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In awareness of National Pet Month, we want to celebrate our former pets captured on camera. You can help raise awareness around pet care and wellbeing by sharing your videos and stories on social media

National Pet Month is about promoting responsible pet care through fundraising and creating informative content on caring for your animal. The educational campaign runs from April to May every year, and this year we want to help you get involved.

The theme for 2021 is looking into how pets and people care for each other, particularly during the pandemic. A total of 3.2 million households have acquired a pet over the last year, and unfortunately, 5% of those who had bought a pet have already given them up (BBC News). With these statistics in mind, you can understand why National Pet Month is an important campaign for stressing responsible pet care.

Here are a few ways you can get involved with the campaign:

Share Your Story

Twitter post from Museum of HomeFirstly, The Museum of Home is currently looking for stories exploring the role pets play with your wellbeing. This is a fantastic opportunity for those of you who have transferred your camcorder tapes to digital and have footage of your pets you want to share. It is a nice way to reflect on how your former pet has helped you and how they transformed your life.

To get involved, email: curatorial@museumofthehome.org.uk

If you need help editing your videos, we have created a video editing guide to help you with the basics.

Or, if you don’t have a story to share, why not post a picture/video of your pet on social media with the hashtag #NationalPetMonth?

 

Support Your Local Shelter

Considering the number of pets that have been given up in lockdown, it is now more important than ever to help your local animal shelter. Usually, support would come from fundraising. However, being in lockdown has made it difficult for many charities to run their usual bake sales.

Instead, many shelters have created Amazon Wishlists to help collect items desperately needed for the shelter. It is a great way to see how your money directly helps rescued pets.

Here’s a link to every Dogs Trust Centre’s Amazon Wishlist: https://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/2SOJHEBJ27SP4

Join the Community

Owning a pet is a sociable activity, particularly if you own a dog! Network with other pet owners and share your own story on social media by following #NationalPetMonth on Twitter or joining advice pages on Facebook.

There are plenty of free advice pages to help you give your small animal the best quality of care. The National Pet Month campaign has groups on Facebook for advice on caring for your pet and celebrating the highs and lows of owning a pet.

Two pages are particularly useful for connecting with other dog or cat owners:

Dog owners: https://www.facebook.com/joinparkbench

Cat owners: https://www.facebook.com/joinscratchingpost

Dear Mum,

The camcorder was always the working of the Devil. It coaxed and caressed you with the tapes’ capability to save your baby’s laugh forever —a beautiful present for your partner to bring out on every occasion. Yet, you never thought about how the devilish thing would affect you.

You’re forever telling your partner to “turn the damn thing off!”. How do they always manage to turn on the camera at the most inconvenient time? Like that time, you had to scream at your precious little toddler to stop bounding around the kitchen wielding a pair of scissors. Why on earth would you want that moment printed onto your Hi8 tape?

As a daughter of a mum who never asked to be filmed, I’m here to tell you that those moments are just as glorious and precious as listening to my three-year-old self’s angelic laughter. I relish watching these raw moments of Motherhood captured on camera – it is an artefact lost to the phone’s snippet filming.

The camcorder gave us a chance to observe hours of everyday memories when families forgot the camera was even there.

What you may believe to be nasty captures of your grumpy and ugly self, the rest of us remember as your loving care.

There is a video of our whole family at a local theme park. I remember it being an exhilarating day, but you insisted on holding our bags than joining us on the rides.

When watching that video again, I noticed you in the background cleaning up my brother’s Spiderman top. You were right; we should have never trusted him with that ice cream.  The camera focuses on my sister and me laughing at poor little Tommy.  Whilst you kneel there in the background, gently dabbing away at his slime-stained top. You kiss the top of this head and remind him to not listen to me. It was only an accident.

So what, you’re not at the forefront laughing at the joviality of your son tripping up and spilling his treat everywhere?

You were never there to mock – you were there to care, to love… and to hold our bags.

