What are your memories really worth?

You just got a great deal on a new digital photo camera with all of the bells and whistles one could ask for.

“Boy oh boy a high end DSLR Nikon with a premium lens kit”.

You just can’t believe that you got this brand spankin’ new camera for less than half retail and just in time to record the vacation of your dreams to boot. The stars couldn’t have aligned better.

“The guy I bought it from just didn’t know what he was selling, his loss my gain. I should test the camera in more detail though. New batteries, check, a big capacity SD card, check, battery charger, check, take a few test shots, check.”

All is well with the world.

The camera sure was handy. You recorded great water skiing with those classy moves in tow, sky sailing, what a blast, and that wild coconut party. Some patrons should have stayed home though, but you just couldn’t help snap a few anyway.

Oh yeah, you can’t forget relaxing at the hot springs and that exhilarating horseback riding package you bought into and of course, your greatest joy, that just dropped onto your lap like manna from heaven, you meet one of your favourite musicians vacationing in the same spot as you and you shoot a few mug shots. The Gods must be looking down at you.

You just couldn’t wait to get home to sort out those many pictures and look at them again. You captured lots and lots of memories all frozen in those little digital bits. Those images will last forever.

You spent the time to properly compose the shot, in being a little artsy on the side, setting the right exposure, focus and picture resolution. Yes you were awesome. These are the best pictures you have ever taken and upon repeated reflection, reminded yourself that this camera was a great deal. You still can’t believe it.

You are home now and very anxious to unload the SD card on your computer. You empty the contents to a hard drive folder and run your favorite JPEG image viewer. You freeze, then look stunned at the output quality. “This really sucks”. The image looks really blocky. There’s got to be a problem with the software viewer or “heaven forbid” the SD card. The images looked so good on the camera LCD display. You double check the camera resolution setting, 12MPixel, yep, that should give awesome pictures. You collect your senses and you look at the image file size in the folder you just dumped expecting 10MB or so per picture, but you can’t believe only 192KB. All you got were postage stamp size pictures good only for viewing on a computer and that’s stretching the idea. It’s now hitting you like a ton of bricks that the camera was not such a good deal after all.

I know the above story is a bit lame, but it highlights a point. Recovering old memories from your personal films takes a special skill set, dedication and professional equipment. Like the camera of our imaginary guy, it did not fulfill the promise of great results even though it had all the hallmarks of quality.

Not all film transfer houses are created equal. Shopping based on price alone is a big mistake. Hidden fees, nickel and diming here and there, confusing pricing structure, poor quality DVD’s, poorly executed transfer processes and sub standard equipment all impact the final results of a film transfer.

Not all film transfer web sites report what they do clearly and how they do their transfers. When you call for more information, are you greeted with run around answers, difficult to understand pricing schemes, vague explanations of what you will get or bottom ended quotes that sound too good to be true, —all red flags in which to be wary.

Get your film transfer done right the first time. It’s your investment. There are so many transfer places out there giving you the false impression that pricing is all you have to consider in choosing your transfer facility.

If it’s not HomeDVD that does your project, there are several other very professional facilities out there that will also serve you well. Unfortunately, these shops are few that can claim to offer the right stuff. Price will vary widely, as does the quality of the end product. Just do your homework, look at the web site, does it invoke confidence, convenient shipping and payment methods, do they look secure, ask questions whether by phone or email and note the response. Does the response work for you?

So it’s worth repeating, price is not your only yardstick. In the end, what is your memories worth?

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