I cleaned out a cabinet a few years ago and found a stack of old Super 8 videos. I’ll never forget the way my Mom’s face lit up after I digitized videos of her late brother Harold Jr.’s wedding. Tragically, he died in a car accident not long after his wedding day.
Memories like that are so precious, but when was the last time you watched family videos? If they’re on VHS, it can be a pain. Even worse, every year that goes by, those tapes degrade a little more.
Satish from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, called my national radio show this week for help digitizing old tapes, and I figured he’s not the only one.
Go the DIY route
If you want to convert your VHS to digital, you’ll need a VCR or VHS camcorder. If you need one, try eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace or some other local sales platform.
From there, you’ve got two main options. FYI, you’ll have to transfer your VHS recordings in real time, so set aside some time.
Option 1: Get a converter like this option from Elgato that digitizes video onto a computer. Plug it into your USB port, then connect your analog video source (VCR, DVD player, DVR or camcorder) using the included cables. The included software guides you through the process.
Option 2: A handheld video-to-digital converter. You don’t need to use a computer or any software. Connect it to your video source and insert a USB drive or SD card into the converter. Hit the Record button and watch your movies get digitized in real-time on the LCD screen. Sweet!
Or have someone do it for you
Costco, Walgreens or Walmart will convert tapes starting around $20 a pop. Not bad. They’ll take VHS footage and put it on a DVD for you, along with a digital copy.
Or you can try a service that specializes in this stuff. They’re slightly more expensive, but I’ve found the final product’s quality is much higher.
- iMemories – Starting at $29.99 per VHS tape
- Legacybox – Starting at $60, the starter pack includes up to two tapes or 50 photos (I just spotted a 50% off sale on its site)
- Capture – Starting at $29.99 per tape
Be kind and rewind
Let me tell you, getting this all done takes time and work. It helps to do it in baby steps. Gather all the tapes, get the gear you need or figure out the service you want to use. I put old digitized videos up on YouTube with a private link. This way, I can share that link with family and friends. Fun times!
🤣 Two goats are chewing on a VHS tape. One says, “This film is pretty good.” The other replies, “Yeah, but the book was better.”
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