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My Simple Solution: Streamlining Videos

This past weekend we celebrated my daughter's 14th birthday. While it was different than usual, I think she managed to feel special and loved and that's really all that matters. We hired Sign Gypsies to put a fun birthday message in our yard and we moved around our backyard to have 2 close friends over to watch a movie, socially distanced from each other. My younger daughter made a cute birthday banner to decorate the table under the TV and we strung lights on our trees along the patio to add a bit of festive fun. Best of all, we ate lunch at an outdoor restaurant.....a treat we have not enjoyed (eating outside of the home) since mid March. I felt like it was MY birthday, not having to do dishes or clean up.

If you're like me, you take a lot of pictures at birthday celebrations. The thing about smart phones is that we are not only taking pictures, we take a lot of videos. Yesterday, I was sitting on the back patio, looking through my memories from her birthday to find I had taken 10 videos throughout the up close video of the cute birthday banner, a video of the rearranged backyard, a video of her friends and her standing apart with her yard signs, a video of them watching the movies, each girl on their own couch (it was BYOB=Bring Your Own Blanket), a video of the silly girl chatter, a video of us singing happy birthday to her. It's great to have these videos but I honestly find having 10 videos from one event just clutters up my camera roll. And we all know I HATE CLUTTER. So what do I do?

I use the same method every time I find myself taking a lot of videos. If I'm doing something and taking more than one video, I ALWAYS merge them together so it's more streamlined for my camera roll and also for my enjoyment and sharing. This works for 2 videos or 70. I pull all the videos together and pick a couple pictures I want to include. I usually realize I didn't get a video of everything I want to remember from the day so a picture adds a break for some text, as well as pulls in another memory of the day. I also find I'm generally interested in the people talking and other sounds on the videos so I don't usually add music, but that's a personal choice. I use iMovie for this purpose because it's simple, I already have it on my phone, and it gives me limited options so I don't feel overwhelmed. Sure I have other video editing programs I use but I'm going for easy and done. This entire process takes 2-10 minutes, as you know I'm big on simple solutions!


Keep in mind, I am an iPhone user so these tips are for Apple iPhone. You can use iMovie on your Mac computer but these tips are for a phone.

1.) Open iMovie App

2.) Click the + sign to Create a New Project. Pick Movie.

3.) Now you can select the items you want in your Movie. You can choose to just scroll through your camera roll or you can tap on the Media button at the top left to pick only from your videos.

4.) Once you have your clips selected, click Create Movie at the bottom.

5.) Edit your individual clips by choosing a clip (which will highlight it in yellow) and moving the bars to trim parts or make a picture show for 10 seconds instead of 3. The scissors icon at the bottom should be highlighted.

6.) Add text onto pictures by using the T at the bottom. You can pick from 10 text options.

7.) If you want to add another video or picture, just move the curser to the spot you want to add something and click the + button. It will take you to your camera roll to select something to add.

8.) Click Done at the top when you're happy with your video. Click on the generic "My Movie" to add your own unique title and then use the center bottom button (square with an up arrow) to save video to your camera roll.

9.) Enjoy and share! Yesterday I clipped together all the videos from my daughter's birthday and texted the video to grandparents. Since we live far from them, it's a good way to share the day without sending them 10 video clips.

10.) Last step but REALLY important. Delete all those individual video clips. You only need your one merged Movie you just created. Clean up your camera roll and your future self will thank you!


  • Get in the habit of shooting your videos in landscape. Nothing drives me more insane than a video shot in portrait mode. When you go to watch it on the TV, landscape videos fill the screen and just look nicer. When you're taking a video, just turn your camera the other way!

  • Try to make your compiled video close to when the event happens so it stays in the same general timeline on your camera roll. Since you are creating a NEW video, it will save as the date when you made the video. If you're making one of a vacation, try to put it together on the airplane ride home. You're never going to be more excited to make a video than right after the event. Use that excitement to get it done!

  • If you want to be extra prepared, create an album in Apple Photos of the stuff you want to have in your Movie, before you begin. Then you can just click on Media at the top and choose Albums. You don't have to scroll through anything as you will have already placed your pics in an album. When you're done making your Movie, just delete the album and move on. (NOTE: this does NOT delete the pics from your camera roll, it only deletes the album)

  • Rotating a Video. Sometimes I realize that I have a video that is rotated the wrong direction. Not to worry. Just use your fingers to give the video a little twist in the iMovie app and that section will rotate. I just went looking for a tutorial to give you a visual and happened to find one from my favorite Project Life Creator.

Here is a sample video I made from a day in December when we took the girls into see the Vessel in NYC. I used a picture to start so I could add a title and I added the couple videos I took. Took about 2 minutes and just cleaned up my pics and videos.

And you know I like to take this one step further and make a QR code to directly link to the video from my annual photo album, but that's a whole other process for another day!

Happy Movie Making!

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