MEMORY KEEPING 101 – OFF THE SHELF AND INTO YOUR LIFE
Reclaim Your Video Memories
From old reel-to-reel home videos to moments recorded on phones, video memories have been a part of our media landscape for a long time. My family never went down the movie path, so my personal experience with them is limited. However, I have a lot of customers whose memories are more video than photograph. Forever can handle that, too.
What I usually hear first from video clients is they have a stack of tapes/reels somewhere and they don’t even have the equipment to watch them. I have both good and bad news to deliver at this point. The good news is, Forever CAN convert those tapes/reels to digital. The bad news is, there is no watching service to give you a report on what the video contains before the conversion. It is during conversion the subject matter becomes knowable.
So, whether your tapes/reels have riveting moments of well-shot action or hours and hours of poorly shot videography (which would cure insomnia), you get the good with the bad. The good news is this. Once the footage is digital, there are lots of great apps and software out there with which you can turn the yawners into jewels with just a little editing. So, while we all wish our parents, grandparents and spouses were better videographers, at least we can save the good parts for future generations.
What Does It Cost?
I’m not going to lie. Pricing digital conversions is tricky. A small Forever box is regularly priced at $60 (but there’s always some kind of deal going on, so it will never be that much). That price includes the conversion of two “items” in Forever-speak. An item can be a VCR tape or a 50 ft reel (or 25 photo/slides for that matter, but we’re talking video today). If you put two VCR tapes or two 50 ft reels or one VCR tape and one 50 ft reel in the box, digitizing them will be covered. However, the boxes will hold more than two videos, and Forever encourages you to fill them in order to save shipping, but that’s where it gets confusing.
I go over this with everyone who ships in media to be converted, but often they are so excited about the project they don’t hear me. Then we have sticker shock and I hate that. While you can fill the box to the brim, whatever you put in there beyond the first two items cost extra at the regular price of $30 per item.
So, at regular price, if you had 5 tapes/reels. You’d pay $60 for the box, $90 for the extras and then shipping and taxes would be added to that. That’s $150 to reclaim your memories (at regular price) and that’s a pretty good deal – a lot better deal than storing tapes/reels you can’t watch.
Now, the more tapes/reels you have the larger that number gets. If you’re currently storing boxes and boxes of these things, then we need to get together an discuss strategies. We can watch together for the best specials on conversion. Perhaps you have family members who would share the cost with you. You could join Forever as an Ambassador for a year and enjoy that discount on your conversions. And there’s always The Forever Club to help you budget your memory keeping expenses.
Certain types of media come with certain restrictions. For instance, let’s say you sent in what you thought was your wedding tape and it was all I Love Lucy reruns. It’s always best if you have some idea what’s on your media and if you don’t, please understand our technicians need to be paid for the time they spend on your material, even if it’s not what you thought it would be.
There is nothing Forever can do about the missing wedding footage and they are not allowed to reproduce copies of copyrighted material, so you’d have a conversion mess. At least if it were blank, you could get back 50% of your money, but to pay for finding out you didn’t have the wedding tape you thought you did, that would be a really bad day. Thankfully, we don’t run into many bad days.
While it might be obvious I Love Lucy or Batman Returns are copyrighted, there are other things that might not be as obvious. Take wedding videos by a professional videographer or game clips from your child’s team or video you bought at a dance competition or swim meet. Because you paid for these tapes, you might think that you own the rights to them, but in most cases you do not. Technically, you are supposed to return to the videographer who created the original.
While this is technically true, in many cases, it could be virtually impossible to find the videographer and honor the copyright. So, if you are only digitizing the copyrighted media for your personal use, then you can sign a waiver releasing Forever from any responsibility, should you be sued for improperly use of the footage. I’m warning you though, don’t turn around and use it in a “for profit” project or you could end up in the middle of a very serious law suit.
Just, in case you are wondering, if you have documents like birth, death and wedding certificates, or census and deed records or any publicly available documents, those are not copyrighted. Digitize away!
What If There’s Something Wrong with the Video?
Forever will do the very best it can to digitize whatever video you turn over to them – even if it is broken or damaged. I’ve heard many heartwarming stories about people who doubted Forever would even be able to digitize a single frame of a tape. They thought if they could get back anything they’d be lucky. To their amazement they got back a digitized copy and they couldn’t even tell there had been any damage on the original. Forever cannot guarantee you’ll get back something that looks better than the original, but that could actually be the case in many situations.
So, How Exactly Does it Work?
Well, first choose the box you think will best fit the media items you want digitized, then let’s talk so I can be sure you’ve taken advantage of all the discounts available. You pay for your box, shipping and the covered items up front. You can also choose to get thumb drives or DVD’s if you like, but we should talk about Forever storage and streaming. Soon your box will be delivered.
Materials for packing your box, packing instructions, a worksheet and your shipping label will be inside. Follow the instructions and fill up your box. I’ll be happy to help you with this step. The worksheet will show you what’s included with the purchase of the box and give you an estimate of the amount you will need to pay for extra items. Put the paperwork in with your media and put the shipping label on the outside. The let Fed Ex know there is a pick-up or just drop it off at a box or office. You can keep an eye on the Forever Box Center to know what’s going on.
When Forever gets the box, they audit the worksheet and the items you have packed, to make sure they are correct. Then they’ll start digitizing. It’s all done right here in the good old US of A and lovingly handled by gloved humans, rather than machines. The difference is noticeable take a look at the “A step above the rest” section, on the lower part of this page to see why Forever is better: https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jane-sadek/digital-conversion
When you items are digitized, Forever will notify you that your videos are in your box center. The images will stay in your Box Center for 60 days, giving you time to add them to your Forever account, download them to your computer or whatever. They’ll also ship your stuff back, along with any DVD’s or thumb drives you’ve ordered.
And that’s it. I, of course, would love to discuss the benefits of storing these precious memories on your own Forever account. DVD’s and thumb drives are not permanent storage devices. Someday folks will look at them the way you would look at a 78 rpm vinyl record – if you do have a device to play it on, chances are it won’t sound the way you though it would.
One of the best reasons to choose Forever as your online storage provider is their video streaming service. We’ll talk about that next Thursday.