Yet, the video I really love watching is when Millie and I are prancing around the living room dressed in matching leotards and tiaras. Our bags are dumped on the floor, and you can see the scratchy ballet skirts discarded on top. Dad is cooing at us as we both fight for the attention of the camera. He prompts us to do cutesy curtseys and pirouettes.

In the darkened corner of the room is where you sit. The camera zooms into your slumped state; your thumb is rubbing the condensation on your wine glass, and you take a huge glug as Dad asks us to spin another time. Your eyes roll back as you notice the camera.

Obviously, we have not been this cutesy all day.

Millie dances into camera shot, her arms swinging without a care as she imitates a ballerina leaping across the stage. The camera catches your eyes flickering towards Millie’s hand barrelling towards the table lamp. Without a breath, your hands catch the knocked lamp, and sweep my little sister into safety.

I’ve watched that clip a thousand times and still have no idea how you managed to save her without spilling a drop of wine.

Now I know it was never your idea to document our family’s everyday life.

Dad encapsulated all the best parts of you in all of its worst ways. Your bad hair days, your quiet busyness, your slumped posture is all love without the show. Parenting is not like those bad comedy movies – and camcorder footage makes that apparently obvious. There was never a school run where you were wearing stilettos and swishing your beautiful locks whilst holding a Starbucks coffee.

But there were many days when the camera showed us how to be a good mother. And for that, I must thank Dad for never turning off the camera when you instructed him to.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here we go again: a second Mother’s Day in lockdown.

I have learned from my past gifting mistakes; selecting new jewellery for her by online shopping is a fool’s game. Those online shops are crafty at hiding what is wrong with their product. I have quite frankly had enough of placing bets on whether that beautifully photographed rose gold necklace does, in fact, have a chain that doesn’t dangle at your ankles.

Settling for a box of chocolates is just as poor an option. I look towards my pile of festering Christmas presents, still waiting to be gifted for that little pocket of knowledge. Similarly, gifting a Day Out voucher does not work. I attempted that one last year and still owe my Mum an Afternoon Tea.

This Mother’s Day, I have learned. This time, I am giving her a unique present like no other; I am gifting my Mother with the past.

“How?” I hear you cry.

Well, my dear, by converting my cherished childhood camcorder tapes to digital.

All through my childhood, I had a camera pointed towards me. My mum loved to document my world: the woeful dance routines to Atomic Kitten; declaring I had “gone blind!” after rubbing sun cream in my eyes; the disastrous September morning when I decided to give myself a fringe to impress the boys at school. My mum documented it all (much to my dismay).

Every memory recorded on that hugely intimidating camera is special. Unfortunately, they are all imprisoned inside those tiny plastic tapes, and we do not have the tape player to access them. Hours of cherished footage lost to changes in technology.

So, I decided to do some research and found that all was not lost in the world! I could watch these videos again, and even better, I could gift these beloved videos to my mum. I found there are companies that will transfer your video files and preserve them in a variety of modern digital formats.

How Do I Digitise My Memories?

Digital Converters is the most popular and reliable tape digitisation service in the UK. The website is simple to use, and they give you the option of transferring your videos onto DVD, a memory stick or cloud download.

Personally, I recommend choosing a cloud download to ensure your mum will receive the videos on the day. Since we’ll still be in lockdown, choosing to save your videos on the cloud means you have the versatility of sending them over email or text. This option has been beneficial for me because I have not seen my own family for nearly 6 months – hence the heap of Christmas chocolates wallowing away.

After placing my order, I chose which videos I wanted to have converted for my mum. It was a blessing in disguise because I could pick which parts of my childhood I wanted my mum to remember. Finally, I am ridding myself of that terrible wonky fringe haunting my memories! Likewise, you can skip all those hours of footage of your siblings and savour the ones of yourself prancing around as a child. A beautiful keepsake for your mother!

Are all your childhood videos trapped in your parents’ attic?

