I first started my video camera career upon the arrival of my first child who is now 9. The camera was a gift from my mother and step father. He was big into photography and video cameras and it was great gift for the new family. I still have that very first 8mm tape. For 9 years and 2 additional children later my mound of tapes has grown to be quite a collection.
I vowed at some point to get these videos onto my computer to do some video editing make cute little moves to share with the family etc. This was long before YouTube was what it is today. Once DVD’s became the standard video format over VHS I had dreams of creating a DVD. I continually tell myself when I retire in 30 years I’ll have plenty of time to work on this project. My concern is that I’ll have 1000’s of tapes by then and hopefully I’ll be playing golf not sitting in front of a computer.
I must admit, it was easy to tape every single moment of the first child’s milestones and every step for the first couple of years. I’m sure there are some priceless moments buried in the hours and hours of tape. As my wife and I decided to add on to the family the amount of taping has drasticly reduced over the years. The juggling of 3 children leaves little room to tape. I tried to keep the tape rolling but I’m sure I missed more on #2 and I’m positive I missed a bunch of poor #3.
So I finally decided to start acting on the task of getting some of this video digital so I can edit out the shots of my leg for 15 minutes, etc. This is not an easy thing to do, especially for a first timer. I have learned a lot on this journey thus far and hope to capture some of this here to share my defeats and my small victories.
Why the Change
My revitalized interest in this area was sparked by my involvement in my son’s football team as an assistant coach and self appointed game film editor. As the only computer guy on the coaching staff it was a natural fit for me. One of the biggest challenges was that one of the other coaches had a very nice HD Sony Video camera similar to this one. Sony HDR-CX100 AVCHD HD Camcorder He also had a close friend that came to every game and did a great job of taking game film. So it was up to me to take the film and cut DVD’s for the coaches.
My first challenge was figuring out how the HD camera saved the files and how I could get them onto my computer. I did a lot of web searches on HD video etc. In the end this Wiki page was the most useful AVCHD I then had the challenge of reading and editing the HD files. I had the free Pinnacle Studio Express that came with my video capture device but this did not recognize the AVCHD file format.
I ended up downloading a free trial of this software avs4you It worked pretty well and I created my first few game filmes with the free version and the giant watermark on the screen. This did the trick so I finally plopped down the 59.99 for the unlimited subscription for the AVS Video Converter and all the other great tools they offer. The challenge with this was the once you install you are stuck on that PC and the license is not transferable. Bottom line it did the trick for 4 months and I created some decent game films to share with the other coaches and Parents on DVD and YouTube. I even used this to create a sweet end of year 30 minute highlight film for the end of year party.
So where am I at today? Well the computer that I used AVS software on has been reformatted and I needed something to use going forward. I’ll start with some basic specs of what I’m currently using for this task. In later posts I’ll detail out my progress and some of the history on how I got to my current process. I have to admit for a technology person this setup is pretty weak. Although I work on computers and databases on a daily basis when it comes to spending my cash on this stuff at home I struggle to invest too much. As they say the plumbers faucets are always leaky.
• Acer S285 Intel ® Pentium® 2.8GHz 2GB RAM
• 1TB Hard Drive
• Windows 7
• Sony 8MM Video Camera
• Pinnacle Dazzle DVC170 Simimlar to this Dazzle DVD Recorder
• Pinnacle Studio HD 14 Pinnacle Studio HD V14
As I get some videos converted I’ll share more details and hopfully help another aspiring family video film editor out there. I’m also curios to hear from folks on how they are setup to get there old 8MM films digitized.