Wednesday 22 October 2014

Converting old family DVDs to digital files

*Collaboration with Linda Benton. Linda Benton is a scrapbooking aficionado. When not preserving and making moments to remember with family and friends, she enjoys trying out gadgets and new technology for preservation and sharing memories with loved ones.

When DVDs came along, they completely took over VHS cassettes due to their far superior quality and ease of use. You may have built up a large collection of home movies on DVDs since then, knowing that the quality would stay better for longer.

However, DVDs can still become damaged over the years, especially if they get scratched. This can affect the quality of your precious family movies and could even make them impossible to view.

To avoid this scenario, you may want to convert them to digital files. Once your home movies are digital, you can then upload them online and share them with family and friends. Here's a quick guide to converting your movies.

Gather the Hardware

The great thing about converting your DVDs is that it is very easy to do. Firstly, you will need to gather together the correct hardware in the form of a computer and a DVD player. You may be able to connect your DVD player directly into your computer, otherwise you can buy an adaptor to connect the two together.

Choose Your Software

You will need to use some software to capture the footage from your DVD to your computer. There are many options here, from expensive suites to free options. Research some of the available options, and find one that looks suitable for you. Make sure you find one that is compatible with Windows or OS X depending on your operating system.

Choose a Format

You will need to choose a digital format to convert your DVD into, and this will depend on how you plan to use it. If you want to keep the highest quality possible, be aware that this will take longer to covert, and you will also need to have enough space on your hard drive.

If you plan to upload the movie online, you may want to choose a lower quality and a format that is more suitable for this, such as .mov or .mp4.

Convert Your DVD

Once you have chosen the format for your digital file, you can begin the conversion process. This can be very quick, or it can take a very long time. It depends upon the amount of footage, the quality level you have chosen, and the power of your computer.

Edit Your Movie

Once the conversion is complete, you have successfully digitized your DVD. However, don't stop there. You can now play around with the footage and edit it into something more interesting, perhaps by cutting out the boring bits.

You may require different software for this, or the software you used to capture the footage may come with editing software. You can easily find some free software for basic edits, or you may want to buy a more comprehensive editing suite.

Share Your Digital Movies

Once your movie is complete, you should back it up somewhere so that you won't lose it. You may also want to share it now that you have digitized it. One option is to simply upload it to YouTube or another video sharing website and send a link to the people you want to see it.

Alternatively, if it is a large file, you may want to share it as a torrent. Simply download a file sharing client like Vuze and you will be able to share it with loved ones and friends or anyone else for that matter.

Digitize Your Home Movie Collection

Digitizing your home movies from DVDs is easy to do as well as being inexpensive. So don't take risks with your collection of family movies due to breakages and scratches, and digitize them today.

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