I recently had an exciting opportunity to try out the iMemories service available at local The UPS Stores. I hadn’t even realized the service was available, so it was a great surprise to hear that our family’s old VHS and VHS-C’s could be digitized and transferred to DVD, preserving all those treasured memories, there. As a matter of fact, the list of what can be converted is extensive: Beta Max, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm cassettes, Mini DV, 8mm reels, Super 8 reels, 16mm reels, photos, negatives and slides. Isn’t that incredible? As it turned out, some of our oldest VHS tapes were terribly degraded, so we were fortunate to have converted them when we did. I’m thrilled that our family memories have been preserved for future generations and that they are in a format we can enjoy again and again. The process was a little time consuming and it was more costly than we had originally expected, but in the end, I am very pleased with the finished product. This will give you an idea of how the process works.
My nearest The UPS Store is about a 45 minute drive for me, so I planned to make the most of my trip. I needed a couple of grocery items from WalMart and since I was going to be on Lincoln’s south side at The UPS Store, the south WalMart was also on my route. I made my grocery list, pulled out the instructions for packing and preparing our tapes to be shipped and then I set off on my road trip.
I had the address of The UPS Store with me, and I knew I was in the right area, but I was having no luck finding them, so I pulled into a bank parking lot and called the store, gave them my location and discovered I was in the parking lot across the street from them. The employee that answered the phone was very nice and extremely helpful. I drove to the strip mall across the street and just when I thought I was still not going to be able to find them, there it was, tucked in the corner.
I had no idea that The UPS Store offered so many different services. I was really surprised! But, my mission on this day was to get those videos shipped and get the conversion process started. I approached the people working at the counter and explained what I was doing. Initially, I set off quite a panic, as they had never processed an iMemories order before and weren’t sure of the procedure. Needless to say, I was a little more wary of leaving my only family videos with them, at that point. But, they explained they had received information about the program several months earlier and then no one had actually come in to use it. So, while they tracked down information and clarified what should happen, I had a chance to wander around the small shop and check out their other products and services. Once they had gotten things clear in their minds about what to do with my videos, they pulled them out of my shipping box and organized them in the most condensed possible formation on the scale. It was sort of like watching a puzzle being put together. (I discovered that they would be packing and shipping in their own box, so that was why they were trying to get the package “organized” into a small bundle.) Once the desired shape was found, the weight was taken and the rest of the shipping process could move forward.
There was some confusion about including the gift card I had received to pay for processing, in the package I was shipping and it was preferred that I not place it in the box. The store employees also printed another form for me to read and fill out and then printed a shipping label and attached one copy to the new form, which I was required to sign. They kept one copy and gave one to me. They also studied the original shipping label and customer ID card I had filled out (A similar form can be printed from the iMemories website, for your use.) for a few minutes and then gave me one copy and put the rest with my tapes. After that, I was able to use my The UPS Store gift card to pay for the shipping and my part was finished. The store workers let me know they would pack up and prepare my tapes for shipping after I left and that it would ship out that evening and arrive at it’s destination in about 7 days. So, I was off to run my other Lincoln errands and make the 45 minute drive back home.
My next contact during the process, was an email letting me know that the videos had arrived at iMemories, but I would have to pay for the processing before they could begin digitizing the tapes. I explained what had happened with the gift card at The UPS Store and the reluctance to include it in the package. A very friendly iMemories employee called me and took the gift card number over the phone, to get the ball rolling. That was the point where I realized how expensive this process was going to be. I had received a $100 gift card to test the service and during this phone call, found out that it was going to cost $9.99 to digitize each tape. I had sent 11 tapes, so there would essentially be about $10 and some shipping out-of-pocket by the time I was done. The customer service rep explained though, that that price was only for converting the tapes into a digital format. There would be an additional $9.99 charge for each DVD we ordered from them. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of yet another $110 to put our videos onto DVD after the payment I was making now. The representative explained that I might potentially be able to get all the videos onto only 4 or 5 DVD’s, which would cut the cost. There really wasn’t anything else to do at this point, but to move forward, so I paid for the digitizing and was told I would receive an email in one to two weeks letting me know my digitized videos were ready. At that point I could enter the iMemories website and arrange, organize and build the DVDs I wanted from the videos in my account online. I waited the appointed time and received an email that all but one of the videos were ready and that the last one required a little extra time, but would be available soon. I gave it a couple more days and then logged into my account at the iMemories website.
Once the DVDs were compiled and organized in the way I wanted them, they were saved to my account and then I could go back at any time in the next 30 days, I think, to order anything I wanted. (I received an email, today, that I have two more weeks on my “subscription” and that to save my videos online indefinitely, I could pay $4.99 per month. This would probably be a good option if I intended to order more copies, since I definitely wouldn’t want to pay the price to have the videos digitized, again.) To order DVD’s was pretty simple. The screen had all five DVDs I had put together. All I had to do was click Add to Cart and then go through the checkout process. It was simple and no different than any online shopping experience.
Once, I had ordered my DVD’s, on November 11, it took about ten days to receive them. (I haven’t received my original videos back, yet, but after emailing iMemories, they sent them right out and emailed me a tracking number, so they should be arriving any day, now.) In total, it was a little over one month to complete the transfer to DVD process, since I shipped the original videos on October 18. So, as you can see this is not a fast process. I wouldn’t start, now, thinking that you can have a finished product ready for a Christmas gift. What I will say is that the finished product is PHENOMENAL! If you have the extra cash, understand the costs going in and are not crunched for time, the DVD quality and the opportunity to know your family movies are preserved for the long-term is worth it all. Obviously, the quality of your video will not exceed what was on your VHS, but what I found is that they are just as good. There was no loss of quality. Would I use the service again? You bet! Probably not for 11 videos at once, but I would definitely do one or two videos at a time to be sure we could properly preserve our family memories.
This is just one example of why we wanted these videos preserved. Our kids were pretty creative and considering that the little squirt in this one is going on 16, now, our daughter is now 19, plus the daughter who ran the camera and directed this video is now 25, I love that we can look back at these times when they were little and not lose any of these fun memories. Hope you enjoy my little super hero. In case you can’t understand his last line, he says, “I’m just a guy, doin’ my job.” – lol
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias #PreservingMemories A positive review was not required and as with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.