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50s to 90s Information Videos

Convert Your Old Home Videos to Digital

A few years ago, I posted about digitizing your old videos using a video capture device that plugs into your computer. It’s a great way to convert all tapes, but the downside is you needed the actual tape player. If you just had videotapes but no means of playing them then the capture device was pretty much useless. This was my dilemma, I had an old Betamax tape of a school ski trip and no means to play it. I considered buying a Betamax player but the cheapest I found was 50KD and so wasn’t going to be worth it for just one video.

Someone ages ago told me Al-Nazaer converted videos but since all their stores closed down years ago I couldn’t just visit them and ask them about it. So last week while feeling nostalgic I decided to call their head office in Subhan and ask about it. Turns out they have a small media academy in Hawalli that was still functional, and that’s where their digital conversion studio was located.

I headed straight to the studio with my Betamax tape and headed to their conversion studio. I asked if they could convert Betamax tapes and they said yes and took my tape and played it on their screen so we could check and see if it was working. A few seconds later my 11-year-old self popped up on the screen.

It was the first time I had ever seen myself as a kid in the 80s on video and it felt SO WEIRD!

During the 1990 invasion, we took most of our family videos to Lebanon and stored them away in our family home without any means to watch them. So no one in my family has watched any of our family videos that were filmed in the 80s for 30+ years. Since I had no idea what was on this video and since I had never seen myself on video as a kid, it felt like I was watching a video of myself in another dimension. That’s the best way I could describe it in words, it was a very strange feeling.

But anyway, back to the subject of converting videos, Al Nazaer can convert any video format to digital. So camcorder videos like Hi8 or miniDV, VHS tapes and Betamax tapes are all no issues. The cost of converting depends on the kind of tapes you have and how many you want to convert. They charged me KD10 to convert a single Betamax tape and I got the footage on a DVD as well as a digital file. The more tapes you have the better price. Their studio is located on the first floor of the building across the street from Muhallab Mall. Their phone number is 1888900 and here is their location on Google Maps.

You can also find them on Instagram @alnazaer

19 replies on “Convert Your Old Home Videos to Digital”

I got few VHS & VHS-C tapes converted for 1 KD each from a small photo studio next to Bait Awladona in Farwaniya. This was 7 yrs back, not sure if the shop’s still there.

Wow! Fantastic information!
I wonder if they will convert a tape that dates back to the early 70s. My father had a video recorder that he filmed us with (no audio in those days) and he would send it off to Germany from Kuwait by some kind of special post for post processing. That done, he had a projector that would project the video on to our living room wall.

I have about 20 or 30 of them at home, back in India and fortunately and unknowingly brought along one of them to Kuwait. The projector got stolen so I had no way of even taking a video of the projection. I guess I’ll pass by the place and check if they can help me. If they can … Mark, you’re the greatest and the best! If not, well, your blog is one I’ll still keep reading everyday 🙂

Cheers!

are you talking about 8mm video film? I asked them and they said they converted it as well although I didn’t see any 8mm machine there.

To be honest, I have no idea. I’ll go home and pull out the reel this evening. Going by my memory, it probably is an 8mm cause it’s width was less than about a cm.

Really appreciate this!

Went there this evening … It was really easy to find. Manal, the lady who said was in-charge of these type of works was really happy when I came in as a result of your post. She wanted to know where she could see the post and did not understand the meaning of a “blog”. She asked how she could see it on FB or Insta. I took her to the post on her mobile and was absolutely delighted.

The gentleman actually doing the job, a Filipino took a look at my reels and said that he could do it. Back to the lady and she said that she’ll give me a discount cause I showed her the post! She said that she’ll confirm that the output is decent enough before goes ahead. She also asked me to bring in all the reels I have in India and she would help me out.

Thank you once again … will let you know how the quality turns out.

An image of the reel … https://ibb.co/sjc947s

OK! So, finally I got the 2 small reels I had given to be converted. The lady, said that though the work was done, she had forgotten to call me. Anyway, turns out that each reel was about 3 minutes long. The output …. well, it was hmm … OK. I mean one would have to see a lot through the scratches but that’s not the fault of the the guy who did the conversion. I assume that with age the reel was in bad shape. The good thing however was that it brought back pleasant memories. I never had memories of being such a happy person 😀 :p Felt good!

In terms of price, I really do not know what to say. After a discount, I was charged KD.6/- per reel. Mixed feelings cause when I think KD.6/- for 3 minutes … that’s a lot! When I think that without that KD.6/- I would probably never have got to get those 3 minutes of nostalgia, it’s well worth it!

Cheers to you for the pointer!

Mark,

How is the quality of the converted file in comparison to the original recording? I used a video capture device to convert my Sony MiniDv tapes to .mpg but the quality is around 10-15% lower than the original.

VHS or Betamax footage is only around 300pixels wide and old TV’s are interlaced. So unless you’re playing back the video on an old CRT TV you can’t compare the quality of the footage because even if they’re exactly the same (which most likely it is) the digital version played back on your modern monitor is going to look worse.

Went to the Salmiya place and they said that the service is only available in Shamiya. Again, this is just the Betamax, VHS and newer versions only.

In shamiya, they actually converted many tapes from the early 90s to DVDs in shamiya mall (right next to shamiya co-op). The photography studio took care of it. They also developed tons of films my mom found in envelopes into a USB for us. So that’s another option for anyone interested.

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