Storyteller Productions

Organizing, Preserving, and
Showcasing your Special Photos

Why you should scan paper photos

July 9th, 2018

Everyone has paper photos. Many of us have stored our older paper photographs in photo albums or shoeboxes. And while we may think that they’re protected, the truth is…older photo albums and acidic boxes which hold our treasured memories, often damage the images they are meant to protect.

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They turn brown

You heard it right. Based off of the type of ink that was used for printing the photo and how it’s stored, our photos fade. Some turn a brown, yellow or reddish shade of color. Paper photos are also susceptible to mold damage, so you should always store your photos in a place within the home that has the most consistently median heat (50 to 70 F) and low humidity.

They are inaccessible

Who wants to dig through the attic or a scary basement to look for those long lost memories? Albums and shoeboxes are so clunky and dusty – no wonder they never receive any visitors. Make it easier by scanning those paper photos and making digital photo albums on sites like Shutterfly or Mixbook. Better yet, contact Storyteller to design one for you!

Fire or Flood Loss Prevention

Fires and floods do happen, and they have the power to swallow up those memories forever. But if you digitize your photos, they’ll not only be in a safe place (ie: an external hard drive or cloud), but your other family members may enjoy them as well.

 

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Scanning photos might seem easy, but like everything with technology, there are a few things that can go wrong.

  • People forget to crop the images
  • Scanners might have default settings turned on, which should be turned off
  • People don’t scan the right resolution
  • The photos are saved in the wrong format
  • The scanner used is not optimum for archiving purposes

When preserving your memories, why not hire the a professional who can save you the time and stress? Contact us for finding ways on how we can help you get started on scanning your photo collection!

If you’re a DIY’er, we recommend educating yourself before taking on the huge task of scanning your own photo collection if you have no prior experience. Proceed with caution, and scan in small batches to ensure everything has been properly archived!

You wouldn’t want to scan 1500 paper photos, only then to find out that a setting was wrong. We urge you to either contact a professional like Storyteller, or seriously educate yourself on scanning your own materials.

Happy Memory Preserving!

 

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Help! How do I get rid of my Duplicate Photos!

June 25th, 2018

Many of our clients’ photo collections have one common problem: DUPLICATES!!! You can rest easy, we’re here to help.

How do we get rid of these duplicates without spending days popping our eyeballs out!! Depending on whether you’re Mac or PC based, we have the right solutions for you.

Keep in mind that although these softwares save you DAYS of sifting through duplicates, it will still take HOURS of spot-checking. Like any new software, we recommend reading the instructions and conducting various tests. If you are not real tech-savvy, we recommend contacting us if you feel overwhelmed and need to purchase a photo organizing session!

For Mac Based Clients:

PhotosweeperPhotoSweeper is an amazing software for $9.99. You can find out more info by clicking here. This software finds identical and highly similar photos, which it then marks for deletion.

I recommend to always spotcheck the photos to make sure you’re deleting the lower quality duplicates, not the original photos. It has image comparison methods with adjustable settings and a great tech support team if you ever get stuck while using the software.

 

For PC Based Clients:

Duplicate CleanerWe’ve heard great reviews for Duplicate Cleaner. For $29.99, you can download this on your PC and begin sorting through your messy digital life. You can find our more info by clicking here.

Not only can Duplicate Cleaner be used for Photos, but it can also be used for detecting duplicated files and music! This is only Windows Based, so it can’t be used on a Mac.

 

Posted in Photo Organizing |

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Tape video correctly with your smart phone

June 11th, 2018

If you tape video with your Phone, don’t suffer from VVS (Vertical Video Syndrome)! Not sure what VVS is? It’s when people hold the phone vertically instead of horizontally while taping video. And eventually, when those videos are transferred off of the phone to view on a TV screen or internet, they look bad.

View a clip here to understand: Vertically Taped Clips

Hold phone like this while taping video!

The right way to hold a phone while taping video.

 

What’s the lesson?

