Transfer Old Videos to DVD or MP4 Files & Preserve Your Precious Memories

Do you have a drawer somewhere in your home filled with these? These were all in two small drawers in my family room. They date all the way back to the 80’s and contain so many memories like birthdays, baseball games, ski trips, beach trips, scouting award ceremonies, swim meets, Christmases, trips to Disney World and Epcot, and a lot of “firsts” like the first time my son rode his bike without training wheels and the first time he read a book by himself. These memories are so precious to me and completely irreplaceable, just as I’m sure the tapes you have like this are to you.

A few years ago I tried to find a place where I could have all these transferred over to DVDs. At that time, my Google search didn’t yield anything locally. Times have changed! When I Googled again last night, I found so many places here in Metro Atlanta, I didn’t know where to start!

All the companies have glowing testimonials on their website, so it’s scary trying to decide to which company I’ll hand over these irreplaceable memories. I’ve only talked with one company so far and the cost ranged from $14.99 to $19.99 per DVD, so it just depends on how many they use/make. They can also transfer them to MP4s which costs a little more.

Some of these tapes will probably go on a DVD by themselves, but I think I’ll probably have them put all the Christmases together, maybe the birthdays, too. So hopefully I won’t need a separate DVD for all 22 tapes below.



I’ll let you know how this process goes in case you’ve been thinking of doing something similar. I want to do it before the tapes get any older. Hopefully they are all still in good shape since they’ve been carefully stored away from moisture and light in two drawers in my family room.

All the companies I saw online have secure systems for mailing your tapes to them, in case you don’t have a place near you that does this type work. Apparently, most of these companies are used to folks doing that, mailing them their precious memories. I was told by the company I called today that they return all the tapes back to you when they are done.

Oh, another service that the company I spoke with today offers is they can take sections of several different tapes and create one compilation, like you would want done perhaps for a special birthday or a wedding. I think that’s easier for them to do once they’ve been transferred over to DVDs.

They offer a bunch of other services, too, including slide scans and photo scans and transferring old 8mm home movies over to DVD. Yay, for technology!

Below are three places I found in the Atlanta area during a quick Google search last night. You can Google their names for more information or just Google for companies that do this type thing in your area so you don’t have worry with sending your videos off in the mail.

Please note: I have never used any of these companies so I can’t vouch for their work. These were just the first three companies I found in my Google search last night. Some of these places have multiple locations here in the U.S., so they may have a location closer to you. Again, you can Google for companies in your area that do this type of work.

Current Pixels
Home Video Studio
Nostalgic Media

UPDATE: Loving all the suggestions being shared in the comments. Thanks to Phyllis for sharing a device that will let you easily copy your VHS tapes to DVD. You’ll find it here: Recorder

Also, it appears both Sam’s and Costco offer these services, too.

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  1. Just finished doing this transfer at home all by myself! Ha- purchased the capture software and used my vcr and an external hard drive to store the videos on. Was pretty easy and way cheaper than paying someone else to do it. Was a little time consuming ( prob took me 2 weeks on a part time basis) since the tapes get captured in real time. Tried uploading to youtube to share with my kids but warning, if you have any music captured that’s playing in the back ground their copyright scanner automatically mutes the sound on your video. I’m going to take my uploads and put them on thumb drives for each kid instead. Also be aware that dvds also degrade so you’re going to want to get your digital content somewhere in the cloud or on a hard drive. Good luck. I have 8 tubs of photos now to scan and capture. Wish to heavens I had been more organized when the family was young

    • @Kay, what software did you use? I have researched and am really confused. Using a service is out of the question for me. I have a daughter who starting dancing at age 3 and I have hundreds of videos from recitals and dance competitions. I also have orchestra tapes from my son’s orchestra days as well as a lot of tapes from his track and cross country races. I don’t mind investing in software I can do myself as it would cost thousands of dollars to use a service for all the VHS tapes I have. Thanks for your input!

  2. Love your blogs, Susan. You have inspired me in so many ways. I’m a recently retired teacher and finally have the time to engage in many of the activities we share. Your friends, family, and internet folks are so fortunate to have you. Thanks for all the interesting ideas and things you share with all of us.

