Genealogy: Keeping personal digital video

Genealogy: Keeping personal digital videoIf you are using a camera or other device to record digital video, you are following in a long tradition of making personal and home movies. You may want to keep some of these videos for a long time.

Technical file quality is an important consideration for digital video. Videos that are posted on the Web, for example, are often grainy and have less information than the original version.

Save the highest quality versions of your videos along with good descriptive information about them.

Archiving Tips

  • Identify where you have digital videos
    • Identify all your digital videos on cameras, computers, phones and removable media such as memory cards.
    • Include your videos on the Web.
  • Decide which videos are most important
    • Pick the videos you feel are most important.
    • You can pick a few videos or many.
    • You can save just final edited versions or you can also save unedited footage.
    • If there are multiple versions of an important video, save the one with highest quality.
  • Organize the selected videos
    • Give individual videos descriptive file names.
    • Tag videos with names of people and descriptive subjects. Create a directory/folder structure on your computer to put the videos you picked.
    • Write a brief description of the directory structure and the videos.
    • Make copies and manage them in different places
  • Make at least two copies of your selected videos—more copies are better.
    • One copy can stay on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage.
    • Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, your video files in the other place should be safe.
    • Put a copy of the summary description with your important papers in a secure location.
    • Check your saved video files at least once a year to make sure you can read them.
    • Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.

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