Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tech Tuesday - Elgato Video Capture

I've been meaning to get around to transferring all of our old home movies from VHS to DVD for, um, years. Almost a decade, actually. To be fair, I did start converting them a few years ago, but I stopped due to computer issues, an unexpected move, and lack of time. (Also probably due to laziness and forgetfulness. Oops?) So when my father asked me about a month ago about possibly getting their home videos back (because I've had them in my possession for so many years), I suddenly felt very guilty and decided it was time to finish this project.

After a lot of research, I decided to buy the Elgato Video Capture device/software to use with my iMac. It's a bit pricey at just under $85.00, but it has been worth every penny and more.

It couldn't be easier to set up. One end of the device gets plugged into the back of the computer, and the other attaches to the hook-ups on your VCR. It took less than two minutes to connect the machines, install the software, and open the program. At that point it takes you through two screens to make sure the video is working (check!), the audio is working (check!), and on the third screen you simply press "Start Recording" as you hit play on your VCR. Once you are finished recording, hit "Stop", continue onto the next screen, and you're finished! At that point I just popped over to iDVD, imported the newly created video, and clicked "Burn DVD". It really is that easy.

I'm already halfway through our collection of just over 30 home videos. The oldest is 25 years old and some of the tapes are in really bad shape. I'm so thankful to be able to transfer these to a newer media type and make copies to share with my family. My sister's son will finally be "introduced" to our grandmother who passed away over two decades ago, and he'll get to see his own mother when she was his age.

I would highly recommend this product. It's simple to use, and the video quality is excellent. There has been a lot of laughter and tears and waves of nostalgia as I've watched these videos over the last couple of weeks. The joy this has brought me is priceless.

(Note: I am not affiliated with Elgato Video Capture in any way. I'm just an extremely happy customer!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Genealogist's Valentine's Day

My husband gave me the sweetest gift this morning for Valentine's Day: a card containing two money orders for death certificates. (Two because the certificates I need are in two different cities.) Such a morbid gift that only a genealogist could love, huh? ;)

I'm spending today filing this never-ending stack of papers and thinking about how these people I'm researching met their loved ones. It makes me sad to know I'll never *really* know how most of them met. I can make assumptions - did they go to the same church? Have a mutual family friend who introduced them? Work at the same company? Both members of the local book club? But the real stories of how they met, how they fell in love... I'll never know.

How many romantic stories are lost to time? Do you know how your parents met? Or how Grandpa finally won Grandma over and convinced her to marry him? I wish I had asked.