Turn your old videotapes digital with these easy steps | Smart
Now is a good time to digitize those old home videos. Rich Demuro shows us how in Monday’s Tech Smart.
If you’re like most people, you probably have a bunch of old videotapes laying around the house. These analog tapes don’t last forever, and like the memories on them, will eventually fade to black. But you can preserve these memories forever with some simple equipment and a little investment of your time.
For starters, here’s what you’ll need to go from tape to digital:
- Your old tapes
- A capture device
- A computer
- And a place to store your digital files
You’ll also need a way to play your old tapes. If you saved your camcorder or VCR, you’re in luck! Otherwise you’ll have to borrow one from a friend or find a replacement online.
First, connect the capture device to your computer — I tested the $80 Elgato Video Capture for Mac and the $40 Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 for Pc. They are both fantastic. Stay away from cheaper models as their setup and software will frustrate you.
Next, connect your old player. Pop in a tape and press record on your computer while it plays. Keep in mind the transfer happens in real time. That’s the longest part of the process. Once your tape is finished recording, feel free to edit or just keep it as is.
Now for the important part. You need to put your video file in a safe place. I recommend using Google Photos since you can store as many videos as you want there for free. Just navigate to the website at photos.google.com and drag and drop your video file. You can also upload them to Youtube for free — just be sure to pick unlisted for more privacy
Finally, email a link to friends and family, upload clips to Facebook or show the videos at your next family gathering for guaranteed smiles and perhaps some tears.
It’s a time consuming process but you only have to do it once. And once you do you’ve got your memory saved forever right in the palm of your hands.
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