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Curating family video

Second in a series of posts to help you organize your family memories…

Part 1 (7 steps to manage your photos)

Part 3 (Saving voicemail)

Part 4 (4 steps for digitizing old photos)

Part 5 (Curating kids artwork)

How many family videos do you have?

I remember watching a movie a few months ago (I don’t remember what movie it was), where a large meteor was about to crash into a large city.  It was obvious that the impact would destroy the city and everyone in it.  What did the citizens of that city do? They stopped, pulled out their phones, and recorded the whole thing.

We record everything today.

What I said in another post about photos holds true for video. If they aren’t managed and curated, you’ll have a difficult time finding them to watch later.

My guess is that most people’s video collections are organized like their photo collections. No organization.

You can fix that.  It may take some time, but it is possible.

Curating family video is similar to curating family photos, so many of these first pointers are covered in more detail here.

Step 1: Start with the end in mind

Will you share these videos with people who live outside of your home?  If not, you might be okay storing them on a hard drive at your home. If you go this route, please have some sort of backup.  You don’t want to lose those videos.

If you are going to share them – and that includes posting them on social media – you want to use a streaming service.  YouTube is the biggest, and Vimeo is another good option.

Most people want to share their videos, so the remainder of this article will focus on using YouTube to curate your family videos.

Step 2: Consolidate your videos

Get all your videos into one folder on your computer.  If you have a camcorder, plug it into your PC and download them.  You’ll need to do the same with your phone, as well as with your spouse and any kids who have phones.  Keep in mind that older phones you have had (and retired, lost or broken) may have video that was uploaded to the Internet. Android phones should have uploaded video to Google Photos, and iPhones should have done the same with iCloud.

Step 3: Curate your videos

First, look for duplicates and useless video.  Delete these.

Next, give all of your videos meaningful names with dates.

Finally, you need to devise a tagging system.

When you upload video to YouTube, you are creating a channel (like a TV channel). YouTube uses tags as the primary way to manage and search for videos within a channel.

The photo organization system still works well here, using these categories to tag videos:

  • Date
  • Event
  • Person
  • Place
  • Thing

Use as many tags as you need.  There isn’t an official limitation, though Google says each tag can have a maximum of 30 characters, and the tag field can have a maximum of 500 characters.

You can easily tag Katie’s 5th birthday party with these tags:

August, 2015, Katie, birthday

You could also add tags for anyone else there (mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, etc) using their names.

Step 4: upload your videos 

It’s time to start uploading. Head to YouTube.  If you’re not logged into Google, you’ll be prompted to do so.

In the top right corner, you should see an upload button.  Click it, then drag and drop the videos you want to upload into that window.

A word of caution: Most residential ISPs have a slow upload speed, and some may even place caps on how much you can upload.  If you have a lot of video, you could run afoul of your ISPs Terms of Service (TOS). Check with your ISP prior to uploading many videos.

Also, because of the speed limitation, it could take hours to upload the video.

Once you start the upload, you’ll be able to modify the settings for that video.

The basic tab looks like this:

The title will be the file name by default. You can add a description.  This is also where you add tags.

Notice the “unlisted” pulldown. There are three visibility options:

  1. Public. This is the default.  Anyone can view the video and it can be found through searching.
  2. Unlisted. Anyone with the link can watch the video.  It won’t show up in search results or on your channel (even for you).
  3. Private. The user has to be granted permission to watch the video.

You can also look at the options in the “Translations” and “Advanced settings” tabs and change anything you want.  If you want to disable comments, you can do that under the advanced tab.

Once the video is uploaded, you can save any changes you’ve made and publish the video.  You will see a URL that you can share with others so they can go directly to that video, or you can invite people to subscribe to your channel.

Watch and enjoy these treasures!

If you want to share your videos in an interactive family history book, let us know. We’d love to help!

You make memories. We make them last.


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