Welcome to the September issue!
And a “big hello” to all of you who signed up to receive the Producer’s e-Newsletter during August! I think we had a record number of new additions to the list. And a “welcome back” to our regular readers. This month, I’ll share some news about a video biography client’s car collection, reflect on libraries and personal stories, and answer a question about video cameras.
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
Vintage Car Collection Goes to Auction.
Family Legacy Video client Charlie Thomas, whose video biography included a chapter highlighting his fabulous collection of antique cars, is selling most of his collection. The cars will go to the highest bidders at an auction near Dallas this October. You can learn more at RM Auctions. And if you’d like to watch Charlie talk about his cars and see some of his collection, visit the Family Legacy Video Theatre to view a clip from Charlie’s video biography.
Keep Those “Life Story Libraries” Open!
You know, I love my Kindle; it’s great for traveling. But I’ll never totally give up paper books. I love the weight of a book in my hands and the sound and sensation of turning pages; plus, there are titles in print that you just can’t get electronically. So it was that on a recent trip from Tucson to New York I made room in my flight bag for both my Kindle (so I could finish reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and a paperback book I’ve been meaning to crack open for a while. I finished up with Abe while winging from Tucson to Dallas. Then, on my next flight from Dallas to La Guardia, I flipped down my tray table, poured my free beverage (apple juice, no ice) and pulled out the paperback, entitled, Like A Library Burning: Sharing and Saving a Lifetime of Stories.
I’d met one of the authors, Scott Farnsworth, a number of years ago when I gave a presentation to the association for legacy estate planners he founded in Orlando, Florida. Scott’s passion: Making sure that his clients include their life stories, in addition to their financial assets, in their estate plans. Knowing that we are kindred spirits on this subject, I was anxious to see what he had to say. While sections of the book are relevant mainly to estate planners, a large part of it deals with personal stories: what they are, why they’re important and how to share them. I thought the book’s introduction was particularly compelling. In it, Scott expounds on the Middle Eastern proverb, “When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning down.” He talks about the knowledge lost to posterity when the Ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt went up in flames, then goes on to say that when folks pass on without passing on their stories, it’s equally as tragic:
Each of us is a library, a living depository of vast amounts of knowledge, information, wisdom, insight, and life-lessons. Within us we hold countless treasures: stories, memories, eye-witness accounts, compilations of decades of personal experiences. This human wealth is profoundly valuable and intensely fragile. It can be easily lost to death, disease, dementia, or any of a dozen other causes. Unless thoughtful steps are taken beforehand to preserve and pass it on, it will be destroyed and lost forever.
This passage was on my mind as I wrapped up my latest series of video biography interviews in Southampton, New York. Helping families preserve, celebrate and share their life stories, so that their “personal history libraries” will be open to future generations, is intensely fulfilling for me. I’ve experienced first-hand the impact video biographies have had on my own family, not to mention the families of my clients. And, whether you decide to hire Family Legacy Video or take on your legacy video project yourself, the time to start is now – before your library burns down.
– Steve Pender
Ask Steve – This month: Looking for camera advice.
Q: Dear Steve,
I just purchased the Family Legacy Video Trio and I’m looking forward to learning how to record interviews with my family. One question: What kind of camera should I buy? I’d like to spend no more than $1,000.
– Johanna Gottlieb, Gardnerville, NV
A: Hi, Johanna.
I can’t really tell you what camera to buy, because the market is constantly changing, plus the cameras I use are in the professional range, well in excess of $1,000. However, if you do want to purchase a camera, I’d advise you to look at Canon, Panasonic and Sony. The camera should be able to mount on a tripod (yes, you should also purchase a video tripod – Manfrotto makes some good entry-level models); the camera should also have an input for an external microphone and a headphone jack for listening to the recording while you’re recording – a very important thing to do to make sure you’re getting clean sound. Most cameras these days are tapeless – make sure that the camera’s recording format will work with whatever editing software you plan to use, as well as your computer, because you want to be able to easily download the video to your computer for editing.
You will need an external microphone – do not rely on the microphone on the camera! I recommend you use a lavaliere, also called a lapel microphone. RadioShack sells a decent consumer level lapel microphone. You’ll also want an additional camera battery.
You can peruse B&H Photo and Video’s website to see what’s available in your price range.
You can also find helpful reviews at Videomaker Magazine.
You should also think about some kind of a light kit – at the very least a softlight to act as a main keylight. For some more info on lighting visit Lowel Lighting (be sure to click on Learn to Light Better for lighting tutorials).
Got a question about any aspect of family history video production?
Send it to Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.