There is no such thing as a small job

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Yesterday was one for the books. We broke a record. Smallest order ever written. Total: 95 cents.

Why is this something to celebrate? Because I learned a long time ago not to focus on the size of the sale. My focus will always be on the depth of the relationship I can build with those who choose to trust me with their most precious possessions – their memories – be it one or a thousand.

People who come to my studio can be assured that regardless of what you’re bringing in, you will receive the very best I have to offer. My goal is not to sell you more than you want but rather to be flexible enough to meet your expectations.

We have a wide range of service levels. If you want the most cost-effective pricing possible, I can provide that by stripping away some of the special additives that we can provide. But if you want all the bells and whistles, we are happy to comply. It is always going to be your choice.

The job yesterday entailed a single slide that a customer found in a drawer. And he wanted it digitalized so he could see more clearly what the image was.  I could tell it had import for him. That one image is going to be much more valuable to him than the 95 cents I’m charging. And that’s what I keep in mind and why I’ll make sure I generate the best possible image I can. Who knows… he may have other items at home that I can help him with. And even if he doesn’t, he probably knows someone who does. 

Bottom line – it is never about the size of the job. It is about the connection I can form between my studio and my customers. There will always be larger jobs coming… hopefully many of them from the people who started out giving me small jobs.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. They can be reached at 352-735-8550.

When the lights go out

It is frustrating to own a business in a place known for its elaborate Christmas decorations and not be able to participate. This past Saturday, Light Up Mount Dora electrified the downtown area with over 2 million lights in dazzling display. Our studio… not so much.

Here’s the problem. We lease the space we occupy and absolutely love it. But… it has no exterior electrical outlets. And so we cannot hang the elaborate lights that so enamor the visitors that come to our town. The exterior of our building is not what one would call sparkling with Christmas joy. But we will not be deterred.

We have an indomitable Christmas spirit. Since we could not hang sparkling lights outside to show our love for the season, we upped the ante… we offered the interior of our building to someone who was looking for a more southerly location to use as a satellite office. We hope he doesn’t mind – we thought we’d share a quick glimpse that we caught of him the other night in front of our window.

Feel free to stop by to say hello. No guarantees. He seems to disappear from view in a twinkle of an eye.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. We have been on Santa’s nice list as long as we’ve been open. We’d love to be on yours. Contact us at 352-735-8550 or visit us at





Deadlines. Don’t you just hate them?

I know I did. Ever since the day I was assigned homework in school that HAD to be turned in by such and such o’clock. I hated looking at my watch knowing that I was running out of time. I hated the pressure of performing under a time limit. I always have. I can’t tell you how many library cards I let expire because I was embarrassed to go back there knowing that I had missed the deadline to return my book(s) and they were now overdue.  I knew there would be a penalty and I didn’t want to face it. I made my sister return them.

But I have since grown to learn that working under deadlines teaches us discipline. It encourages planning and deliberate execution. It helps to perfect us, in spite of our imperfections. A deadline is the reining in of a goal. It helps to clarify a vision and enables us to achieve what we want to achieve. Deadlines, as I have discovered, are our friend. They help us to keep structured and keep our expectations realistic.  This is a good thing because they are now very much a part of my life – and they have been for a long time.

Speaking of deadlines, if you have any expectation of having film (8mm, Super 8, or 16mm) converted to a digital format (DVD, mp4, or DVA) before Christmas, the deadline to get them to me is today. Any film order presented to me after 5pm Tuesday Nov 28,  cannot be guaranteed a pre-Christmas delivery. I still have room in my videotape, audiotape, photo and slide transfer schedule so if you bring them in anytime this week I can turn it around in time for the holidays. But time is closing in on us fast. And those deadlines will be here before you know it.

 Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. They can be reached at 352-735-8550.

Light it Up!

In case you missed it, here’s a little glimpse of the tree lighting that took place in Mount Dora Saturday night. This handheld iPhone video doesn’t do justice… you’d have to have been there.  Good news – the display is up all season and you can always make plans to catch the grand reveal next year. #HappyHolidays!


Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. They are still taking orders to be completed before Christmas but the clock is ticking. They can be reached at 352-735-8550.

Small Town Boy



My wife has a tendency to call me Opie, after the little boy from Mayberry. I’ve never been much interested in living in a sprawling urban area. I never had a wanderlust to travel the globe without having roots planted somewhere to call home. I guess I’m happy with the Midwestern values I was taught as a young man. So Opie it is. Could have been worse – at least she didn’t take to calling me Goober.

It is the small town values I possess that make me appreciate a place like Mount Dora. Charming, quaint, old-fashioned… these are all descriptions we hear bandied about – and they are certainly fitting. Mount Dora is all of this and more. It has an air or atmosphere about it that can remind us of an earlier age or a more innocent time.

Tonight is Light Up Mount Dora where our downtown will become electrifyingly spectacular with over 2 million Christmas lights strung up and down our streets and into our parks. Even the marina gets into the act. When the lights come on it is hard to tell what’s glowing more – the bulbs or the pride in the hearts of the people who live in this magical town.

All day long, the mom and pop stores that make up the majority of the shops in our downtown area are participating in Small Business Saturday. If you plan on taking in the lights this evening, why not make a day of it and frequent some of the merchants that help to make and keep Mount Dora “Someplace Special?”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. Mount Dora is where we choose to work, live, and play and we proudly show it off to all who come visit. We hope to be able to count you among that number. You can reach us at or by calling 352-735-8550.

Christmas Memories

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It is the day after Thanksgiving. Which means it is time to put away the fall decorations and get ready for Christmas. We’ll be spending the next few days putting up trees, lights, and various decorative items to make our home and our business more festive. It got me wondering about how people celebrated this holiday back in the day.

Then it hit me… I’m now old enough to have actually been there “back in the day”.  Here’s what I remember:

  1. Writing out a Christmas list to Santa using as my sole reference the toy catalogues that magically appeared in our house in early December.
  2. Watching my dad hang a single string of multi-colored lights (each about the size of a cigar butt) in a straight line across the front of our ranch style home.
  3. Watching the same movies every year: White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Not necessarily in that order.
  4. Stringing popcorn to be part of the tree decorations.
  5. Deciding that popcorn should never be part of tree decorations.
  6. Carefully laying one strand of tinsel at a time upon the tree until boredom took hold. Then flinging commenced.
  7. Piling into the family car with my parents and sisters to drive around the neighborhood at night just to look at all the Christmas lights.
  8. Decorating Christmas cookies with sprinkles.
  9. Answering a knock at the door to find 20 people on our lawn to sing us Christmas carols.
  10. My mother having hot chocolate ready to hand out to any carolers that came by.
  11. Gathering together on Christmas Eve to hear my mom or dad read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
  12. Deciding to go to bed at 7pm on Christmas Eve thinking that the morning would come more quickly. It didn’t.
  13. Waking up Christmas morning to find a sheet hanging ceiling to floor just outside our bedrooms with a note attached forbidding us kids to go beyond it until our parents woke up.
  14. Once allowed, we pulled the bedsheets aside ready to dash to our stockings only to be blinded by the force of a hundred suns as my father powered up the light bar attached to his 8mm camera.
  15. After opening the last of umpteen presents while sitting amidst a pile of torn wrappings taller than I was, I actually uttered the words: “Is that all?”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. When they are done, those memories will have been digitalized, packaged in a gift bag and ready to be placed under the tree. They can be reached at 352-735-8550.

Photo courtesy of Esandra Hollman

Giving Thanks


As a preserver of family memories, I find myself in a unique position to observe what people truly value. Despite all the differences between us: race, gender, culture, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, social status or any of the other elements that all too often are used as bait to divide us; when it comes down to what we treasure… we’re pretty much all the same.

People record the moments they want to remember. Moments that touch their heart or speak to their soul and identity. Having transferred thousands of videotapes, films, and slides, I can tell you that people generally capture images of the same things.

Holidays. Vacations. Moments of celebration or accomplishment. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Graduations. Weddings. And, of course, a child’s development as they grow through the stages of life. Most can be boiled down to one simple essence: Love of family and friends.

This is the great unifier. It is the common denominator that has the ability to draw us together as a singular community. Perhaps this is why I love what I do so much. Because of all the love I feel coming from the tapes and films that I’m transferring. This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful to you, my clients, for giving me the greatest gift of all – the opportunity to work with the love you have recorded and wish to preserve.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. They can be reached at 352-735-8550.