Be mindful of where your collection is located. Is it out in the garage where temperatures can plunge in the winter or bake in the summer? A deviation in temperatures can damage some formats. Move your collection to a location that is stable in temperature and safe from the elements.
- Prioritize – Film movies, when stored well, often will outlast their tape cassette cousin. VHS, Betamax and even other formats like DV tape can begin to show quality issues as their magnetic format ages. Movies in the tape format should be first on your list to digitize.
- Avoid Hardware Failures – Hard drives do not last forever. If your movies are exclusively on one computer or the hard drive of a video camera, back up the content to a second or third location.
- Use Multi-Storage Options – While the Cloud is a great storage location for family movies, it should not be your only storage location. Many free Cloud providers do not guarantee that data will not be accidently lost due to damage or deletion. Also, be aware that if you pay for storage and then stop making payments for whatever reason, your content can be quickly deleted to make room for paying customers.
- Keep the Old Equipment – With today’s mobile devices, it makes sense to think it’s time to recycle the old VCR, Camcorder or movie projector. The truth is, once you begin to consolidate and work with your movie collection, some of this equipment can be very helpful and valuable. In our world of increased streaming, even DVD players are beginning to disappear from store shelves.
- Make Your Collection Easy to Transport – No matter where you live, natural disasters are part of life. Plan ahead and make sure your movie collection is consolidated and ready to go if you need to evacuate. Beyond people, pets and important papers, irreplaceable family movies and photos are typically one of those important items that people try to save in an emergency. Make you collection accessible and easy to move.
- Share – If your family movie collection is stored on DVD or digital files, make copies and share them with the people you care about. Multiple copies ensure that your precious memories are safe and will be enjoyed by countless family and friends for years to come.
- Take Your Time – Preserving family movies can often include hours of sorting and digitizing your collection. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to work on this project and avoid getting overwhelmed. Set a reasonable weekly or monthly goal realizing that most collections span decades.
Don’t forget, you can always work with a Professional Photo Organizer like Gold Star Photo Solutions. We can digitize your various formats and work with you to create a plan to preserve, share and enjoy your collection now and for years to come.