If you’re catching precious moments of video on your mobile phone, turn the phone horizontally, exactly as you see in the picture above. This will result in the video showing up on the entire space of your TV.

Do you have comments, suggestions or questions about this blog post? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

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Posted in Special Events Video, Video, Video Conversion |

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Restored Photograph (early 1900’s)

May 28th, 2018

All of us have ancestral paper photos stashed somewhere, or know someone in our family who might have those photos. Although some of them may already be digitized, there is a good chance that they have faded and will need proper restoration. The special fact about restoring a family photograph, is that it can actually safeguard that personal legacy, and be passed on to younger loved ones who have questions about their history and ancestry.

Whether you put that photo in a photo book, a personalized frame or on the internet, it can make a priceless heirloom gift that will be cherished in the years to come. We recently had one happy client who had her family photograph back from the early 1900’s restored, and framed as a keepsake to view on her wall. What an incredible memory!

For questions on the process or pricing for restoring your photograph, contact us!

 

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Video Memories are Priceless

May 14th, 2018

“A Minute of Video is worth 1.8 Million Words” – Dr. James McQuivey

Being in the video field and specializing in video montages, I’ve seen Dr. McQuivey’s quote all over the internet. Some people consider it misinformation and for some, it’s just a form of hyperbole. The fact of the matter is that a moving image is powerful. It has the ability to stir our emotions in ways we can’t control, particularly for our own private memories.

This was especially apparent to me, after recently watching a video montage I made of my son’s very first year growing up (5 years ago). After shedding some tears and reminiscing, I asked myself, how many words was this video worth to me?

I then admitted that, in actuality, THERE WERE NO WORDS, (not even 1.8 Million words), which would describe this video. My son’s exact smile, the sound of his baby giggle, and the way his curls bounced as he walked. Words to me, wouldn’t catch the full effect (see what I mean by watching the video below).

 

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The art of consolidating your video clips and photographs

Truthfully, my son’s first year was a blur as I was dealing with the sleep deprivation many parents go through, along with balancing a family. Had I not made this video montage, my memories would have been lost and forgotten on an external drive in a drawer.

The problem with media in today’s society is that there is too much of it. Without consolidation and organization, photos and videos appear to be unwatched for years. Many people have no idea where their media is (stuck on Facebook, on a camera, in a folder on your desktop). Unfortunately, this is habit which causes those memories to be lost or deleted.

How can you preserve your media?

The trick is to develop a system and keep that system throughout the years. The hardest part is getting started. After recently getting certified as a professional photo/video organizer, I’ve worked with clients’ photo collections and have found that once everything is initially organized, it’s fairly easy to keep organized with the proper guidance.
 

We basically sum it up in 6 steps.

1.) Consolidate all photos and videos onto 1 Hub
2.) Create Core File/ Folder Structure
3.) Delete all Duplicates
4.) Name those files (year-month-event)
5.) Upload/ Share onto a cloud based photo site
6.) Create Photo Books and Video Montages!

For some tech-savvy people, you might be able to do all of the above steps on your own with a little, errr (A LOT) of time invested. However, for those families and individuals who are too busy to take care of their memories, I recommend contacting us for ways on how we can help you get yourself organized with our photo/video organization packages!

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Posted in Photo Restoration, Photo Scanning, Photo Slideshows, Special Events Video, Video, Video Conversion |

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Importance of turning VHS tapes into Digital

April 30th, 2018

How long do VHS tapes last?

Families thinking about preserving their memories currently stored in the VHS format – and are considering transferring them to DVD in order to preserve those memories – often call our customer service line to ask us, “how long do VHS tapes last?”

The short answer is that VHS tapes, properly stored and in good condition, can last up to 10-25 years, and sometimes even longer! But due to VHS tapes being a magnetic storage media, there can be noticeable loss of picture quality in as few as four to five years.

How to store your VHS tapes:

In reality, the durability of VHS tapes is really a function of a number of factors. Properly stored VHS tapes can last a long time, and improperly stored VHS tapes can last a short amount of time. So, the longer answer is, “it depends.” Below are some of the factors that will affect how long your VHS will last and whether the memories stored on them will be able to be converted to DVD.

