Video Time Capsule

Time capsules go in and out of fashion, but always manage to capture the imagination. You gather together things that will let future generations know who you are and how you lived and what was important to you. It’s a message to the future.

You can use your video camera to make a Video Time Capsule: a record of who you are right now, and that you can  save for the future to look back on where you’ve been and what you’ve done. And, further into the future, others will be able to look back and see a personal view of the past.

What You Will Need

  • Video Camera
  • Tripod
  • Microphone (preferably a lapel mike)
  • Blank videotapes
  • Lights (this is optional. You can use whatever lights are available.)
  • Pen and Paper for Planning the Shoot

What To Do

Start the process by determining the scope of your time capsule. Is it about you, your family, a group of friends, your town, your country, or the whole world? Do you want to show an intimate view of  your life or the big picture of the world around you? Decide how big or small you want this view to be and write it down.

Start listing all of the things you need to show. For a big picture view you might need to gather footage of your town, fashion trends, newspaper headlines, and other popular culture items. For an intimate view you may want to show your house, your favorite room, your wardrobe, or your bookshelf. When you’ve written out you list, organize the items into an efficient sequence for videotaping. This is your shot list.

Connect the microphone to your shirt, turn on the camera and begin recording the items on your shot list. As the camera records, comment on the significance of the things being filmed and your feelings about them.

Finally, record an interview of yourself and talk about the people in your life, your work, your hobbies, or anything else you think is important for people to know to understand who you are. If you are doing a big picture time capsule, speak more about your community and what is happening there, and when you speak about yourself, focus on how you fit into the community.

Editing is optional. If you have the time, interest and skills, go ahead. But, future viewers will appreciate your perspectives and the selection of things you’ve chosen to show them.


Make this an annual family project. Each year, as you finish the current video, you can look back on what was happening the year before.

This is an excellent project for people involved in life changing self improvement projects. Before starting college, or going on a diet, or getting married, shoot a time capsule of yourself. You can amaze yourself years later when you see how much you’ve changed.

A Video Time Capsule makes a wonderful civics project for students. They can capture the way their community functions. They can show the businesses and institutions and even interview people about what is important in the community. The local library or government offices may even want a copy for their archives.

Edit the footage you shot and add titles and transitions to polish the presentation. Then, make a DVD of the finished video and distribute copies to friends and family.

Best of luck with your Reel History project!