Thank you to iMemories for preserving my family memories and sponsoring this post!
As an “Elder Millennial”, I came of age at a very unique point in technological development. I learned to write on a typewriter, but composed all my articles on a computer just a few years later. When I was 12, I referred to our set of encyclopedias for information; when I was 17, Wikipedia launched. I also remember a time when you could leave the house without anyone being able to call you! And another telltale sign of my Millennial status? There is a lot less photographic documentation of my life. Don’t get me wrong, my parents took lots of photos – you know, on film cameras! – but pictures used to be something you took during a special occasion, not as a daily occurrence. And while our phones are now filled with videos of the most mundane activities, there are no videos of my childhood at all – except one.
When I was a toddler, my Mom knew someone who had a Super 8 camera and asked them to take a home movie of me. As a young family on a tight budget, my parents didn’t have a Super 8 projector at the time, but Mom thought it would be a great thing to have down the line. Super 8 became obsolete not too long afterwards, so we never did get a projector, and the film sat in storage for many years; none of us had ever seen it, but Mom knew it would come in handy one day.
She was absolutely right, but for different reasons than she anticipated. After my Mom passed away unexpectedly when I was 19, I inherited all the family photos and came across the film for the first time. When my Dad explained what was on it, I realized there was a good chance that my mom might would be on the footage, which made it so much more important than just looking at my baby photos.
Ever since I found the film, my husband and I have been keeping an eye out for Super 8 projectors at thrift stores, but they’re hard to come by. And the process of trying to convert and view the film myself made me really nervous: What if I try to play it and the film gets chewed up or burnt? What if I buy the wrong projector? After all, this movie was filmed in England before we immigrated to the US – would it even play on an American Super 8 projector? I wasn’t even sure until recently whether this was a Super 8 film or a regular 8mm film – they may sound like the same thing, but Super 8 and 8mm are two different formats requiring different projectors. Because of this, the home movie has sat in storage for the past 16 years, waiting until I figured out a way to watch it.
When I discovered iMemories, I knew immediately that I had found the solution. iMemories are a full-service digital conversion company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. They pride themselves on digitizing every format, from 8mm movie films and VHS tapes to slides, negatives and more. Here’s how it works: You mail your home movies and photos to their state-of-the-art facility, where they convert it to digital and then mail the originals back to you. Since iMemories handles such a wide range of now-obsolete formats, I thought they would be the best choice for converting my precious family movie.
To start the process, iMemories sent me their SafeShip Kit, which is currently on sale for $14.99. This kit includes a pre-paid shipping label and special packing materials to make sure your memories are protected and waterproof. You can also mail your items in using your own shipping supplies if you prefer not to order a SafeShip Kit, but given that this film is the only one of its kind, I wanted to make sure it was expertly packed and handled!
Assembling my package was simple: First, I dug my Super 8 film out of storage.
Next, I used the included waterproof bags and shock resistant bubble cushions to carefully secure the film. The waterproof bags ended up being important, because I dropped my package off at the UPS shipping center during a bout of pouring Oregon rain!
Next, I filled out the included Customer Card with all of my information.
I slid the Customer Card into the enclosed folder and placed it on top of the bubble cushions.
Now that all of the contents were securely packaged, I attached the enclosed shipping label, taped the box up, and dropped it in the mail!
Handling this fragile home movie made me nervous, so I really appreciated how simple iMemories made it to protect and pack my film. The instructions that come in the SafeShip Kit are very clearly laid out and easy to follow. Knowing that the iMemories facility has a team of 200 people doing thousands of digital conversions every day made me feel secure that my priceless memories were in the best possible hands. This process is a mystery to most people, and it can make one understandably nervous to hand off such important items. So to help demystify the process for our readers in this post, iMemories actually took photos of the entire process of converting my film from start to finish, in order to show the journey my home movie took after it arrived at iMemories headquarters!
Once your memories have been converted, you can opt to just download your digital files, or you can create custom products from your files such as a DVD or thumb drive. I opted for a DVD, so that was included in my package when I received my original film back safe and sound. I was so delighted by the DVD, which features stills from my home movie on the cover. This would make such an awesome gift, and you can add a DVD to your order for just $9.99, so it’s definitely something I would recommend doing.
iMemories updates you via email in real time as your clips become available to view online through iMemories apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, PC and Mac, so you don’t have to wait until you receive a DVD or your originals back to watch the conversion! As soon as my movie was ready to watch, I received a message letting me know that it could be found in my secure iMemories account. Finally, after all these years, I was going to discover what was on this footage. Would I see my mom on the film? Where was the home movie taken? I had absolutely no idea; this would be the first time anyone had ever seen this family movie.