Stop typing that message to your Dad begging him to sneak those tapes past your mum! You can now give the responsibility of converting the tapes to your mother. Digital Converters have solved all your gift-giving crises with their new gift card option!

Gift cards allow the giftee to choose which memories they would like to keep. No more worrying about your mum asking why you converted the video where she is downing a glass of wine whilst your childhood-self swans around the kitchen.

Besides, if you have left your Mother’s Day present really late, then the gift card is the perfect option. When digitising your old tapes, the one downside is the amount of time it takes to parcel up your media and send it off to be converted. Digital Converter’s gift card can be ordered and sent to your mum on the day via post or email. No more I.O.U’s!

To begin digitising your childhood videos or to buy a gift card, follow the links here:

Videotape Transfer

Gift Voucher

One might say that if you have had one Pancake Day, you have had them all. Well, this year it is different. It is 2021. Impressing your kids with a measly pancake flip just won’t cut it.

What better way for your family to flex their artistic muscles than with some pancake art! And, since we specialise in analogue technology, what better way to celebrate Shrove Tuesday than with a guide to making your pancake look like a VHS tape. Converting your VHS to digital is so 2020. Get ready to make breakfast time exciting again.

You Will Need:

  • A frying pan or griddle
  • Pancake batter (2 large eggs, 300ml milk and 100g flour)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Squeeze bottles

Recipe

The Batter

1. Most culinary quests require only the top-shelf ingredients. Thankfully, nothing fancy is required here. Just mix-up your bog-standard pancake mix – there’s a great recipe for pancake batter over on BBC Good Food.

Tip: Keep the batter slightly thinner so that the mixture can travel smoothly out of your squeeze bottle and create the flowing lines of an artist’s brush.

2. Split the mixture into 3 parts. You will need to add cocoa powder to two parts to create various colour shades for your art.

Tip: If you want to really wow your audience with your pancake art, you can add some food dye and bring a splash of colour to your drawing of choice.

3. Add 1 tablespoon to one part of your mixture to create a dark brown shade for drawing the main outline and details of your tape.

4. Add 1 teaspoon to another part of your mixture to create a lighter brown shade for darker shading.

5. Leave the third part of your mixture as a plain batter. This will be used to fill in the rest of your design.

6. Once your batter is prepared, whack each shade into its own squeezy bottle.

 

The Drawing

Personally, I recommend using a griddle as the canvas for creating your magnum opus. Yet, a non-stick frying pan works just as well.

7. Put your hob on low heat. It is important to keep the heat low to start with because you will need the time to shape your ideas into reality.

8. Start with your darkest shade of batter and draw the VHS’s main outline and details first.

9. Next, it is time for your darker shading. Use the lighter brown batter to shade in the plastic case and tape reel.

10. Fill in the rest of your design with the regular batter.

11. All being successful, it is time to turn up the heat! The pancake should start bubbling and slightly change in colour.

The Magic Flip

Arguably, the best part of Shrove Tuesday is that all those years of perfecting your pan-flipping prowess is about to pay dividends. As I mentioned earlier, the simple flip of a pancake will not impress your kids like it used to. But! Combining the flip with the sweet reveal of your VHS masterpiece is sure to leave your kids’ jaws on the floor.

12. When you start to see the bubbles pop on top of your pancake, it is time for action. Employ your method of choice and watch as your finished masterpiece is revealed with great fanfare!

 

Have you got tapes which you would like to have converted into pancakes? Then, it is probably better to ask your local cake shop! But, if you are looking for a video to DVD service, then Digital Converters have got you covered.

Follow the link here to get started.

Your wedding day should be one of the most unforgettable days of your life. But the celebratory drinks at the afterparty may have other ideas. Thankfully, with the trusty wedding video, couples can now preserve their special day forever.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you may be one of the many couples who are reliving their special day by converting their wedding tapes to digital formats. In this article, we will dive into the origins of the wedding video and how it has become the home essential for every married couple.

