Tips For Making Your Videos Usable and Enduring

  1. Collect details while filming. Turn on date, time, and location capturing features on your camera, or film a piece of paper with this information written on it.  Record noteworthy pieces of information or state them verbally on camera. If safe to do so, record names and consents on camera or in a separate document.
  2. Keep your original raw footage, unaltered.  If your video might have intellectual, historical or evidentiary long-term value, keep your original raw footage, even after it has been uploaded.  Organize your offloaded material (e.g. by date and/or creator), but do not delete or alter the original filenames or directory structure.  Make a backup on a separate hard drive or with a cloud service.  Keep your material secure.
  3. Make your video discoverable.  If safe to do so, upload copies of your video or share as a torrent.  The key is to make your video findable by others.  Make your titles descriptive (e.g. name of event, date, location).  Tag your video with Williams College, a subject area, and other keywords — search for videos like yours to see what tags others are already using.
  4. Contextualize it.  Your uploaded video is more useful if people know what it’s about.  Use metadata description fields to describe what is depicted.  Include names, dates, and specific locations.  Add a URL for a relevant website leading to further information.
  5. Make it verifiable.  Enhance the verifiability of your video.  Tag and describe your video (#3, #4 above) so that it can be easily compared with other documentation.  Consider upload sites that allow you to upload/share untranscoded files (e.g. torrents, Internet Archive), or that allow you to be contacted (e.g. Vimeo).
  6. Allow others to collect and archive.  Share your uploaded videos using a Creative Commons license.  Consider submitting your videos to Williams Digital Collections, and/or depositing your original raw footage with the Williams College Archives.  If your video has evidentiary value, a trusted digital archive can help maintain a reliable chain of custody.
  7. Or archive it yourself.  There are many benefits to working with an established repository, but if you want to do it yourself:
    1. Save the original footage or the highest quality output
    2. Document the footage/videos with descriptive information
    3. Organize your videos by date or source
    4. Make back up copies on quality external hard drives, stored in separate locations
    5. Check your saved files at least once a year.

See the Library of Congress’s Personal Archiving site for more information.