Frankly, I love home movies. But over the years, as the technology has evolved, they have become even more powerful.
As humans, we experience things–we remember things. As time rolls along, our brain filters out the lesser events and we remember those incidents with a different point of view: good times are now great and the bad things that happened were just a blip on the radar.
Growing up mid-last century (wow, that sounds old) the technology in my day was something called an 8-millimeter camera. It was approximately the size of the box your last cell phone came in, you had to wind it up, listen to it click like a purring cat and hope that, whoever was behind the camera, remembered to keep his thumb out of the way. Oh, and when shooting movies inside, the camera needed the help of a “light bar”, which amounted to four 100-watt bulbs strung across a bar that rested above the camera. The brightness helped with the filming process, but for the performers it was like staring into the sun. My sister Debbie is convinced that the light bar was the reason all three of us kids needed glasses.
Oh, yes, and then when you had finished using the roll of film, you had to take it to a processing place and wait a week or two for it to come back. Then, you’d set up the screen, strap the film into a projector, turn off the lights and enjoy your home movies.
In the 1980s, the era of the VHS camera arrived, just in time for me to capture my kids growing up. Fortunately, the radio station where I worked invested in the gear and I would borrow the camera to videotape everything and anything. I was thrilled by the technology and quickly became that guy who inspired people to say, “Oh, here he comes with that camera again.”
I’m so glad I did. Sort of.
Here’s the deal–watching those silent movies of my family back when I was a kid is fun. It helps stir memories and remind me of people and times I could have forgotten about. The quality is OK and there was no sound.
However, after recently digitizing some old VHS home movies and watching them–the combination of the much better quality plus the addition of sound turned me into a blubbering idiot. Yes, I was happy to see them, but there they were again–that 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son I remember spending so much time with.
I’m not going to bore you with the hours of video I shot. I’ll definitely go through all of it and set aside some highlights. Here’s a clip I grabbed during one simple afternoon in the backyard with my daughter, Christina, and my son, Tyson.
It’s those ordinary moments that are right in front of you every day that, years from now, you’ll cherish. Seeing this clip reminded me of one of the greatest times in my life. It brought back the memory, but at the same time–hearing those voices, seeing those wide-eyed smiles and the backyard they spent so much time in–it forced me to admit those days are now gone forever.
However, they will always live on in my mind & in those home movies and, for that, I’m eternally grateful. And, in my mind, I’m able to hug them again.