Simply Tech: Preserve Family Memories

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Simply Tech: Preserve Family Memories

It’s so easy to capture, and preserve, special moments on video these days. Just grab your smartphone and before you know it, it’s uploaded, saved and and shared for everyone to view. But what about all of those precious moments that are stored away on old videotapes?


There was a time (not so long ago) when movie projectors were hauled out and everyone gathered around to watch. Sadly, old film and videotapes were not designed to last forever. Memories that are recorded on tiny magnetic particles on flexible pieces of plastic tape can become dry, brittle and/or demagnetized over time – whether played – or not.

Even if you are conscientious about preserving your tapes, tape players are quickly disappearing and have been known to chew up a tape or two. Through theft, loss, or natural disasters like the fires in Fort McMurray or the floods in Houston, captured memories can be wiped out forever. Unlike tapes, digital memories can be restored, preserved or transferred to a DVD, plus they can be stored online or uploaded to the cloud in a format that everyone can view and enjoy.

The Elgato Video Capture allows you to transfer, store, play and share videos with everyone.


If you have a computer and a player, there is a play gadget that allows you to capture any non-commercial VHS video (or analog video) from a camcorder with composite RCA or S-Video outputs to your computer. The Elgato Video Capture allows you to instantly play the video, store it, and then share it with family and friends.

The Elgato Video Capture includes one piece of hardware with built-in cables, connectors and software. Simply connect one end to your source VCR, camcorder or set-top box, and then insert the other end into the USB port of your PC or Mac. You are guided through the process with simpleto- follow, step-by-step instructions. Choose the correct connection by clicking on one of the two icons, and then select the aspect ratio that you want – 4:3 (for a rectangular oldschool look), or 16:9 (widescreen). If needed, you can also adjust your sound level on the slider-controlled VU metre – and then press START. It really is a no-brainer.


Once finished, you have the option of previewing it, as well as trimming it at the beginning or at the end, and then saving it to your computer. From within the app, you can launch a player to watch it, add it to your iTunes’ library so that it can be synced with your iPhone, iPad or iPod, or upload it to YouTube and share it with the world.

Digital copies allow you more flexibility. If you’re tech savvy, you might choose to do some creative editing through iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. And, as always, make a backup copy by uploading it to an online service, such as Dropbox or OneDrive, or copy it on to a USB thumb drive.

Precious memories are worth preserving, especially for subsequent generations. Perhaps your children and grandkids haven’t even seen some of the footage that you’ve got packed away. This gadget will bring it to life. The Elgato Video Capture sells for approximately $130.00, and can be found at Dell or Best Buy. It’s a wonderful holiday gift idea for just about anyone on your list – including yourself.

Greg Gazin (a.k.a The Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg) is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), speaker and author. He also contributes to, G4TV Canada and Troy Media.


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