I have two VHS/DVD compbo recorders. We only use the HVS to watch tapes not wirth preserving. Those worth preserving (home movies from before I had adigital camera) have been coverted to DVD. From there, I can make them into other digital formats.
Yes, its not too far away to generated 3D renditions of 2D movies so the viewer is inside the imagry and can move within it like a point and shoot game, rather than in front of it and just being a passive observer; early converters were sold with 3D TVs to allow 3D versions of any broadcast, its all an illusion with limited angular views, but it shows what can be done with older data sets. Thus, we won't need new cameras or technology to better relive the past, rather computer horsepower to do the conversions.
Preserving format takes more doing, as in your documents. It can be done, nevertheless often without preserving the 'reader' but it can be challenging with such items like Autodesk Animator.
I recall they had DIY conversion kits to digitize celulloid movies, video tape etc., I haven't shopped the market recently but remember them from early 2000s. Takes a lot of physical work though and the early PCs were challenged in terms of the data file size and the editing [ post processing] it may need. It would be much easier to do today on a low cost desktop, so it maybe worth revisiting.
I have some documents that I've conerted from .doc to .doc (Multimate to Word) and some WorfPerfect files to Word. My wife still uses Wordperfect 11 bust saves as Word format so others can open the files. It's OK for plain text and simple formatting but gets messy with tables, graphics, etc.
I've also converted some Lotus 123 files to Excel.
dBase, haven't heard that in a while. I had created a database and wrote an app (DOS) to automate data entry. then one day, the app stopped running so I converted the data to xls and from there moved it into MS Access.
I have some old family movies htat I had someone put in DVD and distributed them to the family. One was from 1945. I sent it to my cousin who showed it to her mother (age 90+). My aunt was in tears seeing all those people so young.
There are other films too but the cost of convertingwas rather high. I converted one other, the first (silent) home movie of me.
The US National Archives decided long ago, that any medium preserved also requires the player of that medium be preserved too. Both paper and film need care to preserve them for posterity, not to mention the space it occupies. A lot of film has deteriorated, just ask Turner Classics. If not the deterioration of the celluloid on film [which by the way, is highly flammable], dyes have faded; if it weren't for digitalization, remastering and colorization, such works could be lost forever.
The US National Archives recommends porting older formats into newer ones, ad infinitum to insure the playability or readability of old documents, whenever possible.
As a persoal example, I transferred digital formats of the past to some generic format still viewable on most any modern PCs: Ashton Tate Dbase or Visicalc to delimited ascii text, or WordPerfect or WordStar, to ascii text. A big problem exists with analog formats: VHS tapes, analog cassette tapes, etc., that output NTSC or RGB video, as HDTV and digital audio made such devices rapidly obsolete; their lower quality relative to HDTV or lossless audio for the most part means conversion has little chance of data loss.
@Max The information it stores is still retrievable after 4,200 years
That will never happen with an iPad. The battery has gotten so low twice in the last week that the iPad wouldn't turn on. Fortunately, I had access to a $453,000 oscilloscope to charge it as did the phone next to the iPad (not mine).