For Family Videos, Less Is, Well, Less: Welcome to the Age of Video Snippets

07/15/2013 05:33 pm ET | Updated Sep 14, 2013

Video is everywhere. On your mobile. In HD. Which is great for capturing your precious family memories -- your baby's first words, their first steps, birthdays, reunions, holidays. It's never been easier. Gone are the days when you need to think about taking out your bulky camcorder. Those were planned video moments. Serendipity was not possible. Now it is. See something, whip out your smart phone, capture that moment. THAT moment. THAT snippet.

Amazing, right? Absolutely, in terms of power. But, perhaps surprisingly, not so much in terms of the actual viewing and "re-living" of life experiences. That's what just really hit home this past weekend.

Huh? What?

Here's the deal. Our family just finished a weekend of home "movie" watching thanks to the Cloud and a service called Yes Video. We had essentially never before seen these family videos. We literally had nearly 70 MiniDV tapes that were tucked away for years in a shoebox. Untended. Unwatched. Gathering dust in our garage. All of these were captured by our old camcorder that has long been M.I.A.

Enter Yes Video. I recently learned about Yes Video, a respected video transfer service, that takes your videos (whatever format, including VHS, 8mm and Super 8), transfers them to the Cloud for online viewing, and will send physical DVDs if you want. Yes it was a bit daunting to pack our cherished video memories (the original tapes, for which we have no back-up), ship them via UPS, and then hope for the best that nothing happens to that precious cargo. But, this weekend, all of those memories were available for viewing on our living room flat-screen TV via the Yes Video mobile app on my iPhone and Apple TV.

It was incredible. My family - my wife and two kids (ages 13 and 10) - were transfixed. We watched for hours. We re-lived full slices of life. We re-lived full holiday celebrations. We re-lived long conversations - real conversations -- with our kids when they were years younger. We re-lived long conversations with our grandparents who no longer are with us.

Impactful. Incredible. Priceless.

Why? Precisely because these were full SLICES of life - extended moments where we let the camcorder "run" - rather than brief snippets that are the norm in these days of ubiquitous smart phone capture. In this ADD age of video on Instagram (limited to 15 seconds) and Vine (even shorter at 7 seconds), our M.O. is now to essentially snap a moving picture, rather than take the time and let the video "run."

Yes, that smart phone serendipity - that mobility, that ease of use, that HD quality - is powerful. No question about it. We can now capture moments that would have been lost only a few years ago in the age of camcorders. BUT, in terms of impact, the good old long-form home "movies"/videos are more powerful. Pack more emotional punch. Teleport you back in time. Full video slices, not brief and frequently disposable video snippets. They are more impactful because fewer exist. In these days of anytime/anywhere mobile video capture, we are less curators - and have become more undisciplined collectors. And then, after we collect these video snippets, we don't know how to easily find them and view them. We toss them into the storage bins of countless video vendors, not knowing what or where. At least before we gathered the physical tapes in a storage box for future viewing when the technology was ready.

Which it now is. Online. From anywhere. Anytime. On any device. But, I urge you to take the time and gather the family together in your living room, on your couch, and view them together on the big screen. Heed my words, take the time and view them together!

THAT is powerful.

THAT is magical.

THAT is transformative.

It is precisely that "taking of time" - that patience to let a story unfold - that is reflected in my MiniDVs that are now online (and is missing in the haste of our present-day video snippets ... and all too frequently in the pace of our daily lives).

That's why even though my wife and I have HD video capture on our iPhones, we just ran out to Best Buy and bought a good old-fashioned camcorder. We took the time to do it. We like what it represents. And, we'll re-live today's slices of life ten, twenty, thirty years from now. Sitting back. Slowing down. Letting the videos run ....