Monday, February 16, 2009

Digitizing life

Like many people today, I have a large collection of analog media containing family memories. Much of it is my own, but a substantial portion belongs to either my or my wife's parents. This includes film negatives, slides, prints, video film, video tapes, etc.

The saddest part about this old stuff is that it deteriorates over time (even when aggressive archival storage methods are used). In addition, it's very hard to share and usually gets dispersed as various interested parties (i.e. siblings) request to take one of them (sometimes promising to make a copy and return the original -- and I'm sure some actually do that).

I have piles and piles of pretty much all of that other than video film. I have decided that it's about time to bring it all into the modern digital world and am digitizing all of it -- negatives from all the 35MM photos I took, prints from all of our kids class/sports photos or from those 4x6s that we don't have negatives for, thousands of slides (which, IMHO, were the old fashioned "digital" camera in that you just paid $3 to get the roll of film developed without any prints and then said you would print the photos you liked, but never got around to it :-)).

When I'm done, I expect to be able to share my entire digital collection with my family either directly or when I post the more interesting photos on Facebook :-). I also expect that when my kids grow up and leave the house, they will each be able to take a copy of our entire collection with them to be able to peruse whenever they like.

I'm going to write a series of blog entries describing what I've chosen to do for each type of media and how I proceeded. Hopefully some out there will find it useful in one way or another.

BTW - there are a number of services out there that will do this for you for a fee. I've chosen to do it all myself rather than use a service because I want to organize things as I convert and I want to have sensible conversions (if you used the video camera to record your kids birthday and your friends kids' school performance you don't want them on the same DVD -- at least I don't). I've also worked to automate the process as much as possible so I can do it while I'm doing other things.

Finally, I've accepted that this will take a long time and not be done overnight and I will methodically work through the piles (and they are large piles).

Wish me luck!

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1 comment:

Superpat said...

what a great project, Conor - good luck! :-)