Archives for September 2011

Play it Again Video heard in Prague?

Play it Again Video has been around for over 24 years. We serve about 10 customers a day, that’s 3,500 customers a year, that’s about 84,000 customers out there spreading the word.
Still, to be heard as far away as in Prague, Czech Republic. That’s something.

Yet, that’s what this guy said. His friends in Prague told him to come to Play it Again Video to transfer his VHS tapes to DVD.

Are you still hanging on to VHS tapes? VHS tapes are not meant to last forever. The magnetic media that VHS tapes, and other analog tapes: Video 8, 8mm tapes are made of degrade with time even if you keep it in cool, dry, dark condition.

Champions Aren’t Born – They are Trained

Wayne Alpert has successfully trained professional basketball players since 1985.

He came to Play it Again Video to capture highlights of his training program into a video that can be shared publicly. His team of trainers has now expanded their training programs to young aspiring players of all ages, starting at age 10 and above.

Imitating moves is not understanding basket ball. Understanding excellence is.”, says Wayne. And that’s a difference that has made his training so effective.

I love working with Play it Again Video. Their patience and perseverance help me come into the 21st Century. I’m sure we’ll be doing many video projects together.”, adds Wayne.

If your son or daughter is passionate about playing their basketball, you should really contact Wayne. His office is right in Newton and he can be reached at (617) 233 6924.

They Met at Cornell

Janet came in with 16mm film reels she stole from her mother’s home.

Sidetrack: We are confidante to a lot of family film thefts. The thefts are necessary as many older parents are extremely nervous about letting precious irreplaceable film reels – 8mm, Super 8, or 16mm – out of their home. So their adult children have to ‘steal’ them for a while to bring them to our store to have the old home movies transferred to DVD.

Songs of CornellBack to Janet. She said the 16mm film reels had videos of her parents wedding and the many trips they took early in their marriage. They had met at Cornell. And Janet had with her a CD by the Cornell Glee Club: Songs of Cornell that she wanted to be added as background music to the film. I thought that was so sweet, so clever.

I am very touched by the clever ideas people have to make something extra special for their loved ones. I give brownie points to adult children – just for bringing in their parents’ old home movies to turn into gifts for them. But when they put in that extra thought, like Janet, to find a CD with songs from her parents’ alma mater to be put in the background, I am just so touched I want to do the service for free for them. But you know I can’t.

I am really looking forward to this finished DVD. With songs names like these: Big Red Team, Fight for Cornell, Give my Regards to Davy, Cornell Champions – this is going to be one awesome 50th anniversary gift for Janet’s parents. She’d better include a box of tissues in the gift bag.

If Cornell is your alma mater, and you are nostalgic for the Big Read Team, you can hear these songs here: Songs of Cornell Page

She used to be so little

I shouldn’t have left him alone. I should have known better. That was risky. But I had a line up of customers waiting for me, keeping them waiting while he took his own sweet time wasn’t right either. So I walked away and left him alone.She used to be so little

He had walked into the store like many others: “I’d like to watch these Hi8 tapes, want to see what they are before I spend money transferring them to DVD.”

So I set him up at a station with a Hi8 tape player. He must have had a dozen tapes, some Sony Hi8, some 8mm tapes, a couple of VHS tapes. When he saw other customers come in the store, he said, “You take care of them, I know how to press the Rewind and Play buttons.” So I left him alone.

After I took care of the line of customers, I came back to check up on him. It couldn’t be more than 15-20 minutes.

He was hunched up, head bowed, hands rubbing the bridge of his nose. He seemed startled to see me, obviously his videos had taken him somewhere else, a long ago place, a long ago time. And he was crying. His face was a blend of pain and pride. I could barely make out his words, “She used to be so little.” I looked at the video player and I saw a chubby, curly haired, toddler waddling through the screen, dragging a toy duckie.

I said, “Well, I’m sorry, you shouldn’t have blinked. That’s what happens when you blink – they turn into teenagers. You blink twice, they are young adults.”

