I AM organized. I know where all of my tapes are, and they are labelled. A good thing. But inevitably things stack up, and and now it’s time to winnow thru more than 200 mini-dv tapes (let’s not go there with other formats yet) and make some hard decisions.
One thing I’m blessed with is a wonderful visual memory. Looking at a few seconds of a tape can spur memories of the event and whether I did an outstanding job, okay job, or let’s forget we did this. There are none of the latter in the bin shown above…I usually jettison or record over those bad moments.
So I’m sorting and will separate, based on the following:
1. Is this worth keeping? Uh, old tapes shot by students for assignment? No. Family events, trips. Yes. Old projects that never went anywhere. No. Old tapes with scenics. Yes.
2. If not worth keeping, can someone use it? Well – yes, these tapes ARE re-recordable. So any SONY tape which is dump-able and not confidential is going in a pile for my old high school. With times as tight as they are, they can use some freebies. I’m keeping the JVCs and Panasonics for my own personal (re)use.
3. If it is someone else’s memories, pass it on. So the wedding tapes, other people’s kids graduating, that kind of thing will be mailed out or handed of asap to those who care.
4. Uh – deathtrap tapes. Is the content a keeper but the tape a killer? I use wet lube tapes…and have a couple of old TDK, which are dry lube. If I put them in my camera to play back, it is certain death for the camera…so I’m putting these aside. Maybe I’ll find an old camera on its last legs and do final rites with it and save the tape that way. If the tape is NOT a keeper, I rip apart and trash the tape. No good someone else screwing up their camera.
5. And now we’re down to the keepers. Right now that’s about half of the tapes. I’m sorting them – so I have one section for daughter Pearl, one for daughter Lexi, one for scenics, one for family road trips, one for ongoing projects, one for business (paid) projects, and so on. They’re all going in an old wooden gift box, with a post-it note identifying each category.
6. Final step is to capture to computer, edit down to the essentials and save that in QuickTime format. THEN I can toss or reuse the tape.
And that’s kind of it. A bit like cleaning out the house for a garage sale. What can’t you live without, what can you put out on the curb and sell, what do you need to toss?
Final note: WHY? Why go to all of this trouble? Well…I see a time in the near future when I’m gonna go tapeless…and all of these tapes have to be in digital format before that time just to clear the deck and make my life easier.