I spent last Tuesday afternoon watching movies and laughing hysterically. No, I didn't pay to see the latest comedy in a darkened theater. Instead, I was just as entertained watching home movies at the Peggy Kelly Media Arts Center. The only thing missing was the popcorn.
I booked time at the studio to transfer my husband's old home movies to DVD as a surprise for Father's Day. Like a lot of people with 8mm or Super 8 film, we never watch those childhood era movies. Not only do we not have a movie projector, I suspect that we wouldn't deal with the hassle of hauling it out and setting up a screen very often even if we did.
If you're wondering whether I'm ruining the surprise by blogging about this little project, it's a moot point because the first thing I did when I came home was show my kids and husband. In theory, I spilled the beans so that my husband could locate all his home movies that he had stashed away in the storeroom. But really, I couldn't wait to see his reaction.
The verdict: totally worth the time and money. Even my kids found it more entertaining than the last movie we saw on Netflix. (I can't explain it, but there's something wildly hilarious about seeing your dad eating Oreos as a toddler.)
I had intended for this post to be a "how to guide" on transferring home movies to DVD, but that part is extremely short: basically it's turn on projector, hit record on the DVD player and sit back and watch the show. Oh, and call the helpful staff for help if you run into problems.
I didn't grow up with 8mm movies, so I didn't know how to thread the projector. No problem. Staff was always around to guide me through the process.
(My dad bought a huge camcorder when I was in high school. Seriously, those early models were so big that he looked like a photojournalist from a local TV station when he hauled that thing to athletic events. Should I find myself with time on my hands, I also can transfer those cassettes to DVD at the studio.)
Because I had well-preserved film with good splices, I didn't have many issues. My father-in-law, bless his soul, was a supply sergeant with the National Guard and was extremely organized.
Family legend has it that he even alphabetized cans of vegetables in his cupboard. While that might be an overstatement, he was a confirmed label-er. This made my job easier because every canister had the reel number, date and highlights, so it will be easy for me to record the family movies in order. All. 25. Of. Them.
Yep, that's around 12.5 hours of movies. At $30 per hour of studio time, it won't be a cheap project, but it will be much less expensive than having it done professionally. I didn't research this extensively, but I found professional prices around $60 and $80 per half hour of movie time -- about four times the cost of doing it yourself. (Note: 30 minutes of movies might mean 35 to 40 minutes of studio time for setting up, saving to DVD, dealing with issues, rewinding, etc.)
Other family members are chipping in with the cost and the work, and we'll make copies of the finished DVDs for ourselves and our kids. We plan to have a movie marathon with the extended family on Father's Day -- and this time we'll include the popcorn
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