BFI: Britain on Film

We’re always excited at the prospect of being able to preserve your memories from Video 8 to DVD because we know just what those moments mean to you. In the modern world there can be something of a throwaway attitude towards videos and pictures, where the loss of a phone is followed by little more than a shrug and a subsequent trip to the shop. With this all too commonplace in the 21st century, it always warms our cockles to hear of nostalgia being given a well-deserved pat on the Penny Black.

This week, the British Film Institute released around 10,000 digitised films from their National Archive, including never before seen films of Britain throughout the twentieth century. The collection boasts an array of video which captures the zeitgeist of the time perfectly, including attitudes towards a range of topics, from fashion to race relations.

A 1970 film titled Models Showcase the Latest Fashion in Truro captures the attitudes towards the revealing dresses from John Lumley-Savile’s new boutique as he takes three young women around the Cornish high-street. The figure hugging dresses wouldn’t necessarily be uncommon today, but in the 1970’s film the women are met with a combination of leering eyes and disapproving tutts.

The release of the collection is summarised perfectly by The Daily Telegraph’s film critic, Robbie Collin who says of the era and the footage, “Events were only worth filming if they were extraordinary. But it’s the absolute ordinariness of much of the footage in Britain on Film that makes it so incredibly powerful.”

We couldn’t agree more. The glimpse into the life and attitude of the times can take even the youngest of film enthusiasts back, on a trip down someone else’s Memory Lane. The sheer vastness of the footage means it could be used in school classes of all subjects, giving such a fantastic pseudo-practical insight into what occurred, when it occurred and what the environment within which it occurred.

If nothing else, the grainy footage stands to give you a warm, fuzzy sense of national identity and puts a very real face on the movements that have gone before. In 1957’s To the Four Corners viewers are treated to rare colour footage of Britain of yore and an early display of product placement as the camera crew visit a multi-racial Cardiff.

Other footage frozen in time, as if a Damien Hirst exhibit, comes in the form of the Bathing Beauty Contest, which offers a beauty contest from post-war Britain in 1946. The footage was captured by businessman, William King, who was an amateur film maker. He captured campers participating in fun and frolics at the Butlin’s camp, where his films were subsequently shown.

Another example of wonderful footage uncovered and available to watch includes footage captured in Chesterfield in 1935. The footage is essentially CCTV and is the first film used as evidence in a court of law, used to record an illegal betting ring. Whilst the film manages to capture town life of pre-war England, it inadvertently captures a parade of three elephants, tail in trunk, strolling past. How’s that for right place, right time?

A camera never forgets, so the notion that such amazing snapshots of times-gone-by can be recaptured and reborn on such a large scale is outstanding. Much like the service we provide at Video2DVD Transfer, the BFI have made otherwise forgotten footage readily available. If, like the BFI, you have footage you would like to be given a new lease of life and be reborn in the form of watchable DVDs, contact us on 01296 461505 and one of our friendly team will be more than happy to help with any queries you may have.

5 of the Best Film Trilogies Ever Made!

In the UK there are nearly 700 films released to cinemas every single year! That’s nearly 2 every single day! Now most of these films simply stand alone and fade into the past; a small percentage get a sequel but some of them manage to hit the holy grail of a trilogy!

Last Traction Hero

As a company which deals primarily with capturing and preserving your fondest memories with our Video8 to DVD transfers, we have a special interest in all things film; be that advances in recording technology, new film releases or any other news regarding the business of show.

Memorable Movies: The Greatest Films Of The 21st Century So Far

The 21st century has so far been excellent for providing us with some brilliant and memorable movies. Whether it’s a huge action blockbuster, or a tearjerker romance, or even a family friendly Disney film, there has been something for everyone to add to their all time favourite films list.

We are talking about the films that you actually wanted to go watch again at the cinema, or those films that you rushed to buy on DVD as soon as they were released. There are certain things that make a great movie – and wanting to re-watch a film is definitely high on the list.

Read on as we choose some of our favourites from the last 15 years!

 

The Dark Knight (2008)

 

The Dark Knight was the second instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and is arguably the best one out of the three (although we love them all).

