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Sisters and their dolls, 1950s.jpg


Laura Bird

Toy Fair

Home Movie Film & Tape Breakdown

Chapter ONE: Organizing your Celluloid  Home Movie Collection


 50'   100'    200'   400'   600'   800'   1000'   1200'   1600'


       Before you mail your HOME MOVIES to anyone:


First line all your 8mm, super 8 mm and 16mm films on a table and take a digital picture. (Days from now you will forget without the record.)


You should show the REELs  - 50 footer on the yellow mailer BOX. Running time about 3 1/2 minutes each.


The 400 Foot larger Reel runs almost 20 minutes.(If you spliced the smaller(50') reels to the large (400') reel you have to hope that the splices have held up. They might need repair. If they break while being transferred it will ruin the transfer.


Note: Notice the dates on the yellow mailing boxes to help pin point the year the films were shot. Make a detailed list of the items in the photo's for you and those transferring your films.


Most of the time Home Movies are just thrown into a box, and shoved in the back of some closet shelf. Sometimes they're forgotten in a basement that's damp most of the time. So you better hope the films haven't shrunk.


You have to be aware that your films might have to be cleaned, and repaired before they can be transferred.


It takes time to examine the film from beginning till the end. You have to hope there's enough white leader on the film to start it in the projector. If not added leader film strips are needed to be spliced onto your film,which is added time and expense.




Part 2:  VIDEO TAPE HOME MOVIES - the world of higher quality home movies with sound.


VHS & BETA tapes became the next phase of recording family moments. The world of silent celluloid movie

making came to an end. Now you didn't have to wait a week or more to get you films back from the lab to be proccessed, or set the projector up. Just put the tape in the player/recorder and press a button. Oh yes...turn the TV on.


But there are other drawbacks to video. By playing the tapes alot of times the magnetic tape starts to wear down. If the gears or bands in your player/recorder need to be replaced, it might cause a rip or crunch of the tape getting caught in the machine. Then the video & sound will break up as you all ready know.




1st: You can BUY your own VHS to DVD player/recorder machine. All you do is place the VHS tape on one side of the machine and the record-able DVD on the other side., and press record. You can also transfer the footage into your computer at the same time so you can put it an external drive. 


The average price of a player/recorder starts at about $200.00 dollars with the following functions.

  • DVD and VHS Recorder with two way dubbing

  • Records -R/-RW, +R/+RW Formats

  • Playback: MP3, VCD, JPEG, Kodak Pic

  • Has DV Input

  • External tuner source is required to record television programming.



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