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Thread: Shooting a family history video

  1. #1
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    Default Shooting a family history video

    As Christmas gifts this year, I am going to produce and give a family history video consisting of old & current photos & video, and interviews with Grandparents. This will be my most robust production so far, but I think it will be well worth the effort and am excited to get going. I have to make 3 different videos to cover my family and my in-laws, so starting now should give me plenty of time before the holidays to avoid too many last-minute sleepless nights. The whole project will be a suprise for everyone except the grandparents who are being interviewed.



    Currently, I am putting together a list of questions for the "secret" interviews and would love to get some ideas on what to ask the Grandparents. Anyone have any question suggestions?
    Last edited by gajake15; 06-07-2006 at 05:18 PM.
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  2. #2
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    How about - is the world a better or worse place now than when you were younger?

    or

    what would you do different if you had your whole life over?

    or

    do you still have sex? Maybe not

    Sounds like a great project - my friends cousin did something similar for his family and although it was 30 mins long and I hardly knew anyone in it it was great viewing. I am sure they will be well pleased.

  3. #3
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    Default Thanks.

    I'll use all but the sex question. They wouldn't appreciate it, nor do I want to know the answer to it. Uh..... Eww.
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  4. #4
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    I got old movie footage that was shot 30 years ago transferred onto VHS, and although the quality is....VHS, it means I can use it in a similar type production to yours but it is about the changes in the town where I live over the past 30 years. If you can lay your hands on any old footage, weddings, birthdays etc or what about visiting the local library and getting printouts of the front pages of newspapers from say the dates your grandparents were born on or got married on. They are usually kept on microfiche. Then photograph the pages and use them as date markers in your video. Any old buildings (schools, workplaces, churches, the old neighbourhood) aswell that are still standing or one that can 'double' for the original one that no longer exists.

  5. #5

    Talking

    This an interesting post! I have thought about doing the same and I think that the most important questions are those that relate to their past life (rather than opinions) that sadly will die with them.

    Questions that I would ask;

    1. How did you and grandad meet?
    2. Where was your first date?
    3. What were the most memorable days in your lives?
    4. What is the biggest difference between now and when you were young?
    5. Tell me about my mum/dad when they were young?
    6. What were your mums and dads like and what do you remember of them?

    I have done a video of my daughters first year. It is a combination of video and stills. The only advice I have is avoid subtitled comments, Choose your backing music extremely carefully, change the music at natural pauses in the movie, do not exceed twenty minutes in length and finally, remember that less is more (don't include shots/stills just because the are there!).

    That's all from me!

    Good luck!
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  6. #6
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    Skodster, you've just covered the who, what, why, where and when technique in interviewing.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the sample questions. That's the kind of questions I think will be good to have statements for in the video.

    do not exceed twenty minutes in length
    I agree that no more than 20 minutes is a good time for the video, however I'm sure I will have lots of source footage left over that the family would still like to see. Maybe I should throw all the source footage on a 2nd disk for everyone.
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  8. #8
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    Another couple of points to remember when interviewing is to stop speaking as soon as you ask a question, let the interviewee answer, but resist all attempts at umming and aaahing or talking over them like we do in everyday conversation, just nod your head in agreement. It will make editing (shortening) a long winded response to a question much easier. Also, don't tell the interviewee exactly what questions you are going to ask them, just give them a general idea of the areas you will be covering, so they don't dry up in front of the camera, or is it called Corpsing? I don't know how much work you want to take on but here's a suggestion for your grandparents reminiscing, you could have a shot of them in the local park, then use a defocus fade and use two children in sepia to play the part of them when they were that age, you can just let them run around in their 2006 clothes.

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