They say that life goes by quickly and change is inevitable, and that really applies to the world of video. At Foto 1 we have been doing a lot of video conversions lately and it has been a walk through photo and electronic history.
Video conversion is the process of taking old home movie formats and changing them into the currently popular DVD format. Home video started out in the 1960s with 8mm and 16mm video. These are video tape on metal or plastic reels and they often hold the best surprises since the equipment to view these videos is almost nonexistent today.
Most people who bring them into us have never seen the movies and it's great when they get to see people and places that are long gone. Video technology seemed to be lacking in the 1970s, but home video equipment became more affordable in the 1980s with the advent of the VHS tape and the less popular BETA format. Some of you will remember those big cameras that made you look like a TV cameraman. As the technology got better and the electronics got smaller, we had various formats to choose from. VHS-C and 8mm was the big thing in the 1990s and Mini-DV started out the new millennium. VCRs are almost gone and DVD players have taken over for right now.
So you can see the problem that folks are having: They want to watch the home movies, but don't have the equipment to view them. As the tapes get older they tend to get brittle and can easily break so it's important to convert them to DVD as soon as possible.
Today's video cameras save video onto hard drives or flash cards, and a lot of people don't even own a video camera anymore. They are shooting video on their still cameras and a ton of video is being captured on cell phones and the new flip cameras. Most people want to keep all these memories, and the process of converting them to whatever format is the most current is very important to maintaining your family history.
I don't know what the next big thing is going to be, but DVD seems to be the best format for right now. You never know what you are going to find, birthdays, Christmases, and if you are from around here you most likely will have some Forest Festival video lying around. Climb up into the attic or dig into the boxes stored away in the closet and see what kind of history you can find.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer as well as a certified professional photographer.)