Your old analog videos and film are treasure troves of memories and stories that bring the photos that go with them to life.There are a number of reasons why you should already be considering converting your tapes into a digital format: your old VCR is broken and you have no way of watching your tapes; it saves a lot of space to have them on a hard drive instead of in the basement or attic; and it stops your tapes from deteriorating and losing quality. As important it is to transfer your tapes to digital, that’s only half the battle. Making the videos easy to share with loved ones is equally important and brings friends and families closer together. Here are three ways to tackle that project once your tapes are safely backed up on a hard drive:

This is a great way to make your entire video collection easy to consume. If you have video chronicles of your child growing up or tapes with endless footage of sporting events, it is tough to consume hours of video that covers not only your son or daughter, but also plenty of other footage that is uninteresting and can be cut out.

A 10-20 minute montage that includes the most meaningful parts of someone’s life or an event is such a great way to relive the moments without having to sit down for hours to look for the highlights scattered throughout a collection. One thing to keep in mind when tackling a project like this is the time that it takes. It can take many hours to go through and edit all of the tapes. Even with a professional video editing service, it can be a lot of work. Still, the benefit of streamlining an entire video collection outweighs the time costs.

2. Create highlight reels of each tape.

If the prospect of going through an entire video collection and editing hours of footage seems daunting, there are other options. If a certain tape is meaningful to you, create a highlight reel of just that tape.

2-3 minutes is plenty of time to capture the highlights of a wedding ceremony or home movies of a family vacation. The fact is, very few people have actually watched the old VHS tape of their wedding. This is a really great way cut down the time it takes to watch to only a couple minutes while preserving all of the meaning intrinsic to that special tape. If the file is small enough after editing, it may also be possible to post to social media to make sharing that much easier.

3. Use the Cloud to Share A Special Tape

Sometimes a whole tape just needs to be shared. Think Bar-Mitzvah or similar events with the whole family gathered together. The most important thing to do is find a way for others to watch the tape. And there are better options than mailing DVD copies to a dozen different addresses. Many cloud services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive offer a free option to share your videos (and photos too!). You can sign up, upload the digital file and send a link to your friends and family for their viewing pleasure. They can even download onto their own computers to have a permanent copy.

Sharing video with loved ones is a unique way to bring the sights and sounds of the past back to life. The options listed above are just three of the ways to experience your videos with loved ones after they have been digitized. The options are as diverse as the special moments captured on camera.

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