Evolution

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The longer you live and the more you experience, one thing becomes clear: Things always evolve.

I still remember the excitement of Saturday matinees, lining up at the neighborhood theater to see the latest movie starring our favorite actors. Then as televisions were introduced into more households, so much of our entertainment life was spent at home in front of them, waiting for 8:00 to come for the newest must-see-TV prime time line up. Then of course, came the regular trip to the local Blockbuster store to walk the aisles of the new releases, first filled with VHS tapes with their “Please be kind, rewind” labels and then later with DVDs and Blu-Ray disks as we sought to select our viewing choice for the evening or weekend.

Now, we never have to leave the comfort of our living room couch. Neither are we restricted to stay there. Our entertainment can be as mobile as we are, streaming into the device of our choice no matter where we happen to be.

It is only normal for our home movies to evolve along the same course as the mainstream media and entertainment outlets.  Watching our home movies used to entail the setting up of a cumbersome projector and screen as the family gathered together to reminisce. Those reels of 8mm, Super 8, or 16mm film then made the transition to videotape for easier playback options. Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, hi-8, digital 8, and mini-dv were the most popular consumer formats and were widely used by all… until digital technology reset the playing field once more and our home movies again made a transition, this time to be stored onto DVD disks or computer files.

The newest entry to the home movie world is the DVA – Digital Video Archive. This revolutionary service combines the best elements of the DVD with the ease and convenience that comes from today’s streaming technology. And, with families becoming more and more fragmented and geographically dispersed, the ability to instantly share our recorded memories to anyone on the planet with the simple click of a button is an idea whose time has most certainly come. 

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio (www.homevideostudio.com/mtd) specializes in the preservation of family memories and is proud to include Digital Video Archive as one of their many services.

The Perfect Gift

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Scratching your head for that perfect romantic gift idea?  Allow me to make a suggestion.

Every couple I know has a song. Maybe it was playing when you met. Or perhaps it was the song chosen for your first dance as man and wife. Then again it could simply be a song that, for you, tells the story of your life together or the story that you long to be yours.

No matter the case, there’s a song that probably holds a special meaning for you. So take that song and use it as the soundtrack for a slideshow comprised of pictures you’ve taken during your life together.  There is something absolutely magical that happens when you add music to pictures.

It has been said that 80% of any video is the audio component. Pictures may tell the story but it’s the soundtrack that sells the story. It adds the missing emotional heft that drives the story straight into the heart of its audience.

Even pictures that you may have seen hundreds of times will take on new meaning when coupled with a song that tweaks the heartstrings. So, for a perfect gift to give to a loved one, choose pictures that tell their story and combine it with a soundtrack that will breath new life and emotion to those pictures.  Take it from me – it is an unforgettable combination… and makes for a gift that will keep on giving for many more years to come.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio (www.homevideostudio.com/mtd) specialize in the creation of video gifts and photo/video keepsakes. They are located in Mount Dora FL and can be reached by calling 352-735-8550.

Remembering Kodak

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Was there ever a company that has had more impact on the American family than Eastman Kodak? The slides, photos, and movie film that contain the images of our past were most likely processed by this one company. Some of our most vivid memories became such because they were chosen by our parents to be our “Kodak Moments.” Here are some interesting facts taken from the Internet regarding the most ubiquitous brand in photo and film history:

1. Kodak has nine Academy Awards, more commonly known as Oscars. The most recent was received in 2008 for the development of photographic emulsion technologies.

2. Kodak founder, American inventor George Eastman, patented a way of storing film in rolls in 1884, but it wasn’t until four years later that he had perfected the first camera to take advantage of his invention.

3. The name Kodak is meaningless and was chosen because it was impossible to mispronounce and dissimilar to any existing words.

4. George Eastman said that K was his favorite letter and that he had wanted to incorporate it into his company’s name. He said: “A trademark should be short. It must mean nothing.”

5. The film used on NASA’s Apollo 11 moon missions was manufactured by Kodak. Each double-perforated 70mm roll could capture 160 color pictures or 200 black and white images.

