Just One Tape

Oct 4, 2019

Reading our blog, you might get the idea that everyone in the world has a vast collection of photos, home movie film and VHS tapes just waiting to be digitized. Maybe everyone in the world except for you. And if you are the only person in the world with only one tape from your childhood or only a handful of pictures, maybe you think you shouldn’t bother with digitizing.

If this is your situation, we have a couple of things to say to you. First of all, you are not the only person in the world who doesn’t have a library of personal memorabilia. Trust us, we see single tapes and small handfuls of photos all the time. Second of all, your memories matter just as much as anyone else’s. Read on for some real life stories that explain just why that is.

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The Only Tape

We had a customer come in one day whose baby brother was about to graduate college. This young man was the first person in their family to graduate college, and they were throwing a big family cookout to celebrate. To make it extra special, his sister wanted to have a tape from their childhood transferred to DVD as a gift to him.

As I was taking down her information to put in the production bag with her tape, she said, “please be very careful with that. It’s the only video of us as kids. We didn’t have much money growing up and my uncle made that tape at our family reunion.”

I assured the young lady that we would take very good care of her memories. She left, and I placed the tape into the production line. A few days later, her DVD was ready. I called to let her know and she came in within the hour to pick it up.

The Best Gift

Before we closed that day, we got a call from the young lady. She went home immediately and watched her DVD. Tearfully, she said “this is the best gift I could ever give my brother. Thank you for giving my family the chance to see our memories again.”

Being the only video that this family had made the memories even more special for that customer. Things that are rare are made more precious by their uniqueness.

One of Many

A few years ago, a close family friend’s younger brother passed away unexpectedly. He was in his early twenties and it was absolutely devastating. I wanted to do something special for his family to help honor his memory.

Due to the type of funeral service they had, they wouldn’t have been able to use a memorial photo montage. A few weeks after the service, I got in touch with my friend to find out what I could do to help the family keep his brother’s memory alive. He said that their stepmother already scanned his brother’s photo albums herself, but that their mom had a bunch of tapes from their childhood in her basement. Immediately, I offered to transfer the tapes to digital for the family.

The next day, my friend came by the office to drop of the tapes. He was right, there were a bunch! About twenty tapes filled a tote bag. I was so glad that they had so many videos that they could look back on.

A Wrench in the Plan

Later that day, I started looking over the tapes to make sure they were in good condition for our transfer machines. To my dismay, the tapes had a lot of mildew from being stored in a basement for years. Mildewed tapes will ruin transfer machines and are terrible quality, so we can’t use those. As I looked at each tape, I became more and more worried that this project could be a lost cause.

Finally, I found one single tape that wasn’t mildewed. With a little prayer, I popped it into a free transfer machine. With so many tapes running all at once it’s impossible for us to watch tapes as they transfer. We just have to let them run and find out if the transfer is viable in quality control afterward.

Another Surprise

The tape transfer finished extremely fast – within half an hour. Concerned that the tape may have been blank, I took the DVD copy out of the machine and popped it into the DVD player we use for quality control. At first, I saw nothing but a blank screen. My heart dropped. A minute into the playback, an image popped up onto the screen. My friend’s brother! The only tape that we could transfer was one of him giving a book report in elementary school.

Worried that he would be disappointed, I called my friend and let him know what happened. Surprisingly, he wasn’t as disappointed as I had expected. He was just happy to have one video to remember his brother by.

It’s Time to Stop Waiting

As you can see, even just one tape can hold powerful memories. Have you been holding off on having your family memories preserved because you think you don’t have enough to count? It’s time to stop waiting! Every memory is precious and worth saving. Don’t wait until it is too late.

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