Re-record, not fade away

My seven-year-old’s short life literally flashed before his eyes this weekend.

Birth. First bath. Learning to walk. Birthday and Christmas parties. Holidays abroad. Playing with his sister. All vividly recalled.

It wasn’t a nasty experience. On the contrary, it has been a long time since he has laughed quite so hard, and this is a boy who loves to laugh.

No, the reason was that after years of procrastination, I finally went and bought an Honestech VidBox so that I could convert our old DV (digital video) tapes from our much loved, but now neglected, camcorder into videos I could burn to DVD.

canon514

Memories are made of this

Photos and (short) videos are now part of our daily lives. Everywhere you go, people are snapping or filming their lives, but it was not all that long ago where this was still alien.

I grew up in the 1970s and my father had the revolutionary Super 8 camera (a Canon 514XL I believe). We used to tease him even then about filming the action but “missing out” on what was happening. However, after hours of toil, manually cutting and sticking film together in reels (you do realise that cut & paste used to mean something?), we used to love family films nights – in the dark room, with the silent screen flickering, with only the sound of the spinning projector reel. As kids we particularly loved showing the film backwards and seeing ourselves dive out of the water or ski up the mountain.

I will even admit asking why anyone would ever want a camera on their mobile phone (to be fair, images were REALLY poor quality at the time).

Even today we criticise people for spending too much time filming or tapping into their phones instead of “living the experience”.

That might be true, but there is another side to this. What wonderful memories have faded because they were not captured? What great experiences can never be shared with others because there is no record? They might be unique and special to you, but does that necessarily make them better?

I’m a very lazy wine recorder. I enjoy drinking different wines, talking about them with friends and even doing some minor research about the best stories. However, I almost never write down the experience anymore, partly because tasting notes killed my enthusiasm, but also because I lost the habit of converting my experience into a recordable format – either text, video, audio or photo.

It is only wine. Really. But there were some great wine moments – like that late night dancing lesson at a friend’s house where we had to pull up their carpet to glide our waltz appropriately; or brave, yet failed experiments with old wines; or brilliant insights into the taste of a particular wine that made it the perfect wine for THAT night … and yet none exist anywhere other than my fading, faulty and distracted brain.

Seeing my son and daughter watch and recall some key moments in their life reminds me that there are many ways to make, and keep memories alive, and when you love something, it is worth a little extra effort.

I will try to be a better memory maker and experience sharer. Welcome to my pensieve.

3 lessons learned:
1. Do record your memories for posterity. However much you say you can “never forget” those moments, there really is a joy in looking back on certain experiences again in the future.
2. Technology formats quickly become obsolete – make sure you keep your precious memories available – and safe.
3. Kids love laughing at themselves – film away!

And for the old-timers who recognised the title of the post, here’s another memory that has yet to fade away: