No one wants to get rid of family films. The older they get, the higher their sentimental value. They are an incredible way of preserving those incredible memories. A wedding ceremony, pregnancy, the first few hours and days of the babies on earth, the moment they take their first steps with their little feet and their early days in schools among many others.

Unfortunately, analog technology is unreliable as the images and sounds deteriorate over time. Depending on the nature of the tape, the longest this method of storage can last is 20 years. After it is threatened by issues such as tape deformation, magnetic instability as well as the general breakdown of chemicals, you begin to lose your videos and pictures.

The good news is that advancement in technology has made it possible for you to preserve these beautiful memories through digitization of film. Keep reading to learn about Saving Family Films – How to Move them to Digital Formats.

Pay a professional

Due to the demanding nature of the task, some people prefer paying professionals to digitize family films. Different firms charge varying amounts, which is also dependent on the amount of work. Shop around and ask recommendations from friends, relatives, or colleagues at work. Your choice of the service provider should be thoroughly thought out because the last thing you want is to lose the memories preserved in those films.

One of the most important factors to consider should be the experience of the service provider. How long have they been in business? What do their customers have to say about their services? Are they affordable? What is their level of customer service? If possible, do a trial run. Find a film reel whose content you wouldn’t mind losing and do a test run with it. If you love the outcome, go ahead with it.

Do it yourself

If you are a DIY person, you will enjoy digitizing your family films. DIY digitization of film is the cheapest method. It gives you control over your memories. One of its downsides is that the process is quite time-consuming. If the tape runs for two hours, it will take a similar time to convert. Brace yourself!

Here is how to go about it:

1.  VHS tapes

The younger generation might not even know what VHS means nowadays, but it used to be the primary way we watched movies (and made our own videos) at home.  If you are looking to save your old family videos, chances are at least some of them are on VHS.

For this method you will need a VHS player (i.e a VCR, remember VCRs?) and analog converter for connecting to the computer. The computer you are using must have a DVD drive – for installing the software.

–  Connect the analog converter to the computer through the USB.

–  Connect the remaining three plugs to your VHS player.

–  Encapsulate all the footage you consider worthwhile from the VHS tape and save it in the form of a .mov file.

–  Transfer the selected footage to the right folder on your computer.

Do not spend the whole day trying to enhance the quality of the video via standard home equipment. The task might prove futile if the original quality was poor.

2.  Film

There are two ways you can go about this.  The first is to utilize a specialized piece of equipment called a film scanner.  These film scanners look like projectors in that they will have film reels, but they roll through the reel and take digital pictures of each slide, and then assemble those into a digital movie format.

The other option is similar but doesn’t require a specialized scanner for film.  This lower-tech way of digitizing films uses a regular projector. You will not be dealing with ports to plug into anything; just the projected image.

This method entails re-recording. Begin by setting your projector in a dark room. The projection surface must be white and smooth. Aim at attaining a close projection to guarantee enough brightness as well as full-color reproduction. Have in place a digital video camera. A Smartphone with a high-quality camera will also do. You are now set for recording. If you notice some flickering of the image, adjust the projector’s speed. While the footage you get from this process will not be without quirks, it is undoubtedly clear and vivid.

Understand that a lot of things can go wrong with this conversion and that’s why many people prefer hiring a pro.

Save for the future

You are done with the hardest part. As far as saving for the future is concerned, consider making two independent copies of each of your films. Some of the modern media of storage include flash disks, hard drives, and on the cloud.  
For some more information you can check out this Popular Mechanics article on digitizing your family films.

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6 Reasons Why Your Website Sucks (and What You Can Do About It)

Have you ever browsed the website of a big company like Dell or Samsung? Were you impressed with how easily you found what you were looking for, despite the all the complexity of their product lines? I guess you probably were. These websites are built to the highest of professional standards. And as a result, the user experience is seamless.

But all too often, startups fail to emulate the seamlessness generated by the big companies. What seems like it should be straightforward and easy turns out to be a lot more complicated than they imagined. Here are some of the reasons why your website sucks and what you can do about it.

1. Boring headlines

In a world that’s full of low brow content and click-bait, it can be hard for your business to compete. People will click on titles that they find the most titillating, rather than the most informative. Titles which aren’t attractive aren’t going to attract much attention on the internet. They might interest specialists, but not the general public.

Making the titles on your website sexier is an easy first step to making your site more attractive. The next step is to include interesting images and perhaps infographics to reel in even more people. Often it’s just about keeping up with what others in your industry are doing, just to enable you to compete.

2. No blog

If you’ve spent any time browsing the sites of smaller companies, you’ll have noticed a trend over the last few years. They all have blogs. No longer is blogging reserved for foodies and disgruntled youth. It’s a tool that practically everybody is using to drive traffic to their websites. But why?

It all comes down to content. First off, search engines love new content. In fact, they take it into consideration every time they calculate your site’s ranking.

But also, the people looking for your product will probably want to read more about it. That’s why you’ll often find blogs on the sites of companies that sell complex products.

Legal firms, for example, make a point of running blogs that explain how their processes work in layman’s terms. It’s all designed to be helpful, accessible content for potential customers.

3. No website marketing plan

Your website is like the display window at the front of a department store. It’s the public facing part of your business. And it’s got to look good. But all too often, startup websites aren’t fronts for their brands. They’re generic templates that look as if they’ve been thrown together in five minutes.

Building brand identity through your website is an essential part of building a successful business. Because it’s your website that the public and other businesses see, this is what defines you. That’s why it’s so important that it’s good.

Take a couple of hours thinking about exactly what information you want to communicate through your website. What should it be saying about your business? And are there any graphics or logos that you should include to make it consistent?

4. Being too modest

The internet is full of people unashamedly screaming out for attention. Sometimes what they have to offer is good. But most of the time, the content itself is far from ideal.

The problem for the startup, however, is being heard above the noise. This is challenging enough in itself. But often startups will be further hamstrung because they are too modest to seek publicity.

The key to generating interest in your website is to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, of course. It just has to be the story about why your company is unique.

Customers are most interested in your story than you realise. Stories are what draws them into your firm’s brand. It’s what gives customers an affinity with you do. And it’s what gives them something to believe in.

If your startup is an ethical company, you can build this ethical aspect into your brand by telling a story. Perhaps you wanted to set up a chain of healthy, fast-food restaurants because you objected to what the big corporates were doing. This is the type of story that people can really get on board with. And it’s the sort of thing that will align them with your brand.

5. Failing to list on established sites

Even if you do everything right, your website may still get lost in among the billions of pages on the internet. That’s why it’s worth using more established sites to get a leg up.

The first thing that you can do is make comments on other sites. The goal here isn’t necessarily to build links. It’s to create engaging, helpful and meaningful content that will build reputation. As your name floats around the internet, this will divert more traffic to your website and help improve its visibility.

The second thing that you can do is write articles and try to get them published on other websites. This will mean that more people will come into contact with your message. And more potential customers are likely to want to know more about you by going to your website. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get your site known to another site’s audience.

The third thing that you can do is connecting your site through popular social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all being used right now by businesses to promote their websites and their content.

6. Failing to use pay-per-click advertising

In the early days, very few people will visit your site, if any. The majority of your business will be done through word of mouth and recommendations. But there are limits to that kind of growth in a digital economy. And that’s why pay-per-click advertising is so important.

Essentially, PPC funnels interested customers to your website, dramatically increasing traffic. PPC is moderately expensive for a startup. But it’s something that can be tapered down once you build your reputation and traffic increases naturally. Often PPC advertising pays for itself. Most small businesses will use something like Google Adwords.

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