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Home /DIY / Digitizing Timecard, Start to Finish

Digitizing Timecard, Start to Finish

By Dillon Wallace

Digitization is the only sure way to preserve your past photographs, old film reels and vintage videotapes. It’s no longer a question of should you digitize, but when you need to digitize. And that answer is now. Because the longer you wait, the more your precious memories will fade and deteriorate.

But, where do you turn? Who digitizes? Can you do it yourself for cheaper? After all, the tools and technology you need to make it happen are at your fingertips. You’re probably tech savvy enough to get the job done, so just do it yourself and save money, right?

Ehh, not so fast. You see, digitization isn’t so much a difficult process as it is a slow and mundane task. Sure, you can easily scan your old polaroids with the 2-in-1 combo printer you got from Best Buy a few years ago, but videotapes, especially reels of film, they’re a whole different beast when it comes to digitization. Mainly, it’s because they require more equipment that the average Joe just doesn't possess. Worse yet, the equipment (which isn’t cheap) you need for the job is more than likely for a one-time use. Is it worth the money investment? Probably not. Is it worth the time? You be the judge.

Here’s how long it will approximately take you to punch in and out of preserving your memories if you had a DIY digitization timecard.


Gather your memories (approx. 5 hours)

Let’s go on a whim here and make a guess that your box of old tapes and photo albums is somewhere in your attic or basement. Sound about right?

Gathering that old media can take a few minutes or several hours – even days – depending on where it’s at (like if it’s at your parent’s house) and sorting through what you do and don’t want to digitize. And don’t forget about wrangling the necessary equipment – items you may have to buy, especially for digitizing tapes and film reels.

The act of digitizing (approx. 6-15 hours or more)

If you thought organizing your old memories and equipment was a process, you’re in for a rude awakening. The most time-sucking process is the actual digitization process. For photos, you’ll need to individually scan each picture, which can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute.

So let’s crunch some numbers real quick. Say you’ve got 500 photos you want to scan. If each photo takes you on average 45 seconds, then you’re looking at over six hours of scanning time. Even if you have that kind of time, is that how you really want to spend it?

And don’t forget about digitizing your tapes and film reels. That process happens in real time, so there’s not magic upload button. You’ve got to play them verbatim from start to finish. So if you’ve got 10 home movies that run you 90 minutes a pop … that’s 15 hours of converting right there.

Storage & organization (approx. 2 hours)

Oh, you thought you were done? Sorry to disappoint but after you’ve successfully spent the better part of a weekend digitizing your pictures and videos, you’ve still got to back up your storage devices and organize them. You may want to throw them on your computer or back them up with a thumb drive or the cloud. Depending on the size of your files and transfer speed, this process can take some unwarranted time.

So, approximately 24 hours later, does DIY digitizing still sound like the best option? Let’s forget about just the mass time vortex, and remember you still need specific equipment that comes at a pretty penny for your tapes and film reels. Instead, why don’t you save yourself the time, money and monotony and have KODAK Digitizing do it for you?! Our team of professional preservationists will digitize your media to bring new life to your old memories.

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