The film focused on the DC Comic villain The Joker, who is running around Gotham killing people and causing a lot of trouble. With the help of Commissioner Gordon and DA Harvey Dent, Batman is determined to stop The Joker and rid the streets of all organised crime groups. Before long, Bruce Wayne is forced to revaluate everything he believes in – including the vigilante he has become.

The late Heath Ledger is unrecognisable in the role of The Joker, playing a character that is both utterly frightening and brilliant all at the same time. It’s one of his last roles before his death and it showcases what a loss his death was for the world of acting.

The Social Network (2010)

Who would have predicted that one day there would be a whole film about Facebook? Well it’s true, and it’s found its way onto our list of all time favourite movies from the 21st century.

Released back in 2010, the film tells the story of how Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created the idea of a social network site that would go onto become Facebook. An idea that he comes across in his dorm room whilst at university, soon becomes a global success – one so big that he didn’t even see it coming!

This story gives a brilliant account of how Facebook came to be – including the people that Zuckerberg fought with over the years, the people that claimed that he stole the idea from them, and the friends that he sadly lost on the way to be becoming the world’s youngest billionaire.

Frozen (2013)

We’re not sure that it would have been fair to write a list of the best movies of the 21st century and not include Disney’s Frozen. Released towards the end of 2013, it became the highest grossing animated film ever produced.

The story is loosely inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Snow Queen, and tells of two sisters, one who has magical icy powers! After Elsa accidently sets off an eternal winter, whilst fleeing soon after being crowned queen, her sister Anna must set off on a journey to bring her back and reverse the spell she has put on the town. She meets some extra special friends along the way, including a loveable snowman called Olaf!

The film has incredibly catchy songs – they will get stuck in your head! We dare you not to fall in love with this Disney classic.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading this as we looked back over the last 15 years of movies to choose some of our all time favourites – we certainly have! Were some of these your favourites? Or would your list look totally different?

Whilst thinking about looking back, do you have any old home movies that encourage you to look back even further? As a company who specialises in transferring VHS to DVD, we are proud to be able to help customers look back on their oldest and fondest memories from childhood.

If you have old tapes that you are no longer able to watch, and would like to be able to access those precious moments again, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can give us a call on 0800 592433 and a member of our helpful team will be happy to help.

Baby Memories: Capturing and Preserving Memories Of Your Child

If you’re a parent, every time your baby does something cute, or new, or passes a development milestone, it’s a time to celebrate. You want to be able to capture everything they do on camera or video – so you can keep the memories for years to come.

Whether it’s the first time they smile, crawl or walk – these are the moments that you want to keep forever.

As a company who specialises in transferring old movies on VHS to DVD, we know how important it is to have these memories captured. We help people with home movies that were filmed before the advanced technology that we have now, so these people can always look back on fond memories too.

Luckily for parents in recent times, there are a number of ways that you can capture everything new that your child does. Read on for some of our best ideas!

Don’t miss a moment with a digital video camera

Technology has advanced incredibly in the last decade, meaning that it’s easier than ever to capture everything on film – all you need to do is press record!

Video cameras allow parents to capture many aspects of one specific moment. This could be the faces, voices, environment and the mood of the moment!

You can film every smile, laugh and crawl as it happens. They allow you not only to capture the moment, but also the audio as well!

We believe that video was made especially for milestones – what’s better to capture the first time your baby utters your name?

Just remember that it’s just as important to be involved in these special milestones as filming them. Get someone else to press the record button whilst you enjoy celebrating your child’s first walk!

Take a picture

Video is amazing, but it can also be just as brilliant to take a picture. A lot of people will argue that a picture is worth more than a 1,000 words – especially when it comes to capturing specific moments in time.

A digital camera will allow you to instantly share a picture with all your loved ones – whether it’s through email or posting online. You can also pick and choose the pictures that you love the best, and those that you don’t like can be instantly deleted.

Use a smart phone

With your smart phone, you have a camera and video recorder in one. The camera on a phone is improving with every new year, meaning that it’s getting easier to capture moment with a clear and high quality pixel.

If you don’t like the picture, you can upload it straight from your phone and change it around a little with a photo editor.