 

  • Steady temperatures can help VHS tapes last longer

VHS tapes prefer to be stored in an environment where the temperature is steady.  Temperature fluctuations – say, where the VHS tapes are constantly changing from hot to cold – can damage VHS tapes and limit their longevity.

  • A cool and dry environment are better for VHS tapes

However, even if tapes are stored in a place where the temperature is steady, VHS tapes do much better when the temperature in which they are stored is slightly cool.  Our customers from the Philippines and Hawaii typically experience the most issues with their tapes, given their very warm and humid environment.

  • Direct sunlight can harm VHS tapes

One of the most damaging environmental conditions that can degrade the longevity of a VHS tape is if it has been stored in direct sunlight.  Direct sunlight dramatically reduces how long a VHS tape can last.

  • Don’t store VHS tapes near toxins

Finally, VHS tapes can be negatively affected – and the length of time they last can be significantly reduced – if they are stored in areas where they are exposed to environmental toxins.  Your VHS tapes will last longer if they have not been stored in a garage (or a storage space above a garage) where they were exposed to paint or gasoline fumes or other airborne toxins.

Can old VHS tapes still be transferred?

The good news is that most tapes – even those from the early 80′s – can still be transferred to DVD…although time may be running out. Storyteller employs a number of production processes to maximize the quality of the remaining video signal on your VHS tape to ensure the highest-quality possible playback from your tape prior to converting your VHS to DVD.

These processes include adjusting tracking issues with playback, and boosting and stabilizing the video signal through the use of Time-based correction.

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Preserve your Child’s Art Work

April 16th, 2018

1.) Make a Book using Plum Print

If you’re too busy to scan, upload and design your own photo books on Shutterfly, Mixbook or Snapfish, Plum Print who will do all the hard work for you. Mail them your artwork, and WA-LA- you’ve got a beautiful coffee table book.

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Source: Paislee Press

2.) Collage and Portrait Combo

Collages and portraits are a great way to combine art papers, along with showing off the artist. You can follow guidelines here for getting started.

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Source: A Thousand Words

3.) The Masterworks

If you have various papers you’d like to combine within one frame, we love Simply Create Kids! Just send them your kids art work, and they’ll frame it into a masterpiece.

Masterworks

Source: Simply Create Kids

4.) Turn it into a Shirt

This is so clever, and a great way to involve your child for a rainy day project. Guidance on making this: Wearing Art

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Source: Create Celebrate Explore

5.) Clip on a Wire

Clipping art work on a metal wire or hanger can have a modern industrial look for those parents who live in loft style housing.

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Source: The Style Files

6.) Convert into a Key Chain

This is a great unique gift for Mother or Father’s Day. Visit Formia Design to find out more info.

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Source: Formia Design

8.) Make a stuffed animal

Budsies can create a cuddly stuffed animal. Your child’s imagination comes to life!

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Source: Budsies

9.) Floor to Ceiling Art Gallery

If you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, making a grid on the wall of your child’s artwork can be a masterpiece. Check out guidance for creating this on Martha Stewart Living.

Grid

Source: ©2011, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., originally published in the September issue of Martha Stewart

Posted in Kids Art Work, Photo Scanning |

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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Scanning Photos!

April 2nd, 2018

If you have time and are taking on the huge task of scanning your own photos, please read these tips for better scans!

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1. Crop the Previewed Image.

Many people make the mistake of not cropping the photo before they hit the scan button. This will cause a white background to appear on all sides of the photo, resulting in a lower quality scan of the actual photo.

2. Choose the right resolution.

A good rule of thumb is to scan your photos at a minimum of 300dpi (Dots Per Inch) to assure decent quality for enhancement and restoration techniques. If your photo is smaller than the usual size (2×4 or smaller), scanning it at 600dpi or larger would be better.

3. Avoid using correction effects while scanning.

While checking certain effects like unsharp mask or color correction may seem like time savers, they might make your photos look worse. Just scan your image with its original look. Then afterwards, try to make any corrections in a graphics software program which offers much more control.

