We’ve already touched on some of the many video formats and videos converters out there today, and even though those are only the tip of the iceberg, they gave you an idea of what’s available. Now, we’ll talk about how to convert your video files and give you a few tips on making a great, well-produced video with a successful conversion. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘digitizing’
If you have accepted digital video into your life, and most of us have whether consciously or not, you’re probably familiar with some or all of the many video formats available these days. You’ve heard of AVI or MOV, but you don’t really know the difference between them. You know YouTube houses videos that you can watch on a PC or smartphone, but you haven’t considered how that works. (more…)
Whether you’ve taken the time and effort to transfer old film formats like 8mm or 35mm to digital, or have just started making digital memories, it is important to preserve those precious moments. When it comes to storing your home movies or photos, there are a few necessary steps to take and a number of digital storage options.
First of all, you should always make multiple copies of the same video or image and store it on different media. This way, no matter what might happen to one of those copies, there will always be another. Right away, you should consider storing to an external hard drive, DVDs, as well as an online storage facility.
External hard drives are great because they hold a ton of data. Well, not literally a ton, but terabytes, which is well… a lot. Since video files can get pretty big and take up quite a bit of space, having a high capacity hard drive can be extremely beneficial, especially if you record a lot of video with your digital camera or camcorder. An external hard drive can also be set up to automatically to back up your files and save newly added files as you upload them to your computer. The downside to an external hard drive, however, is that like all technology, it will eventually fail. This is a major reason to save multiple copies.
DVDs are one way to guarantee your digital memories will last. Sure, they won’t last forever, but if you use top quality blank DVDs to record your videos and images and store them properly, they will be around for many, many years. DVDs are also an inexpensive way to store your files, as long as you don’t have loads of images and videos, since they can’t hold very much data. DVDs are also risky, because one day DVD drives will become obsolete.
You should always consider online storage, since there are a number of web services that will safely house your digital files. Services like Dropbox use secure servers that are more reliable than an external hard drive. Online services also automate the back up process and allow you to share photos or videos with other users. This way, if your computer crashes, you will still have copies online.
No matter how you choose to store your digital memories, you should always have multiple methods. It may take a little longer than just a one-time upload, but you’ll be preserving the moments you definitely don’t want to lose.
My, how things have changed. In today’s technologically advanced world, we are now easily able to shoot and record HD video with camcorders, phones, webcams, DSLR cameras and personal HD recorders.
In fact, many independent artists and amateur filmmakers combine different types of devices or use only amateur movie cameras for low-budget, artistic and creative projects, instead of a professional, high-tech, expensive movie camera. Nowadays, a well-shot movie can be made with a digital camcorder or even a camera phone. Mind you, the difference in quality will definitely be apparent, but depending on what you’re filming, the device needed can vary.
Today’s DSLR cameras not only shoot incredible photographs, they can record HD video that looks just as amazing. With digital camera image quality, most of our compact digital still cameras are able to catch high-quality video because they come equipped with a movie mode. Now, the still camera movie mode won’t be as good as an actual movie camera, but for the amateur or experimenting filmmaker, it’s a great function to have.
Just as the digital still camera can’t offer the video quality of a camcorder, digital video camcorders of today typically don’t have high-quality digital still capability. They can be good for capturing an occasional still picture, but nothing more. For home movie footage, however, digital camcorders are brilliant. That’s because with moving pictures the human eye does not need to see resolution, instead it builds in the resolution for you.
When it comes to capturing life’s most significant moments, a camera’s first duty is to simply be there at the right time, all other features are a bonus. Flip-style cameras are small and easy to carry, while smartphones provide incredible video quality now and can be taken with you anywhere. Cheap camera phones can’t produce very good quality images, they’re usually shaky, washed out and extremely blurry, but smartphones, like the iPhone, are fast exceeding the digital camera quality of only a year or so ago. With the right tools and techniques, smartphones can make stunning movies that can be stored and shared digitally for years to come.
Do you have boxes of old slide carousels sitting untouched and forgotten somewhere in your house? Lifetimes of family memories that are too precious to throw away but too much of a hassle to ever view? You probably don’t even have a projector to view them on anyway, even if you do have the time to set one up and pile around the projection screen, or wall, to click through the endless slides.
It’s time to take the old-fashioned film negatives and transfer them to digital. Once you digitize the memories of past holidays, vacations and special events you can efficiently manage files, or transfer to DVD, making it easier to find and share your favorite moments. Basically, there are three ways you can get those old photos onto your computer: you can use a slide duplicator on your DSLR, scan them manually, or hire a professional slide imaging service.
A slide duplicator is a cylinder that attaches to your Digital SLR’s lensmount, using a T2 mount, that holds slides in place so you can photograph them. They usually sell for about $85 and are easy to use since they have image adjustments. The slide duplicator has a lensmount at one end of the cylinder and a sliding gate that holds two slides at the other. The duplicator, or duper, uses an internal lens that has a fixed aperture and focusing distance to magnify the slide’s image onto the camera’s imaging plane. Most dupers also allow you to zoom in or out and move the slide gate so you can crop the image.