Home Movie Genesis

The introduction of 8mm and 16mm film made shooting videos vastly cheaper, smaller, and more accessible. The film cameras were specifically designed for amateur filmmakers to use and began a new phenomenon: the home movie.

During the 1930s, motion pictures were still associated with the theatre. The idea of an established genre of ‘Wedding Video’ was still unheard of. Thankfully, as technology improved and cameras became smaller, families began filming special occasions with their 8mm or 16mm film. Wedding videos were restricted to 4-minute clips as film reels had to be reloaded after this time. Furthermore, wedding videos’ novelty was limited to wealthier families who could afford the camera and film reels.

The Rise of Super-8

The beginning of professional wedding videography came with the introduction of Super 8 film cameras in 1965.

Super 8 set out to remedy the many quality issues present in the existing 8mm film cameras. They utilised pre-loaded film cassettes rather than reels. This meant that those who were not gifted with dexterity or finesse (like me) could load new films with ease. Subsequently, wedding videos became longer in length; the video’s quality was higher in low-light settings, and weddings could be recorded with sound! The latter feature being introduced in 1973.

As some budding videographers’ general skill level improved, people began offering wedding video production as a paid service. A more convenient option for some – instead of forcing a family member to stand behind a camera while everyone else enjoys the occasion!

Wedding Videos Become Truly Professional

As the home video market grew exponentially, so did the development of new technology. Wedding videographers continued to use Super 8 until the early 1980s when JVC introduced a compact camcorder recorded onto a VHS-C tape. It could be operated by one person and changed the filming of home videos from Super 8 film to the VHS tape.

Wedding videography was now establishing itself as a genuine market. This resulted in the formation of various local and national organisations of videographers. Wedding videos became a mainstay in popular culture, and many families possessed documentation of their special day.

However, the videos lacked the fanfare and pizzazz of wedding videos we see today. This is because analogue media was restricted to a few hours of filming, and videographers did not have post-production technology to edit the films. The videos were simply a point and shoot of the bride and groom.

Style Evolution

The 1990s brought a boom in digital technology and with it came a swarm of digital cameras and post-editing equipment. This was fantastic news for wedding videographers who could film hours of footage of the wedding day and edit it to a tidy two-hour video.

The DSLR camera development began a whole new evolution of professional wedding videos as videographers developed their own style of filming and editing. Bride and grooms also had more of an input in how they would like to preserve their day. The couple could now decide on the style and budget of their film:

Journalistic

This is the most common form of wedding videos. The videographer would document the entire day from the morning preparations to the ceremony and reception. This video style aimed to remain faithful to life and required simple cuts to keep the video concise.

Short Form

This form was better for those on a smaller budget as the videos were more concise and once edited were under an hour of filming. It is essentially a montage of your best bits of the day. This video style is likely to include some more complex editing but is very versatile to the couple’s needs.

Cinematic

The name gives this one away. A cinematic style of wedding video is when the videographer can turn their tech dial up to 11 and flaunt their skills. This style can manifest itself in various ways and uses effects like slow motion, transitions, and emotive music.

The production of cinematic wedding videos was especially sought-after in the ’90s when editing was a practice mainly reserved for industry professionals who had the kit to create special effects.

The Modern-Day Videographer

In the present, many weddings are filmed on phone cameras owned by guests. Instagram filters are created for guests to use when posting on social media and are invited to create a joint video album documenting the day’s event.

Thus, professional wedding videos use a cinematic style that aims to tell the couple’s story. They tend to be shorter than the traditional VHS wedding tapes and use high-tech equipment (like 4K cameras, Steadicam rigs and drones) to show off the location, wedding outfits and decoration.

 

At Digital Converters, we can preserve your wedding video forever by digitising your wedding tapes and reels.

If you want to gift your wedding tape to your partner for Valentine’s Day but are pressed for time, why not buy them a Gift Voucher from our store?

