How to Record Home Movies that You’ll Actually Watch

I recently transferred all of our old home movies from video cassettes to DVD.  It was a long, laborious, and tedious task that took me months…literally.

But I learned two very important lessons in the process. I wish I’d known these two things when I was actually taking the video.

(One of my favorite clips of our youngest daughter Rachel trying to blow out her candles at her 3rd birthday.)

If want to record home movies that you’ll actually watch years later, here are a couple of suggestions:

Don’t take the camera to the school play (but keep it handy at home).

We never watch the video we took of our kid’s school pageants or church programs. Ever.

The kind of video we do watch is the footage taken on an average Tuesday when the kids were just being themselves. The video of the girls playing charades and dressing up in costumes to put on a play is pure gold.

So, go ahead and take the camera to the school play. Snap a picture or two. Then, sit back and enjoy the show. 

Shoot footage of people other than just your kids.

Your kids are adorable at 4 months and 1 year and 3 years and ten. But during those same years, your parents and grandparents and siblings and cousins changed quite a bit.

I strongly urge you not to focus solely on the kids. Pan the camera around. Zoom in on Grandma and Grandpa. While the camera is rolling, ask them to tell stories from their childhood. This footage will be as valuable to you 20 years from now as the footage of your kids alone. Probably more so. And when they’re gone, you’ll treasure the video, if nothing more than to hear the sound of their voice again. So, chronicle their lives well.

Final Thought

Drag the home movies out early and often. Our kids love them. We laugh and cry and justify our wardrobe choices from years past (“Hey, short-shorts and tube socks were stylish back then!”). Our girls love seeing themselves as little kids.

We like to use our family videos as a launching pad to share family lore. We reminisce about family members who are no longer with us. We inevitably cry.

But mostly, we laugh. It brings us closer together.

Questions: What kinds of family videos are your favorite? What tips would you share on how you get the most from your home movies? Please leave your comments below.

Author: Greg Lhamon

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  • Jeff

    Great suggestions, Greg! I have done that (wish I’d done more). I have also edited and set family events to music. Cut 30 minutes of random action to 4 minutes of a song popular at the time to the cousins playing in the park or sledding or Christmas provides entertainment that my extended family has watched for years.

  • Very creative, Jeff! Well-produced videos are far more fun (and more watchable). Great idea.

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