We bought our first video camera in 1989 when our son was born. It was one of those large Sony Camcorders that required a steady hand, and it was magical. From family milestones to treasured vacations, our video camera served us well. We graduated to smaller versions over the years, but all of those cameras had one thing in common: Video 8 cassettes.

I kept each cassette in its hard plastic hinged box and meticulously logged the dates and nature of the recorded events on the accompanying cardboard liner. We never seemed to watch the videos after the first viewing – which usually took place immediately after the event or trip – but I always knew where each event could be found and was comforted to know that I could call up Disneyland 1993 on short notice.

My family and the Sony Camcorder. 1992 - the modern postcard
My family and the Sony Camcorder. 1992.

A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to do something with my treasured collection of family lore. I spent hours researching DVD transferring and finally decided on DVD Your Memories in San Diego (they also have locations in Irvine, Los Angeles and Denver). I was impressed with their policy of only charging for actual transferred tape – no charge for empty air time, which happens so often when a cassette is almost full. I also liked that they were willing to record the discs as chronologically close to my original tapes as possible. And I wanted a local shop where I could drop off my tapes in person, discuss exactly what I wanted and meet the technicians who would be turning my videotaped memories into priceless discs.

On November first, I dropped off my more than 30 tapes and was promised I’d have three sets – one for our daughter, one for our son and one for us – by Christmas. On December 22, my order was ready.

While the DVDs were being made, I went to work creating “wraps” and contents lists for the DVD cases. I had given the technician specific instructions on what should go on each disc, so I knew in advance that there would be 12 volumes.

Once I figured out a format and a template for the wrap, the fun began. I went through photo albums and picked favorites for the front and back covers of each DVD and wrote tables of contents for the insides. When the DVDs were ready, I slipped on the sleeves, clipped in the contents and wrapped my special gifts.

And Christmas morning? We watched the magic of Disneyland 1993, as time was wonderfully frozen, even for a brief moment.

Turning videotape into DVDs at DVD Your Memories - the modern postcard


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