6. Kodak’s engineers were issued 19,576 US patents between 1900 and 1999. Some 4,478 of these were awarded between 1995 and 1999.

7. Kodak was the first company to build a working digital camera. An engineer named Steven Sasson created the 3.6kg device which stored images on cassette tape, had a 0.01mp resolution and took 23 seconds to expose each image.

8. The company founded its research labs in 1912, which made it one of the US’s first industrial research laboratories.

9. Kodak passed up the chance to become the official film sponsor of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Japanese competitor Fuji won the bid, giving it a foothold in the US market.

10. In 1995 Kodak filed a petition with the WTO arguing that unfair practices by Fuji had kept it from gaining ground in the Japanese market. Three years later the WTO published a “sweeping rejection of Kodak’s complaints”.

11. Kodak developed aerial cameras and trained US Signal Corps photographers during World War I.

12. Steve McCurry used Kodachrome film for his 1984 portrait of Sharbat Gula, the ‘Afghan Girl’, for the National Geographic magazine.

 

13. In 1895 the Pocket Kodak was launched at a price of just $5. It’s small size meant it could be carried in a coat pocket.

14. Apple launched a digital camera in 1994, the QuickTake. It was actually designed by Kodak and had been released in Japan months before under its own brand name.

15. In NASA’s 1997 Mars Surface Rover mission, Kodak image sensors were used to capture close-up images of the red planet.

16. In 2005 Kodak unveiled the EasyShare-One digital camera which was equipped with Wi-Fi and allowed photographers to email pictures.

17. In 1976 Kodak had a 90pc market share for photographic film and an 85pc share of camera sales in the US.

18. Kodak researchers invented OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) technology, which is being used to power the next generation of ultra-thin televisions, in 1987.

19. Kodak designed the optics for the Chandra X-ray space telescope in 1999.

20. in 2005 Kodak bought an Israeli company called OREX Computed Radiography which developed a technology for taking digital x-rays.

21. The first Kodak camera launched in 1888 with the slogan: “You press the button, we do the rest.” It cost $25 and came with enough film for 100 pictures.

22. Kodachrome film was used by Walton Sound and Film Services during the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

23. Kodachrome was invented by professional musicians Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes, leading to comments that it was “made by God and Man”.

24. Images shot on Kodachrome can be safely stored for decades undeveloped and still retain accurate colours.

25. A 35mm Kodachrome transparency can record the equivalent of 20 megapixels in digital image terms.

26. Paul Simon wrote a song, Kodachrome, about the film. It made number 9 in the US charts, just ahead of Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando.

27. Kodak scientists invented the photoresist, which is now used to manufacture integrated circuits.

28. Dorothea Lange used Kodak film to capture her famous ‘Migrant Mother’ photograph in 1936.

29. Prior to starting Kodak, George Eastman invented an emulsion-coating machine in 1879 that allowed him to mass-produce photographic dry plates. Two years later he formed a partnership with a family friend, quit his job as a bank clerk and set up in business.

30. The Eastman Savings and Loan Association was set up to help Kodak employees buy a home. It remained part of the company until it was split-off as a credit union in 1994.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio www.homevideostudio.com/mtd specialize in the preservation of Kodak Moments using digital technology. Located in Mount Dora FL, they can be reached at 352-735-8550

Letting Others Toot

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I get it. These days it seems like everybody is trying to sell something.

We can’t answer the phone, open the door, or even walk down the street without someone trying to hawk their wares and services to us. The constant overload of sales pitches can numb us to the point that we refuse to listen to anything anyone might have to say.

That is why we are so thankful to our customers with whom we have forged a personal and familial relationship. They have trusted us with their most precious memories: The only recording of a grandmother’s voice; the last picture of a deceased loved one; a wedding video documenting the moment two lives merged to become one… And when we provide our services to preserve those precious memories for all time, they are not shy to let others know how grateful they are.

The referrals we receive and the testimonials that are given regarding the services we offer are very special to us. They are not manufactured, they are not disingenuous. They come from the hearts of people who have actually used our services and appreciated what we have done for them.. so much so that they want to tell others.

