When my parents left to retire for a few months to the Philippines, they left a few things behind. In one of the boxes, I found a box of Hi8 tapes that my dad had kept. Labeled: Cat’s 8th Graduation, H.S. Graduation, Anna’s Confirmation, Elaine’s 5th Birthday, New Year 99 and so on. I honestly wasn’t sure if the images were still intact and if I wanted to see them, but of course curiosity got the best of me so I started researching how to digitize the tapes. If I remember correctly, Hi8 was popular in the 90’s and very early 2000s. My dad had a camcorder that he would take everywhere and would also setup in front of our living room to capture the action.
According to The Museum of Obsolete Media, Hi8 camcorders were popular with amateur enthusiasts and were also used in television productions which required lightweight portable equipment. Hi8 camcorders were available until 2007. Can you believe that was only around 11 years ago. My dad didn’t keep the camcorder after all so I needed a way to play them. A few rounds of research online led me to a few options. Option 1 was to buy a Hi8 player, along with a few other gadgets so I could convert the tapes myself. This seemed time consuming to be honest. While, I highly rate my technical skills, I had no experience with these kinds of tapes and I did not want to even bring in an obsolete technology into the house. Option 2 was to find a trusted service to do the digitization. Costco had one, but after reading reviews, many were disappointed at the quality and cost and that it was done via a few third party services. I then found Legacybox and the way they described their process and the myriad of positive reviews convinced me to send the tapes to them.
Going through the process of digitization was important to me because when we left the Philippines to come to America, we left a lot of photos behind and our departure also meant that we would not be able to spend a lot of time with family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins so it’s important for me to hold on to some of these memories in a way that doesn’t take up too much space and it’s easy to share.
For those that have a hard time letting go of tangible items, this could also help in the process of letting go of stuff and things. What’s the point of keeping VHS tapes or 8mm films if you cannot view them?
My reasons for going with Legacybox to digitize the videos
I wasn’t going to do it myself due to time and lack of expertise.
I wanted a one-stop shop to do both tapes, CD’s and actual photos.
I knew the tech to play this was getting more obsolete by the day so I wanted to get them converted before it got to expensive or impossible.
I didn’t want to keep tapes around that served no purpose. I’m, after all, a practicing minimalist.
I also wanted the family to see what was in them.
Legacybox is a digitization service based in Tennessee where they convert various media into digital forms.
What Do They Support
They can digitize a wide range of products: tapes, film, photos, audio recordings, analog media types from VHS tapes to Super8 film.
What’s the Process
From their website, you choose a box which will correspond to the amount of items you want digitized. For me, I had around 10 Hi8 tapes I needed converted, plus around 60 photographs. For this, I choose the 10 Piece Family Set and just added the photographs as extras.
You order the box and pay for the whole thing upfront. Price was around $300, but I used a coupon code that the site often advertises which reduced the overall cost.
I, then opted to receive a digital version so that I can just store it in the cloud instead of a USB thumb drive or CD that I would eventually lose
Legacybox sends you a box for all of your items along with barcode labels for all of your items so that they are handled together.
You pack them up, ship them to their facility in Tennessee and wait for them to finish the process.
Throughout the process, you get notifications on what’s been done. This was icing on the cake because I had a chance to see the videos on those tapes after a few days and got a crack out of watching our memories.
The process takes 4-6 weeks depending on how much you have.
They will ship back your originals once the process is done.
Legacybox will ship you a box for all of your things along with the necessary bar code labels.
Shipping and all shipping labels are included in the price you pay for the box.
What You Get
Depending on the format you request, you can get your converted movies and photos into a thumb drive, CD or as a Digital Download.
I opted for the Digital Download and received a link to Google Drive to review and download my data
This will make it easy for me to access later on
Original price $260 + $40 for Digital Download option. Minus 25% off + $10 shipping and final cost was around $245. For how much time this probably took, I think it’s a great value. Instead of me doing the work, I instead spent that time watching the videos and reminiscing.
In the end too, there’s no waste since everything is converted to something that you can see and play.
So after watching the videos and the reviewing the scanned photos, I am a huge fan.
I’m pretty happy with the quality and so glad I spent the money to get these converted.
It would have been a real shame to keep the tapes, but not be able to see the actual content.
I’m thinking that this is actually a great gift for the holidays especially for grandparents. Why not order a box and help put together items to digitize so that the family can preserve the memories. We sometimes take for granted all of the new content we are creating and generating today, but what about those from the past. It’s nice to preserve them to show to future kids and even just to reminisce.
I highly recommend a service like this as a present. I absolutely believe it’s worth it.
To learn more, head to Legacybox.com.
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