Why is it important to preserve historical school video recordings? What would you say:
- to keep old recordings that degrade over time
- to make them more accessible to potential viewers and researchers
- to increase their lifespan
But what’s the best way to do it? Ask a Tech Teacher contributor has some ideas:
Every year, schools manage and process all kinds of documents and data, starting with students’ personal information and ending with events. This data is stored in the archives of each school to be preserved over the years.
Consequently, these archives often contain a mixture of documents relevant to the past and present of the school, such as photographs, yearbooks, student publications (newspapers or magazines), administrative records, minutes meeting materials, educational materials and artifacts from significant events.
Schools also keep video recordings of important activities (usually sports-related), security logs, student performance, teacher evaluations, or historical events such as lectures by famous people visiting campus.
These records can serve a plethora of purposes, so it’s only natural that your school would want to make sure the information is well maintained. And one way to ensure that video recordings don’t get damaged over time (especially those on older storage formats like VHS tapes) is to digitize them.
As such, today we will look at some of the most common methods for digitizing historical video recordings and how to ensure that new formats are well preserved and safe from accidental loss or damage.
How to digitize old video recordings
Converting old video recordings to digital format isn’t too difficult, but it can take some time. So, depending on the resources and time you have, you can use one of the methods listed below.
1 Use a video capture device (or digital converter)
Using a video capture device to convert old videos to digital format is a relatively simple process. But you’ll need a few devices, like an old video player (like a VCR or camcorder), a computer, and a video capture device.
Once you have all the devices, as well as the old video tapes you want to digitize, install capture device software on the computer. Next, connect the video player to the capture device using a RCA cable. This way, you’ll connect the VCR’s output jacks (usually yellow for video, white and red for audio) to the corresponding input jacks on the capture device.
Finally, connect the USB end of your video capture device to an available USB port on your computer, open the software and configure the settings. Press play and wait for the capture device to do its job.
The downside to this method is that you can’t speed things up. You must wait for each tape to read to its full length so that the capture device can get the entire sequence. Additionally, it is difficult to create a clean digital copy without pauses to change stripes or noise.
This is also a method for tech-savvy users, as you need to understand how a digital converter box works and what settings to make to get the best video quality. Also, if your VCR is not in the best condition, you may lose the original content with no chance of recovering it.
2. Use a Video to DVD Transfer Service
If you don’t have the time and resources to digitize old video tapes yourself, there are many video to dvd transfer services you can use. The main advantage of these services is that you don’t have to do much. Just send the tapes and wait to receive the digitized content.
Also, if your tapes are damaged or need to be cleaned, you can request a few additional services. Not to mention, you’ll receive an edited digital copy without noise or interruption.
3. Screen recording
If you have free time, you can always apply the screen recording method. With this, all you need is a VCR, VHS tapes, a TV or projector, and a digital camera.
The method is quite simple – while the VCR plays the tapes, you record the TV or projector screen using the camera (you can also use a smartphone). Just be sure to stabilize the camera and consider lighting, sound, and other factors that may affect video quality.
This method is less technical and quite cost effective, but the results are usually of poor quality and it takes a long time to run through multiple tapes.
How to keep your scanned copies
While there are many educational videos schools can access online, it’s different when you have several on storage which are easy to access. Additionally, many of these old videos include elements of the school’s history and identity that are unique and valuable.
So how can you ensure that your digital copies won’t be damaged or leaked online?
Well, the best method for storing and preserving your digital videos for the long term is a combination of cloud storage and local backup to external hard drives or solid-state drives. Cloud storage is safe and provides easy access, while an external hard drive or SSD serves as a safety backup in case something happens to the cloud copies.
Ultimately, preserving precious memories is essential, and by converting old video formats to digital, you ensure their longevity. By using a combination of proper methods and secure storage solutions such as cloud services and local backups, you can protect your digital videos for future generations to cherish and enjoy.
Here is the registration link if the image above does not work:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over 100 technical resources, including a K-12 Technology Program, K-8 keyboard program, K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in technical education, master teacher, webmaster for four blogs, a Voice of the Amazon Vineeditor of CSTA presentations, freelance journalist on technology education topics, contributor to NEA todayand author of technological thrillers, Chase a submarine And twenty four days. You can find his resources at Structured learning.