ArchivingDigital organizingDigitizingHome MoviesMemorial video tributesOrganizingPhotosSlideshowsStorytelling

Getting the Most Out of Your Videos

Over the years, I have collected many hours of film or video to preserve family memories like summer vacations, birthdays, and other special events in the form of home movies. If you have years of reels, videotapes, or DVDs, stored in boxes, learn how to convert old home movies to digital formats to preserve your history.
Your collection may include:

  • Film reels: old film from 3” to 8” with anywhere from 50’ to 600’ of footage. The cost to convert it is well worth being able to view it anytime
  • Tapes: 1 to 2-hour recordings including single or multiple events corrected several hours to many years

Why is organizing your videos so important?

Home videos are part of a family’s legacy and tell moving stories about your life. They capture milestone moments with sound and movement – something a still image can’t do. Hear a family member’s voice, watch your baby’s first steps, relive a wedding proposal, and laugh at your puppies funny moments.

Preserving and converting old film makes it easier to find, view, and share at family gatherings and events. You won’t need multiple devices and equipment to see them, and you will know they are safe. Once converted, you can keep treasured memories alive forever.

What are the best ways to preserve videos?

Update your home movie tapes and reels to digital files formats like .MOV or .MP4. The files should be saved on a one hard drive that can be used as an archive for your home movie collection. DVDs are no longer a useable storage device as they are limited in space and the format is obsolete. I share some tips when choosing a conversion company, like making sure they omit blank spaces from your recordings.

How can I get started?

Gather your entire collection and organize by reels, video recorder tape and discs, camera SD cards, USBs, and smartphone video files  You will want to save videos with custom file names referencing people, dates, and events, so they are retrievable and searchable. When naming files, I always add the source of the original recording. Here are some examples:

  • Year-Month-Day-Event-type
  • 2000-05-VHS.mp4

Now you are ready to choose a secure hub for your archived video collections on a local or external hard drive or an online site that offers privacy settings, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Then you can view or share them using privacy settings that only allow access to specific family and friends.

Post-conversion customization

Create sub-clips for each event on multiple event tapes and reels so you won’t have to fast forward to your favorite parts. There are several video editing programs to use, such as:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Final Cut Pro
  • iMovie
  • Windows Movie Editor Pro

Again, I name sub-clip files to search by event, date, and format like this:

  • Year-Month-Event-subclip-type
  • 2000-05-10-MothersDay-VHS.mp4

What about my existing digital video files?

Have you noticed the amount of video footage in various lengths on Smartphones, and stories saved to a camera roll or video library, are really adding up? There may be even more on SLR (single-lens cameras), or DSLR (digital video cameras) saved to several SD cards. No conversion is needed for these file types, but it’s a good idea to organize and keep them in a centralized hub for viewing.

First, export from your camera devices by plugging them into a computer. Download videos from your smartphone, or copy digital data from an SLR or video camera to the hard drive. Then organize the images using the post-conversion customization mentioned above. I also offer tips for taking better home movies on your iPhone.

The tips for using video on an Android phone are much the same. You can tap on your photo icon to select the gear icon in the left corner of your screen to change things like:

  • Higher resolution in both rear or front cameras
  • Gridlines to help frame your subject
  • Auto Track Focus for movement
  • Volume button feature to stop and start filming

Newer phones have shortcuts next to the gear icon to change features, filters, timers, and flash. Use a tripod or selfie stick to prevent jiggling the camera, and don’t forget to clean your camera lenses before you start!

Picture This Organized helps you with a Home Movie Conversion project. We inventory, convert, and customize your film and video for you, so you always know where to find and enjoy them. Contact us for help with video storytelling to record summer activity, road trips, and preserve your treasured family events and history.



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