How to save and share home movies stored on DVDs and VHS tapes

“I’ve been converting 8mm videos to DVD for a while,” wrote Indiana reader Milan Grozdanich in an email to the Helpdesk. “None of my children have DVD players at home or on the computers. their breast. “

His question is one that I have received a lot over the years: How can he save some of them to the cloud so that family members can watch at a distance?

Finding the right solution for you can be more difficult than it may be. After all, you do not want anyone to be able to cross these recordings. And there is an advantage in working faster than later, because whether you have thought about it or not, these home movies are at great risk.

In addition to taking up a lot of space, your old VHS records rely on a well-known magnetic tape that will fade over time. You’ll be a little better off if you record most of your family’s milestones to a set of DVDs, but these are unlikely to last any longer.

Here’s how you can begin to save those precious moments and several ways you can make sure they are available with the right people in your life.

Convert these recordings to video files

This may sound like the hard part and in some ways it can be. But don’t worry: it’s not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, it all depends on what kind of media you recorded in those milestones in the first place.

If you are sitting on top of a stack of old DVDs, the process that worked for me is very simple – assuming you still have a computer that has equipment to read them.

  • Download and install Handbrake, a free and open source video conversion app.
  • Pop the DVD with the recording you want to transfer into your computer’s DVD drive.
  • Open Handbrake and click on the “Open Source” button in the top left corner.
  • Select the device to which you want to copy the video – in this case, your DVD drive. A hand kick will start scanning the disk, which can sometimes take time.
  • Select “Predict” quality for the resulting video. For most people, the default option – “Fast 1080p30” – will suffice, although you should be free to play around with others.
  • Click the “Browse” button and tell Handbrake where to save the resulting video.
  • Finally, click the “Start” button and wait for the process to finish.

If you are trying to save home movies that are only on VHS, these mini miniDV tapes, Hi8 cassettes or something else completely, you will need extra equipment.

First, you will need something to play these formats, such as a VCR or the camcorder you used to record them. You will also need the right connection; in this case, you want a cable that connects to your video player with one end and displays the red, white, and yellow RCA pins on the other.

The last and most important part is the converter that takes the signals coming through those old-school connections and turns them into something your computer can understand.

Some of them can be obtained for just a little money online, but it might be a good idea to get one from a company with a little history in the field – Elgato’s Video Capture and the Dazzle DVD Recorder HD should be appropriate. (Both also come with software that teaches your computer how to capture the video playing on your VCR or camcorder, so that’s one less thing to worry about. take.)

From what I have put together, however, almost every VCR-to-USB connection is weird in its own way, which may make getting the most out of quality transfers. better harder than it should be.

If this sounds scary, remember that there is no shame in calling the experts. Do a quick search for a reputable video streaming service near you, and don’t forget to scramble these reviews before making your decision. If you are an employee and you want to handle how many of these video trends look better, this tutorial video by YouTuber Notelu is a good place to start.

Share those files in a way that feels right

Now that you have saved these old records as digital videos, we need to find out how to share them. Here are a few options you may want to consider, starting with the simplest ones.

Put them in a cloud package

If you use Apple products, you almost certainly have an Apple ID – that means you also have 5GB of free cloud storage. At the same time, people with Google accounts get 15GB of free storage, while Dropbox offers 2GB for free. You can also use some of this space to share your collection of memories with the rest of your family (who may be far away).

Even better, you can easily restrict access to the folder containing your home videos to the people to whom you linked. Here’s how it works in iCloud Drive, Google Drive and Dropbox.

  • This is one of the easiest ways to share access to your personal videos.
  • If you have a lot of home movies to share, you may have to pay for extra storage.

Share them privately on YouTube

There is a good chance that your family members – especially the younger ones – will spend at least part of their day on YouTube at least. If you have a Google account, you can use that to sign in to YouTube and create a YouTube channel where you can store and share your home videos privately.

  • It’s free.
  • Once you have verified your account, you can upload home videos in as long as 12 hours.
  • Many people are already familiar with watching videos on YouTube.
  • You must ensure that all videos are set to “Private” to prevent strangers from viewing them.
  • Sharing all your private videos at once can be difficult, unless you create a private playlist.

Create your own personal Netflix

Ironically, the most elegant solution for the people watching your home movies needs the most work from you. But don’t let that scare you – as long as you have a good home internet connection, you do not need to do much more than install an app on your computer and click a few buttons.

That app, called Plex, turns your PC into a media “server” that you can use to share videos saved on your hard drive. Once you’ve installed that software, just make sure all your home video clips have titles and are stored in the same folder. You can then set up that folder as a library to share home movies and access with others via email – just make sure they sign up for their own free Plex account first .

  • You do not have to upload your videos to someone else’s data center.
  • Plex has smart and portable TV apps, so it’s easy to watch these home videos on multiple devices.
  • You need a fast, reliable home internet connection.
  • The computer running Plex needs to stay running while remote friends and family view your recordings.

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