When looking for a needed service, whether it is for digital preservation of family memories or kitchen appliance repair, look to the companies your friends and neighbors have used and recommend. Reading and heeding the positive testimonials from people you know can help you avoid making a mistake when choosing a service provider for something that means the world to you.

And when you find a company that exceeds your expectations, I hope you will find your way clear to let others know about them. Nobody prefers to toot their own horn – they’d much rather let others do the tooting for them.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio www.homevideostudio.com/mtd specialize in the preservation of family memories through digital transfer and technological advancements. Located in Mount Dora FL, they can be reached at 352-735-8550

Last Week’s Heartbreak Story

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FYI: I will be opening at 12 noon on Wednesday, Nov 15th in order to meet in the morning with my insurance agent to discuss my policies.  Admittedly, I am woefully ignorant when it comes to the complexities of the insurance world but do recognize it is an important part of planning for one’s future.

In a way, I’m in the insurance business too. I help insure that the memories of yesterday aren’t lost to tomorrow. In fact, I have been called a miracle worker on more than one occasion for what I can do but there are limitations to the magic. Just this past week, I was presented with a case containing 20 or 30 reels of 16mm film in cans and cases dated as early as 1944. Unfortunately, the film contained on those reels had been exposed to too much heat and/or humidity. They had decomposed to the point that they were actually fused together. They had become brittle and completely unusable. All those precious memories from an earlier age and pivotal time in world history are now lost to us due to the ravages of time and elements. I hated delivering that news to my client. 

This need not have happened. I have successfully preserved films as early as 1927. If properly cared for and brought to us before the inevitable chemical decay is allowed to destroy them, old home movies can be digitalized and preserved forever. Memories don’t have to be lost – they can (and should) be passed on to future generations.

Michael Ondrasik is the owner of Home Video Studio of Mount Dora FL http://www.homevideostudio.com/mtd and specializes in the preserving of family memories. We have preserved thousands of hours of 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm film; videotapes of every possible size and shape; as well as countless photographs, negatives, slides, and audio recordings. Whether preserved for posterity or for personal enjoyment, recorded memories should always be allowed to live on to play another day. #memoriesmatter

Lest We Forget

On this Veterans Day I would like to give pause to remember three men from my family who are no longer with us but served this country with honor and distinction. From left to right:

My father, Edward J. Ondrasik, who, with the Eighth Air Force, flew 24 missions over Germany as a bombardier during WWII. We learned afterwards that he flew each of those 24 missions without a parachute as he could not fit into the bombardier compartment with it on. He died in 2009.

My uncle, Charles C. Parish, served as Lt. Commander in the US Navy. Was a pilot of a #2 F-4J (Phantom) during the Vietnam War. He was shot down over North Vietnam and declared Missing in Action in 1968. His status was changed to Killed in Action in 1973. His name is among the tens of thousands engraved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC.

My maternal grandfather, Herman O. Parish, who, as captain and commanding officer received the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit for services rendered during WWII. He retired as a US Navy Rear Admiral. He died in 1989.

We honor their memory and thank them for their service and sacrifice. As we do all veterans.

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Michael Ondrasik is the owner of Home Video Studio of Mount Dora FL http://www.homevideostudio.com/mtd and specializes in the preserving of family memories.

 

Did You Know?

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Did you know?

VHS is a videotape that came in a large cassette format. It was introduced by both JVC and Panasonic around 1976. It became the most popular format for home use and video store rentals (remember Blockbuster?). It would eventually be replaced by smaller sized tapes like hi-8 and mini-dv before giving way completely to the DVD. VHS stood for Video Home System.

The VHS tape was designed to hold 2 hours of recorded footage when used at normal play speed. However, a popular feature was the ability to record at EP or LP speeds which would double and even quadruple the amount of recording hours available.

When transferring VHS tapes to a digital format, 2 hours is the standard as that is what a typical DVD is able to hold. VHS tapes containing video footage in excess of 2 hours will require additional disks to complete the entire transfer.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in videotape transfers to DVD or DVA. They are fully equipped to handle all of the consumer grade forms of videotape including VHS, VHS-C, hi-8, digital 8, mini-dv, and Betamax.