Help File: Archiving Old Home Movies To DVD, Vista 'Memory Dumps' Defined

By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, June 28, 2009

QI've got some old reels of Super 8 film. What are my options for transferring that to DVD?

AThe cheapest, but lowest-quality, option would be to set up a projector and play back the film with a digital camcorder pointed at the screen to record the footage. But that assumes you have a working film projector in the first place; odds are, you don't.

Instead, consider outsourcing the film transfer to a company that can use professional gear to deliver a cleaner copy of your old home movie. Local camera stores can perform this job; for example, Penn Camera's Web site quotes a fee of 15 cents per foot of 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm film, with a $40 minimum charge.

Sending away your film for transfer may save a little money. Santa Clara, Calif.-based YesVideo ( allows film drop-offs at CVS and Rite Aid drugstores, among other sites; its Web site estimates that the first 50 feet of film will cost $29.99, plus 16 cents for each extra foot, but this can vary depending on your location. Another option, Pittsburgh-based Debenham Media Group (, requires you to ship your film to it; the company charges $20 for each 50-foot roll, and return shipping adds $10.

Fair warning: I know of these services only from others' accounts, not having seen a roll of 8mm film in years. Try one out with some less-important footage before you hand over your family's most treasured home movies.

When Windows Vista crashes, it says it's dumping information from memory. Can that help me find the cause of the crash?

Only if you're a programmer. This "memory dump" contains whatever filled the core system block of memory at the time of the crash. You'd need professional debugging tools and some experience with Windows development to make sense of its contents.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or Visit for his Faster Forward blog.

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