This gadget will help preserve family memories for years to come

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Everyone these days takes photos and records videos of special family moments with their smartphone camera. This is not how it has always been done of course. Prior to around 2010, home videos were mostly captured using video cameras. VHS, Hi-8, and mini-DV cameras were the primary medium used by parents to record their children’s school programs, Little League games, and almost all weddings.

Chances are, you have some old videotapes somewhere in drawers, boxes, or closets with some of your favorite memories. It’s time to watch them and share them on the computer, but you’ll need a special gadget that will make a great Christmas present.

For VHS, mini-DV and other video formats, the Pinnacle Dazzle converter makes it easy to transfer these videos from tape to a computer. Dazzle does not play the videos, but digitizes them for you.

You will need a VCR or a camera to play the videos. You connect this to the Dazzle device which looks a bit odd. Connect the Dazzle device to a computer with the cables that come with it. The included software converts any video you play into something you can watch on a computer. Don’t worry, there are instructions. Dazzle even includes software to edit video, add titles, and music.

You can burn the video to DVD, but I suggest uploading it to YouTube and sharing the link. You can also upload the video to Facebook and save it to hard drive. Dazzle converts video from VHS, High-8, and mini-DV tapes, provided you have something to play them back, such as a VCR or camcorder. Pinnacle Dazzle video converter costs $ 60.

If your family memories go back even further and are on film, you will need another device like the Wolverine Film to Digital Converter. It looks a lot like an old movie projector with two reels on each side and a playback window in the middle. Load your film, whether it’s 8mm or Super8 on a reel, and feed it through a small window and then onto the empty reel.

While you are playing the movie, the converter takes a snapshot of each individual frame, then assembles them and converts the movie to a digital file which is saved to an SD card. You can then transfer the movie from SD card to computer for watching and sharing via YouTube or Facebook. It’s probably not as difficult as I claim and there are some good instructions included. The Wolverine Movie Converter costs $ 240.

It is important to note that old films are fragile and 20 year old VHS tapes don’t hold up very well either. So convert them before they are gone forever. These gadgets make great Christmas gifts in two ways. Give them to someone on your list, or buy them for yourself and gift the family videos that no one has seen in decades. Either way, someone is going to tear up like Clark Griswald.

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