Welcome to the October issue!
The summer is behind us, autumn is here and the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter is back. To recap, the newsletter “went on vacation” over the summer while the Family Legacy Video website underwent a complete overhaul. With the site finished, it’s time to once again crank up the cyber presses!
This month’s issue focuses on the changes to the website and e-Newsletter as well as some of the benefits a professional video biographer brings to clients. In addition, I’ll answer a question about music.
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
An online renovation.
Family Legacy Video, Inc. went online in 2003 – and after nearly eight years, our website was due for a makeover. The aim was to create a site that was warm and inviting, with improved navigation, while keeping all or most of the great information visitors to the old site enjoyed. With those goals in mind, graphic/web designer Dan Blumenthal and I launched ourselves into the project. The newly redesigned site went live in mid-August, with a completely new look and navigation, integrated blog and newsletter pages and a revamped online theatre for viewing sample clips. I’m very happy with the look, feel and functionality of the new site – and it seems I’m not alone in my opinion; feedback from visitors has also been overwhelmingly positive.
As for the e-Newsletter: Instead of coming in the body of an e-mail (as it did before), the most current newsletter issue, as well as the archived editions, will all be available in the newsletter area of the site. If you’re on the e-list, you’ll receive an e-mail alert when a new issue is posted, along with a link to the newsletter page.
I hope you enjoy the new site and the revised e-Newsletter; please let me know what you think of them.
Going the extra mile to illustrate a life story.
There are times when video biography clients are able provide a treasure trove of visuals (photos, documents, films, etc.) to help illustrate their personal legacy videos. Then there are times when a storyteller’s lack of visual supporting material presents a challenge and requires a professional video biographer to get a little creative. I was faced with this situation on a recent video biography. My client, who I’ll call Charlie, had a long and successful career in the car dealership business. Charlie had lots of great stories, but little in the way of photos or ads that chronicled his business. There were lots things I needed to create or find in order to help visually enhance his recollections – and here are two that stand out:
Charlie began his career at a couple of car dealerships in the early 1950s, working his way up from the service department to sales. Unfortunately, he had no photos from this time and the dealerships themselves were long out of business. So how could I obtain something to help illustrate this part of his story? I turned to the intra-library lending system for help. Figuring that the dealerships must have advertised in the local newspapers, I requested microfilms of those papers for the appropriate time periods. Within just a few weeks, the microfilms arrived. Luckily, I was able to find some ads from the dealerships in question. I exported the pages as PDF files, which I was able to touch up in Photoshop and then import into my animation and video editing programs. They not only worked like a charm in the video but also made for whimsical custom menu elements in the final DVD I created. By the way, my only investment was time – thanks to the public library, the images didn’t cost me (or my client) a cent.
There are times, however, when spending a few dollars is worthwhile. Charlie had been an Edsel dealer, so I knew I needed some footage of the ill-fated car. After some online searching, I found a royalty-free public domain video containing several Edsel commercials. It didn’t come free, but it really helped “dress up” the video. And now that I have it in my archives, I can use it free of charge in future videos.
Knowing what kinds of visuals to look for, knowing where to search and knowing how to creatively incorporate them into a legacy video are valued-added skills that a professional video biographer brings to the table – and that result in entertaining and visually interesting video biographies that clients and their families want to watch again and again.
Ask Steve – This month: Music.
Q: Dear Steve,
Why couldn’t I have my favorite songs from my past in my video biography? This video will not be for sale, it would just be for my children and grandchildren to watch. Every YouTube video the kids make has popular songs. I don’t understand.
– – Mary Parr, USA
A: Hi, Mary.
Thanks for contacting Family Legacy Video! Your question is a common one. For a more complete answer, I invite you to visit the Family Legacy Video blog page and search out my entry for February 2010. It talks all about music licensing.
In short, there’s a difference between the rights to listen to music that you buy and the synchronization rights that are required to use that music to score a video or film. Synchronization rights for pop music that’s not in the public domain can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you’re creating the video on a do-it-yourself basis, no money is changing hands, you’re not going to sell it or put it on the Internet, then music publishers really aren’t going to be interested in what you do with music. However, when I’m hired to produce a video, money is changing hands and it’s incumbent upon me to make sure everything I use is licensed, both for my protection and my client’s. Since most folks don’t want to pay for additional music research and licensing, I license an extensive music library of custom music that fulfills all my music needs. As for the stuff that’s put on YouTube, people really shouldn’t be using popular music for that – and I know that YouTube does remove some material using unlicensed music – although a lot of it still remains online.
There are some limited instances where a doctrine called “Fair Use” applies (you’ll read about this in the blog) and allows us to use short segments of popular music, but it doesn’t apply to using entire pieces of popular recordings to score videos.
I hope this helps.
Got a question about any aspect of family history video production?
Send it to Steve at email@example.com.