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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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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: