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Working With Video Recordings

If you are one of the lucky few that has old video film of your grandparents or family, it is time to get this old film digitized. The technology (projectors) are becoming more difficult to find, and the cost to transfer to a digital format will only increase. At some point, conversion will no longer be possible.

Many families have VHS home movies of their family activities. The machines that can play these tapes are no longer being manufactured. Again, it's time to get these tapes digitized.

Our local Idaho Falls Idaho FamilySearch Library has four VHS machines and the software to convert the VHS home movies to a digital format. Contact the library if you need help. If you are interested in help with basic video editing skills to remove parts you may not want in the film, or to create shorter video clips, we can also help with this.



If you still have a working VHS player, which by the way, are no longer being manufactured, then it's time to consider getting those home VHS movies digitized before no VHS players are available. All you need is a computer, and what is called an Analog to Digital Convertor, which can be purchased online for about $50. They usually come with the video capture applications.

The FamilySearch Library locally in Idaho Falls, Idaho has four of these machines set up to help convert your tapes. If you have the VHS-C (compact VHS) tapes, you will need to bring in a VHS adaptor that plays these small tapes in a standard VHS player. If you have "BetaMax", Sony 8mm cassette, or other style, they can still be digitized, but will need to be played from your video recorder. Take that into the library with you as well.

The process is quite easy to do. Simply connect the convertor between the VHS tape player and the computer, start the movie capture application, and let the computer record the movie. Once you have created your digital movie file, you may decide to break the 1 or 2 hour digital movie down to smaller clips, such as a birthday party, Easter time activity, a summer trip, etc. Not only is it easier to store smaller file segments, but also easier to find the segments you would like to watch. This is done with video editing software.

There are commercial places that will convert these tapes for you, but they can be expensive if you have a lot of VHS tapes at home. They also typically copy the VHS tape to a DVD. DVD's are NOT a good storage media, as they also degrade, get scratched, and so forth. We can help you "rip" the video files off the DVD (yes…your DVD remains intact!). This allows for some editing of the file, but also storage as a digital file as well.

Saving the digital mp4 file to cloud storage, along with backups on various hard drives will ensure that they last for decades or longer.



Movie film quality degrades over time, becoming brittle, shrinking, having color changes, and so forth. It needs to be preserved. Generally it is best to have a Media Facility convert these for you. There are a couple of places here in Idaho Falls, and others out of state, like TMCPlace.com in SLC, Utah that can do this for you. Be leery of sending off your films to places across the USA, as there is potential for these items to become lost in the mail system. (It has happened).

The Idaho Falls FamilySearch Library has a "Wolverine" Digital convertor that will digitize 8mm or Super 8 mm films to a digital file. Contact them for help in getting your movies converted.

Once you have your film digitized, they can help you edit the digital file into something that can be fun to watch and share with others.


Our heritage and that of our ancestors will be lost to subsequent generations unless we take steps to actively preserve it.

Site Maintained by:

Stephen A Meyers
Idaho Falls, Idaho

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