This programmer turned backing up people’s old home videos into a business

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Marshmallow Christmas cards have gone bad and the family vacations are over – those are the memories that live on Joel Kennedy’s old VHS home videos, and now, thanks to his media conversion business, on his laptop. .

“I come from a family of five children and we had about 30 tapes that we had for a long time,” Kennedy said. “We watched them so often that we started to wear out the camera and the tapes.”

This is what motivated the programmer from London, Ont., To start a business digitizing VHS tapes, audio cassettes, square slides and even reels of Super 8 film, an older film format used in filmmaking. of films.

In other words, it takes care of saving people’s memories.

Kennedy uses this machine to transform reels of Super 8 film into digital memories. (Submitted by Joel Kennedy)

When his family decided to go digital for his own collection, Kennedy found a hole in the market – there weren’t a lot of companies converting old tapes, but there certainly seemed to be a need. .

“I was like, well, how hard can that be,” he told CBC News. “Then I thought it might actually be something that would benefit other people as well.”

Part of the conversion process is actually playing the media, for example on a camcorder or VCR. To help people switch from analog to digital, he had to put together all kinds of gadgets and equipment that could handle the tapes.

The end product is a DVD or USB stick that its customers can use to upload their videos to a computer.

Kennedy’s old collection of gear is a mix of purchases from friends, people from Facebook groups, and eBay sellers. (Submitted by Joel Kennedy)

Bonnie Cumming sent her old memories to Joel after years of watching her tapes pick up dust.

She had always planned to convert her old videos, but it wasn’t until she saw Kennedy’s ad on a neighborhood Facebook group that she committed to making the switch.

She brought tapes from her daughter’s wedding and a hockey game her husband played 30 years ago. This pack also included memorabilia from a special visit from his grandmother 31 years ago.

“I just recorded all day, she was interacting with my mom and kids, my mom singing, my daughter playing the flute for them, all kinds of wonderful memories that day,” Cumming said. “And I can’t wait to share this [footage] with my aunt. ”

Cumming tapes have lasted a long time, but according to Kennedy, they are well past their expiration date. He said the tapes actually only have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, but can last longer if you don’t use them regularly.

Kennedy says the bands don’t perform well if stored in extreme heat or extreme cold. (Submitted by Joel Kennedy)

“Especially VHS tapes, one of the biggest problems is mold,” he said. “If they get moldy, the picture becomes blurry.”

VHS tapes can also be demagnetized, reducing the clarity and sound of the footage. He recommends storing them in sealed containers that limit exposure to dust and other particles.

And, of course, digitize them as soon as possible.

“The feeling I get from a lot of people is’ Yeah, we really wanna do them, we really should,” said Kennedy. “But that’s really not the top priority, because you think if they’re just sitting on the shelf, it’s okay.”


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