Day 25: Digitizing Photos and DVDs

Random Observation/Comment #312: There’s something about having a photo printed out that makes the memory more real and tangible, but would you rather have 100 lbs of photo albums filled with over 3000 photos? Or a single thumb drive.  Or… post them onto cloud storage and access it on any one of your mobile/personal devices.


One of the biggest losses from the hurricane that took the most time to clean up was the 15 photo albums that got flooded.  Being a photographer, I understand the pain of seeing the prints starting to erode over time, but I couldn’t begin to understand the determination of a mother to save these memories. She took them out of the individual covers, soaked them in water to wash off the salt, and then hung them up outside on a clothes hanger during the day when there was a bit of sunlight.

As you can imagine, it took forever, but neither me, my dad, nor my brother could stop her from doing it.  We took the photo negatives and set them on top of aluminum foil sheets to dry and then stored them in a special bag just in case she wanted to spend the time and money to reprint any of them.  This was a problem an engineer can solve.

The Challenge

Digitize my mom’s photo collection and rip her DVDs into mp4 files.

The Reason

Photos mean a lot to me, but these printed ones mean so much more.  They were taken with film cameras and only exist as that one copy in the physical realm. I can’t go to my facebook and redownload another copy or look through my old hard drive to see if I have backed up copies. Those photos in black and white of my parents when they were my age or children’s photos of me and my brother are all we have left.  As our memories of those days fade and get replaced by new memories, I find those physical photos jolt memories and paint pictures of my youth.  To save these memories forever, I needed to find a better solution.

The Result

I bought a Kodak P811BK photo and negative scanner and a Seagate 3TB USB external hard drive.  The next part was time consuming. With the bags of photos my mom gave me, I started scanning them and placing them onto my external hard drive.  After 4 hours, I finished the first batch…. Of possibly 15.

Here are some notable photos:

On the other side for digitizing, I decided to rip DVDs for my parents and put it onto the hard drive.  After a bit of reviewing DVD rip software and trying their trials, I decided to use Magic DVD Ripper. It’s rather easy to use and it can remove CSS, Region, and Lock restrictions.

The Conclusion

Happy Holidays, Mom and Dad. I hope this external hard drive will be kept safe.  I’ll probably also put them on the cloud somewhere so that can never get flooded and the memories will always remain.  It’s the little things that make this whole thing worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed looking through those old photos and smiling at those faint memories becoming vivid again.  It has captured that moment in the past when both of you were my age and seeing the world with your head held high.  I am doing the same and hopefully I can be as successful when I grow up.

~See Lemons Digitize Memories