Life Story Video

Saving lives through video

Life Story Video: 2012 Best College Commencement Addresses

So much of our work here at Your Story Here Life Story Video – making biography videos for clients across the country – focuses on lives nearing their conclusion. But today I want to put the spotlight on the moment at which many lives finally start to get serious – the college graduation.

College graduation ceremonies are usually held in Spring and right now – May 2012 – we are slap bang in the middle of the Commencement Season. And this year being a Presidential election year, the two candidates have both already had a turn at the podium – Mitt Romney doing the honors at Liberty University and Barack Obama at Barnard College.

But it is the funny star of Glee – Jane Lynch – who really dominates the 2012 season with her address to Smith College’s graduating class, proving that in a commencement address humor will carry all before it. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies

DIY Family History Video Pt 3: Post Production Choices

OK, this is the third part of our series on DIY life story, tribute video and family history video. Today, we are going to tell you how to handle some of the bigger questions that will arise in the post-production phase of your family history video project.

Part 1 of this series covered a slew of choices that you will face in the pre-production phase of your personal documentary. And Part 2 of this blog series took you, dear reader, through key choices that are likely to present themselves in the production phase of a tribute video. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DIY Tips & Advice, family history video, ,

How to Make a Tribute Video Pt 2: Production Phase

This is the second part of our series on making your own life story or “tribute” video. The first part – DIY Life Story Video: Preproduction – looked at some of the major choices as you plan your tribute video.

Now, we move on to the main course: location, make up, sound and lighting, and video recording! Also known as the “production” phase in the film making process. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DIY Tips & Advice, tribute videos, ,

DIY Life Story Video: Pre-Production

You will find a number of great tips and pieces of advice on this blog for making your own life story video – just browse “Recent Posts” or search the archive using “DIY”. Today we are going to go a little deeper and give you part 1 of a 3 part series on making your own life story video. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DIY Tips & Advice, video transfers, , ,

Irish History on Video: Divine Life Stories

Tom Devine lives in New Jersey and has ancestors who fought for Irish independence against the British. One of them was caught and jailed, then fled to America. Tom’s parents followed suit some 30 years later and created a large family, of which Tom is the oldest boy.

Tom’s mother has the story of the family’s Irish patriots, which include Tom’s grandfather (far left).

She heard it directly from him, her father, who has since passed away.

Needing to know more, Tom went back to Ireland in 2009 with both his parents to visit some of the old family haunts.

He took along his video camera and shot scenes of the countryside, gravestones, farmhouses, churches, and his parents reminiscing. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, ,

Family Life in the 1950s: Life Story Video

This month’s life story video is the story of a typical 1950s family.

The 1950s were a little different to the 2010s

These days, from the perspective of 2011 and the tail of a very difficult recession, the 1950s present as a kind of golden period for America. The economy was expanding, nearly everybody had a job, and new and better machines kept appearing to help with household chores.

And from this distance at any rate – the country seemed optimistic and unified behind a set of agreed goals that today just seem a million miles away.

Of course, it wasn’t all Coke and beach umbrellas. We had the Reds to worry about, potential nuclear Armageddon, and vast race and gender inequality.

The Earls were a classic 1950s family
The Earls were a classic 1950s family. New bikes for birthdays, peanut butter and jelly school lunches, buzz cuts for son Ben, and vacations at the beach. And much of this happy time was captured by Ben in Super 8 Kodachrome. Their whole story was recently told in their family history documentary (extract follows):


Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family history video, Personal Documentaries, Uncategorized, , , ,

More Life Story Video “Genres”

A while ago I started talking about life story video genres and I mentioned genealogy video and veterans video: Talking about Life Story Genres. And I promised to cover some more varieties of “life story video”.

Family Video Biography
When the project includes more than just the subject themselves, a grandparent couple for example, and when the project reaches back to cover ancestors and the sort of information we are used to seeing in a family tree, then you have what I call a family video biography.

Keep in mind that as important as the stories of the ancestors are (their histories taking us to a whole other country oftentimes) you probably don’t want to just confine yourself to their stories. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, genres, , ,

Fight Memory Loss With Life Story Video

Frances’ memories of her large Italian-American family, of being raised on a farm growing strawberries, of placing pine needles around the young strawberry plants; her memories of wandering in the nearby forest, of sneaking into the one-room school to “sample” pastries; her memories of Huey Long, of the breakup of her parents’ marriage – were all detailed and fresh as Frances preserved her life story on video.

The room seemed to close in around her as the afternoon played out and Frances came alive remembering the details of her life. She closed her eyes and recounted the night she and her husband were woken up by the call that another Kennedy had been shot – and specialist help was needed immediately.

You might be surprised to read that Francis has advanced stage Alzheimer’s disease. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, memory loss, ,

Family History in the Digital Age: Fine China and Lace Doilies Begone!

family history video imageLet’s be honest. Family history used to be the preserve of the maiden aunts. To hear the stories we had to suffer through best china and arm chair doilies and endless digressions on medical procedures suffered by even older and more distant relatives (or worse, totally unheard of acquaintances).

The stories would come – between polite sips of tea and in a miasma of perfume and powder. As a means of enlisting the interest of the younger generations, it didn’t have a lot going for it.

Today’s younger generations are more interested in family history than ever before. The whole country is. But they are demanding that those maiden aunts (and all the rest of us who fulfill the function of family historian) get with the times. They want their family history accessible and they want it compelling. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DIY Tips & Advice, family history video,

WWII Survivor: Life Story Video Memorial

Volodymyr Szafranowycz survived the worst that the 20th Century could serve up. He is now dead; a troubled death in many ways – but who complains when death comes in their 80s? His family recorded the details of this 20th Century life in a life story video memorial. A video memorial whose value is now assured by the disappearance and eternal inaccessibility of its subject.

video memorial subject image

WWII Survivor Volodymyr Szafranowycz

The 20th Century was one of the ugliest in all of human history. Nations rose and fell, wars and revolutions were fought, and there was starvation and genocide – to say nothing of economic collapse and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. More than a few still alive among us suffered through much of this maelstrom. And some, like Volodymyr Szafranowycz – who survived the Nazis and more – have had video memorials erected to their passing.

Bloodiest Century
Was the 20th Century the bloodiest in all of humanity’s experience? Based on the sheer and absolute volume of death recorded, the answer has to be yes. The numbers are so staggering as to be incomprehensible. But is it really as Stalin once said: “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic”? For those who swam in the violent waters of the 20th Century, who came close to death themselves or who had loved ones die, there is tragedy aplenty in that million. And even more tragedy in the millions more who also perished. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, ,

Welcome to the Life Story Video Blog!
This blog features stories about ordinary people and their experiences with life story videos.
Us? We are professional family historians creating custom-made, life story video documentaries!
Take a poke around and if you need help with your life story video just click the picture!

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Quotations

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
Aeschylus

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
Carl Jung

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
Alfred Hitchcock

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
William Blake

Success is like death. The more successful you become, the higher the houses in the hills get and the higher the fences get.
Kevin Spacey