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.
In Episode 8 of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona, talks about capturing the voices of your loved ones for posterity, in the form of audio-only oral legacies known as audio biographies. If you’re not crazy about appearing on-camera in a video biography, if you’d prefer a less-costly alternative to video, or if you prefer the spoken word, an audio biography could be right for you and your family. Steve shares his approach to creating an audio biography, as well as an audio biography excerpt. You’ll also learn about the audio gear Steve uses. In addition, Steve shares some sources for audio transfers – King Tet Productions, free audio editing software – Audacity, new and used equipment – B&H Photo/Video, and equipment rentals – BorrowLenses.com.
In Episode 7 of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona shares his thoughts on who should save their life stories and why. Steve also touches on some of the benefits that a legacy video project brings to both families and storytellers. Steve begins with a reading from “Like A Library Burning,” by Scott Farnsworth and Peggy R. Hoyt. Steve then describes the following benefits that come with legacy video projects including: validation of a meaningful life, finally telling the full story, energizing mind and lifting spirits, and uncovering little-known or nearly forgotten stories. Steve also shares the results of three university studies that document benefits to storytellers and their families, especially young children.
How can legacy videos benefit your family storytellers and your families? In Episode 6 of The Legacy Video Lounge, host Steve Pender, of Family Legacy Video, Inc., explores this topic with David Lamb. David is a successful businessman who hired Family Legacy Video to produce two family video biographies. David explains what led him and his wife, artist Robbi Firestone, to pursue legacy video projects for David’s mother and Robbi’s father. He also touches on his expectations for the projects, and the ways the legacy video process – and the final results, were of value to both the storytellers and their families.
In Episode 5 of The Legacy Video Lounge, host Steve Pender, of Family Legacy Video, Inc., continues his chat with Kristin Delaplane, a personal historian who specializes in print memoirs. Kristin is the author of Storytelling: How to Write an Inspiring Memoir, Oral History, or Family Genealogy. During her conversation with Steve, Kristin describes the book’s contents and passes along some tips to budding memoir authors. She also reads an excerpt from another of her books, First to Die: The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris.
In Episode 4 of The Legacy Video Lounge, host Steve Pender, personal historian, video biographer, Family Legacy Video president, welcomes his first guest to the lounge: Kristin Delaplane, author of Storytelling: How to Write an Inspiring Memoir, Oral History, or Family Genealogy, and First to Die: The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris. While The Legacy Video Lounge is dedicated primarily to video biography, Kristin is a personal historian who works mostly on the print side of personal history. Ms. Delaplane comes from a writing family; her dad, Stanton Delaplane, was a Pulitzer Prize recipient and a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Kristin wrote for the Chronical as well for many years, and now she helps people capture their family or company stories through oral history interviews and historical and genealogy research, with the end result often being a carefully crafted narrative for a custom-bound book. Her clients have included notable American families and celebrities, including Best Actor Oscar winners and a Kennedy Center Honoree. Kristin’s business is Our American Stories LLC.
In Part 1 of a two-part interview, Kristin talks about her career, what drew her to personal history, the process she follows when creating a print memoir, the benefits of creating a memoir, as well as her new book.
In Episode 3 of The Legacy Video Lounge, video biographer and Family Legacy Video president Steve Pender answers the question: What’s a video biography – otherwise known as a legacy video?
According to Steve, a video biography or legacy video is a personal documentary, which can feature a variety of production styles, ranging from simple “talking head” presentations to full-blown documentaries featuring interviews and as many visuals and audio elements (like music and sound effects) as budgets allow.
What kinds of visuals can be used? Anything that can be shot on video or scanned and that helps to illustrate the subjects storytellers will talk about during their interviews – including still photos, newspaper/magazine clippings, diplomas, wedding announcements, plaques, trophies, medals, paintings, drawings, letters, keepsakes, souvenirs, childhood toys, and family videos (or films converted to video files).
Video biographies can include all the elements of the storyteller’s art – images, spoken word, music, sound, text on screen, graphics, like maps, etc.
It’s not enough to just capture stories, we want our families to want to come back and watch again and again. So we need a little entertainment value – which is fine as long as everything that’s included is in service of the story.
Steve has been creating videos that tell stories – first for corporate clients and now for individuals and families for over 38 years. So he knows how to apply the creativity and techniques that big budget productions use. There are certainly advantages to working with a professional video biographer, because there’s a good deal involved in properly planning and producing a legacy video.
But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, especially if you’re just getting started: Tune in to the History Channel, or get your hands on some of Ken Burns documentaries. Watch them critically. See how interviews are staged, how music and sound effects are used, how photos and other visual materials are incorporated. Then, experiment with these techniques on your own. With some time and practice, you can use these same techniques to give your home-made video biographies a bigger budget look and feel. Contrast and compare a basic “talking head” treatment with a documentary-style video biography here.
If you have any questions or comments, please email them to Steve Pender at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember: Everyone has a story. Isn’t it time you told yours?
Professional personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender talks about the rising level of public awareness of the importance of preserving, celebrating, and sharing life stories. Steve describes personal experiences with people who have witnessed his presentations and touches on the TV shows “Who do you think you are?” “Finding Your Roots,” and “Our American Family.” Steve also talks about StoryCorps and Ancestry.com. He also shares the results of the American Legacy Survey, sponsored by the Allianz Life Insurance Company.
Welcome to the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast! In this first episode, you’ll meet host Steve Pender. Steve is a professional personal historian, video biographer, and president of Family Legacy Video, Inc. (https://www.familylegacyvideo.com) in Tucson, Arizona. The Legacy Video Lounge Podcast is dedicated to the proposition that everyone, and that means YOU, has a life story worth preserving, celebrating, and sharing – and that video is a great way to leave a living legacy of life stories.
During the course of the podcast series, Steve will cover these and other topics:
The rising awareness of the importance of preserving personal history and life stories.
What is a video biography or legacy video?
The benefits of video biographies?
Tips for hiring and working with legacy video professionals.
Hints for video biography do-it-yourselfers.
In this episode, Steve tells how he discovered his passion for personal history on video and became a professional video biographer. He also shares a clip from his very first legacy video.
It never ceases to amaze me; every year, no matter how Halina and I arrange the ornaments on our Christmas tree, the results are always beautiful!
Our collection of ornaments (like most, I suspect) is pretty eclectic. They range from childhood craft projects, like a faded glass ball featuring my name in glue and sparkles, to handmade and store-bought decorations acquired throughout our lives. Halina and I add one new ornament each year, usually one we find on vacation, like the wooden carving we bought years ago in a temple in Japan.
As we decorate our tree each year, I feel like I’m visiting with old friends. Each bauble rekindles memories – of times, places, people, events, sights, sensations, and feelings. More than just mere decorations bathed in the glow from the Christmas tree lights, they’re touchstones illuminating life stories from the past.
Wouldn’t this be a great subject for a legacy video? If your tree is still standing, you can set up a video camera and record yourself, or other family members, describing the stories attached to your ornaments. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you remember! If the tree is down and the trimmings are already packed away, plan on recording remembrances next year. When you eventually hand down some of your ornaments to your children and grandchildren, I’ll bet they’ll appreciate understanding the history behind your Christmas decorations – and appreciate them all the more for knowing.