The best thing about using the camera on your phone is that it’s always handy – most people have their phone nearby all the time. So if your child does something spontaneous, you will more likely be able to capture it will your phone.

 
 

It’s amazing that we have the technology that we do now, to be able to capture all the wonderful things that our children do. Does it make you want to watch your own childhood memories?

If this post has inspired you to look back at some of your own special recollections, but you no longer own a VHS player, there is no need to worry. For those who want to watch all them old movies that were recorded years ago, maybe those of you as a child yourself, then we can certainly help you out.

We specialise in transferring your old VHS videos to DVD, meaning that we can bring your memories back to life, even those you didn’t think you would be able to watch again. If you have any questions about the service that we offer, or you would like to put in an order, please contact us today. You can ring us on 0800 592 433 and a member of our staff will be happy to help you out!

What’s Around the Corner: Movies to Look Out for in Summer 2015

Summer is almost here and it brings a whole host of new movies to go and watch. Between May and August is usually when movie studios release their biggest and most anticipated movies – and we can’t wait to watch them all! Who needs the sun? We would much rather be sat in a cool dark cinema watching the latest big blockbuster.

Whether it’s sci-fi, drama, romance, horror or even Disney that you enjoy, there is always something for everyone.

We’ve narrowed down the movies that we are most excited and curious about this summer, so read on to find out all about them!

Mad Max: Fury Road (14th May)

Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth film in the Mad Max franchise, and the first one released in 30 years.

English actor Tom Hardy takes over the title role of ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky, making this the first movie in the series that Mel Gibson hasn’t starred in.

The movie takes place in a desert landscape, where people are being held captive. It has been several years since a series of catastrophic calamities took place around the world and left humanity in ruins.

Charlize Theron plays one of the Five Wives – female captives of a tyrannical man. They must lean on Max to help them escape the desert and avoid its dangers.

We don’t think it matters if you haven’t seen the first three – give it a watch!

Jurassic World (June 12th)

Jurassic World is the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park film franchise. It’s the first film to be released in over 14 years – the last one was back in 2001 (yeah we didn’t think they would ever release another one either)!

The movie takes place in a dinosaur theme park that is situated near Costa Rica, where behavioural research is being undertaken on a group of Velociraptors.

Christ Pratt leads the film – so it’s got to be worth watching, right?

We figure this one is a real must watch if you are a fan of the previous films! We know we are pretty excited.

Ant-Man (July 17th)

We admit that we were always going to be excited about this movie – it’s Marvel, after all! However, it does look very promising.

In Marvel’s second big blockbuster of the year (the first being Avengers: Age of Ultron… go watch it if you haven’t already!), we are introduced to comedic Paul Rudd as con-man Scott Lang; an individual who develops the ability to shrink in size but increase in strength.

He must put his petty criminal past behind him and learn to embrace his inner hero – and all to save the world!

Other notable cast members include Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost!).

July can’t come quick enough!

We hope you’re as excited as we are for the release of all these movies this summer. It’s going to be a busy couple of months!

Whilst we look forward to watching new movies, there is nothing better than looking back at some of our own special recollections. If you want to be able to watch all the old movies that you recorded years ago, then we can certainly help you out.

We specialise in transferring VHS to DVD, meaning that we can bring your memories back to life, even if you thought they were lost to the world. If you have any questions about the service that we offer, please contact us today. You can ring us on 0800 592 433 and we will be happy to help!

How to Film Your Pets

It may have escaped your attention, but this month is National Pet Month. Yep, those little balls of fluff and feathers have a whole month dedicated to celebrating them and their numerous achievements – things like making a right racket when the postman comes, or scratching your dear ol’ nan when she tries to pet little Buttons.

 

Ok, in all seriousness though, as it’s National Pet Month, we thought it’d be a great time to look at how best to capture those perfect pet moments. After all, they’re a part of the family, right? So you want to show them in their best light! With that in mind, here are our top tips for turning Sylvester into a star.

Plan Your Movie

Your beloved furball has a set routine, right? And the more time you spend with them, the more predictable they’ll become – and that’s when you strike! Like a panther (A panther with a video camera, that is)! If you know your pet will always give you a certain look after trotting in through the back-door, or always-always-always bounces when the doorbell rings, then take advantage of that to get shots you want.

