How to save your old analog media from extinction! (infographic)
It's all there on vinyl, tape, film, and paper--your memories, your creations, your collections--all your media memorabilia. But in analog form, the content is difficult and time-consuming to organize and access. It also takes up a lot of space and is slowly degrading. The answer is to digitize it, preserve it, and organize it.
There's a way to digitize virtually everything you've collected from the past. This collection of how-to infographics will show you how.
The easiest way to digitize your vinyl is to use a USB turntable that plugs directly into the USB port on your computer. If you have an analog turntable, you can connect your stereo receiver to your computer if you have the right cable (see below). You can do the same with a cassette deck. A software program like Audacity will record the sound. Then it's just a matter of trimming and editing the waveforms into separate songs.
If you plan to use your PC to digitize all that stuff you still have on VHS or Beta tapes, you'll find dozens of affordable analog video capture software programs on the market, like Pinnacle. You can also use commercial video editing products like Adobe Premiere. You simply run RCA or S-Video cables from your playback device (VCR or camcorder, say) to the inputs on the video card on the back or side of your home computer, and then record using the latter's software.
You can store text documents digitally in two ways--as images or as text files. Images require far more space, but retain the character and flavor of the original document. Converting a scanned image to a text or word processing file involves what's called optical character recognition, or OCR. Most scanners ship with OCR software that you can install on your PC, but if yours lacks it, you can pick up a copy of Nuance's OmniPage or Adobe's Acrobat XI at a reasonable cost.
Scanning photo's is much the same as scanning documents, where the scanner is concerned. The difference is in the editing. All scanners ship with utilities that provide basic kinds of corrections such as deskewing (rotation) and cropping, as well as color, contrast, and brightness corrections. But to correct flaws in the original media, such as water damage, rips, and fold marks, you'll need a more advanced image editing software like Photoshop. You can also use the free, cloud-based Pixlr editor for simple editing.
If you need more detailed information about digitizing your analog media, check out the Digitize Your Analog Life feature on PCWorld.
Illustrations by tabletinfographics.com