Flood Recovery Film

40 some-odd years ago, someone filmed a gas pump (among other things, like family) with beautiful 16mm film. Last year, that film was severely damaged in a flood we had in Nashville. When it was brought to us, we thought it would be unrecoverable. We did not count on the fact that we have superior film techs on staff. I took this photo months later and posted it for you.

Gulf Gas Pump on 16mm

Gulf Gas Pump on 16mm



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The Total Home Movie Solution

The Seagate Free Agent Theater

Wow, how fast technology moves.  After reading this you may rethink putting anything on a DVD ever again.  Not to say that’s a bad thing to do, it’s just that archivists have long known that external drive storage is the better way to longevity, but that has traditionally required software and a computer to view.  All that is about to change.

Introducing the new way to view your movies: straight from your hard drive to your TV.  Sound techy?  Not really.  There are two open-ended devices out there that are easier to use than DVD players and can access hundreds of hours of home videos right off your external drives from your remote without you having to get off the couch.

Check out these two: Western Digital’s WD TV, and Seagate’s Free Agent Theater.  Each can decode and transmit movies directly to your TV in virtually any standard format (AVI, WMV, MP4, etc.) from your Windows or MAC drive with easy-to-use menus.

Here’s a great way to enjoy years of recorded memories (in editable fashion) without having to change DVDs:  let Memories to DVD transfer your film, photos, slides and videotape to an external hard drive.  Then plug and play!  For info, call one of us at 615-479-8510.

Interested?  Watch this cool 56 sec video.

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Rare Footage: The Andrea Doria on her Maiden Voyage, 1953

The Andrea Doria, once considered the most beautiful ocean liner ever launched, was made famous for her sinking in the North Atlantic.

The Andrea Doria sank on July 25, 1956, en route to New York from Genoa, Italy, after it collided with another passenger ship, the Stockholm. Of the Andrea Doria’s nearly 1,500 passengers and more than 600 crew members, more than 2,000 people were saved, in one of the most stunningly successful rescues in maritime history.

She made her maiden voyage on January 14, 1953, and after surviving a force 9 storm, arrived in New York 9 days later to a welcoming delegation.

Recently, we aquired some rare footage of this historic event – including life jacket drills!  This rare 16mm film was transferred to digital with heavily modified equipment.   Each frame was backlit with remote halogen lighting and captured through a condensor lense directly to a Canon GL2 and held on non-compressed files for preservation. You can see an excerpt of this rare video here.  (Frame rate been adjusted to 29.97 fps using a blending technique).  For more information call 615-479-8510.  (used with permission from the Landers family via their home movies).

You can read more about the Andrea Doria here.

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Fun Footage: a Visit to Opryland USA

Opryland USA opened in May of 1972 and was a thriving theme park located in Nashville ,TN.  During its heyday the park boasted 27 rides over its 200-acre grounds and attracted almost 2 million visitors annually.

Opryland incorporated many live shows throughout and was appropriately billed as the “Home of American Music.”  In the summer of 1980, admission was $9.75 and you could buy a season ticket for $34.

After 26 years of operations, Opryland closed its doors in 1997 and was dismantled.  All that’s left now are the memories.  Fortunately, there exist lots of moving images of visits to Opryland like these taken from Super 8 film in the mid 1970’s.  Watch this video by clicking here.

You can read more about Opryland USA here, and enjoy a virtual visit through the park at www.ThrillHunter.com.

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Rare Footage: The Maxwell House Hotel Fire in 1961


Frame from the Maxwell House Hotel Fire 8mm movie taken by Frank Kurzynske on December 26, 1961.

The Maxwell House Hotel Fire in Nashville TN from 8mm movie taken on December 26, 1961.


This famous hotel located in the heart of downtown Nashville caught fire on Christmas night in 1961.  Nothing remains of it but a marker.

Built before the civil war, this elegant structure was once the social center for prominent dignitaries and socialites, and even inspired the brand of coffee we all know.  When it caught fire it bathed the city in an eerie red glow and could be seen for miles.  By the next morning most of its interior was gone.

We might not have any moving images of the fire at all if not for this 8mm footage that came from Frank Kurzynske’s family home movie collection.  After he gave us permission to share, we couldn’t resist posting it for you.  (You can watch the video by clicking here.)

There are not many hotels in the US with as colorful a history.  You can read about it in Betsy Thorpe’s wonderful Pictorial History of the Maxwell House Hotel.  The Nashville Retrospect also reran the actual news article of the fire in their December 2009 issue.


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Going Digital Without DVDs

Most normal people got out their camcorders only at special events and birthdays.  But, if you’re like us,  you recorded so much in the last two decades you can watch your kids grow up again in real time.  What to do?  Forget DVDs and go direct to a hard drive.

Now you can have the luxury of watching your home movies on your flat screen TV straight from your hard drive without the use of a computer.  There are a few open systems out there, but most require peripheral hardware that you don’t need, or require you to have your movies stored in MP4 format (such as the Apple TV).

Our pick:  Western Digital’s new WD TV box.  This device is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and connects between your hard drive and TV.  It sells for about $130 and accepts almost any format you can think of.  It comes with a handy remote so you can enjoy your movies straight from an animated menu.  You can learn more by going to their website at www.WesternDigital.com.

Why pay for DVDs if you can have your home movies digitized directly onto your hard drive and watch them on your TV?

What you have:    Film, slides, videotape, etc.

What to do: Have them digitized to MPEG2 for about 25 cents per minute

What you get: A WD TV box to connect between your TV and hard drive.  Then enjoy!

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Reflections to Ring in the New Year

It all started with a box of old film cans and a lot of questions.  We knew, like you, that it contained a priceless treasure trove of memories almost forgotten – and that it was held with the intention that someone would care for it sooner or later.  

Gradually we learned techniques of preserving it to digital formats to keep forever.  Word soon got out – and we found ourselves doing the same for countless boxes held in other people’s homes.

Now, eight years later, we are convinced that there is more of our culture lying in attics, closets and basements than in museums, libraries and universities.  It occurred to us that we are the first generation of mankind to be able to watch and hear our parents grow up.  Face it – our kids will never be the same.

We started with the dream of preserving as much of our culture as possible  – one box at a time.  Now all we can say is, wow.  Not only have we seen real history unfold from many regions of the world, we have come in contact with the best clients we ever could have dreamed up.

Sometimes they come in the form of filmmakers, artists, universities and athletes – but mainly our clients are people just like you and us.  People with memories sitting around in old boxes.

As we begin this new year – keep in mind a lesson we have learned from this experience.  Every day is a potential memory – it comes only once – and our most important memories won’t be of the Grand Canyon, Niagara or even the Eiffel Tower.  They will be of the people around us that we take for granted.  They are who we want to see and remember.

Take a picture of somebody today.

Happy New Year,


Steve and Rob                                    Memories to DVD

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