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Give Thanks For The Relative Who Saved Your Family Film Reels When VHS Tapes Became The Format Of Th

By Patty Maher

Priceless Preservation Photo Restoration Specialist

Frequently at our Library Workshops when Priceless Preservation founder, Rob Hoffman, is giving his talk on "10 Preservation Mistakes To Avoid" someone from the audience pipes up with a familiar sad story.

"I remember watching home movies when I was a kid," someone says. "My brother had them converted to VHS tapes in the 80s."

"Did he save the originals?" Rob asks.

Sadly, the answer is just as likely to be no as it is to be yes. To make matters worse, many people whose family members had their film reels converted to VHS Tapes in the 80s, have no idea where the VHS recordings of the family treasures are. They haven't used a VCR in more than a decade and suspect the family movies were hauled off to the Thrift Store with the family VHS copies of Forrest Gump and The Princess Bride.

I'm so thankful my own family films didn't end up that way. My dad had our family movies converted to VHS in the early 1990s and gave copies of the tapes to myself and my six siblings for Christmas. But he also saved the original films! Thanks to my dad's foresight, I'm now able to enjoy videos that are much higher quality than the VHS recordings he had made. The technology we have available to us today is so much better than it was in the 1980s and 90s.

The footage below is of 8mm film shot by my father at a Detroit Red Wings game in the early 1960s, a few years before I was born. The old-school zamboni is my favorite part of the film. Hockey fans can see pretty clearly that the footage shows greats Gordie Howe and Rocket Richard facing off. The VHS recording of the film that was gifted to my siblings and me in the early 1990s was so dark and fuzzy you couldn't determine what teams were playing.

So I say, "Thank you, Dad!" for being wise and keeping your original film reels. The footage is as good as technology today allows and it's entertained more than 10,000 people since Priceless Preservation digitized it.

My father's Hockey Film is a popular Youtube video due to its vintage Detroit hockey content. But it doesn't begin to compare with the quality of many family films Priceless Preservation has had the pleasure to digitize. We process tons of Super 8, 8mm and 16mm films every month and the frame-by-frame technology we use provides our clients with amazing results.

The 10-minute footage below of a 1945 rural Michigan wedding recently was converted from 8mm film.

The footage below was converted from three Super 8 film reels shot by a client from Ann Arbor.

The footage below of the University of Michigan Marching Band was converted from 16mm film by Priceless Preservation.

Contact Priceless Preservation today at or 734-219-3916 for a free consultation on preserving your important family film treasures. Future family members will be grateful that you cared enough to take the time!

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