WIBDQ #2: A Blast From The Past—Analog to Digital Video Converter

I have to admit, it was difficult to transition from my hectic daily routine to having virtually no responsibilities. I quickly realized that I took the freedoms in my “normal” life for granted. As a constantly busy person, I now felt uncomfortable having all of this free time, and immediately felt the need to make a long to-do list of things to do to occupy my time.

This list was long and quite diverse. I wrote down every single task that I’ve ignored doing in the past. From deep cleaning my shoes (aka wiping the muck off from going to bars) to improving my French on Rosetta Stone (it’s free right now for K-12 and college students!), I was determined to use quarantine in the most productive way possible.

I’ve gotten through a good chunk of this list, but I’ve had my lazy days where I basically do nothing but stare at the ceiling for hours. I’ve felt guilty about being unproductive, but I quickly realized that it’s actually okay to not be productive all the time. I’ve read a bunch of articles to affirm this—we’re literally in the midst of a traumatic, global event, so it’s okay if you’re not productive all the time. Especially when you’re stuck at home.


At the beginning of quarantine, I briefly went to my mom’s apartment to collect a bunch of old stuff for my mini-projects. One daunting project that I’ve had on my list was to digitize the files on my dad’s old video camcorder from the 90s. These precious video files live on 8mm cassette tapes, and I was motivated to figure out a way to have a digital copy.

I consider myself a pretty knowledgable person when it comes to technology, but I was dealing with a video camera that was older than me. This video camera was not only ancient, but is extremely bulky, with a million cords and inputs.

This project has been on my list since day 1 of quarantine, and I just successfully accomplished it by day 34. The Elgato Video Capture – Digitize Video for Mac, PC, or iPad (USB 2.0) was extremely easy to use, and I’m looking forward to converting more old cassette tapes in the future.

SHIPPING SPEED: 4.5/5.

Amazon has slowed down their Prime shipping speed due to COVID-19. Instead, Amazon is prioritizing the delivery of the more essential goods. My video converter was considered non-essential—rightfully so—and it took weeks to come in.

When I finally received my $20 converter, it was incompatible with my Macbook, which is running on the newer Catalina software. After doing more research and returning the old converter, I caved and purchased the $90 converter that was “guaranteed” to work with my Mac.

The Elgato converter actually took a surprisingly short amount of time to come. I received it in 3-4 days, which given the current situation at hand, wasn’t too long. Because it’s a more expensive product, it has a higher priority to ship faster than other converters.

BRAND ANALYSIS: 5/5.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I have been trying to purchase more “ethical” and “local” products to help small businesses out during this time. Well, this goal is impossible when it comes to technology, and especially for video converters. I know that Amazon has profited billions of dollars over the past month with the rise of sales… For the sake of this post, I am going to review Elgato as the brand, rather than discuss the questionable morals of Amazon as a corporation.

I was thoroughly impressed by Elgato and how clear the instructions were for using their converter. It’s a USB converter, so anyone can use it. You also have to download their free software off the website, which again, was simple and just took a couple of minutes.

They also seem to have a great customer service platform if you have any questions. Elgato made this whole process for me extremely easy. The other video converters I was looking at were complicated and had sketchy and out-of-date websites.

PRODUCT QUALITY: 5/5.

This product was outstanding and didn’t give me a headache to figure out. You simply insert the USB into your computer, hook up the video (red) and audio (white) cables from the converter to your device, and play back the video on the software.

I rewinded my cassette to the very beginning, and there was about 31 minutes of footage on the tape. I was then able to record the video and audio as an MP4 file to my computer. It will take the same amount of time to download as footage time, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Although the product itself was expensive, these memories are priceless. It was totally worth the $90 to have this footage on a more stable and permanent viewing platform. I’m so glad I was able to convert my analog video that’s quite useless in this day and age. I have some experience in audiovisual technology from attending tradeshows with the rAVe Agency, but even if you’re a complete technology noob, I promise you can do this, too.

My father picked up this video camera around the time I was born (late 1998) and recorded my older siblings and I for a solid five years. At this time, my family resided in Southern California. Naturally, I don’t remember much from this time in my life, but it was so cool to see my parents and siblings so young.

Some precious memories recorded include: me being fed out of a baby bottle, me reaching for the Sprite can when I was just months old, me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and my ABCs when I was a toddler, and my siblings and I performing dances to songs for my parents.

This was one of my favorite quarantine-friendly activities that I’ve accomplished thus far. I realized that without this ample amount of time at home, I would have never found the time to digitize these home videos.

Overall, the Elgato video converter was a successful quarantine purchase. I have no regrets.

The setup.

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