Videos rarely come up without our prompting whenever we discuss photo organizing with a client. But videos play an integral role in a family’s visual legacy. They tell straightforward stories, capturing moments in time in ways no still photo ever can. And having hundreds of clips scattered throughout your smartphone’s camera roll is not the best way to preserve these precious memories.

During a consultation session with a client we asked, “what stresses you out most about your photo collection?” She replied, “My videos.” When we asked why, she said because she didn’t know what to do with them. We introduced the idea of creating annual timelines, which she loved. Basically, each year’s worth of videos were brought into one timeline, removing the videos that didn’t belong, cleaned up the edges where needed, and added a title card. She loved the results, and whenever we do maintenance work on her photo collection, she always requests another annual timeline.

There are some steps you can take to help integrate and enjoy your family videos. They are the same (or similar) processes we use for our clients. With a basic understanding of the video editing software that comes with your computer and a repeatable workflow, a whole new way to enjoy your video collection will be available to you.

Software

Every Mac comes with iMovie, a great tool for video editing. It’s user friendly with a simple interface. PC users have access to Video Editor or Movie Maker. Since these are included on your computer, no additional fees or subscriptions apply. It’s a great place to start if you want to learn the basics of video editing.

Making annual timelines

It takes time to go through a year’s worth of video clips, but once you have them laid out in chronological order in the timeline of your video editing software, you can easily begin the editing process. This involves removing unwanted clips or segments within the clips. Once done, you will have one video file of the entire designated time period ready for viewing with one click of the play button. And while these types of “all inclusive” timelines can be long, our clients love being able to view all their family videos without disruption. Although, it’s unlikely anyone will watch a 2-3 hour video in one sitting, they can watch however much they’d like, and then resume where they left off later. It can become a really enjoyable experience for families to watch together. And this enjoyment and value will be compounded over time.

Another option is a highlight reel. This is like the annual reel, only shorter, where much more is edited out and the focus is on key moments or the “best of” within the specific time frame. Music and titles applied to the intro and outro will add a fun, dynamic feel to the piece.

Last, you can make shorter video clips similar to what Apple offers through their use of “Memories” in your camera roll. These are clips that feature music throughout, and use a mix of still photos and motion, and are more sentimental in feel. The difference between what we’ve created for clients from what Apple does? Customization vs AI. We thoughtfully edit the collection, finding the right piece of music to accompany the video. We create custom intro title cards and find the perfect balance between still photos and videos.

If you find you love the video editing process, you can always level up by learning Apple’s Final Cut Pro. There’s also Adobe Premier Pro, which is the cross-platform industry standard for professional video editing. But neither is free. Keep in mind you will need to be working on a computer that isn’t too old or outdated as the processor will need to handle the workload. Video files can be quite large, and older systems can quickly become bogged down. Also, the more RAM you have, the better.

Once you learn the basics of what these video editing applications offer, you can create video pieces that family members will cherish for generations to come. There’s no need to let all those videos disappear into the abyss of your ever growing digital image collection. There are simple steps that can get them back into your life in a fun and meaningful way. And we’re always here to either make video reels for you, or help you learn the basics of video editing if you’re a DIYer.