 

Use Natural Light

The last thing you want is to blind your pet with some fancy lighting set up – it’s not Rachel McAdams or George Clooney you’re dealing with here. Not only that, they may get distracted by all the extra gubbins you’ve set up, and anyway, pet videos should be simple and straightforward, so you can capture them the way they are when there aren’t any cameras pointed at them.

 

Have Patience

Hey, you there, you’re not a performing seal, are you? Well, neither is your pet – unless you’re a seal trainer, of course. Just take your time with your pet. Keep your camera at the ready for when they do exactly what you want, but don’t get mad when they don’t. Simply wait, bide your time and pretty soon they’ll do the very thing you’re trying to film.

Get on Their Level

Unless your pet’s a six-foot mountain gorilla, you’re going to want to hunker down to their eye-level. And there are a few good reasons to do this: you’ll be able to show them off far better if you’re low and close; your film will have more impact by entering their world; and it makes the movie more interesting than just lumbering over them.

 

Bribe Them

Ok, so shoving a purse full of tenners won’t cut it, but if you really want your pet to do what you need them to do, don’t be above bribing them with treats. It’s the ol’ carrot and stick routine – only instead of a carrot, you’ll be using dog biscuits or cat-food. Unless it’s a rabbit, in which case you’ll probably want to stick with the carrot.

 

Show That Personality

Everyone’s got a personality (Well, usually!), and it’s no different for your pets. That’s the whole point of filming them, isn’t it? So you can let people see your pet as they are around you – whether it’s a surly kitten or a rabbit that thinks it’s a dog. Shooting the moments that best exemplifies your pet won’t only let others discover who they really are; it’s also perfect for reminding you of all their fab ways when you watch the movie back in years to come.

We’ve all heard the old saying: Never work with animals or children. Well, with any luck, these tips will mean that working with animals is a total cinch. Of course, you may well be yearning now to watch some of your old home movies featuring your pets. If so, we can help. We’re pros at transferring video to DVD, so you can watch it in a modern format on your TV today. If that’s what you need, all you have to do is contact us on 0800 592 433 and we’ll be utterly delighted to help.

DVD: What You Always Wanted to Know (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

As you probably know, we specialise in converting VHS to DVD – so we spend a fair amount of time dealing with our good friend, the DVD. It’s been a ubiquitous media format for 20 years, but how much do you actually know about it?

 

Well, we thought we’d check out all the little facts and figures and other trivia surrounding DVDs. That way, not only will you look like a total whizz on Mastermind (Or in the pub quiz) with your chosen specialist subject: DVD – you’ll also have a new-found respect for the format, the next time you pop a disc in the tray to watch the movie.

 

The Basics

Ok, let’s start with the basics. Ask most people what DVD stands for and they’ll either shrug, or probably say ‘digital video disc’. Or they’ll tell you that it’s an acronym for ‘digital versatile disc’. And they’d both be right. Sort of. ‘Digital versatile disc’ is certainly what it’s formally known as these days, but that wasn’t always the case. DVD doesn’t actually stand for anything – it started out as just a random series of three letters that sounded good.

 

DVD first came about in 1994, when the two tech firms, Sony and Phillips announced plans to create a disc-based video; then rival companies Toshiba and Time Warner said they were also working on a disc format. There was only one snag – that sort of competition doesn’t bode well for anyone, least of all consumers.

 

Before then, the movie world was dominated first by VHS and Betamax, and then later, the not-quite-so dominant VCD and laserdisc – and look how that turned out for three of those four. And thanks to heavyweight hitters like Microsoft, Apple and Dell, the two sides agreed on a single, standard format. DVD was born.

 

The Specs

It wasn’t long before DVD became the format de rigueur. Partly, this was from novelty – interactive menus, anyone?, partly it was the movie studios choosing a shift from rental to retail, which meant tons of DVDs were produced, and partly, it was the absolute convenience of the technology. They were smaller than VHS cassettes, so could be easily stored, and more could go on the shelf. Mo’ space, mo’ money, if you will.