Here we are again with another holiday in Lockdown. Only Valentine’s Day feels way more restricted due to not being allowed to venture out onto dates. Even worse, the novelty of cute date nights at home has really worn off this time and ordering a takeaway does not have the same spark it used to. 

So, to stay positive this Valentine’s Day, we have compiled a list of our top 5 gifts to make your day a little more exciting and special. Hopefully, these ideas will help you get out of your date night rut:

1. Romantic Spa Day With a Care Package From Etsy

Travel restrictions mixed with the cold, dark days of Winter have made wanting a holiday at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Treat your partner to a relaxing spa day with personalised care packages created on Etsy. 

Spa day gift from Etsy

These kits usually include face masks, bath salts, candles and tea bags/hot chocolate for a warming drink. The prices range from £15 to £75 depending on how many gifts you want and the quality of the items. 

Here are two of the more popular gift sets available on Etsy. They are a great way to support smaller, local businesses whilst treating your loved one to something special.

Home Spa Kit (£25): The perfect gift for bath lovers. 

This kit includes soy tealights, sleep spray, cocoa butter, a selection of face masks, organic tea, chocolate and bath salts.

Couple’s Spa Pamper Package (£15.99): A gift for yourself and your partner.

This kit includes 2 x face masks, 2 x eye patches, 2 x lip masks, 2 x packet of biscuits, 2 x tea bags, tea light, bath salts and face cloth.

2. Replicate That Passionate Scene From Ghost by Buying a Pottery Kit

Are you wanting to learn a new skill this Valentine’s Day? Get your hands dirty with clay-sculpting kits and learn how to create new pieces of art with your partner. 

There are a few companies which now specialise in artsy packages of air-drying clay, tools and guides from around £30 to £70. 

Sculpd currently has a great Valentine’s Day Kit which includes a pottery cocktail masterclass where you learn how to make a cheeky-looking pot whilst drinking espresso martinis! At £65 you receive: two packets of air-drying clay, tools, alcohol for espresso martinis and two virtual classes to teach you pottery and cocktail making. 

If you want a cheaper option, then their classic Sculpd Pottery Kit is great too! It includes all the essentials needed for creating your own pottery.

3. Reminisce The Good Times by Getting Your Old Family Tapes Converted

For those of you with partners who are missing their children, then this will be the gift for you.

You can now convert VHS tapes, cine reels or slides to digital formats and preserve your memories forever with Digital Converters. This is a great way to reminisce about the better times and bring the family closer to home. 

If you are pressed for time with your Valentine’s present then I recommend buying a Gift Voucher.

They start from £20 and you have the choice of a free email voucher or to have it delivered in a beautiful gift package. That way, your partner can choose which videos they want to see again and it can be a lovely present for both of you to watch at a later date.

4. Bring The Date to Your Home by Buying a Mini-Golf Kit From Plonk

This is definitely the best gift for those who want to get creative on Valentine’s Day.

Plonk golf make at home kit

The mini-golf company Plonk have now designed DIY mini-golf kits for you to build and play in the comfort of your own home. An easy way to practice putting without damaging the house!

The kits range from £6 to £50 depending on the size of your group. Their Plonk Pack for Adults is an especially brilliant buy for Valentine’s Day! 

The pack includes cocktails, a large activity pack, a craft pack of scissors, pencils and glue, and 2 x vouchers to play mini-golf once out of lockdown! 

5. Celebrate The Good Times With a Virtual Cocktail-Making Class

Innovation has been at the forefront of this pandemic. One of the newest and trendiest ways to satisfy the public’s need for bars has been virtual cocktail masterclasses.

These classes will send you the equipment and alcohol needed to follow the session online. 

Boozyevents is a simple website for ordering the right masterclass for you. They range from £34.50 per person to £53 per person depending on how many cocktail recipes you want to learn.

Mixology is another intuitive company which was famous for its in-person cocktail classes before they moved to virtual lessons. You can choose to be in group classes or have private ones. The only downside is that the classes are only taught on Fridays.