Restoring My Parents’ Lost Memories

Restoring My Parents’ Lost Memories

Over the past few years, you could probably classify me as a “data hoarder”, where I have terabytes upon terabytes of data just kept in some storage in my house, likely to never be looked at again, and yet I want to keep as much data as I possibly can. This can include videos of myself, things I recorded or took pictures of with my previous phones, or random pictures and documents that I made throughout my time in high school. I very rarely delete things if I know there’s no backup of it and it’s something that I can’t (at least not easily) replicate or re-download later.

However, over this past summer, I took it upon myself to look even further into the past, before I even knew what a hard drive was, and attempted to backup things that I knew weren’t available anywhere else. I looked through my parents’ VHS tapes, and knew that I had work to do.

First off, the process to get everything set up took days on it’s own, because I had to get everything I needed to properly restore the contents:

  • A recently-released VHS player and recorder (parents bought this years ago)
  • My high-end capture card (bought it late last year during a Black Friday sale)
  • A set of new component cables
  • A component to HDMI converter (I’ll explain why in a moment)

Funny enough, the VHS player I had was so new that it also had an HDMI port, and could record onto and play DVDs as well. However, while I originally wanted to record the tapes through HDMI (for the cleanest signal), there was something called HDCP (High-Definition Copyright Protection) that wouldn’t allow me to record anything off of the VHS player. I resorted to Component as a result, but afterwards the signal went through perfectly.

I was able to uncover my mom’s sister’s wedding from 1991(!), this Universal Adventure Home Video Adventure my mom was in in 1992(!), and the earliest video of me being alive, a parent-student meeting get-together with my parents among others when I was in Pre-School in early 2004. It’s a shame that VHS tapes can degrade, as the quality for some of these weren’t great, but overall, it was a crazy ride to get everything up and running, and man am I glad these memories won’t be lost forever.


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