I have a love/hate relationship with video cameras. On the one hand, it’s so great to have little video snippets of your kids as they’re growing up, because they grow up so freaking FAST, and there’s nothing quite like video. Photos are awesome, but video gets you right back in the moment, as you sit hunched over the video player sobbing to yourself and humming “Sunrise, Sunset” like a big sappy WUSS.
On the other hand, I think a video camera is very difficult to deal with in terms of finding the right balance between “capturing the moment” and “being an OCD psycho and whipping out the camera every time they do something cute”. I can personally attest to going overboard at one point and ending up with approximately 295739295 digital files of Riley engaged in such scintillating activities as breathing.
There’s also the question of what to do with your video files once you’ve got them on the camera. In my case, I have a super-neat little JVC digital camcorder that unfortunately records in a video format my Mac doesn’t recognize — so in order to download clips, I first have to run them through a program that re-interprets the data and barfs it back out in a format I can import into whatever editing app I’m using. Which is way too time consuming and definitely keeps me from doing as much with video as I’d like to, but that’s my personal problem, presumably your camera isn’t so fussy.
So! Assuming you capture video on occasion, what do you do with it? Here’s what I tend to do:
1. Bring the files into an editing program. In my case, I use iMovie. iMovie has its flaws for sure, but it’s awfully damn easy to throw something fairly decent together with clips, transitions, and music without having any video editing knowledge whatsoever. Among other things, I created a 1-year montage for Riley that still makes me cry like a wiener, and it wasn’t remotely hard to do. Well, except for picking out the music for it (the music is IMPORTANT, you know).
2. Export the final movie in a digestible format. Meaning, if it’s going on the web it should be greatly condensed so the file size isn’t, like, fifty gigs, while if it’s going on a DVD it can be much larger (and less suckier).
3. Upload the file somewhere public. I’ve done this in the past for blogging purposes and also for sharing with family members. There are tons of video hosting sites out there and I don’t know which is best in terms of ease of use and quality — I use Google video just because I already had a Google account and the first time I tried it nothing terrible happened.
Then I store the final file on my computer in a dusty folder called “Movies” and I never back them up, which is VERY VERY BAD. Back up your data, friends. Can you even imagine how awful it would be to lose everything in one bad computer glitch? In fact, I am going to copy all my pictures and movies to our storage drive THIS WEEKEND.
I need to start burning movies to DVD so I have both a backup and a nicer quality file to send to family, but then again I need to do lots of things, like floss more regularly.
So, how about you? If you use a video camera now and then to shoot a little footage of the family, what do you do with the results? Any tips for making the best out of all those clips?