How to Create a Life Story in a Short Video

3 August 2020

Back in the day, our parents would make family home videos using camcorders and then transfer them on to VHS tapes.

You can gather those family movies, and digitize the videotapes, using cables that can be purchased cheaply online. These simple pieces of equipment will allow you to smoothly transfer those charming home videos onto your computer or external hard drive.

You can then upload the videos to your favorite hosting platform, like YouTube or Vimeo. Likewise, you can share these timeless videos on your Memories page, so that your friends and loved ones can reminisce with you no matter where they are. This will add a multimedia layer to your Memories Timeline.

In this article, we'll look at how you can edit old footage — and even new videos — to create a life story. Memories Page sign up

1. Choose

First things first: choose which video clips you want to include in your life story.

More often than not, we record video in bite-size scenes. Thankfully, almost all smartphones, apps, DSLRs, and video cameras automatically save video clips in chronological order, with the time and date included in the file name. This will allow you to select certain clips in a folder without having to reorganize them manually when you transfer them into a separate folder.

Remember, to select multiple files that are in different areas of a folder, press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking. For Macbook, press and hold the Command key while clicking. Don't stop holding the Ctrl/Command key until you're finished selecting all of the files you need. Afterwards, do not click on anything other than any of the files you selected. For instance, if you click on a file you didn't select, or the white space (background) in the folder, then you might have to start the selection process all over again.

2. Gather

After selecting the files you want to use, right-click one of the files you selected, and choose Copy. Now, create a new folder in any parent folder or drive you prefer. Title it something like "Life Story" or "Family Memories". Just be sure that it's easily identifiable so you don't confuse yourself in the future when you need to find it.

Now, paste the files you copied into the new folder. These wiill be the copies you will use for your project. This will prevent you from accidentally deleting, editing, or ocrrupting the original files. It's kind of like making a Xerox copy of your social security card or birth certificate when applying for a job or a visa. The originals are just too important to risk losing or damaging.

In this project folder, you can now re-arrange the clips if you want, but since you're creating a life story, you should probably stick to its original chronological order. This is the folder where you can gather more files from other folders in other flash drives or cloud drives.

3. Use editing software or apps

There is a lot of video editing software that you can download for free. In fact, if you have a Windows laptop or desktop, chances are you already have a program pre-installed for video editing. If you'd rather use your smartphone to edit the video files, there are numerous free apps in the Apple Store and Google Play.

However, keep in mind that some of the free video editing apps have in-app purchases. For example, you can download an app for free, but you may have to pay for a "premium" version to take the app's logo watermark off the videos you make.

Memories4. Trim and transition

Now that you've uploaded all of the video files into your editing program, it's time for the fun (and hard work) to begin. You can use the trim tool or function to cut out parts of the video clips that you don't want to include, and these are usually found in the beginning. For instance, a video clip might contain someone singing in front of the camera, but the beginning parts are filled with chatter and background noise from the audience. You can trim this beginning part, so that the video clip will start at the point when the main subject begins.

After trimming each video clip as you need to, you can apply transition effects in between scenes or clips. This will make your movie seem smoother, the way a dreamy memory looks in your mind. My favorite effect is cross-fade, and depending on the look and feel of the film, I also sometimes use fade-out to black at the end of each scene.

5. Add music and sync

You can add music files to create a soundtrack for your movie. However, be sure to either mute the audio of the video files or minimize the volume if you want to include the original audio of the video clips. Next, sync the music to your video reel: there will be separate layers on top of each other in your video editor, with the music usually appearing as the bottom track. Make sure the music track starts when the video track begins. You can even add a fade-in and fade-out effect to the start and end of your video track if you like.

6. Add graphics and effects

You can add text to your movie, such as a title card at the beginning of the movie and a credit roll at the end, just like a professional film! You can also add text within the scenes that will overlay on top of the visuals. This is a good technique to use when you want to label the location or date of each scene. Some video editing programs have free graphics and special effects available for you to use.

7. Save your files

Make sure to save not only the finished movie itself (usually termed an "export"), but also the project file itself. That way, if you want to revise or re-edit the movie, you won't have to start from scratch.

When you save your movie, make two versions, the first one exported in high definition that you can watch on a TV screen or through a projector. Then, export a smaller sized video file for viewing on smartphones and tablets. The second version is important. Read the next step to find out why.

8. Upload and share

The reason why you want a small-sized file of your movie is because the larger, high-def version might be difficult to upload online. Many social media sites, blogs, and websites (except YouTube) place size limitations on video uploads. If you're planning to upload on your YouTube channel, then you can use the high-definition version.

Whichever you choose, what's important is that you share your life story either with the world, or simply with close friends and loved ones. You can also upload the video on a dedicated website designed for storing and sharing memories.