To start, you should dust each slide with canned air and set the camera up so it either faces a light source or uses a flash that can be taken off the camera and pointed back into the duplicator. The easiest way is to work on a bright day and use the sun as your light source. Once you’re set up, use the camera meters and shoot. Change your settings manually and use the auto white-balance feature to get the best exposure; continue to use those settings as guides.
While a slide duplicator is relatively inexpensive and fast, you may lose sharpness of the image. The images will be sharp enough when viewing on a computer monitor or TV, but not when you print them. So, if you just want to be able to look at the pictures digitally, a slide duplicator will probably suffice, but if you want to make prints, you might consider using a film scanner.
Considerably more expensive than a slide duplicator, at least $250 for a decent unit but can be up to $1500, a film scanner will make a big difference if you have a large quantity of slides to scan. They also offer a resolution of at least 3,000 dpi, giving you sharper images that can be printed at larger sizes, like 11×14.
Most film scanners are plug-and-play and very easy to use. Better units come with dust-removing and noise-reducing modes, which will minimize editing time, but you should still have a good image editor like Photoshop or Elements to clean up imperfections. Typically, a film scanner will save you many hours if you have thousands of slides to scan, but can be pricey. If you have only a small amount of slides you would like to digitize, it’s probably best to find a slide imaging service.
Slide Imaging Services
Hiring a professional photo imaging service is probably the easiest way to get your slides transferred to DVD. Pricing varies for each service, so you’ll want to compare companies based on your needs, but also make sure the service you choose cleans and enhances the image of every single slide. Try to avoid batch scanners, as they won’t provide nearly as clear images as individual scanners. While you have less control over image quality, hiring a scanning service means you don’t have to do anything but wait for your digitized images. You can even mail your slides to a slide imaging professional, who will send you back DVDs that are separated into subject folders, as long as you batch and label the slides beforehand. This will make it much easier to locate certain images in the future.
By digitizing analog film formats, you can preserve your family’s most precious moments. So choose your method wisely, and happy scanning!
Do you have a whole bookshelf of scrapbook albums, and are considering the transition to digital scrapbooking? Or perhaps you’ve never made a single scrapbook page, but are searching for a way to organize the hundreds of photos you’ve snapped with your digital camera.
Scrapbooking is an art form that thrives in a digital world. If you’re familiar with traditional scrapbooks, you may be wondering what a ‘digital scrapbook’ entails. These ‘books’ are actually digital files that include digital images of your photographs, text, and other mementos, along with a layout, background, and embellishments of your choosing. Essentially, what you see on your screen is a digital image that looks like a page in a traditional scrapbook.
Why transition from traditional to digital scrapbooks? Before the digital age, avid scrapbookers took their roll of film to the local photo center, and then cut and pasted those precious photos into a layout made with layers of paper, ribbons, stickers, and other creative designs. But the digital era has revolutionized this time-consuming process! There are many benefits to scrapbooking on your computer:
- There are no specialized supplies to purchase or store
- Page embellishments are reusable, and you can change their size or color to suit your design ideas
- These supplies are inexpensive – and sometimes even free
- Using them doesn’t leave you with a mess all over the kitchen table
- With a laptop or smartphone, you can work on your latest project while you’re on-the-go
- The finished scrapbooks don’t require a bookshelf for storage and are easily shared with friends and family around the world
How can you get started with a digital scrapbook? The first step is to gather your digital memories. This may mean scanning photographs from the pre-digital era. Of course, many of your more recent photos will already be in a digital format, whether stored in your cell phone, the memory card of your digital camera, or online on sites like Facebook. You can also use a scanner to capture images of ticket stubs and other mementos.
Now, think about how you want to organize the photos. Of course, there are no ‘pages’ in the digital world. But that doesn’t stop digital scrapbookers from creating amazingly creative layouts. You may want to start with a ‘digital scrapbook kit,’ which provides all of the elements you need to get started, like backgrounds, alphabets, layouts, and even premade pages waiting for your digital photos. Instead of decorating the pages with stickers, ribbons, and dried flowers, use an image editing program to add clip art and bold stripes of color. There are also scrapbooking software programs that can be used to build your pages, rather than using image editing software.
One big change from on-the-page scrapbooking is the number of freebies out there! There are plenty of free downloads for page layouts, graphics, and other embellishments for your digital scrapbook pages. You won’t need any more fancy scissors, die cutting machines, or other expensive scrapbooking tools, or a dedicated scrapbooking room, once you go digital.
What do you do once you’re finished creating the digital ‘page’? When working with a digital scrapbook, you can choose to maintain the pages in a digital format, sharing them through email, Flickr, Facebook, and other websites. You can also print out your finished scrapbook, either on your home printer or through a printing company such as Shutterfly, to create a beautiful photo book.
Now that we all live in a digital world, it’s time to make the switch from paper to pixels!