How many of us have received homemade gifts over the years and wondered why someone would take the time and effort to make THAT? I still have the hand-made "Santa's Workshop Tissue Holder" I received a few years ago because I felt guilty disposing of it. I have a better idea for using a tissue box for a good teary-eyed memory and your homemade gift can be the most appreciated gift of all: dub those old VHS tapes onto DVD quickly and easily, and if you have time, even edit out the bad stuff.
SAVE IT! Those memories are precious, you need to get moving to save them while you can. After all, those special memories are going to be memories only, if someone doesn't save them. I'm quite passionate about this because I have had every photo, video, and treasure I owned and grew up with destroyed in a flash. My childhood memories and the memories of my son's childhood are only that: memories. There is no video. There are no photos. Don't let this happen to you! Even if you have the video on VHS, how long with it last? Video quality degradation becomes apparent within a few years and videotape breaks down every time you play it. Older tapes lose their protective coating, which can flake off into your VCR every time its played, perhaps rendering the VCR unusable over time, too.
DUB IT! Pinnacle Systems has two products to make editing and sharing home videos easier. Pinnacle Dazzle DVD Video Creator Plus and Video Transfer are geared to help users take precious memories currently stored on analog tapes and transfer them easily to a digital format. The user can then share these memories on DVD or on networking sites such as podcasts or vidcasts over the Internet. Check out our review of Video Transfer. It's easy to use, and even a non-techie can work it. So If you GIVE this gift to mom, ask her to just dub the entire VHS collection, and you'll gladly edit down the result. Saves you the hassle of doing the up-front work. We also found VHS-to-DVD transfer devices and software from Cyberlink and Golden Videos. We also reviewed Magix' Rescue Your Videotapes! that helps perserve these old formats. With the provided dongle and software, you can transfer VHS, S-VHS, 8mm, Hi8 and even Betamax to DVD. All of these products are geared to make VHS dubs easy, because we all know tape is dying, get that dinosaur transferred now, BEFORE you trash that old VCR. [image:blog_post:14014]
SHARE IT! Oh, and that tissue box? Here's what I did a few years ago: I edited a nice, musical, 20-minute collection of old video of my daughter-in-law growing up, along with some pan-n-scan photos of her family and some of the footage I took of my grand-daughter's first few years. I then burned the completed piece onto a DVD.
When I gave the DVD "present" to my daughter-in-law at Christmas, I taped the disc to the bottom of one of those square tissue boxes; the DVD jewel case was almost the same size as the box. [image:blog_post:14015] I wrote on the first tissue, "Look under the box", and there was the DVD.
My daughter-in-law's mom saw the disc and said, "Oh, oh! I know what the tissues are for…" Yep. By the time they finished watching that beautiful 20-minute video there wasn't a dry eye in the house, and I was given the accolades and praise like the Video Diva that I am.
Jennifer O'Rourke is Videomaker's managing editor.