After years of procrastination I'm finally getting around to an accumulated 15 years of home videos.
I'm just looking for some general advice or recommendations from people that may have done this already.
Here is my current plan.
I'm using Movie Studio Platinum 15
My files are organized... named for date and subject.
The bulk of my videos are family gatherings on holidays (Thanksgiving, Xmas, Easter, etc.), birthday parties, my daughters sporting events, videos of my daughter just lying there as a baby or singing in the bathtub and so fourth...
My end goal is to incorporate all of my 'shows' into my home server.
I currently stream all my movies, tv show, videos etc. from a Synology NAS to Nvidia Shields located at each TV running Kodi.
I'm going to have my home videos listed like a regular TV show with seasons, episodes, artwork, description, actors and all the typical metadata.
The videos are separated in to folders by year (season...to use with Kodi)
Further separated by episode folders. Most episodes will be a single event like a holiday, birthday or sporting event but some will have many random clips that aren't enough to warrant their own episode.
ex. S05E16 - Christmas Morning or S05E05 - Gymnastics Meet S10E10 - Summer Videos
I'm trying to keep the episode length at 20 minutes or less although some will go over.
As each episode will have the video files already in their own folder I'll leave the source files for each along with the files created by MSP15 for future use if I decide down the line I want to change something.
So I've already got the Kodi files started. New TV show, NFO's etc and a couple shows to get it started.
Each episode will have a thumbnail and a description and you will also see actor images just like if using Kodi for a regular TV show.
The Kodi side of this will be the easy part for me.
So aside from basic trimming and cutting, basic transitions, title slides or some text overlays do you have any recommendations?
On one hand I don't want to get insanely involved because with 2500+ clips from 15 years I'll never get it done... On the other I also want it to be entertaining enough to watch.
I figure I'll throw little things in for example I did an episode of my daughters first swim lesson at age 7 months... had a title slide with a water background and the Jaws theme playing for about 10 seconds while transitioning into the actual video.>>>even with this video I think I've learned a lesson... since this swim lesson video is 14 minutes long... way more than even a loving parent is going to sit through... it's very repetitive... when do you know when to say when on how long you let things carry on and when to just cut things out?
While the actual use of the software is something I can generally handle I don't think I really have that artistic touch that I think you need regardless of software skills.
Should I add music or just go with nothing but the recorded sound?
Any other suggestions to make the process go smoother/faster... or to make the videos more entertaining?
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1. You can use automatic movie mixers to create short clips to watch quick.
None are intelligent, so they may cut too soon or not include important moments. But, like a movie trailer, enough to make you remember the good times and decide if you want to watch the full movie.
2. 3-10 seconds per clip depending on how long you want to linger, 30 seconds to a minute is enough for one location usually.
(E.g. Day at beach. 2 seconds getting out of car. 3 seconds running to beach. Several 2-3 seconds clips for playing. A few clips testing and chatting. Final clip of sunset or going back to car.)
Just like the old days of film - more than 1-3 minutes, unless it's important or really interesting, cut, trim, leave out.
(Or think a commercial. 30 seconds tells a brief story, 1 minute is pretty good, 2-3 minute trailer already tells you most you need to know.)
3. Music is good to emphasize the mood and feeling of a place.
Dark for funerals, happy for parties, you get the idea.
The biggest part of the music plays at during the most important scene.
4. For sound, make sure you Lower the volume in places where people talk - otherwise, you won't be able to hear them.
5. Unless you hire good editors, or get better at editing yourself, automatic movie mixers are a quick way to summarize. You can cut it apart yourself and add more.
And leave it to the viewers to decide if they want to go back to watching the original footage in full.
I guess the most daunting part of this is going to be determining the cuts so I don't make it too boring to watch.
I'll start sending these over to the server a little at a time and get feedback from the family as well. That will help with future decisions and if something already done needs editing it wont take much to go make changes with all the source files still intact.
Thanks for the advice and guidelines.
Although I do have a bunch of reels of oldschool 8mm I need to get converted before they turn to dust.
Isn't that something you do?
Cut in late as you can.
If something isn't needed to tell the story for that scene, cut in later until it doesn't make sense, then back off a little.
Cut on the "beats". Human movement is timed to heart beats according to the latest research, and you'll notice that in big moves and little, there's a blink, nod, etc that seems natural to cut on like a pause in the conversation.
Hold on the big moments for a few seconds, but no need to keep going and going and going.
You don't have multiple cameras, so the few things you can do is cot in scenes out of order, zoom in, add photos.
For example, if you've got a gymnastic performance, and an audience shot captured later, you can "craft" the story cutting between the performance and audience reaction.
If you don't just point a camcorder at the projection, or use a home scanner https://www.amazon.com/Wolverine-Converter-Scanner-Convert-Scanning/dp/B01KA32HH0
Expect to go with high quality scanning services (professional scanners costing $$$$, maybe even wet gate scanning to get rid of visible dust, etc), expect to pay $$$ per reel.