 

Ok, so let’s take a typical DVD disc – what’s the craic? Well, a standard, single-sided, single-layered disc holds a whopping 4.7GB of data; more than enough for not only a film, but also all those extras, like trailers and making-of documentaries, that we never knew we needed until DVD came along. You can up that to 8.7GB for a double-layered disc.

 

Double-sided, single-layered DVDs hold a colossal 9.4GB; and the big beast, the double-sided, double-layered disc holds a whopping 17GB – although these types of DVD are not just rare but also pretty inconvenient, since you’d have to manually flip the disc over to play the other side, like you would a vinyl.

 

So that’s four different DVD types:

  • DVD-5: 4.7GB
  • DVD-9: 8.7GB
  • DVD-10: 9.4GB
  • DVD-18: 17GB

 

The Record and Rewrite

Not long after, recordable DVDs were brought in, ostensibly as a form of data storage which replaced CD-Rs (That’s the single-use kind) and CD-RWs (The multiple use kind). Of course, it didn’t take long before consumers were using these to store not just data like word documents and spreadsheets, but also music and video.

 

Have you ever checked out a rewriteable or recordable DVD? The eagle-eyed among you may notice that there are four types: DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW. But what do those pluses and dashes actually mean?

 

Well, these days it’s not so much a concern, since most disc drives – especially on computers – can play both. But back in the late 90s and early 00s, these symbols denoted two different styles of recording; which meant that only a dash drive could record and play dash discs and pluses did the same for ‘+’ discs. Both discs hold roughly the same amount of data, although ‘plus’ discs write that data faster, and allow easier composition of the DVD’s contents. And thanks to the R/RW tech, making sure your wonderful memories last is even easier.

 

The Future

It’s a serious testament to DVDs’ durability and widespread popularity that even with the emergence of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, the format is still the number one choice. And thanks to the technology, transferring your old VHS memories on to DVD is a real cinch too. That’s where we can help, with high-quality transfers so you can enjoy your old home movies in the digital age. If you’d like to know more, simply contact us on 0800 592 433 and our pro team will be delighted to help.

Kind of a Big Deal: How to Turn Your Home Movie Night into an Event

Ok, so after transferring video to DVD or USB, you’ll have your awesome home movies ready to launch at a moment’s notice, right? And that’s great – but those movie memories are just the beginning. After all, they’re the sort of special moments that need to be shared.

With that in mind, we thought we’d look at a few top tips to turning your home movie viewing experience into a seriously ace event.

 

Plan Ahead

Great films aren’t just conjured up out of thin air. The Oscars doesn’t just happen when Steven Spielberg clicks his fingers (Although it’d be impressive if it did). These things take time, and planning. And your movie night shouldn’t be any difference. Make sure you know who’s coming, what you’ll need – like snacks and seating – and, most importantly, that everything works! Check your home movie plays perfectly, that the screen size is set up correctly, and that all you’ll need to do once settled is press play.

Red Carpet Treatment

When you think of movie premieres, what do you think? Bit of glitz, dash of glamour, and some real red carpet treatment, right? Well, you can do exactly the same. Design and print some cool-looking invitations, maybe with a film reel bordering the invite, or create a cinema ticket unique to your home movie. If you want to go even further, you could set up some red curtains in front of the TV screen, or have your guests dress up in tuxedos and evening dresses. Oh yes, guests – that reminds us…

Invite the Audience

Sure, you could enjoy your home video by yourself – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But imagine how much better it’ll be to relive those movies with an actual audience, made up of friends, family, and film stars – or home movie stars, at least, unless you’re brother is George Clooney! That shared experience won’t only mean that Uncle Paul’s ‘Baloo the Bear Dance’ is even funnier when you watch it back, it’ll also strengthen those family and friendship bonds.

Bring the Popcorn

Know what every good movie night needs? Popcorn. Heaps and heaps of popcorn. Bowls of the stuff; toffee, sugar and salted popcorn. And pretty much any other drinks and snacks you can think of, like chocolates, Coke and cheeses (if you’re a savoury sort of character). This creates a real sense drama for the evening, and adds to the illusion of settling down for a Hollywood epic. As an added bonus, you’ll also come across as the perfect host – earning serious family brownie points.

