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Top Tips Before you Digitize

By Christian Roemer

Have you decided to take the digitization plunge? Is your home media itching to get packed away into a Southtree box to be run through our machines and turned into a format that it couldn’t have ever imagined when it was first recorded on its film 39 years ago?

We can’t blame it. Digitization is exciting!

I understand what it’s like to be chomping at the bit to try out new technology. I was a kid with a brand new Sega Genesis once. But just because you’re psyched to get the process of digitization started as soon as absolutely possible, there are still a few things that you should do first to make sure that the media journey goes off without any hitches.


1. Clean everything up

It’s best to not send a whole bunch of dusty home media to us when you’re getting it digitized. We have a few blog posts that give some really great info about how to clean each type of media that you have. Remember, any dust and grime on the surface of your pictures will make it onto the digital version.

2. Get some labels

If you have a bunch of blank tapes without any type of distinguishing appearance, it’d be really helpful for you to label everything before you send it off. You can find labels for just about anything on Amazon. This is your chance to get organized! A word of advice: don’t put stickers on the back of photos. The adhesive can degrade the picture quality!

3. Get some cases/covers

Similar to the above suggestion, covering up your media before shipping it out can be a huge help. You can get cases for your tapes, new canisters for your film, or plastic pouches for your pictures. Covers can do a couple of things. FIrst, you can label the cover instead of on the tape or back of the picture itself, keeping the media cleaner (and safer). It’ll also help protect your media on its journey, even though our box does a good job of that too. Nobody was ever too safe!

4. Weed out the stragglers

Sorry grandma, we don’t need to digitize 20 pictures of you blowing out the candles on your 75th birthday. One or two will probably suffice. Go through your pictures and only digitize the best. It’ll save you money and you won’t have a million slight variations of basically the same picture.

5. Pack your box up right!

We can’t stress enough how important it is to pack up your Southtree box as well as you can. We make our boxes specifically to handle your home media while it’s in the mail, but a little thing called user error can lower their effectiveness. Don’t let user error strike! Stave it off by carefully packing and lovingly nestling your home media in our box.

6. Plan next steps

I’m not the most organized person in the world, but my job has taught me a lot about the value of planning. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

A. What do you plan to do with do with all of your newly digitized home media? Are you going to throw a watch party? You should.
B. Are you going to plan out a large-scale social media campaign? These days, self-branding is everything. You’ve got to make sure to drive maximum user engagement while developing an efficient campaign length. I’m just kidding. Sort of.
C. Do you have a list of people to share everything with? Social media isn’t the only way to get your stuff out there. You can also email, dropbox, or cloud it to your family and friends. Make like the solar system and plan it out!
D. What other stuff you can do with your digital media? Should you get a digital picture frame for the living room? What about a smart TV broadcast like Apple TV or ChromeCast? Do you want to start uploading videos to YouTube? You have a ton of options to explore. Start now!

These 6 considerations should put you well on your way to digitization heaven. Having your old home media ready for sharing on the information superhighway will be awesome. You might even see photos or videos that you haven’t seen in decades. How cool is that?

Proper preparation is everything, so get started now!

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