A tradition in my family was to watch the old home movies Dad recorded, back in the days of film. We used to crowd around the tiny fridge to see the image projected onto it. Or in the lounge, with the old movies (without audio) were projected onto a rollup screen.
Dad recorded home movies from over 15 to 50+ years ago, switching technology a few times. Dad died a few weeks ago but what he captured, lives on.
Here's the thing. My Dad, an adventurer, was actually quite averse to learning to use a computer (and a microwave!). He eventually learned some basics as a senior citizen, mainly to listen to his music with the computer.
One of my childhood memories was watching Dad splice film and also being amused at how teeth looked black in negatives. I remember Dad built a box for the projector and films.
Dad had the foresight to realise that home film projectors were becoming obsolete and DVDs are a fairly new technology. He had someone 'convert' the film to DVDs in the 1990s (which basically meant videoing the projected images). It's not great quality but it's still preserving what only exists in the first place because of Dad.
Just after Easter this year, I asked Dad about editing some of the footage for extended family. To my surprise, he agreed. It took me a while to convert some of the DVDs to MP4 (I've done basic video editing before). I was able to extract some snippets and I put them on a semianonymous channel, which were appreciated by extended family.
But then, a few family members kicked up a stink ('disrespecting the dead'), so I've deleted the channel. If there's one thing I really hate, that's when others try to control me and how I process. Anyway, I can't be bothered doing something constantly needing approval, which others can change their mind about at any time.
My current project is now focussed on making a hard drive of video clips for my son, with a diary of who's in the clips I edit. It's a little easier this way, as I don't need to edit out names (I chose not to use names with the semianonymous project).
Some of the later videos, with Dad's grandchildren (all now adults), have audio. So Dad has essentially memoralised his voice. There is also footage of my son's great grandparents.
I don't actually have many photos of myself or my son (most were left behind from the circumstances of marriage breakup). My sister's managed to unearth some that I'd given to Mum. I will take some photos of them for digital keepsakes.
There's also a heap of videos that I don't have access to now that were taken on intermediate camcorder technology that wasn't particularly useful. They could possibly be retrieved.
Just a reminder though, to try to convert anything precious to updated formats before older technology phases out.
A lot of people are fixated on big assets, like the house, when someone dies. To me, Dad's home movies were way more precious and cannot be replaced. I hope to be able to pass on some of Dad's efforts, to keep memories alive. It's also a form of grief processing for me.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.