Lots of threads here on that.
I'm not being facetious. Get a friend who's not familiar to watch sections of your videos with you and have them honestly tell you when it's enough, then add a minute or two more for family members.
I've posted before about the squirrel! and paying for videos/photos effects. The "squirrel!" effect is no one is more interested in your daughter than you and your family. Watch a group of people watching a video family or company. You'll see limited interest until someone/something with direct relation to them is shown, and even then it lasts no more than five minutes or so. A prime example is a sports game in which a child is participating. All the parents eagerly buy the video, then skip anything that doesn't have even a fleeting glimpse of their child in action.
The paying for video/photos effect is when you offer your lovingly crafted videos or photos to others for free and they happily accept them. Tell them they'll have to pay for the media (disc or print cost) and you'll get a lot less takers. My ex's family would share family event photos and charge each other for each extra print they exchanged. Rather than "I'll take that entire extra set", it's "I'll take this one and this one only.".
As for music, my take is your [if] video clip is stunning enough to keep your audience's rapt attention by itself or [unless] you're trying to [evoke] or emphasize a mood, music is a no go. I personally can't stand the sound of children, but many enjoy it. Be sure to normalize your audio and use judicious use of fades (in and out) so you don't go from shock when you transition from a scene of people speaking in their library voices to one of everyone screaming.
Personally, I think commercials are one of the best examples of short storytelling, even if the product is terrible. In no more than two minutes they tell a complete story. If I were to watch a home video, I'd like it in small easily digestible bites of no more [than] say 5 minutes, rather than a 30 minute entree where I hope the last bite is as good as the first.
I recommend consulting with your daughter, as to what she thinks are the moments she'd like preserved and shown to others. Her opinion may change depending on how old she is, but what you find adorable, "Oh look, she's shaking her butt in the tub!" may be a moment she never wants shown again.
The way I look at (no pun intended) home videos is like making a sales pitch. Say/show enough to get your point across, but know when it's received and the sale is made. Don't be the "Wanna see it again?" guy!
Edit: IMHO, 15 years of video should be able to be condensed into 1 1/2-2 hours to in no more than 15 minute segments. I've been into watching a series of one hour drama specials lately and while the full character development of a full length movie [is missing], it's really satisfying. A tasty appetizer for those times when I don't want the full entree of a feature movie. Yeah, I'm getting hungry. Haven't had breakfast yet!
Edit 2: For any sports event, think highlight reel.
Edit 3: Another thought. Rather than all titles, a brief verbal introduction, maybe by your daughter for her segments would be a nice change up. I don't know squat about video or audio editing, but I know what appeals to me.
Last edited by lingyi; 11th Jan 2020 at 18:13.
And I couldn't agree more that people are generally not going to be interested in something they are not involved in. I have a really big family but don't really have much desire to watch videos of my nieces and nephews as kids and even less to see videos of their kids... so many now that I can't even remember all the names!
about 7 years of gymnastics meets alone will encompass a couple hours or better. And that is just of her competing... I don't record entire meets (which generally lasts 4-6 hours).... just her competing and awards. Probably about 8 meets per year.
Maybe a few random shots but roughly 20-30 minutes per meet... probably cut to about 6-8.
I can proudly say though that I made a pretty kickass family Xmas themed slideshow in 2015 with Proshow Producer. It was a full 20 minutes and had the full attention of about 25-30 for the duration... and this was just pictures and music.
Thanks for your time!
I think you may be overestimating my production levels a little.. I'm not really 'telling stories' here. These are just family videos where there was no thought put into them while filming for what an end result would be.
Like the gymnastics example you used... she competed from age 6 to 13. There are no audience shots or reactions. Aside from family, teammates, her coach and judges there is most likely no one even paying attention to her... especially with multiple events going on simultaneously non stop.
Don't get me wrong I appreciate everything...I'm just not at this level. Perhaps now though with your input I may start putting more though into what I actually shoot.
I do like the idea of incorporating some photos into the mix.
I checked out that machine on Amazon. That model is no longer available but a newer version is
I'll talk to my brother about that... that will probably be purchased in the near future.
Thanks again for your time
For me, a slideshow requires a higher level of attention than a video because it's a don't blink or you'll miss it thing. Which brings to mind something that may work well for some of the videos, especially the gymnastics. A montage of stills of the best moments of each event and a video if she wins or hits a move perfectly for the first time. As I said above, highlights.
The following is of course all IMHO and in no way meant to minimize the importance of your videos and project.
Don't mean to demean your daughters performances, but watching multiple videos of what to me seems like the same moves quickly loses my interest. I watched Olga, Lumilla and Nellie in the Olympics, but once Nadia got all those 10's, I was done. The performances of the first three were filled with drama, especially with Olga, but the perfect expressionless Nadia killed it for me. Yawn, she's doing the exact same move perfectly again!
