Lone Star Film and Video Inc.
3730 Benbrook Highway
Fort Worth, TX 76116
It all started with Wade Weaver's love of stars – the ones in the sky, not Hollywood.
As an amateur astronomer in the early 1990s, he would speak to classes in schools about the subject.
Teachers were consistently recording video of his presentations, which gave him an idea – an idea that today makes a lot of people happy – preserving their memories and important items with his business, Lone Star Film and Video.
"I decided to make a video using their textbook vocabulary words. I asked Astronomer Ron Dilulio at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History to help produce the video," Weaver recalled. "We took our script and went to NASA and got the footage we needed. We hired professorial narrator and astronomer John Williams.
"Ron was also a musician who wrote the score for The Solar System: A New Look. For 10 years it was the top educational video in the country on astronomy. I was hooked, so we used the funds from the sale of our video to buy pro cameras and edit equipment."
From there, they began creating corporate training videos, and Weaver opened a location in west Fort Worth in 2007 on the Benbrook traffic circle.
Meanwhile, Weaver was asked time and again about converting VHS tapes to DVDs. So that's exactly what he started doing.
"I put a banner in the window that says, 'VHS to DVD,' and I paid my rent in the first week," he said. "It seems people did not want to send their films and video off in the mail. I tell them everything I deal with is the only copy in the world. So, I treat them that way."
Weaver incorporates his own sentimentality into his work. After all, he said, he is dealing with one of the most precious items to be found, folks’ memories and records of their lives.
"The old films and video is simply the history of their life. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, graduations, births and vacations, etc. It's a living snapshot of what they looked like and how they lived," he said. "When people come in I will check a tape to make sure it works. They just stand there and cry as they watch them. It just touches their hearts."
Among his greatest challenges in the conversion industry, Weaver said, was the entire 16 millimeter film collection of the University of North Texas Medical School Library, along with remembrance videos from the 20-year anniversary of the Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting on Sept. 15, 1999.
"That was hard because that was my neighborhood. I lived it," he said.
Weaver has converted recordings from decades long past.
He remembered one in particular, a 16mm film from 1927 that featured a famous person making an appearance in Fort Worth at the old Camp Bowie Airfield.
"We're watching and we see this plane do a circle and land, and it was (Charles) Lindbergh,” he said. Lindbergh visited Fort Worth in September 1927, as part of a Guggenheim Fund sponsored tour of 48 states and 92 cities after his legendary solo trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris.
"Who meets him? Amon Carter and some TCU cheerleaders. They took him downtown for a ticker tape parade. About 200,000 people showed up," Weaver said.
Over the years, Weaver has been brought many intriguing and interesting videos.
For example, he was once brought a copy of the famous Zapruder film from the President John F. Kennedy assassination in Dallas in 1963. He also has about a three-minute 8mm film of Kennedy in downtown Fort Worth on the day he was killed.
He was recently brought some video and audio recording from a fighter jet.
"You can see him rip the wings off (the other jet)," Weaver said.
Other works include an audio recording of the Beatles performing at Shea Stadium in New York, and a soldier sending an audio love letter on an LP to his girlfriend during World War II.
And often people are unaware of what they have in their possession until they accidentally come across it, he said.
There is, however, one form of video he won't work on, he said.
"I refuse to do pornography. I don't want to see it and I don't want to know about it," he said.
And if you do want to keep your old recordings without making the conversion, he can help with that too. In fact, it's the most popular service he offers, he said.
"I think I'm the only place that repairs broken video tapes," he said.
Lone Star Film and Video also offers something called M-Disc, a new DVD that will preserve those memories long after you, your children, grandchildren, their grandchildren, and their grandchildren have passed from this world.
"M-disc is made to last 1,000 years," Weaver said. "It only plays on a Blu-Ray player."
Drone service is also a popular item at Lone Star, Weaver said.
"We use it to film marching high school bands, Mayfest and more," he said.
Then he showed a demonstration of drone use, adding with excitement, "Look at how great those are. They can do so many things and get to so many areas."
And while he has to make a living, Weaver said he understands how special these works are to his customers, so he keeps his prices reasonable.
For example, VHS to DVD, and 8mm film to DVD average around $15 to $20. Film is charged by the foot, such as 50 feet would be $20, he said.
And he makes extra copies for Christmas gifts at around $5 each.
"It's a cheap gift that everybody loves," he said. "Who doesn't love memories?"