Digitizing Old Home Videos

Submitted by Matt on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 15:32

So growing up all of our home videos were recorded on mini VHS tapes. These things are old and getting older so naturally you begin to worry about the quality retained. Not only that you need a VCR and who has one of those these days? As the family historian I needed to come up with a solution.

mini vhs tapes

I rigged up an IPTV tuner to the output of the VCR and painstakingly captured all of the tapes with FFMPEG via H264. I then uploaded all of the H264 videos to the cloud for my family to enjoy. I do find it interesting that something like this would have been unimaginable 20-30 years ago when these things were taken.

The quality of this video is rather poor but not because of my capture equipment. VHS is sub-SD quality. Still better than nothing!

Not satisfied with just the miniVHS, I inherited a whole box of 8mm tapes from my grandmother.

8mm videos

These were a bit more challenging to convert since I was wholly unfamiliar with the media and did not grow up with it. Luckily there are machines you can buy that will assist the process.

video converter

Some of these had sat for nearly 60 years since they had last been watched. I had a few reels that would break apart, had to use tape to attach. Over all was not too difficult. Of course none of these have any sound, but that is by design.

Surprisingly I think in many ways the 8mm video quality is superior to the MiniVHS. I feel like there was much quality less degradation over the 60+ years vs just 20-30.

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