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Picture this: You’re celebrating a special event like Halloween or a birthday and something either really cool or really funny happens. It’s completely out of the blue, but thankfully, there’s that one uncle or grandpa holding a camcorder catching it all on tape. 

In a day and age where cameras lie right in the palms of our hands, I think a lot of us forgot that camcorders existed. Many kids these days probably don’t even know what they are! If you’re like me, though, your childhood was probably captured by one. 

The cool thing about home videos for me is that milestones in my life like learning to walk and learning to ride a bike were captured on tape. My dad was usually the one recording at family gatherings and during trips. I remember being so happy anytime I got a turn to record and I even got my own camcorder for Christmas when I was ten years old. That’s when I became the one behind the camera and it was always a fun experience. 

“… milestones in my life like learning to walk and learning to ride a bike were captured on tape.”

With my own camcorder, I was able to record our family trips to places like San Antonio, San Francisco, and even Disney World. I’ve literally watched myself and everyone in my family grow up throughout the years on tape. Even now as an adult, I love to pop in one of our old VHS tapes and watch my life play out on TV. 

To me, it’s more engaging that way. I remember my younger cousins always asking me to flip over the touch panel so they see themselves. This was long before flipping the camera on a smartphone was possible – before smartphones were even a thing – so it’s really fun to see all the funny faces my cousins would make on camera. Call it the first flipped camera recording, if you will!

For fifteen years or so, my life was captured all on a camcorder. My quinceañera, the traditional celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday in Latin American culture, was probably one of the last milestones and events recorded on a camcorder. It’s a bittersweet thing since a quinceañera is essentially celebrating a girl’s transition into womanhood. In a way, it all came full circle and closed the chapter on home videos for me. 

Since then, little moments have been captured on smartphones and apps like Snapchat and Instagram, and while it’s much more convenient, it doesn’t feel the same. Of course, family gatherings are up in the air right now as the pandemic is still unpredictable at the moment, but I definitely want to pick up the camcorder again and record a trip or family event once I get the chance. 

While it’s true that camcorders are a bit outdated now that anyone can take pictures and videos on their phone, I wouldn’t call them completely useless. In my opinion, there’s something about recording with a camcorder that makes capturing memories so special. Whether your family also had a camcorder while you were growing up or you’re thinking of getting one, I recommend it!

Angelina Leanos

Cal Lutheran '23

Hi! I'm Angelina and I'm the Co-Senior Editor/Writing Director of HCCLU. I'm a Junior majoring in English and minoring in Psychology. I love traveling, cooking/baking, listening to music, and writing poetry. Instagram: @angi.lean
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