So many of our clients ask us what they should do about all their home movies that are now in outdated, difficult to view formats.
Family Legacy Productions recommends considering future use, longevity and having high-quality backups.
DVD is, of course, the current standard, though this will surely evolve. One drawback of DVD as your only format is how highly compressed they are. What we recommend is a combination of DVD, MiniDV tapes and Quicktime files.
First, transfer the originals (film reels, Hi-8. VHS, etc.) to MiniDV tapes, an uncompressed format. Next, transfer the information from the miniDVs onto a hard drive as Quicktime files (using iMovie or other software). Remember: For every hour of footage you have, you will need 13 GB of space. If you don’t have a camera that plays MiniDV tapes, you can skip the MiniDV step and have your footage transferred directly onto a hard drive. You will probably need to supply the hard drive to the transfer facility, so if you call Family Legacy Productions, we can recommend a reliable one.
The final step is to create DVDs from either the miniDV tapes or the hard drive files. This way you can enjoy watching your home movies on DVD but won’t have to worry so much about handling the DVDs themselves since you will have backups of all the originals in two other places.
Any transfer facility should be able to provide you with copies in all these formats for very little extra charge—only the cost of the media itself.
A major benefit to avoiding the direct to DVD approach is the chance it gives you to go through and edit your home movies. This can be useful when considering an upcoming family milestone, event, reunion, etc. The editing process will allow you to actually cut those home movies down to a more viewable length, so your extended family will not cringe at the idea of having a look. And you can feel confident knowing that you have triple backups of all your most precious family memories!