Turns out, his daughter is still 13. Still lots of opportunities to enjoy her before he’ll be saying in a few years, “She used to be a teenager …”.

Related Posts:

What is the shelf-life of a video tape?
Slides and Photos Scanning

I’m Looking For My Father

Samir*, a youthful looking, dark-haired man of Indian descent, came into the store with a bag of 8mm film reels cans. “I’m here to view these film reels”, he explains.

We set him up on a desk with a film projector, and gave him a 10 minute demo on how to playback his Super 8 film.
Samir took the boxes of reels out of the bag, some had labels, some didn’t, some look very beat up, some in pristine film boxes.

I asked Samir if there was an event, a wedding, or a family reunion that prompted him to transfer his old home movies to DVD. Samir said, “Nope. I am turning 40, I’m looking for my father“. Samir went on to explain his father had passed away when he was 4. He didn’t have any videos of him except for what’s on the film. Turning 40 raised a desire to connect with this person who had gone away and missed a chance to see a child grow up.Father son birthday

He carefully looked through each and every film reel. 40 minutes later, “I found him!” I came over and looked, I wish his own family were there to share this special moment with him. As he cranked the film projector with his hand, images of a birthday party flew by. A 2 year-old boy posing with his cake, a beaming father behind him, hand on his son’s shoulder. In a faraway place, Pakistan, he said, and in a far-away time, 36 years ago.

* Our customer stories are real, but the names have been changed.

Related Posts:
Make appointment to view tapes and film (free).
What is the shelf-life of a video tape?
How to edit your old home movies with Windows Movie Maker

Preview Your Media at our Free Previewing Station


So you have found a pile of old videotapes in your closet.  What could be on them?  Your grandfather conferring with FDR?   Precious family memories?  Or just reruns of Seinfeld?

Help is on the way!  Just call us at (617) 332-3300  to reserve a time to use our free video previewing station.

For video, we have players you can use to look at any of these media:

  • VHS   tapes
  • VHS-C  (we have the VHS-C cartridge, no need to turn the attic upside down looking for yours
  • DVD
  • Mini-DV tapes
  • Video8, Hi8 or Digital 8 tapes

Got something even older, like film reels?  View them at our viewing station:

  • Regular 8mm
  • Super 8mm
  • 16mm (limited to reels sized 3″ to 7″)

Lastly, 35mm slides – line them up in our slide viewer for easy viewing.

The station is generally available but it is best to call and make sure, also to make sure there is a staff person to assist you (especially important for film).

Once you see what is on your tapes or film, then you can decide if you want us to transfer it for you.

Call   (617) 332-3300

See you at the store. We’ve reserved equipment for you to step back into the 60’s and 50’s. We can even play some Big Band music while you are watching and reminiscing. After viewing there is no obligation to transfer your tapes, film or slides.


Old home movies tapes and film reels

Super 8 the Movie

Steven Spielberg’s latest: Super 8 is now in theaters. The story starts with a group of kids who wanted to make a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera.
While shooting, by chance, they witnessed a dramatic train crash. Since then, strange occurrences and events happen in their town, the army shows up and appear to be hiding a secret that will change their lives forever.

The movie is co-produced by JJ. Adams and Steven Speilberg. You’ll be transported to the Speilberg eighties productions, a mix between “ET”, “The Goonies” and a touch of “Jurassic Park”. Even the music, created by Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino, is reminiscent of past Spielberg’s films and the composer John Williams. Super 8 has received delightful ratings from critics so far.

It’s amusing that Steven Spielberg has named the movie Super 8, a film video format that disappeared before most of the movie viewers were born.

By the way, if you are still hanging on the Super 8 film, Regular 8, or even the predecessor: 16mm film, you can transfer them to DVD or to a portable hard drive (for editing) at our Newton, MA lab. We have been transferring 8mm film to DVD since 1986. Wait, that’s a lie. When we started in 1986, we were transferring 8mm film to VHS tapes, only in the 90’s did we start transferring film to DVD. And those VHSs are making their way back to be re-transferred to DVDs.

And if you want to watch more sneak previews of the Super 8 movie, the official website is: