Reel Memories

Couple converts old home movies from film reel to DVD


Preserving their family history is what Richard and Sally Low had in mind when they had their family movies converted from film reel to DVD several months ago.

The Lows had several 40 to 45 homemade movie reels, as well as one 300-foot reel shot at their wedding.


Richard Low sent several 40 to 45 homemade movie reels, as well as one 300-foot reel shot 40 years ago at his wedding, to a company in Scottsdale to have them converted to DVD.

The reels, Richard Low said, were in very bad shape, and were almost not viewable when his wife saw an advertisement from iMemories, a Scottsdale-based company that specializes in converting reel movies to DVDs.

The Lows mentioned their reels were stored in a box and were rarely ever viewed because of the hassles that were involved in setting up a projector.

The Lows had three copies made of the two-set DVD, and, as a Christmas present, gave a set to each of their two children.

Sally Low said once the movies were transferred to DVDs, they threw away the old reels since there was no need to keep them.

The Lows moved to Payson two years ago. Sally works for the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce on Saturdays.

Richard Low said he and his wife considered having the reels converted to DVD discs while living in Florida, but never got around to it.

He said there is no comparison between the reel movies and the converted DVDs in quality and color.

Each one of the two DVDS runs for 70 minutes, and starts off with the wedding from 40 years ago.

"It's pretty neat," he said.

He and his wife took all of reels they shot over their lives to the iMemories company to see what the options were to save and preserve their family history on film.

The process that was involved included taking still pictures from the reels and then sending them to the Lows.

Some of the reels were in pretty bad condition, and every time the reel movies were played, some of the clarity was lost, he said.

The movies showed their marriage, their children growing in the numerous homes they owned and ended with their two children riding horses on their farm in New Hampshire.

"We had the movie camera, and we wanted to try to keep a history of the kids growing up," he said.

Low said over the years, the camera and movie projector were sold, but the movies were kept and stored in a box.

Their two children loved the chance to see those movies again, he said. But he and his wife had to sit down and watch it with them to point out who some of people were in the movies, like a grandfather they never met.

He said his son and daughter thought the movies were pretty funny because they were able to view themselves and their mannerisms as very young children.

The total cost of converting several of their reel movies to a DVD format was $875.

"If you analyze it, it's well worth it," he said. "Otherwise, you would not see them again."

Converting silent movies to the DVD format took about two months to complete.

Linda VandeVrede, director of public relations for iMemories, said old reels, as well as old videocassette tapes, degrade over time and finding the equipment to play these tapes is often difficult.

"Unless this old media is digitally mastered, the images will fade over time," she said.

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