Ten Minutes

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“Ten minutes. That’s all I need.”

Those were the words my newest client spoke to me when he came to visit me yesterday. Ten minutes.

He handed me an 8mm videotape. “It’s cued up. All I need is ten minutes from where it is. Can you put it on a DVD for me?”

I can’t always satisfy immediate requests but he caught me on a good day. I had an 8mm tape player that was currently unoccupied, so I said “Of course.”

As I set up the equipment and began to capture his footage, he told me the story behind the video. What he captured was a moment during a fashion show of a beautiful young girl who, along with her brother, sang an original song to their mother thanking her for raising them.

Sadly, that brother died not too long after the video was taken and as far as my client knows, no one else recorded this special moment between the two of them. He came across the tape recently (it was in his camera that hadn’t been used in a decade or two) and he decided that the family would like to see it.  You think?

Ten minutes of a captured piece of personal history that was once thought lost or unrecorded is of immeasurable wealth. It is very thoughtful for my client to gift this to the family and I was happy to be able to provide the service that made it happen.

What’s on your video? Maybe you have some footage of a neighbor or friend that they’ve never seen or that they’ve forgotten even existed. It happens far more frequently than you may think.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories via the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio tapes, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

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Away From Home Still Feels Like Home

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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 www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Opportunity Lost

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I hate being the bearer of bad news but it sometimes falls upon me. I received an inquiry from a client who said he had cartridges of film he wanted to transfer to DVD.  Recognizing that some people use different (and sometimes incorrect) terms to describe what they have, I requested more information.

Film is stored on reels and is priced out by the amount of footage tendered. On the other hand, videotape is stored on cassettes or cartridges and is priced by the number of cassettes tendered. I could not give him a quote until I was sure what he had.  He sent me a photo of his project which can be seen above.

He was right with his initial description. This is a film cartridge. Unfortunately, it was never developed. This is what we used to put into our Super 8 cameras to take our home movies. We would then have to send them to a lab for processing and we would receive back small 3” reels of developed film for each cartridge we sent. Those reels could be loaded onto a projector and viewed.

These labs no longer exist. To the best of my knowledge, there is only one company left in the US that can process undeveloped film (Film Rescue International)  and even they cannot process in Kodak color. The formulas and inks simply no longer exist. They can only process in black and white.

It is a harsh reality. Time waits for no one. We no longer have the ability to develop color movies from old undeveloped film. And, as time continues to march forward, we may lose the ability to do other things to preserve our old memories. Procrastination is a common ailment among people. We are all guilty of it from time to time. We need to recognize that by not acting to preserve our past we may be threatening our ability to revisit it. If we wish to once again see the images of our youth, we should act now before time catches up to us.

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

Countdown to Christmas

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#It’s just twelve days till Christmas, I hope my true love will give to me:

My memories on a brand new DVD.#

Home Video Studio excels at taking recorded memories from the instruments of old and transferring them to updated digital media that can continue to be accessed in our day and time.

If you decide to receive a DVD, you can rest assured that all the discs we produce are archival quality, professionally encoded, and masterfully authored. We will install up to 42 chapter markings and make sure your DVDs are attractively packaged.

They make for great gifts at Christmastime. Just don’t be surprised if, when they are opened, the rest of Christmas is put on hold because people will immediately want to start watching them.

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

Why Super 8 was super

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My very first venture into filmmaking was a high school project I shot and edited on Super 8 film. I’m in good company. Steven Spielberg did the same thing. 
Super 8 was a vast improvement over the regular 8mm film that was being used at the time. 8mm was nothing more than 16mm film cut in half… literally.  Camera operators would need to feed a 25 foot, 16mm sized film cartridge into their cameras, shoot their footage which would record on one side of the strip, then remove the cartridge, flip it over and shoot again so the images would record on the other half. When the the film reached the lab for processing, it was then split down the middle and spliced together to form the 50 foot 8mm film reel that has become so iconic. It was, in a word, a pain.
Super 8 simplified the matter and, by doing so, ushered in a new age of amateur filmmaking. Spielberg and I were not the only ones who cut their auteur’s teeth on Super 8 film. Directors J.J. Abrams, Tim Burton, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and Michael Bay have all reflected fondly on their cinematic beginnings that started with a Super 8 camera. 
Here, copied from a Live Science blog of 2011 are some random facts about Super 8:
• Although Kodak no longer produces Super 8 cameras, the company still makes four different kinds of Super 8 film. (You can find used Super 8 cameras on eBay.)
• The last manufacturer to produce Super 8 cameras was the French company Beaulieu, which continued making the cameras well into the ’90s.
• Super 8 continues to be used in the film community as an inexpensive alternative to high-definition video. “It tends to be more for small films, commercials and music videos rather than the big blockbuster movies found in theaters,” Johnson said.
• Super 8 film was made using Kodachrome, a type of color reversal film that was manufactured by Kodak from 1935 to 2006. The color was used in motion picture cameras as well as still cameras, especially for images intended for publication in print media. Steve McCurry used Kodachrome for his well-known 1984 portrait of Sharbat Gula, the “Afghan Girl”, for National Geographic magazine.
• The new “Super 8” app recreates the experience of having an old-school Super 8 camera by letting you adjust different lens and filter effects while recording a video on your iPhone, iPad or iTouch. The app also contains embedded information about Steven Spielberg’s new “Super 8” movie as part of its marketing.
And in case you were wondering why I didn’t go on to direct films like Jaws, E.T., or Shindler’s List like Mr. Spielberg… here, for your viewing pleasure, is my Super 8 high school effort.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories, including films shot in 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm format. They can be reached at 352-735-8550. www.homevideostudio.com/mtd