If you’re an Elder Millennial like me, you will marvel at the contrast of how our childhood home movies have the same film quality as the Zapruder footage, while our current home movies are shot in Ultra HD 4k on an iPhone!
The movie comprised of three short segments: One taken at a local park in Peterborough, England where I used to play; a clip filmed inside our home; and a portion filmed in the back garden. Based on how old I am in the film, I’d say this was taken roughly around 1985. I was completely blown away by the movie: Both my mom and dad are filmed alongside me, and it’s crazy to see these places I remember just as they were – a still image doesn’t really capture the feeling of seeing life in action. I have distinct memories of all the places shown in this film, including the slide shown at the park – I actually have a scar on my forehead from that very slide, which I got on a different occasion where another child pushed me down on its metal steps…
It was powerful enough to watch footage of my mom for the first time after so many years, but even more amazing to me is the moment that was captured. As I swing on the swings with my mom and run through the park with my dad, the joy on our faces is so clear. My mom looks so vibrant and happy – the way I would always like to remember her. Watching this was very profound for me and left a deep impact on me for some time after first watching it.
Losing a parent young is always tough, and the circumstances can make it hard to hang on to those memories of happier times. The 16th anniversary of my mom’s passing is coming up the same week as Mother’s Day, and this year, I feel like I have been given a wonderful gift with this footage. I never really talk about this publicly because I’m a very private person, but it just wouldn’t feel right to write about this service while glossing over its importance to me. This is more than just a cute little family movie or a cool product; this is something that carries deep meaning for me, and will be very special to my Dad and the rest of our family. I’m so grateful that my mom, being smart and resourceful as she always was, thought to have this movie taken; and I’m so grateful that I finally got to see it.
Since I’m anxious to send this film to everyone who loves and remembers my mom, I’m especially appreciative of just how easy iMemories make it to share your finished product. If you want to simply download your files or email them directly to people from you iMemories account, you can absolutely do that; but to make it much quicker and simpler, I would recommend purchasing one month of iMemories Cloud storage for $5.99. This is the easiest way to instantly share with your family, as it allows you to provide your loved ones with a direct link to view the video on the iMemories website and download it to their own computer directly from there. It also has one-click buttons built in to share the video to Facebook and Twitter. This is great for me, because some people in my life will want to watch the movie on Facebook, while others in the family don’t use social media and will need it emailed or text messaged to them in order to view it. Since I can send them straight to the iMemories website, I don’t have to worry about uploading it to a third-party storage website or going over email attachment limits. Click here to view my home movie on the iMemories website and see how easy it makes it to watch and share videos instantly!
The world has changed a lot, so if you’re an Elder Millennial stuck in between technologies and not sure how to even watch your old home movies, iMemories provides the perfect solution. It’s also an ideal service to help our parents and grandparents preserve their special moments – no technical know-how needed. And while I had assumed that video conversion would be expensive, I was shocked to discover what a bargain iMemories offers. You’ll always receive a free quote after mailing your SafeShip Kit to iMemories, so there’s no surprises or unexpected charges; the conversion of my entire Super 8 movie came to a mere $12.99. I was stunned by how inexpensive this was! I couldn’t buy a Super 8 projector for that, never mind the equipment to hook it into the computer and edit it – not to mention the experience needed to do so effectively! iMemories use state-of-the-art equipment that incorporates modern HD camera technology and LED lighting to bring these memories to life, which no one could replicate at home for $12.99. And even if you have a Super 8 projector and know how to use it, film has a limited lifespan, so having these precious films backed up makes sure that they will always be around – because as us Millennials have learned the hard way, the Internet is forever! 😉
I couldn’t think of a better Mother’s Day tribute to my own Mom than this video. Converting your precious family moments with iMemories is a wonderful gift idea for any Mom or Grandma this Mother’s Day, so I highly recommend visiting iMemories.com or following along on the iMemories Facebook and Instagram pages to learn how you can transform life’s precious moments into a gift that will be treasured forever.
Pin it For Later!
I created this handy step-by-step graphic showing how to prepare your family mementos to send to iMemories, so you can Pin this to your gift idea boards and refer back to it when you’re ready to order! No need to be intimidated by the idea of converting your old movies and photos to digital – all it takes is a few simple steps!