A Ship By Any Other Name


A bit of history walked through the doors of Home Video Studio yesterday. But before we get into that, some facts:

The first USS Ticonderoga was an 18-gun schooner that was in service from 1814-1825.

The second USS Ticonderoga was a screw sloop-of-war in commission from 1863-1881.

The third USS Ticonderoga was a former German cargo ship that served in the Naval Overseas Transportation Service during World War I.

The fourth USS Ticonderoga was a long hull Essex-class aircraft carrier that served during WWII and beyond; from 1944 -1973.

The fifth USS Ticonderoga was a guided-missile cruiser that served from 1981-2004.

The Ticonderoga name has served our country well in all its forms. But it was her fourth reincarnation (the aircraft carrier) that brought her to our attention. Yesterday, I was presented with reel to reel audio tapes containing the actual mission control recordings for the Apollo 16 and 17 moon missions and the Skylab recovery mission.

Back in the day, before the space shuttle and the Space-X automated re-entry boosters, space capsules returning to earth splashed down in the ocean. It was up to assigned US military vessels to be on hand to retrieve them. The Ticonderoga ( the aircraft carrier) was assigned to recover the capsules during the aforementioned space expeditions. The tapes from mission control were given to the historical society that is tasked with maintaining the official archives for the Ticonderoga. They, in turn, passed the tapes to me for digitalization and preservation.

It is an honor to be a part of this history. Just as it is an honor to be a part of yours.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

Away From Home Still Feels Like Home


Michael Ondrasik is attending an annual training seminar and will return to the studio on March 5th. While away, he will continue to post blogs from the field. Subscribe to the blog to have them delivered directly to your email.

One of the best things about conventions are the people who attend them with you. Sure, there are guest speakers, and educational tracts to take but the real learning and benefit in attending is in the associations you form with people who are doing the same thing you are doing.

Home Video Studio is a quarter century old and has studio locations scattered across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Each studio is independently owned and operated by a studio owner and twice a year we gather to learn more about our industry, share insights and observations about what we do and the problems we encounter with the aim of helping each other solve those problems to make ourselves better suited to serve the needs of our customers.

Tonight, I dined with studio owners from the states of Minnesota, Ohio, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and California. The food was good; the company was better. I remember my first year as being a studio owner (a year culminated by being named “Rookie of the Year”). I said it then and I will repeat it now, the people drawn to this business are so passionate about what they do that they decide to make the financial commitment required to open a studio. They are among the most likable, genuine and personable people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

If you ever have the need for the services offered by this franchise, (videotape transfers, film transfers, photo/video keepsakes, 35mm slide transfers, audio transfers, memorial videos, sports scholarship videos, life stories, and more) you can rest assured that you are in good hands. You need not look any further for you won’t find any better.  That, of course, is only my opinion – but it is an informed opinion that caused me to want to join their ranks. You see, preserving your family’s memories is not just a job to us… it is a calling – and an honor.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

How Many Balls Can You Juggle?


I hate to break the news to all you alpha-type overachievers but there is no such thing as multi-tasking. I know many of us would like to lay claim to that ability but the sad reality is… it doesn’t exist.

It is impossible for the human mind to think two thoughts at the same time. Look it up. Scientific fact. What we think of as multi-tasking is not doing two or more different things at the same time. It is doing two or more different things in quick and ever changing succession. it is the ability to juggle tasks… oftentimes extremely rapidly.

Such is the case during a normal day in my studio.  I go from station to station, checking on works in progress, adding input, correcting errors, and moving on.  At any given time, I can be working on three video transfers, an audio transfer, a slide transfer, a video editing job, answering phone calls, greeting customers who drop in, responding to email requests and so much more… but I have to handle them one task at a time. 

To be effective in what I do, I have to juggle them, giving priority to the task which requires the most immediate attention. If I am working on a video transfer and the front door opens, I leave one task to respond to the more immediate need.

If an audio transfer still has another 15 minutes to go before completion but a slide transfer is ready to move to the next stage, I’ll address the needs of the slide transfer.

Juggling tasks is the proper way to describe what many call multi-tasking. Fortunately for me and my clients, I am an excellent juggler. I learned the skill in high school and once learned, it is never forgotten. Ask me next time you come by. I’ll be happy to demonstrate.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

The Music Box


I had a client in my office yesterday who presented me with an audio cassette containing his father showcasing one of his passions of life. He collected music boxes. The audio cassette had him playing each music box one by one and afterwards he would explain how he acquired it and what it meant to him. His son said that by the end of his life he had acquired a collection of more than 200 music boxes of all kinds.

It brought to my mind the very first gift I bought for the woman who eventually agreed to become my wife. It was a musical jewelry box.  I bought the box because, at the time, I couldn’t afford the jewelry. I figured it would count as a promissory note.

By this time I had learned enough about her to know that her favorite piece of music was Rachmaninoff’s Variation on a Theme by Paganini. What I didn’t know is that it wasn’t a commonly used piece of music for a music box.  I could have easily gotten her the theme to Love Story, or Mozart’s Eine Klein Nachtmusik which could be found in abundance but instead I spent weeks looking for the Rachmaninoff piece because she loved it so. (This was before online ordering took all the challenge out of shopping.)

I finally found one in a discount store, bought it, put a small trinket in it (because even then I knew you couldn’t give someone an empty jewelry box), and wrapped it up.  I guess she liked it. After all she married me. And the box is still sitting on her nightstand some 26 years later.

Pretty tune too.


Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit


Word of the Day: Cacophony



It may come as no surprise to find that our business is not one that allows us to do one thing at a time. We have multiple machines in our studio and usually multiple jobs are running on each of those machines simultaneously. And each one emits sound.

I like to think of it as the soundtrack of your lives. That’s not to say that it is always harmonious. Just this week I was transferring a video of a Mexican wedding to DVD while the machine next to it was transferring a series of karate demonstrations. In the adjacent room was a vinyl record of a school band in concert playing patriotic songs that was being saved to a CD. Orchestral arrangements, strenuous grunts, and marriage vows spoken in Spanish are not often heard at the same time. For us, it was just another day at the office.

The word cacophony is defined as a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds. If you think about it, that kind of describes life itself. Which is why, when you drop by our studio, you may be greeted with any number of noises from the past. If you are lucky, it will be the sound of laughing children. But there’s no guarantee. It may also be the bone-jarring rumbling of an ATV slogging through the mud.

What we must remember is that all those sounds represent someone’s past experience and should be respected and honored as such. When heard together, it may be a raucous noise… but it is also a joyful one.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

First Record

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Kids today have so much to be thankful for… but at the same time, I can’t help but think that they may be missing out on some of the more iconic moments we remember of growing up. I vividly recall the first music that I purchased with my own money. A 45 rpm single of The Beach Boys hit “Barbara Ann.”

For any kids that may be reading, let me explain. Before there was iTunes or Pandora or Spotify, there were record stores. That’s where we would have to go to buy a song we wanted to hear. They were sold as single recordings on vinyl discs that could be played by dragging a needle across the face of them. On the flip side was usually a lesser known song by the same artist or group. In my case, it was “Girl, Don’t Tell Me.”

Buying a record was a monumental decision for a child. The first time you put your allowance money down to buy a piece of music that wasn’t chosen for you by your parents was like taking a first step towards your independence.

I may be wrong but I doubt today’s kids can remember the first song they downloaded. It is just too easy a process to be memorable. Back in the day, great thought and planning had to be made to bring about the physical transaction that resulted in a sale of the one piece of music you decided you wanted to own. There would be other purchases to be sure, but the first record held a special meaning all its own.

“Baa Baa Baa, Baa Barbara Ann…”

Or maybe not.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. One of the many services they offer is digitalization of audio recordings from reel to reel tape, cassette tapes, or vinyl records. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

Countdown to Christmas II

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#It’s just eleven days till Christmas… I hope my true love gives to me…

Voices from the past.#

We have all gotten a bit teary going through old photo albums and coming across faces or images that have been etched into our minds from days gone by. But hearing a voice again… one that has been silenced for a decade or more… can be an emotional gut punch that we often don’t see coming.

We have the ability to work with audio cassettes, reel to reel audio tapes, and vinyl records all which could contain priceless snippets of the sounds of our childhoods. I’ve had the honor of delivering to people their parents’ voices from old answering machine tapes, wartime audio letters exchanged between soldiers stationed abroad and their families, grandparents singing old family favorites to their grandchildren recorded some fifty years ago, and so much more.

A sound can be a trigger to memories just as potent as a picture or video.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

Voices from the past

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The littlest things can often produce the biggest emotional responses.

One of the jobs I completed today contained a audio micro-cassette. The owner of the cassette said that he hoped it was a recording from an analog answering machine containing an outgoing message from his mother who had passed on many years earlier. Just the possibility of being able to hear his mother’s voice again made this tape, which, in its day, was probably rather innocuous, one of his most precious possessions.

I was reading a post on a Facebook page from my alma mater. Someone had found an old vinyl record from our school and had it digitalized. It was of our school choir singing at an assembly which began, as our assemblies always did, with the familiar chiming from our school bell tower. Just that sound, the ringing from our bell tower which has not been heard in over 30 years, immediately brought tears to the eyes of the one who had played it.

The past has a way of creeping up on you and delivering an emotional impact that surprises even you.  It could be a voice, or a song, or a sound that reminds you of another place and time. Whatever it may be, it is an experience I wish upon all of you.

As for the customer with the micro-cassette, he’s going to get a little more than he thought. His mother’s voice does appear on an 10 second clip she recorded for an answering machine… on Side A.  Side B of the tape has a bonus recording waiting for him to discover. And it is something I am sure will spur even more happy memories for him.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. Audio recordings, whether they are cassette tapes, reel to reel tapes, or vinyl records, can be transferred to a digital medium for continual playback and enjoyment. For more info, call 352-735-8550 or