We all know about the boxes full of old VHS tapes and Super 8 movie film hiding in our storage- but what’s the value in it? You might be amazed once you take a closer look…
In 1977 I was so ecstatic when I bought my first “movie” camera. It was a ‘sound only’ Super 8 camera which I paid $400 for ($1495 in 2012 dollars). In order to capture anything I needed to purchase a single film cartridge which cost $11.00 ($41.00 in 2012 dollars) - and it only held about 3 minutes of film! At this time my wife and I were raising two kids both under age 2. There was no way I could shoot everything that the little kids did every day (like we tend to do today with the modern digital technology). Heck, I couldn't even afford a projector to watch the film on! In order to watch our recorded footage we would take our film to the local camera bar where it was developed, and then we would head to my parents’ home to watch the 3 minutes of our movies. That’s what makes this old film so valuable beyond the enormous cost associated with shooting those memories in the first place. Every roll of film contained a very special event. Whether it was capturing Christmas, a birthday, or those precious first steps it was always something really special.
In 1986 I bought my first VHS camcorder. It was about the size of a modern computer monitor and required that it be shoulder mounted to shoot the video. It was terrible in low light situations, but compared to the cost and limited filming length of Super 8 it was all the rage for the home movie buff. I paid $1400 for this behemoth ($2885 in 2012 dollars) and I would readily plop down another $24.95 ($51.42 in 2012 dollars) for a blank VHS tape because “Hey- it costs far less per minute than Super 8 film!”
I love today’s digital video technology. In this digital age I shoot more video in one year than I shot in the 20 years of the old analog world combined. Sometimes I think that the younger generation who only knows the digital age fails to appreciate the value, cost, and effort that went into capturing all of those old memories that your parents and grandparents have tucked away in a corner of the basement. While I make my business of bringing those old videos and home movies into this new age, I will always have a special place in my heart for the good old methods of capturing the moment.
Here’s my personal estimate of my investment:
Super 8 Movie Film including camera: ~$3600 in 2012 dollars
VHS & Hi8 tapes including cameras: ~$2450 in 2012 dollars.
-Brent Larsen, President of Larsen Digital Services
How much investment do you have in your old vintage films?
Send us your estimate!