Smile – you’re on candid camera!

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My project for the summer is to get all of our (many) camcorder tapes copied onto DVDs. Thanks to the DVD recorder that we bought the day after Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, this is a project that I can tackle myself at home. However, there is no ‘fast forward’ way to do this – you must let each tape run since only what actually plays on the screen will be recorded onto the DVD. On the flip side of that too, anything that plays on the screen will be recorded onto the DVD, as we’ve found out when recording television shows – you can’t bring up the programming guide over the screen like you can while something’s recording on the DVR unless you want the programming guide copied for all posterity on the DVD that you’re making.

So what this means is that I’ve spent 7 hours so far sitting and watching camcorder tapes. Seven hours – of Abby. Yes, apparently it’s true what they say about first children getting all of the glory and screen time. Wow, it really didn’t seem like so much time while we were recording these tapes 6 years ago! Seven hours. And that takes us only up until her first birthday. Video of Abby sleeping, sitting in the bouncy seat, in the exersaucer, holding a toy, shaking a toy, staring at a toy… You get the idea. Almost all of this video was taken in our house (well, townhouse for the first 6 months and then our first actual ‘house’ after that). It’s not even ‘Abby goes to the park’ or ‘Abby’s first trip to the store’. With the exception of about 5 minutes taken at my in-law’s old house, pretty much every moment is either Ron or I shooting video of Abby while talking to her, convincing her to smile at the camera, etc. There is some footage of both of us with Abby. There is also footage of first visitors after we brought her home from the hospital. But the bulk of it – is Abby. And yet, I can’t help but watch. Every little facial expression, every cry, laugh, burp (or urp) – I can’t believe how much I’ve forgotten, 6 years and 2 more kids later. I hadn’t realized how much Becca sounds like Abby did as a baby even though she doesn’t really look anything like her. SEVEN hours – and yet I can’t help but wish we had this much video of the other two girls’ first years. First children do get all of the glory and screen time. And subsequent children get to share the spotlight – when there’s time to actually pull the camera out and record. As I’m finding, after the other girls were born, the camera only came out for things like Christmas, birthdays or other major events. There’s so little recorded just of – them.

Lately when we pull the camcorder out, the two older girls tend to ham it up and get silly and extra loud. Gone are the ‘candid’ recordings of their everyday life – they think it’s fun to ‘act’ for the camera. Which is fun too but I know that in another 6 years I’m going to want to look back and see how they ‘really’ were. I’m glad I decided to tackle this project now because I think it’s going to change when and how we record things. I take so many still shots but lately video just hasn’t been a priority. It’s always such a pain to keep the camcorder battery charged, make sure there’s enough tape, and try to catch the specific moments we’re after. And yet, some of the best footage that I’ve been watching this week is when we just had let the camera roll and document our lives at the time. Most of these tapes had been recorded and then put away – not even watched until now. I’m hoping that by having them on DVD, we’ll pull them out more often and enjoy these recordings of our past. I can’t wait to sit down with the girls and watch together. Ron suggested that we make copies for the grandparents. Right. Like anyone else would want to sit through SEVEN hours of Abby’s first year. Maybe a ‘highlights’ reel is the way to go on that one… 🙂