I briefly mentioned last week that I was finally digitizing my VHS collection, with the aid of this little thingamajig and associated unpolished-but-effective software.
Said collection consists of two dozen or so painstakingly recorded cassettes. I made them between 1987 and 1992, mostly in my bedroom at my dad’s house, holding the remote and doing the REC-PAUSE-REC bit with it. (You have to advance the tape a bit every few minutes, because most VCRs contain a safeguard that limits the length of a pause to avoid wearing a hole or creating a substantial weakness in the physical tape.) Observations:
- I’m quite pleased with how well the cassettes are playing, so many years later.
- Every single woman really did used to have big hair—from the rock ‘n’ roll skank to the housewife hawking shampoo in a commercial. Wow, I’m blown away. Y’all, please bring it back. All it takes is a sufficient number of you doing it simultaneously.
- I taped hundreds of hard rock and heavy metal videos. Very few of them have been revelations. YouTube has removed a lot of this novelty from the process. I find this bittersweet.
- I was a big David Letterman fan, and even remembering that I taped a lot of it, I have more than I would have expected. There are genuine gems there. I love how earnestly goofy his desk shtick used to be. Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe” is absolutely amazing.
- As many cool moments as I’ve had going through these things, I’ve had at least as many WTF moments. I’m pretty sure the 20th Anniversary 60 Minutes special is going to miss the final cut, for example. Ditto C. Everett Koop talking for 45 minutes on how terrible smoking is.
I’m doing a brute-force thing right now, just making sure to capture it all. Rest assured I’ll share more when I start going through it for real.