How To: Record, Publish, and Manage “A Video a Day” of Your Child (Part II of II)

By  |  Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

Print videos onto DVDs – You’ll find situations where your family members won’t necessarily want to watch videos online (read: my mom) and you’ll need/want to print your videos onto DVDs. I looked at a bunch of software applications that have templates for quickly creating DVDs, but all of them had these incredibly tacky templates. I didn’t like the look or design of any of them, so I decided that I would manually author my DVDs using Adobe Encore.

At first glance this seems one of the most daunting tasks, but if you take the time to design a good template then the time it takes to make subsequent DVDs will actually be really short. It’s worth it because the quality difference between authoring the DVDs yourself with Adobe Encore and using one of these automated systems is drastic.

It took me about six hours to fiddle with design, style, navigation, and encoding to create a template that I wanted. Once I had that, I calculated it only takes me about one hour to author a full month of videos. I can fit two months of videos comfortably on one DVD, so I calculate that six times a year I have to spend two hours designing a DVD.

While I have fit three months of videos on one DVD, I don’t recommend it because of a limitation of the DVD format. Turns out that a DVD can only handle 99 tracks. If you just shot one video a day you’d have at most 93 videos over three months, and if you’re like me and you sometimes like to shoot more than one video a day, you’ll break that 99 limitation pretty quickly, which I did. So to be onthe safe side, just print DVDs for every two months of videos.

The DVD design I’ve created includes the following criteria:

  • Videos with The Flip are recorded in 720p. Use the 1280 x 720 format.
  • All menu pages are photos of my son are saved as 1280 x 720 PSD files which can be imported as menus in Adobe Encore. You’ll need about six images to become menus for each month. See your folders categorized by month and year (00-00).
  • The top menu links to sub-menus for each month plus any special compilation videos I may have made during that time.
  • Each month usually requires five to six sub-menu pages. I’ll have between 30-39 videos for a given month depending on how many “extra” videos I make.
  • Use the buttons that provide a thumbnail image of each video. If you’ve got the space you can select the option to animate the buttons on the menu’s Motion tab.
  • All video names are the dates the videos were taken.
  • While my template includes ten buttons with thumbnails on a page. I end up deleting a few to allow the faces of the images in the submenu picture to poke through. Hence why it takes five to six submenu pages per month to fit about 30+ videos.
  • I label all the buttons with dates, link them to the timeline file, and have the end action of each video play the next sequential video. So if you select the “Play All” option it’ll play the first video and daisy chain you all the way through all the videos.
  • I then design a label with pictures of my son and print the DVDs on HP’s LightScribe. I make copies for parents and my wife and I. Plus, I sent the first DVDs with a multi-DVD holder letting my family know that this is the case to hold all the DVDs of their grandson. When they receive a new DVD, just slip it into this case.


OK, that was a lot. Let’s summarize from the basics to organizing and managing all this video:

Part I: The Basics of Recording and Storing

  • Use a Flip HD camera for simplicity, quality, take anywhere size, and easy to use software.
  • Shoot in HD.
  • Use one camera.
  • Limit the time you shoot (:45 to 1:20) for each video.
  • Hold the camera steady.
  • Get up close – no wide shots.
  • Get it all in one take with no editing.
  • Use The Flip’s FlipShare software for an easy import, encode, and upload solution.

Part II: Organizing and managing the videos

  • Label and manage your videos manually. Don’t rely on any software solution.
  • Label all videos with the 00-00-00 date format.
  • Save videos and pictures in folders by month in 00-00 month-year date format.
  • Backup all your videos online and on another drive.
  • Share online with close family and friends via a private Tumblr blog.
  • For all other friends, make compilation videos and post to Facebook. Set viewing settings to only include friends.
  • Print all videos on DVDs using Adobe Encore or similar full featured DVD authoring product.

If you have any other recommendations for streamlining this process, let me know. I know it may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s not. I’m really glad I took on this project. And I hope to keep it up as long as possible.

If you take it on, please let me know and let me know what solutions you choose.

Remember to check out Part I, which covers the basics of recording and storing.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Greg Says:

    Great post and great ideas. I've organized mostly the way you've recommended, however, I created my video folders by the month name, which I will now change to double digit numbers for easy sorting.

    One thing I've done to help rename thousands of IMG_xxx files was, writing a program that recursively scans directories for digital images, and renames the image to the date, time, second, millisecond the picture was snapped. Of course this requires that the camera has the correct date/time setup.

    thanks for all tips.