Welcome to the November issue!
Halloween is over. Now take a deep breath. Relax. Gather your strength. The year-end holiday season will soon be here. Next stop: Thanksgiving! As you celebrate and feast with family and friends, I hope you take the opportunity to ask your family elders to share their life stories with you. Better yet, make some plans to commit their remembrances to video. Family Legacy Video is ready to help, and in this issue you’ll learn how to give your family storyteller(s) the gift of a video biography. You’ll also find some thoughts on how legacy videos enrich the lives of grandkids, as well as a brief Q&A about camera technique.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at email@example.com or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Give the Gift of Video Biography.
A video biography is one of the most personal, unique and precious gifts imaginable. It’s a gift that honors your storyteller and creates a legacy that will be cherished by generations of your family to come. But unlike most gifts, you can’t wrap a completed video biography up in a box as a surprise for your family elder. What you can do, however, is delight your storyteller with the promise of a video biography – in the form of a Family Legacy Video Gift Certificate. Of course, the gift certificate is just the beginning of a fun and exciting process that will bring your storyteller and your family great joy. All you need to do is book a video biography and request a certificate. Family Legacy Video will personalize a certificate with your storyteller’s name and your message. You can receive the certificate as a PDF file via e-mail, or as a printed version via postal mail. The Family Legacy Video Gift Certificate – it’s the perfect way to give the gift of a video biography for Christmas, Hanukkah, or other special occasion.
For the Grandkids.
Several years ago, a Rotary colleague of mine hired Family Legacy Video to document his father’s 80th birthday party. In addition to the festivities, we captured testimonials from family and friends and even recorded the “birthday boy” and his wife as they reminisced about how they met and married. It wasn’t a full-fledged video biography by any means, but it was a video snapshot of a very happy day in the life of the family. Less than a year later, my friend’s dad died, leaving the video as the only record of him, in motion and sound, that the family has.
A few weeks ago, at a Rotary meeting, my friend came up to me and said, “Hey, did I ever tell you about my grandson and my dad’s video?” “No,” I answered. “Fill me in.” It turned out that whenever his grandson visits, he wants to watch the party video so he can “visit” with his great-gramps again. My friend initially wanted the video as a gift to his dad, but he now sees its added worth, as a legacy that will help keep his father’s memory alive in the minds of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I experienced the same revelation after I created my first video biography, of my paternal grandmother, back in 1998. That video keeps her fresh in the memories of all the grandkids, young and old, who actually knew her. It also connects her to the next generation, who will have the opportunity to watch and listen to their great-grandmother talk about her life and family. I think that’s just fantastic. I have photos of myself with a great-grandmother who I cannot remember at all; I know I’d treasure being able to see and hear her via video.
Another client recently had Family Legacy Video transfer some 8mm movies to DVD. She wrote to me to describe how her grandchildren reacted to the old films: “The best part is seeing our grandchildren enjoy seeing their parents as small children and watch them grow up. One grandchild even put his face next to the computer and said, ‘Now I can see why people say I look exactly like my dad! Can you see that too?'”
I see and hear this kind of thing again and again, which reinforces the value of preserving, celebrating and sharing your storytellers, and their stories, on video. Every video biography Family Legacy Video creates is like a pebble tossed into a pond, with the benefits rippling across generations, beginning with the grandkids.
Ask Steve – This month: One or Two Cameras?
Q: Dear Steve,
I watched the video on your site, “A Toad Story.” Did you use two cameras and if so, were they fed into a mixer. And do you use an external resource for recording audio, or let the camera(s) do the job? Thanks kindly in advance!
– – Doug McCann, Peterborough, Ontario
A: Hi, Doug.
“A Toad Story” was, indeed, shot with two cameras. We used an audio mixer to route the same audio output to both cameras, but kept the mics separate, recording each to a separate channel so I’d have more control in the final mix. I’m a big believer is using multiple cameras when taping interviews/discussions with two or more storytellers at once. Doing so provides much more flexibility when editing, increases visual interest, lessens my reliance on visuals to cover jump cuts and results in a very “live” TV feel. By the way, lavalieres, also known as lapel microphones, were mounted on each storyteller.
Got a question about any aspect of family history video production?
Send it to Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.