Hit the Lights

Watching a soap opera or the latest ITV drama in the lounge on a regular night is all well and good. You’ll probably be stretched out on the sofa, and have the lamps on low. But when you go to the movies, you sit in the dark, which not only focuses your attention on the big screen, but also adds to the epic atmosphere of the evening. So do the same at home, because the effect will be the same. You can all still chatter away, but the emphasis will be on that home movie playing on TV.

Enjoy the Film

That’s what you’re there for, after all. To kick back, relax, and revel in those awesome home movie moments. So enjoy every single second, and every single frame of it, with the ones you love.

 

Now, with a little inspiration for your own home movie film night, you’re good to roll. Whatever type of video your old home movies were filmed on, we’ll carry out a quality service converting your videos on to DVD so the whole family can enjoy them together. If you’d like to know more about what we do, and what we can do for you, simply contact us on 0800 592 433 and our experience team will be delighted to help.

DVD or USB: Making the Right Choice for Your Memories

Ok, so you’re converting your VHS to DVD, right? Or are you? Here at Video 2 DVD Transfers, DVD isn’t the only digital format we’ll transfer your home movies on to, so we thought we’d look at the other option we offer – that way, you can make an informed decision when it comes to keeping your memories secure.

 

We don’t believe that one format’s better than another. So don’t expect some epic grudge match here; this isn’t Ali and Foreman rumbling in the jungle! Really, choosing DVD or USB all boils down to your own individual preference, and how you intend to watch or store your films.

Let’s start with what is, compared to USB, the granddaddy of film formats…

Choosing DVD

DVD – or digital versatile disc, for you fact-hounds out there – is probably the most widespread and common format out there. Even when pretenders to the crown, such as Blu-Ray, have surfaced, still DVD remains dominant.

That’s a pretty decent testament to the format. And there’s a good reason for it – DVDs are cheap to produce, offer awesome video quality, they’re easy to use, and simple to store. Oh, and they’re tough as nails. What’s not to love?

If you’re planning on making a big evening out of watching home movies with the family, DVD is a pretty safe bet. Imagine gathering around the TV, popping the disc into the tray, and pressing play. Sorted – your movie’s now playing on the same screen where you watched Johnny Depp the night before!

Even if you’re not making a big night with a big show, the fact that DVD players are so common means you’ll be able to find one – if not more – in any house, so you can always take your movies around to friends and family, safe in the knowledge that there’ll always be a way to watch them.

The main issue with a DVD is, as a physical medium, you may only choose to have one copy made – and that’s your lot, unless you order more, or hire a pro to duplicate the contents.

In Short:

  • DVDs are affordable
  • They have widespread popularity
  • Easy to use

Choosing USB

 

Ah, the good ol’ universal serial bus, or USB, as literally everyone calls it. If you’re looking for computer-based format, this is your guy.

One of the best things about keeping your home movies on USB is that you can make multiple copies of them – meaning that once you have your videos stored on a hard drive, you can move it around, copy it to the cloud, or your laptop, or wherever’s easiest for you to watch them.

And don’t forget, thanks to the proliferation of mobile phones and tablets, with a digitally-stored film, you’ll be able to watch it on the go. So if you fancy a trip down memory lane with a memory stick while stuck on the 9:08 from Paddington – you can!

There are a couple of things you should be aware of though. Dependable hard drives aren’t quite as cheap as DVDs, and your computer may need a software update if film’s file format isn’t recognised. Please remember, too, that if you’re planning on that awesome family home movie night, you’ll need to make sure that either your TV has a USB port, or that you have the correct lead to hook up your laptop to the television.

In Short:

  • USB copies can be effortlessly transferred and copied
  • Good for watching on computers and devices
  • Watch on the go

Choosing Us

Made your mind up? Know which one deserves your attention? Both DVD and USB have excellent picture quality, and are versatile in the extreme. But if you’re still unsure, one of our super-experienced team will be delighted to talk through the relative merits. In fact, we’d love to – creating memories is our passion, and we’ve been doing it for years, with archive-quality conversions that ensure your home movie conversions are in reliable hands, whether it was originally filmed on VHS, Betamax, Mini DV or any other video format.  All you have to do is contact us today on 0800 592 433 and we’ll be happy to help.