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Have you ever seen a photo like the one in this post and thought, “Wow! That is really colorful and vivid!” If so, chances are good that the photo was an HDR image; HDR is an acronym for “High Dynamic Range.”

Would you like to be able to create stunning HDR images on your own? You don’t need fancy equipment or an expensive camera. Odds are your smartphone has HDR ability built in!

Read the following article to learn how to determine if your phone offers HDR and if so, how to use HDR on your smartphone.

What is HDR and when should I use it on my smartphone?

 

Did you know we also digitize Photos, Slides?

Let us bring out the best in your family media by transferring them to digital.

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YOUR PHOTO/SLIDE TRANSFER SERVICE
In Store Only – Mention Coupon Code “HDR”

Offer expires 09/15/2016.

 

We’ve transferred tons of film and videos over the last 12 years. One of the common things we have found is that men are often behind the scenes as the videographer. It’s rare to find fathers in front of the camera and when you do, it’s special and touching indeed. So, we present some of the fun Dad moments we’ve discovered doing film transfer.

Tips for getting Dads (And Moms) in front of the camera:

Today of course, the videographer role doesn’t fall on gender lines as sharply as it did in the past. What happens now is more a matter of human behavior; someone is always more comfortable behind the camera and tends to stick to that role. The problem is that videos start to get a little one-sided and in years to come, when you look back, you’ll want the kids (or grandkids) to know that you were actually there enjoying the same events. So the question becomes: how do you put the Dads (and Moms) out front every now and then?

Selfies to the Rescue

If you are the primary videographer in your family, sometimes you don’t have the opportunity to be in front of the camera. For example, if you are the only parent at an event, you may not be able to share the filming duties. In this case you’ll need an extra hand.  If your smartphone is your video camera of choice, consider taking some selfie video of the event. We recommend using a selfie stick. The collapsible kind doesn’t take much room and allows you to hold the phone far enough away for you to comfortably get into the action.

For those of you that use DSLRs or camcorders, consider investing in a tripod. They are relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and will keep the camera steady (you’ll thank us later for that). One of the models that we like is this. It can be set up in a snap and is extremely portable. Even if you just jump in front of the camera for a quick commentary or enthusiastic thumbs up, your video memory of the event will be that much richer.

Perfection not Required

Videos can also get one-sided if either parent is uncomfortable with operating the camera or camcorder. Many folks are tech averse and would prefer not to switch roles. If that’s you, not to worry.  As you can see from our Dads tribute, imperfection adds to the charm of the final video. Yes, certain shots are a little shaky and out of frame, but the result is spontaneous and engaging. Take a chance and you will be surprised at the outcome. If you need some tips on creating good smartphone video, check out this post .

One goof proof camera to try is the GoPro. With its light weight, built in stabilizers, and wide angled lens, it is almost impossible to take a bad shot.  Just press record and go; you’ll be adding fresh perspective to your family archives.

Get the Multi-Cam shot

Do like the professionals do and rely on multiple cameras to tell your story. I wouldn’t think of shooting an important event without at least two cameras. The different angles add interest and there’s less chance that something important will be missed. I’m not suggesting hiring a film crew for your next vacation (Of course if you’re interested in that sort of thing click here), but consider pressing the kids into service. Many children have smart phones. In between status updates, encourage them to take video of the entire family on an outing. You can make a game of it, like a scavenger hunt of events and locations including the parent of choice. Again, the video won’t be perfect, but you can “Fix it in Post” like the professionals say.   Nowadays, there are great editing applications for video that are either free or low cost. For example, the iPhone 6 comes with the  iMovie editing app built in.

Finally, don’t feel shy about asking a stranger to take your picture or a quick video. Most people are happy help if asked. Nine times out of 10 they’re having the same awesome experience you are, whether it’s vacation time or a special event. They get the chance to do something nice and feel good about themselves and in return, you won’t need to ask “Where was I?” years later.

So there you have it. If you’re the behind the scenes person, take opportunities to get into the action. If you’re out front, don’t be afraid to trade places and add your personal touch to your family projects.  Enlist the help of the kids or sometimes a third party to make sure everyone’s included.

If you liked our Dad’s tribute or you have more tips on family video projects, please leave us a comment.

 

data storage media

From the time we started our video transfer business back in 2004, we have urged our customers to convert their video tape formats like VHS, Beta, 8mm and MiniDV to a digital format. Videotape deteriorates over time, and tape players break down, are expensive to repair and increasingly hard to find. In the past, preserving a videotape meant transferring it to DVD or Blu-Ray disc. However, improvements in online streaming speeds, new editing apps and video sharing sites have made digital video files easier to watch, edit and share.

So what’s a Digital Video File?
In the same way that CDs were eventually replaced by .MP3 files, for DVDs, their counterpart is the video .MP4 file format. There are actually several different types of video files, but for the sake of this discussion, we’ll stick to the most popular format, MP4.  Nowadays when you upload a video to a site like YouTube or Vimeo, or take some video on your Go Pro or smartphone, you are using and sharing a digital video file. These files have many advantages over DVDs:

Portable:
DVDs can really only be played two ways. On a disc player (DVD or Blu-Ray) or on a computer. Digital files can be played on a variety of platforms:
• Smart Phone
• Tablet
• Computer
• Smart TV
• Digital Photo Frame

Shareable:
If you would like share your video on DVD, you have to, um, make another DVD copy. While this may seem simple, a copy has to be made with the correct structure or it will not be recognizable as a DVD in another device. And copying is only possible if your desktop or laptop even has an optical (DVD) drive. We recently installed a shiny new iMac in our offices, and guess what, the disc drive was an optional feature.

By contrast, you can duplicate digital files easily or, if a video has been uploaded to a sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo, all you need to do is share a link, and voila, your friends and family can enjoy your video.

If you are thinking about sharing your video overseas, the digital route makes more sense. DVDs have to be made in the correct video format in order to play in another country. Two major formats are NTSC and PAL. NTSC is used here in the US, while several European countries use the PAL format. In order for your Nana in the UK to play your US made DVD, it has to have the PAL format or playback will not be possible.

Flexible:
Our customers typically ask if they can make changes to a DVD once it’s created. The short answer to this question is no. A DVD is permanent. To edit it, one would have to:
1. Extract (rip) the contents.
2. Import into an editing program.
3. Make the changes and then,
4. Re-author and burn a new disc.

Digital files are much more flexible. They can be directly imported into a variety of editing programs; from something simple like Windows Movie Maker all the way to the latest version of Adobe Premiere Pro.  Once you’ve made your family’s movie, why trap it again on DVD?  Simply upload it to a video sharing site, send the links out and let the viewing party begin online.

Easy to Backup:

This final issue is one that’s often overlooked. Whether you decide to make DVDs or digital files, it’s important to always make a backup of your content. Today’s DVDs definitely are an improvement over storing your content on videotape. However, they can be scratched or mishandled. Digital files can easily be backed up by simply copying to a hard disk, flash drive or online storage.

How can I get started?
If you would like to transfer your tape collection or current DVDs to digital files, give us a call today at 973-267-7331. We have a new service called: Your Memories Online. It offers private, easy-to-use online storage of your precious videos. The service is free to use for 30 days. Call and speak with one of our technicians for detailed pricing info.


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