It's our view that getting your home movies uploaded to the cloud is one of the most rewarding tasks you can undertake in organizing your family's memories. This summary blog tells you why it's great, what the shortcomings are, and how Collectionaire addresses these shortfalls and takes advantage of advanced features to give you a better experience.
So Why Should I Do This?
For those new to the cloud, we’ll first explain that “in the cloud” simply means your movies are not stored on your computer drive or a DVD but on a computer in an offsite location, managed by a major company like Amazon, Microsoft, Box, Dropbox, Apple, Google or others. They also store copies in other facilities as backup protection for your files.
First Benefit: Streaming
Once uploaded, you'll simply click on a movie to stream it directly to your connected device, just like a movie streamed to your television or mobile device on Netflix today (i.e., you don’t need to download the movie to view it).
Below is a sample of a digitized 8mm home movie, 1968 Trip to California and Disneyland, uploaded to Google Drive. Clicking on the image will open a new tab in your browser, presenting the movie in Google Drive. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzPD86qtGF6cX0JxbGZHSTVXNzg/view?usp=sharing Second Benefit: Sharing Movies in the cloud are also easy to share with others. Most all sites allow you to pull a "share link" from the file. When this link is sent to others by email, for example, they are able click on it and bypass login credentials to stream your movie without gaining access to other files in your cloud account. Here's what getting a share link looks like on Amazon Drive... Third Benefit: Backup Perhaps it goes without saying that having your movies in the cloud provides yet one more backup of your files. The difference is that cloud sites were once used only for backup. Today the cloud is often a better way to view and share your photos and videos, while computers, thumb drives, and hard drives are more frequently becoming the backup. OK... cloud streaming, sharing, and storing are great. So what are the shortcomings? First problem: It can be hard to find the movie Once in the cloud with all your other files and folders, it can be difficult to find the movie you're looking for (“did I put that in the movies folder or my parents' folder?”). And then, once you remember, it's three clicks to start diving deep into the nested folders... Second problem: No description of your movie Once you find your movie folder and click again, in most cases you'll see only file names and random preview images to identify your movies. With few exceptions, there are no descriptions. Third problem: Thumbnail images are random If this were a digital photo album you would often be able to choose the preview image. But for videos (other than YouTube and a few others) it's randomly pulled from the movie and what you see may not be a good representation. For example, the nice Disneyland castle photo shown above is not the preview image assigned automatically by Google Drive for that movie. The actual image is this one: Fourth problem: Always starting playback at the beginning When you click on a movie in its stored location, it starts playing from the beginning. But a major feature of movies/videos stored in Vimeo, Google Drive, or YouTube is that if you use a "share link" to access the movie, you can add a time mark to the link. This prompts the video to start at a specific moment or scene. This is especially useful for long-form movies and videos which may have multiple events on the same movie or tape. But, again, this feature is only usable if the video is viewed via a share link. How it’s Done In Collectionaire Collectionaire was designed to maintain the great features of cloud use noted above, but address and solve the shortcomings, allowing users to: - organize home movies to be quickly found, - add searchable descriptions, - add perfect thumbnail images, and - start movies at specific scenes So here’s how our Trip to California movie is organized and presented in Collectionaire: First benefit: Direct access vs. Nested folders First, knowing that the California trip was one of the James and Patricia Kinsey family's vacations, you'll access their "family collection" by clicking on the link icon between them in their family tree. This effectively bypasses what would have been two or three levels of nested folders. Then on their family collection page, their "Best Family Vacations" chapter is quickly found... Second benefit: Add a title and full description Opening this Vacations chapter you'll see a list of their home movies - with titles, preview images and descriptions. Clicking any of the preview images opens a new tab in your browser and takes you to that movie in the cloud site where it resides. If the description entered is longer than can be seen in its description box, clicking in the box prompts a pop-up with the full description. In this case, details of the movie and scenes. Third benefit: Add a custom thumbnail image If we want to replace the preview image generated by the cloud site, we can quickly take a screen grab of a scene in the movie and upload the image as the new preview image. Fourth benefit: Start at a specific scene When a photo, photo album, document or video is added to Collectionaire, we add four items: Name, Description, Share Link and Preview Image. Again, the "share link" links you to your file in another cloud site. So because Collectionaire's system is built on these links, if we're using Google Drive, Vimeo, or YouTube we can add a custom time mark to the end of the link to start the playback at a specific scene. Below we've added different start points to the same 1968 California trip, breaking it into 5 sections connecting you directly to that part of the movie, without having to do any edits or add detailed descriptions to find key scenes. Another use case for a specific start point was presented here a few months ago in an earlier blog post (https://collectionaire.com/blog/get_blog_details/24/Tips-and-Tricks---Starting-a-Home-Movie-at-a-Specific-Scene) . In this case, we profiled a link to a video clip of a child getting her only first place award in her 8-year dance career. This allowed that clip to be directly accessed in her collection page without asking the viewer to scrub forward to view it. Finally, a Couple of Additional Features - Search: A search icon resides at the top right of every page, and entering a term (e.g. a person's name or a place) brings up every item in your entire collection where that term was entered into the item's title or description. (See Searching Your Collection (https://collectionaire.com/help_support/details/20) in the Help topics) - Copy and Paste: You may have photo albums or movies that fit into more than one collection... e.g., the birth of a child could be added to both the family collection and the child's collection. With copy and paste, the movie is stored just once in your 3rd party cloud site but quickly entered twice in Collectionaire. Well... we hope you found this interesting as to what you can do with your videos in the cloud, both with and without Collectionaire. Visit Collectionaire for many additional features not noted here. Stay tuned for Part 2, which will be delivered to your inbox on Monday, March 23, and Part 3, to be sent out on Wednesday, March 25. Go to Collectionaire (http://www.collectionaire.com) This blog entry will soon be posted to the BLOG tab of our Collectionaire website, so you can read it again there at any time. Thanks for your interest!