Monday, January 29, 2018

Film to Beta to VHS to Super 8 Video to DVD to Digital to....

My father is the resident cameraman and documenter for our family.  He was one of the first of his siblings to have a Super 8 movie camera, way back when I was born, and he used it to document so many of our family events through the 70s, capturing vacations and special moments for pretty much my entire life.

Then, in the early 80s, he bought a video camera, which was an expensive proposition back then.  Not only was it a video camera... it was a Betacam.  Beta tapes were smaller than VHS, and provided a better picture, but VHS became the standard and Beta eventually was phased out.  Before that, though, Dad captured all of my awkwardness through my teen years, and those videos are preserved for all time, much to my chagrin.  At least I had reached puberty.  My younger brother wasn't so lucky, and his video history is much more varied in all its awkwardness. 

Unfortunately, Dad's camera wasn't to last.  He finally converted over to VHS in the late 80s.  But it meant we had to convert all of our home videos that were on Beta over the VHS.  This wasn't the first time Dad would find himself having to do that.

A decade later, he moved over to Super 8 video, and it mean a new format for everything.  That worked out okay, though, since he had no problem copying his home videos onto VHS so that everyone could have copies.  Of course, by that time, DVDs were the popular choice, and digital video was preferred.  Dad made this transition, though, by getting a Tivo Humax, which easily converted video over to DVDs.

Fast forward a few more years, and I had my own Super 8 Camcorder.  This worked great since my wife and I were traveling a great deal and we were able to document our trips.  Soon, my daughter was born, and having these priceless videos became even more important.  But because I wanted a more stable format, I made another conversion over to a camcorder that recorded onto mini DVDs.  I was happy to my videos in a digital format.  Dad continued using his Tivo Humax, though, to create his DVDs.

In recent days, Dad's camcorder stopped working, and he's struggling again to make a transition to a new format.  He is trying out a digital camcorder, but it is so tiny, and he doesn't like that he can't keep the videos smooth.  They bounce quite a bit.  The positive is that the videos are already digital.

It seems like technology is progressing faster and faster each day, and formats we're using today are practically ancient as soon as they become available.  What can one do?

Dad will likely continue to use what is most familiar to him, regardless of whether it's a new technology or ancient.  So as long as he has something he can use, he'll continue to document our family.  And that's fine with me.

Have a great evening, everyone.

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