All about Hocus Focus – Saving your vintage media. Why and How.

Hi, I’m Jenny – my very first Hocus Focus post  is focused on why I decided to take up this blog.  It’s about DIY preservation and/or digitalising your old film and photos, vhs and slides.  If you’re anything like me you have hundreds or maybe thousands (I have millions!) of photos, hours of VHS, VHSC, Super 8 film, Standard 8 film and slides to preserve.

8mm film standard 8 super 8 home movies
8mm film – Standard 8 and Super 8 home movies will degrade after many years, even with good storage.

I got a quote from a professional film transfer company once to help me get my 8mm film into a digital file so it could be watched on my computer, or turned into a DVD.   It was going to cost me a bomb, in the region of AU$12,000.
Yeah, right.  Gonna.
So I researched for a year, trial and error, to come up with some DIY solutions.  My biggest problem was my 8mm film,  I have about 25 two hundred foot reels of it. This was my family history, my 1960s childhood, even my parent’s wedding!

My second problem was the millions of photos my family had.  (My father was a cameraman, and I have the genes apparently.)  Nothing can happen in my family without 2 or 3 cameras capturing the event.  So what will I do with the boxes and boxes, albums and albums, (the ones right are only about 1/5 of what I had!) drawers and drawers of photos.  And who will get them when they need to be ‘passed do

I have millions of photos, in these horrible old albums that no one looks at.

wn?’ I don’t like the idea of missing out, or things getting split up and lost. There were pictures from the early 1900’s, from the first and second world wars, from my childhood.  They’re priceless!  (especially the ones of me!!)

Next, I had to contend with about 60 video cassettes, some mini, some VHSC some Hi 8, and regular VHS cassettes.  The old video cameras shot tape.  Sometimes we transferred them onto VHS video, sometimes we didn’t.  If you don’t have the camera working or a converter cassette, then you can’t watch them.  Besides,they degrade after a time, so how to preserve those?

And what about the slides?  Mostly, but not all, before my time, the quality of colour and focus in the beautiful film is precious, and I certainly don’t want to lose them to the vestiges of time.

audio cassettes film video photography movies
Audio tapes – degrading before my eyes.  Photo credit – Robert Smith

Then there was the audio tapes.  Yes I had quite a few.  Not music so much though there was a bit of home-recorded stuff.  It was the voice of my mother, a recording of my brother and I as children, and a discussion with Nana.  Precious!  I had to save them.

What to do?

On this new blog, you’ll find Step-by-Step guides to what I did to preserve my precious memories for all time,  collecting them allm, sorting them, organising them, working out how to play them, copy them, edit them, distribute them….now I have as many copies as I want for as long as I want.   I’ve made my family very happy.  I hope I can help you too.

To get a start have a look at my post: Those Damn Photo Albums – what to do?

Please follow by pressing the FOLLOW BUTTON (for WordPress users), or by following by email (for non-wordpress users) and you’ll get every new post delivered to your inbox.  Give your spam filter something to do!!! You’ll find the follow buttons in the right sidebar of the Home page.

As it gets off the ground, I hope to have a complete inventory of DIY projects, How to’s, instructions, lists and ideas, and tips and tricks to preserving your special memories for future generations.

Please add your comments, post your likes, let me know your own discoveries relating to the simple, no nonsense preservation of your film, video, photos, audio and slides.


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