  3. Cant wait to hear about your experience. I want to do this!

  4. I just had all my vhs and 8 mlm put on dvds about 2 Mos ago. We had 17 dvds made . My stash looked like yours.

  5. The past few mos. I have taken all my tapes to Sam’s Club. They have had 25-35% off that I have taken advantage of for my super 8 and those vhs minis. It was super exciting to see our 1972 wedding video taken by my uncle on dvd and posted online for sharing. I can send just Snippets to people that are in the video and they are loving it! Posting them online is only $3 more and really the way I’d prefer anyway!

  6. I just did this to about 50 VCR tapes. I purchased a Toshiba DVR620 DVD/VHS Recorder (Black) (Discontinued) from Amazon. You just put in the VCR tape and press record on the DVD button and it does all the work. I am transferring all my old favorite movies I recorded years ago along with personal tapes. I love this thing. I am recording new PBS shows directly onto DVD also.

    • Phyllis, what an awesome device! I would really consider this if I didn’t have so many different types of events on each video tape. I want to change how they are currently arranged when they are put on DVD, like putting all the Christmas recordings on one DVD, etc… Wish we had used a fresh tape each time we recorded, instead of putting different types of events on a single tape.

      I wonder if this would work for copying a store-bought VHS movie that you already own, onto DVD. Not sure if that’s allowed, though. As long as it’s for personal use and you already own the movie, maybe it would be okay.

  7. I don’t think you can copy old tapes that you purchased. I think they have some copyright thing that the machine doesn’t let you record them. I don’t know as I am just copying old movies I taped off the TV. It is letting me record any movie I can watch right now even cable movies. I know what you mean about getting family movies organized. It took me a long time, but I put all our vacation movies on one DVD and Christmas etc. all together. It took a lot of editing, but it is done, so it was worth it to me. Plus, I now have a machine to record anything I want to save on TV directly to DVD. Just throwing this idea out there for anyone who might be interested. They are not making those machines any more as people are using recorders provided by the cable companies now. I bought season 1 of Indian Summers on PBS but am now recording season 2 for free. I like to be able to save anything I want that I see on TV to DVD.

  8. I have my family films already transferred to a DVD by my cousin and had numerous copies made for family members. However, I was now thinking of a way to upload a copy to “the cloud” in case the dvd copies would get lost or damaged. This way I would think we could make another copy from what is stored there or be able to view it at any time and from any where. Does anyone happen to know if this can be done in order to take this process of preserving treasured film one step further?

  9. I had our old movies transferred to DVD thru Costco. Best this I ever did! Gave copies to all of my sisters. However, I did not make the correct choice in my music selection. I should have paid closer attention when I selected because Big Band music does not work well with all of the movies….christenings, weddings, 1st holy communions…Can you just imagine? Oh well, at least I still have those precious memories, I just turn the volume off!

  10. I was just talking about doing this!! Please let us know how yours turn out. I really have to get this done before any more time passes. I am so worried about losing those precious recorded memories!

  11. My Sister had the old 8mm movies put on DVD and gave us all copies for Christmas a few years ago. Best present ever! You won’t regret doing this, it is so much easier to put in the DVD and enjoy the memories. We laugh so much every time we watch the DVD.

  12. So now I know what my project will be this Fall. I have a box of video tapes from the early 1990’s when we were living in Botswana. I don’t think anyone in my family has looked at them in over 20 years. I particularly want to see the one where we were about to be chased by an elephant in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. You can hear me yelling (it might be screaming) to my husband “how fast can this car back up?”. I am sure my children and their spouses would enjoy copies of the videos. It is funny though, once we came back to the US, we rarely used the camcorder.

  13. You can do this yourself if you have a player that work with your media. Buy a video capture cable for as little at $20. Plug one end into your VCR or video camera and the other end into your USB port. Then open the software on your computer. Tell it what you want to call your movie and then click the record button. Then, press the play button on your player. It will digitally record as much or as little as you want off each tape (even just a couple minutes of tape). Later, you can string together whatever files you want using your computer movie maker software and add music. Super easy!
    This is better than making a DVD since that format is slowly dying. In a decade you may not be able to play DVDs because there will no longer be players. Already new computers no longer come with a way to play CDs or DVDs.

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