Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 17: Life Stories & Legacy Planning

The Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, Episode 17
What does the idea of “leaving a legacy” mean to you? Some folks equate “legacy” with “inheritance,” thinking of it only in terms of the money and physical possessions they’ll leave to their loved ones. Others see passing along life stories and values as their true legacy. In this episode personal historian and Family Legacy Video® president Steve Pender introduces you to someone who has a foot in each of these camps. Jeff Knapp is an attorney specializing in Estate Planning. Jeff’s a lifelong New Jersey resident. He founded the Knapp Law Firm in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, hanging out his shingle in 1989. He’s one of four Estate Planning Law Specialists in the Garden State and he’s a member of both the New Jersey and Florida Bars. He’s also an Accredited Estate Planner, a Certified Financial Planner, a Certified Thinking Consultant, and holds a Post-Doctorate Masters in Wealth Strategies Planning.

He’s also a SunBridge Network Certified Legacy Advisor.

Jeff has been married for thirty years. He has four adult sons. One is currently in law school and a second just took his LSATs. So it looks like the Knapp Law Firm’s legacy may continue for another generation.

Steve first met Jeff during high school. They went their separate ways but reconnected a number of years ago after Jeff stumbled onto the Family Legacy Video® website. While Jeff is an expert in the nuts and bolts of estate planning, he’s also a big believer in incorporating life stories into the process. He kindly put down his snow shovel during a recent blizzard and spoke to Steve by phone from his home in New Jersey. The conversation touches on just what estate planning is all about and how Jeff uses stories to teach estate and legacy planning concepts to his clients as well as ways he encourages his clients to pass along life stories that speak to family values and identity.

Choosing your video biography playback options.

It was the mid-1960s. I was nine years old, and about to dig into a hefty slice of chocolate cake at my cousin’s birthday party.

“Act natural!”

I looked up, and for a split second I saw my uncle balancing a Super 8 movie camera attached to a metal bar bristling with lights. He flipped a switch, and suddenly it seemed as if I was looking directly into the sun. I waved and smiled, hoping against hope that the heat radiating from that nuclear glow wouldn’t melt my scoop of mint-chocolate chip ice cream. After a few seconds, the ordeal ended. As red and purple spots danced in front of my eyes, my uncle moved off to find other victims.

For years, the only way to watch my painful attempt to “act natural” was to set up a movie screen and projector, thread the film over the sprockets, turn off the lights, fire up the projector and roll the film.

That’s all changed now, of course. The miracle that was VHS (and, for a while, Betamax) videotape has given way to a plethora of video formats. Great for the consumer, but an ongoing challenge for those of us who create and distribute video, including video biographies, and who want to meet our clients’ needs for convenient viewing options and secure storage.

Most of the work that goes into creating a legacy video is the work that’s needed to, well, create the video. Once the program is finished, Family Legacy Video® can deliver it in any number of ways. Here are some of the most popular options currently available:

DVD/Blu-ray Discs
There are some who say DVD and Blu-ray discs will be the next video technology to fade away. While disc-based playback (including audio CDs) competes with many other playback options these days, it’s not about to go extinct anytime soon. Here’s what a representative from a company named Primera (admittedly a business that sells discs and disc duplicators) recently said on the subject: Our main customers are recording studios, video production houses, churches and schools, government and military – all of whom still use lots of discs to distribute and archive content. For example, wedding photos and videos are almost always still put onto discs. Brides don’t seem to trust flash drives or the cloud for such important content! Also, bands still sell Family Legacy Videos come on discs and flash drivesdiscs at gigs. It’s really the only way to sell content on-site. Sure, they’ll RIP the disc to their iPhone when they get home. But at least the band got the sale, which they likely wouldn’t have if they simply said, “download us online when you get home.”

DVDs (for standard video) and Blu-rays (for high definition video) offer long shelf life (as long as you use high-quality discs and don’t abuse them). Custom navigation (menus that allow you to play the entire video biography or select which chapters you’d like view) is a terrific feature. Plus, Family Legacy Video® creates beautiful DVD/Blu-ray artwork. So from the legacy video itself to the final package, clients receive a unique and custom video keepsake.

