Welcome to the June issue!
If the sizzle of burgers on hundreds of thousands of grills over the Memorial Day weekend is any indication, it looks like the summer season is here! And, as you’ll learn in this issue, the season brings with it the perfect opportunity to record family stories. You’ll also find a link to my recent radio interview, plus I get to crow about a recent award.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Family Legacy Video continued it winning ways this year, garnering an Award of Distinction from the 2013 Communicator Awards. The honor came in the History/Biography category for the video biography entitled, Isabelle Smith Lamb: Getting Down to Business, featuring the life story of Isabelle Lamb of Hoquiam, Washington and Tucson, Arizona.
The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals. The international video competition attracted over 6,000 entries this year. The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a 600+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media.
On Saturday, May 11, Family Legacy Video president Steve Pender was the featured guest on “Care Connection,” a Tucson radio talk show focusing on issues relevant to seniors and those who care for them.
Host Russell Burns and Steve enjoyed a spirited discussion about legacy videos, defining what they are and the benefits they provide to storytellers and their families. The show also showcased audio clips from several video biographies.
If you missed the show, you’re still in luck! You’ll find a recording here.
Capture your family storytellers on video this summer.
Summertime is prime time for family visits and reunions. This also makes it the perfect time to capture your family storytellers on video. “Summer get-togethers give us a chance to reconnect with family members we may see only once a year, or once in a blue moon,” says Steve Pender, President of Family Legacy Video, Inc. “With a little planning, reunions and family visits can also provide a great opportunity to record the life stories of family elders like parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.”
Pender is a thirty-five year video industry veteran. He discovered his passion for personal history in 1998, when he created a video biography featuring his paternal grandmother. He founded Family Legacy Video, Inc. in 2003 to help others preserve, celebrate and share their life stories on video. “In the decade since I started Family Legacy Video®, I’ve seen a growing awareness among the public of the importance of recording, on video, the remembrances of family elders while they’re still around to tell their life stories,” says Pender. “And now that summer is here, I urge folks to take advantage of summertime family visits to capture the stories of their loved ones – before it’s too late.”
Families can certainly hire a professional video biography company like Family Legacy Video, Inc. to provide legacy video production services. But if you’d rather do it yourself, Steve offers the following tips:
• Plan ahead. Make sure your family storyteller or storytellers are willing to participate, brief them on the questions they’ll be asked, and find out what they’d like to talk about.
• Schedule a time for the interview. Having a firm appointment is a statement of commitment. If you approach the project with an attitude of “we’ll get around to it sometime during the reunion,” you probably never will.
• Set up away from the crowd. Find a quiet place for the interview in order to avoid distractions, keep the storyteller from feeling self-conscious, and guarantee sound that’s as noise-free as possible. Maybe a hotel room is the best bet, or perhaps the host of your family event has a room available. Be ready to record when your storyteller arrives so he or she isn’t kept waiting.
• Make the same location do “double duty.” If you’re shooting multiple interviews, you don’t have to waste time looking for different locations for each of them. Use the same room! This way, the video gear only has to be set up once. Then, between interviews, shift the camera and subject positions slightly. Simply shooting into a different corner of the room or changing some of the background objects can give the same room a whole new look on video.
• Use an external microphone. To prevent your interview from sounding like it was shot in a tunnel, utilize a microphone other than the one built into the camera. A professional video biographer will always have the proper audio gear. Non-professionals will need to obtain a lapel microphone, also called a lavalier, which mounts on the storyteller’s collar or lapel. One place to look for a lapel microphone is a local consumer electronics store.
Above all, Steve advises, don’t wait. “After I give a presentation I always have people approach me to tell me how they’d wished they’d recorded their parents or grandparents before they passed on. Personally, I don’t think I could have forgiven myself if I hadn’t created that first video biography of my grandmother. I treasure it, and I know all my clients feel the same about the legacy videos I’ve created for their families. Trust me, whether you hire a professional video biography company like Family Legacy Video® or do it yourself, your family history interview will become an instant family keepsake – and you’ll thank your lucky stars you did it.”