I don’t pretend to be an expert on what services are out there to help you turn your poorly shot, shaky, dark, over-long or “I forgot to turn the camera off while I walk around” home videos into DVD’s you might want to watch, but I do know that the people at Pixorial have a service that’s doing the trick for me.
Here’s what they do: you send them your old movies(via upload if they’re already in digital format, or through the mail – in a box they provide), they convert them to an editable format, download them to their site (for your eyes only, of course) and then provide an easy, albeit basic, editing system to turn those movies into sharable, sendable, watchable “Shows.”
The service is free for 10 Gigabytes (like I know what that means!)of uploads and low-res little thumbnails, or about $25 a year for the high-res, limitless uploads, endless storage Pro membership. (and here it’s time for full disclosure: the kind folks at Pixorial set me up with a credit towards the service, and a free pro-membership.)
First of all – these people are nice. Helpful. Enthusiastic. I like that in a company. You can actually contact a HUMAN BEING at this place. Hallalujah. And while Pixorial’s editing system is pretty basic: fades, dissolves, titles – you know the drill, it’s about enough for your average home movie-taker. And the truth is, if you don’t use Pixorial - or something like it – my bet is, you won’t watch your videos at all. Or if you do, and you’re anything like me, you’ll get a headache from all the shaky bits. (and no, for this one post, I am NOT referring to my thighs.)
Look, I spent nearly 20 years as a television producer, which means that when it comes to editing I’m kinda like Captain Kirk: I know what I want, I know how to tell other people to do it, but I don’t actually know how to do anything myself. With Pixorial, I don’t have to know much. It works similarly to most word processing software — drag ‘n drop, my friends, drag ‘n drop.
Like many photo sites (Picassa, Snapfish, Flikr, etc.) Pixorial also let’s you preserve your footage – they’ll archive it for 60 days with the free membership or for as long as you are a member in good standing if you have a Pro membership. Plus, aside from the shows you can share with your friends on Facebook, or You Tube, or simply by ordering DVD’s with cool picture labels you design yourself (Prices range from $5.99-$14.99 per DVD, depending on how many you order.) You can make an amazing photo mosaic poster, using images from your video clips (printed posters from $19.99 – $79.99, low-res downloads free).
I can see them at the entrance to Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s accross Long Island even as I type.
Pixorial currently converts: VHS, VHS-C, Digital8, Hi8, Betamax, miniDV, and 8mm, Super 8 and Super 8 film with sound. SO basically everything your average parent would have. And just think: if you start with Pixorial now, all those grandparent holiday gifts will be taken care of in no time. EXCELLENT!
Bottom Line? Pixorial is not a sophisticated, high-level editing program that’ll turn your movies into Academy Award winning masterpieces. But the service will get those little digital tapes out of the closet, get me to edit them down to some watchable length, and help me finally cross that “must do something about all those hi-8 tapes piling up” problem I’ve been facing since my twins were born.
Now if only I could solve the “must lose the weight I’ve gained since the twins were born” problem, I’d be all set.
Legal Mumbo Jumbo I must include so I won’t be sued: This review is based on MY experience only. You may not feel the same way. Not my fault. Not my problem. I recieved a credit toward services and a free Pro Membership in order to be able to write this post, but in no way did Pixorial tell me what or how to write about them. So there.