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Happy to say Vintage Home Movies is 3 months old

It’s now about 3 months since I bought the vintage home movies web domain and set up the site so I wanted to write down my thoughts on the progress the site has made. At the moment, there are not many visitors, which is to be expected for a new site, and therefore this won’t be read my many people, but I’m adding it as an historical post so my future self can look back on it.

Content after 3 months

When I set up vintage home movies I realised that the first thing I needed to do was get content posted pretty quickly.

A site will only be successful when there is a range of interesting content to show so it was vital to make sure I quickly added to the films available. In the first few days I scanned and added a dozen or so films, and then I’ve posted a new film everyday from Jan 1st. This has resulted in a total of just over 80 films now live and available which I think is pretty good as an initial database.

Re-Categorization

The first few posts which went up had a rather odd arrangement in terms of categorization of the films.

I set up 4 basic categories for Film manufacturer, Film standard, Date filmed and Location and then gave every film a value for each of these categories. After a few weeks however I had a think about this and realised I was categorizing mainly to make it easy to find films by those heading rather than making it easy to find films by subject matter. In effect I was making it easier for me to find films rather than any viewers.

So about a month after I started uploading content I changed strategy and re-categorized the content.

Basically I created specialist taxonomies for each of those the headings I mentioned above and created a series of categories based on subject matter which I applied instead. This seems to follow SEO best practice of having each post in one individual category rather than several, and allows any interested viewers to find content they might be interested in. It also has the added benefit that related articles, which are displayed under a post, will be more relevant since they are discovered by the category the post is in.

As a result of the recategorized I was able to introduced the ‘Find Films’ form on the right hand side of the site which allows viewers to narrow down the films available to a set matching a particular set of values entered.

Scanning Process

Unfortunately, even after 3 months, I’m still having to use the same poor quality scanner that I started using in December. I have however made progress towards changing that.

Scanner used to convert 8mm films to digital
Film Scanner for converting 8mm films to digital

A couple of months ago I discovered this project on Hackaday which seems to be exactly what I need, and because I’ve just acquired a 3D Printer, I started to build this a couple of weeks ago. At the moment I’m just printing the last few pieces of the film transport, and then I will start assembly. I’m hoping in the next month or so I can start adding good quality content to the site.

Because I’m hoping to replace the scanner, and because this will mean that at least some of the current content will need to be rescanned, I’m reducing the amount of content I’m pushing onto the site for a while. Since there is now a good selection of films I’m going to start added about 3 to 4 films a week instead of the daily posting schedule I have been following up to now.

The next 3 months

The films still to scan over the next 3 months
Films still to scan

So what do I plan to add in the next 3 months?

Well for a start there is still loads of content to add to the site, albeit at a slower pace, but hopefully soon at a better quality.

With the inclusion of better categorization and the improved search form it is now much easier to find films which may be of interest to viewers, but I’m also intending to add tags to the films to further highlight specific topics or subjects.

I need to think carefully what these tags are however before I start assigning them. It’s important that a tag should represent a number of different films not just one or two, so I need to analyse the films and find common themes. One theme which occured quite quickly is a tag for ‘cars’ since many of the films feature cars and this is a common search term people might use. Once I have sorted out the tags I want to use I’ll start adding them.

One other action I’m hoping to take in my reduced posting schedule is to re-edit some of the existing posts and add more content and a gallery of images from the films. I’ve started to add galleries to newer posts and I think it makes them more interesting and readable.

About

A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.

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