Free Home Movie Digitization Offered by UGA Libraries’ Brown Media Archives

Submitted by Camie on

Have an old VHS that captured the childhood moments of basketball games and camping trips but no way to actually view the memories? Thanks to the University of Georgia Libraries, community members are invited to “Free the Tapes” with free digitization services to bring the images back to their screens.

The event is sponsored by the Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Archive, one of three special collections units at UGA Libraries and one of the largest publicly available audiovisual archives in the country. 

“We believe that home movies are meant to be treasured, but with advances in technology, too many families are left with old tapes and no way to play and preserve them for the next generation to see,” said Ruta Abolins, director of the Brown Media Archives at UGA. “For Free the Tapes: Home Movie Edition, let us cover the expense of digitization, so you can enjoy rewatching your childhood memories.”

Next week, the community is invited to drop off up to five home movies — in any format from Super 8 to Betamax— for the project.  Any non-commercial AV item can be dropped off at the Athens-Clarke County Library between 10 a.m. and noon March 25 and March 28 or at the UGA Special Collections Libraries building from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 29. The items will be returned, and the digitized files will be delivered during a special event April 20.

During the big celebration, “Free the Tapes: Home Movie Edition,” the community is invited to explore all things audiovisual, with a special screening of clips from home and amateur films from the BMA vault, as well as a fun AV Petting Zoo, allowing people to engage with different formats and equipment. The free April 20 event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Special Collections Libraries and is open to people of all ages.

Participants in the free digitization program will have the option to have their clips included in the event, and they will retain ownership of the items that they lend.

“This is a great chance to put a media archive with a lot of in-house expertise and resources to work for you,” Brown Media audiovisual technician Thomas May said. “Everyone in our digitization unit is excited to help save memories of our community that might be more vulnerable than many realize.”