Scrapbooks are about creatively preserving your memories so you can revisit them at a later date. Just as technology has enhanced how we capture these memories, digital scrapbooks have improved how we design and present a story from our lives by offering more customization and accessibility.memories banner

Memories can preserve special moments

Memories provides dedicated pages, which create the perfect space for your online scrapbooking. Our private and secure Memories pages act as a vault, visual timeline and digital memories box for all of life's precious moments.

Get started on your own digital scrapbook in three easy steps:

  1. Create your Memories page: You can create a Memories Page for free.

  2. Fill your Memories page: Once the page is created, simply upload photos, videos and stories.

  3. Publish your Memories page: Share the page with others and invite them to contribute once it's published.

Memories' strengths are in helping you to create and manage your memories online. They also partner with complimentary services to help convert these digital memories into printed photobooks.

To get you started with your online scrapbooking, we have pulled together everything you need to know below.

What are the benefits of digital scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking traditionally combines photos, documents, craft materials and other physical elements for design.

While you can get creative with physical copies of assets, going digital gives you more options to easily customize your look.

Download graphic design programs and explore the extensive libraries filled with various easy-to-use themes and templates. If you’re more tech savvy, you could design your own page templates from scratch.

In addition to including your digital images, consider digitizing physical assets such as photos, posters, plane tickets, school reports and birthday cards. This will allow you to easily tweak the image's size to whatever works best for the template you are using.

As digital scrapbooks allow you to undo mistakes, play around with different graphics and fonts to see what fits best with your chosen template. You could also go back and change something at a later date.

The final benefit is the lack of mess when making an online scrapbook: no glue, paper cuttings or glitter here!

What do I need to start digital scrapbooking?

These are three things you are going to need if you’re serious about scrapbooking:

  1. Computer: Tablets and mobile devices allow for basic editing, but computers offer the highest degree of control and come with better software for design work.

  2. Photographs and imagery: Consider scanning your old photographs and documents to make sure you include all the important memories from your past.

  3. Photo editing software: While it's not necessary, downloading photo editing software can help you resize images, improve layouts, add filters and change fonts.

Share your digital scrapbook

Printing your digital scrapbook will allow you to share physical copies, while the online version is also easily shared digitally.

It's always wise to save and distribute the scrapbook at smaller sizes, unless the recipient is going to have it printed. Slightly lowering the image quality of your digital scrapbook will create a smaller file size, which is easier to send and download on different devices.A Memories page could also be the perfect host for your digital scrapbooks, with simple privacy features allowing you to easily share with your friends and family.

See an example of a Memories page here.

Memories Page example

Memories Page example

Can I combine physical and digital scrapbooking?

Creating an online scrapbook allows for customization and future-proofing of your memories, but this doesn’t mean you can’t also have a physical copy to put on the coffee table.So-called “hybrid scrapbooks” are pages created using digital assets and design templates, which are then printed and enhanced using traditional craft supplies and techniques.If you’re printing the scrapbook yourself, it’s worth investing in a printer capable of printing high-resolution images on thick, glossy photo paper. Also, take note of the page sizes your printer can deliver. Outsourcing the job to a professional is another good option as you know it will be of the highest quality, with these companies often also helping by binding all the pages together.Add physical elements to your digital scrapbook

What photo editing program should I use?

There's no need to get a photo editing program if you just want to store your images on a visual timeline, but there are a few affordable options if you want to get creative and manipulate your images.

To get you started we suggest you take a look at the following programs.


If video killed the radio star, Canva killed the graphic designer.

Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts allow you to design consistently stunning graphics. The program includes photo filters, free icons, shapes and hundreds of fonts.

A free version of the software gives you more than 100 design templates and hundreds and thousands of free photos and graphics. A premium subscription, charged monthly, gives access to an expansive library of templates, photos and graphics, plus the ability to resize images with one click.Canva is one of the most easy-to-use design programs on the market, with the premium subscription being very affordable compared to other software.Canva is another great option.

Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements is going to offer more of a challenge to the novice user, but it is one of the world's most popular products.

There are fewer features in Elements than in premium Adobe’s Photoshop CC, but the average scrapbooker wouldn’t need most of the additional features anyway. Elements allows you to create and manipulate high-resolution work, with features including automatic colorization for older photos and user-friendly collage tools.

It’s worth noting that Photoshop could take some time to understand — YouTube tutorials are a great way to learn. Elements also has a one-time subscription fee.Adobe Photoshop is good for digital scrapbooking

Top tips to remember

  • Organise the memories you want to include: You’re not going use every picture, concert ticket or map you have in your memories box, so there’s no rush to digitize them all. Sort through your memories and pick the ones you want. You can also group them together to create a themed page.

  • Enhance old photos: You have photo editing software at your fingertips. But it’s not just for cropping and saving digital copies! Watch some tutorials and get creative.

  • Save your work frequently: You don’t want to lose all the work you have done to get that layout looking perfect. Save, save, and then save again.

  • Don’t be afraid to Google: If you are stuck on a certain technique or can't understand a file format, Google can be a great resource. Chances are there is a forum answering the exact question you are asking. It’s all about learning.