Document Your Life is an online video project that will hopefully make you notice the beautiful little things in the world, and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.
The idea of the project is simple: film the things you see and do in your daily life and compile the clips together into a video with background music of your choice. I personally like to do monthly videos, but if you prefer seasonal or quarterly videos that’s also fine! At the end of each year I like to make a ‘year in review’ video.
I started this project because I wanted to look back on these times when I’m older, in a way that’s more fun than reading old journals. Since then, it has helped me a lot with my recovery from depression and anxiety by going out more, doing stuff, seeing friends, and taking little steps out of my comfort zone.
Every once in a while I watch some of my old videos and feel myself being transported back to that time in my life. No journal has ever done that for me!
Watch my videos
Here are some of my favorite videos I’ve made so far:
Frequently asked questions
What equipment and software do you use?
- My go-to camera is my DSLR, a Nikon D5300 with various lenses: an 18-105mm, 50mm f/1.8, 10-20mm, and 70-300mm.
- I use a Velbon Videomate 638 tripod, and sometimes a Joby Gorillapod when I’m on the go.
- For active stuff I use my GoPro Hero 3+ Black with these accessories: head strap, Bobber, GoPole.
- Sometimes I use a Rode Stereo Videomic Pro for audio, but you won’t notice much of that in my Document Your Life videos.
- For editing I use Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
- In my video descriptions on YouTube it always has a list of all my equipment, with * marking which ones I used for that particular video.
What video editing software is there to choose from?
I currently use Adobe Premiere Pro CC, but I started with iMovie. Here are a few programs I’ve been told about:
- For Mac: iMovie (free), Adobe Premiere Pro/After Effects, Final Cut Pro, iSkysoft.
- For Windows: Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere Pro/After Effects, Pinnacle Studio, iSkySoft.
If you have any more suggestions, please shoot me an e-mail and I’ll add them to the list!
What’s up with using music and copyrights?
On YouTube, you can use many songs without problems, but make sure to check the Music Policies page before you start editing your music to make sure. Oftentimes, there will be ads running on your video, but sometimes your video won’t be available to play at all or in certain countries. In that case, find a different song!
To find music, I often just browse the folk/acoustic genres on Spotify, Bandcamp, or Noisetrade. There are also YouTube channels dedicated to this genre of music, but of course you can use any music that you like! Tribe of Noise (previously Free Music Archive) has a lot of instrumental options.
For your convenience, I have made this list of musicians that are okay with their music being used for Document Your Life videos: Music Database
How it has helped others
I’m not the only one experiencing positive results from making (and watching) Document Your Life videos. Here are some of the lovely messages I’ve received from followers about what the project means to them:
“Every time I watch your videos, I get that funny feeling that life is so much more than eyes can see.”
— Lolly D on YouTube
“I just wanted to let you know that you were truly an inspiration to me when I dealt with anxiety problems, I couldn’t even think about getting on the bus (which was a problem, because I need to ride the bus to and from my high school). But after starting the DYL project I just made myself go out more because — and it may sound silly — I wanted to get good footage for the videos! So I went to the movies, and hung out more with friends and it just really made a difference in my life! I know I still have a lot to work on, but it just pushed me to get things started and now I’ve made such a big progress.”
— FlameLeviosa on YouTube
“I started watching your videos in 2013. I found the project incredible, and it helped me a lot with recovery from depression. I began to write, and see happiness even on days when I was alone. In 2014, I managed to build up the courage to start college. I am on the 5th semester now. The stress and the pressure of so many jobs made me sink into depression again, but last month I finally — after months locked in my room — recorded some videos. And I’m, once again, seeing happiness in my days.
I’m telling you all this because I do not know another way to explain how the project is important to me. Thank you for creating it and being on the internet, writing and helping others (even if sometimes you do not even know you’re doing it). <3”
— blogbooksandlipsticks on Tumblr
If you enjoy the existence of Document Your Life, please consider supporting what I do. I don’t earn any money from YouTube, so every donation — no matter how small — is much appreciated and would help me out tremendously with raising money for my autism service dog. See all the ways you can help me out on the Support Me page.