For me, this video is a example of gymnastics storytelling. In less than a minute it perfectly captures and justifies Nadia's first perfect 10. Even if I knew nothing about gymnastics (which I'm just half notch above), I would know that this performance was like nothing else that came before.
Not saying you should compress your daughter's hard work into less than a minute, but maybe keep the 8 minute Director's Cut for yourself and those who want more.
Again, my sincere apologies if I come across as rude or crass (I'm not a family guy, didn't even see my siblings for the past 1 1/2 years), but just as you have little interest in you extended family, they probably have little interest in yours. Somewhere, I know there's a few reels of early family films, but even if someone digitized them, I'd have no interest in receiving, much less viewing them.
I don't know what it's called outside of Asia, but they call it timeslip, where years are condensed or skipped with a brief recap at the beginning of the new start. Just as you probably wouldn't be interested in watching someone else's year by year events, especially since children generally don't drastically change appearance (to anyone other than parents), you may want to timeslip the middle gymnastic years.
As for your slideshow, good job! But did anyone ask for a sequel? I'm guessing you already used the best of the best photos for the montage. As I said above, sometimes less is more and you want to leave your audience either completely satiated or wanting more.
My $0.02. Do this as an act of love and passion. Keep a set of longer Director's Cuts and pass those as well as the original uncut videos to others for safekeeping, but keep your presentations to the minimum that the mass audience will appreciate.
Last edited by lingyi; 11th Jan 2020 at 23:10.
Well, that wasn't necessarily a highlight... that was Nadia's full bar routine. That is just one event though. As you know girls compete in 4. So like I said with maybe a brief time before and after each apparatus and the awards each gymnastic meet would be 6-8 minutes. For me personally as someone who spends 6-7 days a week at the gym I have a great appreciation of the strength and skill of a gymnast. I can spend a lot more time watching... very much looking forward to this years Olympics... I don't know if you still watch or not but for todays female athletes Nadia's perfect 10's are barely a warmup!!... especially for someone like Simone Biles. Check it out
Anyway back on topic...
Although I may have many family members interested in (some) of these videos.... because many of them are in some of them.... I'm doing this project primarily for myself, my wife and my daughter. I have no intentions of inviting family and friends over to watch my daughters gymnastic meets or her baby videos... although her grandparents would be into it!
On the other hand however where I have bigger family gathering videos there will be a lot of enthusiasm to watch them on bigger holidays when there are 30+ of us gathered at one of our houses...just like the slideshow. And yes, they constantly ask for sequels Multiple nieces and nephews sent my many photos last month hoping for a new Xmas show. I just didn't have the time. Hoping to have one for the Easter gathering.
And no apologies necessary. We all have our own opinions and ideas.
Thanks for the input!
Just go for it!
After all, huell howser's California Gold pbs shows might be the "worst" when it comes to lighting, camera, etc for documentary interviews/travel videos, but there's a huge audience still after his death.
Edit with love, and the viewers will feel that.
Just make sure - after all that hard work, at least 2 copies on two storage devices.
sorry, but i think "family" vid is different than just any ordinary video. in my experience relatives don't care how good a video is, they want to watch the whole thing. i put full length videos on my nas for any who want to watch can. even multi-hour length kids sports snoozers that no one but a parent would watch.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
And worse case scenario... if I make something too long it takes minimal effort to hit the fast forward button.
And if I sit here worrying about making these perfect with all these cuts and such then this project is never going to get done... I think for the most part my trimming will be at the beginning/end of the videos.
I'd like to have this project totally done before the end of the year.
And don't worry babygdav... backups are one thing I have plenty of!!
Thanks again guys.
Sorry I'm so late to the game, but this was in "similar threads" and as a father and a wedding videographer I just love what you're doing here. I'm not at all familiar with Kodi and I'm going to look it up after this and probably steal this idea for my own family. Thank you!
I'd check out SoundStripe — I think I pay a hundred bucks or so a year for the ability to license as much music as I want, and there's a wide selection. Yes, music is absolutely worth including, especially when lovingly selected.
In case my process helps at all: once I download all my files from shooting a wedding, I drag them all into a VEGAS Pro project and just start watching. The fluff gets cut and the potentially useful stuff stays. I note great audio moments (a touching statement, great laugh, random ambient sounds, hilarious joke, etc.) in a spreadsheet and listen to SoundStripe and license songs as I go. Once I'm through everything, I first weave a story with the audio (matching up the video clips), then work the music into it, then work other video in. My recommendation would be: just start at the beginning and watch it all. Yep, all of it. Yes 2500+ clips will take forever, but I don't think you'll regret the journey.
Okay I'm going to go read the replies to your original post now. This is my off-the-cuff response and I hope you take pride in making something you and future generations of your family will love.