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Save Your Film and Videos Too!

We love reading through all the great advice on this blog and on the APPO blog about saving your photos.  However, we think video tapes deserve just as much attention. Oftentimes the footage captured on video is every bit as sentimental and important as that which is captured in photo form. Much of the advice about preserving and organizing photos is applicable to video as well, but there are a few nuances when dealing with film reels and video tapes.


Digitize Your Videos and Film Reels


It’s much easier to share digital videos with loved friends and family.




Your old home movies are filled with special moments. From the laughter of a child, to footage of wedding vows, to someone’s first steps or first words captured on tape or film, videos can be just as special as old family photos or school portraits, and they merit just as much emphasis when it comes to preserving and sharing with loved ones.


Old videos are much harder to share than photos because they require additional equipment. VCRs break down and are getting harder to find. Camcorders require charging clunky batteries and hardly anyone has a film reel projector anymore. The best option for sharing home movies is to preserve them in a digital format that can be easily shared with friends and family.


Both videotapes and film reels can be digitized into files whose quality is equivalent to the original formats. Once digital, there are many cloud platforms that make it easy to share almost instantly once your videos are digital: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud and YouTube are just some of the many options available.


Consolidate and Backup Your Videos


Consolidate all of your digital videos in one place. Create a backup of your files for extra security.


Once all of your videos are digital, the best thing to do is get them all into one place, alongside your videos that were captured digitally. Typically, there are a few different devices with that may have videos. Computers, phones, tablets and cameras are a good place to start. Consolidating videos to a single place on a computer or external hard drive will make it easier to manage your video collection going forward. Organization of videos can be done much the same way as photos. Here is a great post about organizing printed photos. All of the information on sorting and prioritizing can be applied to your video collection as well.


Once you have everything in one place, and groomed to your liking, creating a high-quality backup of the videos should be a priority. For best practices, keep a copy off-site, such as on a hard drive in a safety deposit box or uploaded to the cloud long term.


Proper Video Storage is Key


Nothing is wrong with keeping your old tapes and film reels, but make sure they are stored properly.


This is an example of POORLY stored film reels. The reels have gotten rusty and the film itself is moldy.

Videotapes and film reels carry sentimental value in a way that digital files don’t quite capture. Maybe there are special labels written on each tape by a relative or maybe you want to keep your dad’s film collection to pass along to your kids one day. Whatever the reason for hanging on to these original materials, it’s important to do so properly.


Storing your film reels and tapes somewhere cool and dry should be the biggest priority. Nothing will deteriorate these formats faster than water, which can cause mold and irreparable damage to both videotapes and film reels that will affect the quality of the playback image. Pack your family memories in watertight bins and make sure to pack them tightly. If the items are packed too loosely, they can shift around and the hard-plastic video cartridges can crack or break. Keep in mind that even when stored properly, the years can take their toll on your videotapes and film reels. The best way to preserve them is to keep a digital copy along with the originals.


Sign up today for more ways to save your photos directly in your email box.


We also invite you to visit our sister blog The Photo Organizers for more tips and in-depth knowledge from some of the top photo organizing industry professionals. To find a photo organizer near you, visit the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.



Vanessa Boucher has personally helped over 500 families share memories and history through unique projects as a consultant at EverPresent, the nation’s leading photo organizing company. A graphic/web designer and crafting enthusiast, Vanessa’s is one of the thought leaders behind EverPresent’s innovative website and blog, where she shares best practices and tips on topics ranging from digitizing irreplaceable memorabilia to creating stunning photo books.





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