Digitizing your photos, videos for keepsakes

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 01 2013 11:41:56 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 02 2013 05:40:00 AM EST

If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can hire professional companies to take old videotapes, 16 and 18 mm films, slides, and photos and put them in a digital format such as a DVD or on a hard drive so you can preserve your memories for many years.

Professionals have the knowledge and equipment to digitize a large amount of items in a short period of time. Several different types of companies exist. If there is a local company you can just drop off your items, otherwise you can pack up and ship the materials.

"We have a lot of people that come in and they find the films in their grandparent’s house, they have the films done and when they get them back nobody knows who the people are in the film," said Jim Britt, owner of a media transfer company. "So get it done now while you still have people around that can identify the people in the films, so you can pass that family history along.”

Angie’s List suggests asking some questions before handing over your photos or videos.

If you need the finished project for a special occasion or event, ask about the turnaround time – do they charge additional for a rush order?

“You really want to understand the cost," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "How do they charge? Do they charge a flat rate? Is it by the photo? Also, are there extra charges for color correction? You want to be sure you get the full glimpse of how much you are going to pay so you can compare quotes.”

If you find a local company to do the job, you can likely just drop off your items, otherwise you’ll have to pack up and ship the materials.  And, ask what steps the company takes to ensure your item’s safekeeping?

 “What’s their process to make sure they are not damaged because if the original is damaged you are out of luck and that brings up another good point – make sure you are doing a small test with someone before you give them all of your photos. Take a few. See how it works before you do the rest of them," advised Hicks.

Angie’s List Tips: Hiring a professional to digitize your photos & videos

If you don’t have time, or the budget, right now to digitize your photos and videos, store your materials in a safe, dry place, like and interior closet. Photos and videos should be kept away from attics and basements where the climate is not easily controlled.