 
 

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Organize your Photos: 3 simple tips

March 19th, 2018

hands-holding-phoneIf one of your resolutions for 2018 was to “get more organized,” you might look at the endless stream of post-holiday photos and think, “Oh, wow!” followed by “Do I really have time for this?!”

And after about 20 minutes, you turn your attention to a more fun project like planning your family’s summer vacation or making more coffee.

Try not to abandon the project before you get started! You’d be surprised at how 15-20 minutes a month will keep you organized and less stressed with organizing and viewing those cute snapshots of your friends and family.

1. Clean Out your Smart Phone

Delete those blurry photos while you’re waiting in line at the grocery or doctor’s office. You’ll instantly have less photos to download to your computer and won’t have to sift through a ton of bad snapshots.

2. Download Photos on a Monthly Basis

Set a monthly calendar reminder to download the photos on your phone and/or camera into Picasa, iPhoto, or the photo management system of your choice. As soon as they’re downloaded, take 15 to 20 minutes to edit them ruthlessly. Only keep the truly special, funny, and beautiful photos and delete any duplicates.

3. File and Organize

Create Master folders for vacations, holidays, birthdays and every day life. Sort by year, followed by month. Ie: If a birthday was taken on July, 27th, 2011 – Put 2011 (07-27) Birthday. When organized by year, you’ll be able to sort the folders sequentially in any software, which is the best way to find older photos.

Also, make sure you back up your photos. This is a critical step to do, so don’t skip it, or one day, you could find all of those special memories gone. You can manually move photos to an external hard drive or to the cloud via DropBox. Another recommended program is Backblaze, which backs your computer up every time you connect to the internet.

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Create a montage on your Phone

August 11th, 2017

With “Back to School” starting and Labor Day right around the corner, parents and families are taking more pictures and videos. I myself posted a cute pic on Facebook of my kids using the Photofy App (super cool for simple or more complex editing!).

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However, I took a TON of other photos which I wanted to utilize and show off for a little video.

With limited time, I always want something automated and efficient – all of my current media is always available on my phone whether it’s for personal or for business.

Being a video editor, I realize that hours can pass if you’re not careful with time-tracking. Sometimes, I just don’t have time to string photos and videos from scratch on my desktop and labtop computers.
 
What follows are some suggested apps for editing video montages from your phone. I’ve edited the same pics and videos within each different app so you can get an idea of the differences. These can be used for personal videos, classroom or sports videos, and small business owners. Not only are these usable on your phone, but on your desktop computers for larger projects.

1. Magisto App (iPhone and Android)

This app has more bells & whistles with effects. I’ve used one template here called “Film Effect”, but there are other templates to choose from which are really cute. You can create a free video with up to 10 photos (about 30 seconds). For longer videos, you’ll have to purchase the business app for $9.99 per month.

Magisto seems more targeted to the teenagers and young adults. You can also use the Magisto software on any desktop computer for larger projects, by going to www.magisto.com. Internet access is needed.

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2. IMovie App (For iPhone only)

This app is for those individuals who want much more control with editing than any other apps. You can purchase the iMovie app for a $5 flat fee, and it also comes with any Apple desktop/labtop computer free. It’s for people who prefer the videos to be simple, with limited bells & whistles in effects. iMovie also has a super cute collection of “trailer” templates, where you can pick a “trailer” theme and intermingle your photos and videos.

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3. Animoto App (iPhone and Android)

This app has a TON of templates, and is more automated. Lots of creativity and themes for all age types and special events. Whether you want to create a sports video for your child’s soccer team…or a business video of your product, Animoto offers lots of functionality with a quick turnaround. Cons is that we recommend purchasing the Professional Package at $264 per year. But if you make videos from your phone often (for personal or business), it’s well worth it.

Try a free 14 day trial with no credit card required. You can also use the Animoto software on any desktop computer for larger projects, by going to www.animoto.com. You will need internet access.

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