'Home Movies Hit the Road'

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Long before the days of smart phones and selfies, many Americans bought small movie cameras and recorded family events or trips on film. Those home movies might be stored away in a basement or attic and haven't been viewed for years.

There's a way to relive those memories without having to track down an old-time projector that still works.

The fashions, the hairstyles, the scenery. All precious memories captured in home movies. And even if there's no sound along with it, there's value in every frame.

Home movies is just kind of a depiction of every day life. There may be events that you're filming, but it's still how people lived at that time. How did they celebrate Christmas, birthdays, what not. And it's interesting to look back on how they did that 50 years ago or whatever," said Shane Molander, deputy state archivist.

But as time passes, those old films get packed away in attics, basements, or garages. The state historical society is interested in digitizing and preserving home movies of historical value. In fact, there is grant money available to have your celluloid moments transferred to digital form But time is of the essence.

"Film deteriorates. Every day it sits in bad conditions, it's going to be more difficult to recover the information that's on that film" said Molander.

And he says that's especially true with early videotapes. Eight or sixteen millimeter film from the '40s or '50s are generally in much better condition that videos from the '70s.

Anyone interested in learning how to preserve their home movies or receive a grant to have them digitized should attend a free program called "Home Movies Hit the Road."
It starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21 at the State Heritage Center, although you could show up early if you have questions about your home movies.

Of course, you can always pay someone to digitize your home movies, but this particular grant is geared towards road trips that were filmed in North Dakota.