That being said, you need a standalone player connected to a TV or a computer with DVD and/or Blu-ray capability to play the discs. And, like anything physical, they can be lost or damaged.

Video Files on External Drives
I recently worked with a client who viewed video only on a Mac laptop that didn’t have a disc drive. For this client, the choice was video files on an external drive, in this case a USB flash drive. The storage capacity of flash drives has skyrocketed in recent years, so finding one to fit even a high-definition video biography file is not an issue. What has been a concern for me is the packaging available for flash drives. While the quality of the video is paramount, I still want to present the video in a well-designed physical wrapper. Fortunately, I have found a provider of high-end custom-printed USB drives and boxes. While we can’t fit nearly as much printed information on the face of a flash drive as we can on the insert for a DVD case, a personal flash drive can now boast a very elegant appearance.

An upside to a flash drive is the ability to easily copy the files to other computers and drives. A downside is that you can erase a flash drive. So be careful! I recommend making additional copies for safe keeping.

Online Video Services
If the audience for your video is spread over the U.S. or the globe, you might want to consider posting your video biography to a service like Vimeo. You will be charged annually for hosting. But, you can create a private account that will keep your legacy video away from the prying eyes of the public. You’ll have a link you can share only with those who you want to view the video. This could also be a great option if you want to be sure that younger generations of your family, addicted as they are to their mobile devices, will be able to watch you tell your life stories for years to come. Family Legacy Video® can certainly help you set up a private Vimeo account and upload your legacy video.

One caution: Don’t make an online service the only repository for your video biography. No matter how secure they’re advertised to be, servers can crash or get hacked and companies can go out of business. Even if most of the family will be accessing your video biography on the web, be sure to squirrel away some physical copies (preferably a combination of discs and external drives) in a secure place, just for safety’s sake. And don’t forget to make sure someone continues to pay for the hosting – you don’t want your account – and your legacy video – deleted!

The bottom line: You have lots of options for viewing and storing your legacy video these days. Family Legacy Video® will be happy to deliver those that work best for you.

Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 16: A WIFFLE® Ball Game “Under the Lights”

The Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, Episode 16
In this episode of the Legacy Video Lounge podcast, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender does what he’s been helping clients do for years: tell a story. In this tale, Steve takes us back to his childhood. The time: The early 1960s. The place: Suburban New Jersey. Steve describes his earliest memories and his neighborhood. He introduces a few of his neighbors and a favorite summer activity involving a lot of the neighbor kids: WIFFLE® Ball. Finally, he talks about one game that ran a bit too long one evening, only finishing thanks to the ingenuity of two friendly folks from next door.Pender brothers - 1962

Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 15: Transcripts & Legacy Videos

The Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, Episode 15
In this episode, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender urges you to properly label and organize your family history assets and storyteller recordings so you can find them when you need them. Steve also talks about how he uses interview transcripts to create the editing scripts he uses for the longer documentary-style video biographies Family Legacy Video, Inc. creates for clients. Transcripts, which are text versions of interviews, allow you to scan interviews more efficiently and highlight the portions you’d like to use. Steve also cuts and pastes from transcript files to build the scripts he uses to guide the final video editing. You can create transcripts yourself, hire transcribers to create them, or use an online service like transcribeme.com.

Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 14: Keeping the Energy Level High!

The Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, Episode 14
In Episode 14 of the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, personal historian, video biographer, and Family Legacy Video, Inc. president Steve Pender answers a listener’s question about keeping up the energy during a life story interview.

Here’s the question, which came in via email:

“One thing that occurred to me after I listened to your podcast on the pre-interview (which was excellent) is regarding the energy levels. I did radio for years – and I know – people (of all ages) can tend to go monotone, if you don’t keep lifting up the energy. I hope you’ll address this in a future podcast.”

Some tips:

  • Inquire about storyteller’s energy level during preproduction. Do they have the energy for a full day’s shoot?
  • If material is extensive, you may want to look at two days or more.
  • If you’re determined to keep the finished video around an hour or so, plan on no more than around two hours of raw interview.
  • Stay engaged with the storyteller – maintain eye contact, use nonverbal cues by varying your expressions, nodding, gesturing.
  • Keep an eye on the storyteller’s energy level and mental focus. If he or she tires or starts to stray from the topic at hand, take a break.
  • Do all the things you need to do to make your interview set a comfortable and fun space: Provide water, let the storytellers take breaks when they want, and let them know that do-overs are okay.
  • Storytellers who are having a good time are likely to maintain better energy levels – so have fun!

    Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 13: The Association of Personal Historians

    The Legacy Video Lounge, Episode 13
    NOTE: The Association of Personal Historians has been dissolved.
    In this episode, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender introduces you to the Association of Personal Historians, an organization devoted to promoting personal history and helping personal historians working in video, audio, and print polish their skills and improve their business practices. Steve also describes the annual APH conference, the “must attend” annual gathering of personal historians. The 2016 conference takes place from October 23-27 in Fort Worth, Texas. Whether you create video biographies, audio legacies or print memoirs, you owe it to yourself to check out APH and the yearly conference.

    Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 12: Stimulating Memories with Keepsakes & Places

    The Legacy Video Lounge, Episode 12
    Family keepsakes, as well as objects and places associated with important times of our lives and those of our ancestors, can play valuable roles in stimulating life stories for video biographies. In addition to stimulating recollections, these items and places can be included in legacy videos as visual elements. Personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender shares some personal experiences and observations about “Stimulating Memories with Keepsakes & Places.” in this episode of The Legacy Video Lounge.

    Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 11: The Power of Personal Storytelling.

    The Legacy Video Lounge, Episode 11
    If you’re a “story junkie,” there’s probably nothing you like better than hearing a great story, related by an enthusiastic storyteller. Getting access to captivating stories and storytellers is growing easier, due to the proliferation of live, storytelling events. In cities across the U.S. and around the world, regular folks are stepping onto stages, shedding inhibitions, and sharing personal stories on a wide variety of topics. One place live storytelling has been flourishing is in Tucson, Arizona, thanks to the efforts of Penelope Starr. Penelope founded Odyssey Storytelling over twelve years ago. She’s also the author of a soon-to-be-releasedSteve Pender - Penelope Starr book packed with valuable advice for folks who’d like to start storytelling series in their own towns. In this episode of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender chats with Penelope about Odyssey Storytelling, the power of sharing personal stories, and her upcoming book.

    Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 10: The Preinterview.

    The Legacy Video Lounge, Episode 10
    In Episode 10 of The Legacy Video Lounge, video biographer and Family Legacy Video president Steve Pender describes one of the important first steps for any successful video biography – the preinterview. The preinterview is basically the “interview before the interview,” where a video biographer chats with a storyteller in an informal setting. A preinterview helps to break the ice and gives a personal historian a chance to learn the storyteller’s stories in advance of the on-camera interview. Armed with this information, the video biographer can craft questions designed to elicit specific stories. As you’ll hear, a preinterview provides other benefits as well. Here’s what Steve covers in this segment:

  • Organizing for success – Preproduction, Production, Post production
  • What is a preinterview?
  • Preinterview benefits
  • Preinterview techniques
  • After the preinterview
  • Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 9: Camera, lighting, & sound for legacy video interviews.

    The Legacy Video Lounge, Episode 9
    In Episode 9 of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona takes the podcast on the road! During a recent drive from Tucson to a legacy video shoot in Santa Monica, California, Steve recorded a chat with his cameraman and lighting director Dan Crapsi and sound technician Chris Hall. Both Dan and Chris have decades of video and audio experience, working on commercial, news, corporate and legacy video projects. During their conversation, Steve, Dan, and Chris touch on a variety of aspects surrounding recording personal history interviews, from the technical to the creative, including shot composition, lighting, microphone selection and placement, and more.