When is the ideal time to do this?

First off, don’t put it off too long! Earlier is much better than too late. We hear all too often someone say, ”If only I had known about your services.” Typically, our films are planned by the family to be completed in time for an upcoming event such as a 70th or 80th Birthday, a couple’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, a holiday gathering, or Grandparent’s Day.

My senior may not be interested and fears not doing a good job

This is a normal concern. Those initial fears, however, usually give way to a fully enjoyable experience. Tell her/him that this is an important type of record of their life. We want them to be just the way they are. There is no audition and no preparation needed for a life tribute video. Tell them they are simply talking to their future grandchildren by answering a few simple questions about their life. You might also say that this is the only way to capture their unique personality and that there are no judgments or good ways or bad ways to do this. Just be themselves because that is what we love and want.

What’s a Hybrid Video?

A hybrid video uses photographs that are panned and zoomed usually with narration and music. We use a technique called the Ken Burns effect–a type of panning and zooming used in cinematic documentary-style films with still imagery with narration and music over the top.

Using a DIY Shoot vs a Videographer?

Today’s iPhone 7 Plus contains a camera that comes very close to professional DSLR cameras. If you are comfortable with your video shooting skills or know someone who is, there is no reason why you can’t use an iPhone 7 Plus to take your shoot(s). We provide some important tips on the website.

Our expertise is in the editing and our high-end software can accept files from an iPhone 7 Plus. However, it is important to remember that as in all professional video capture the quality begins with the shoot itself. We have found that customers who try saving a few hundred dollars in the DIY mode many times are disappointed with the results.

To insure the highest quality end result, we recommend using our highly skilled videographers who understand our requirements in lighting, sound, angle/framing/zoom techniques and storytelling.

If you go the DIY method, we must reserve the right to tell you when what you send us does not meet our quality requirements.

Can my video be shared?

The finished video arrives in three versions. One short 2-minute version, a trailer, that is best for sharing, one full-length version of the initial raw footage, and, of course, the final fully edited version suitable for family or group members and future generations.

What if my photos are not digitized?

Our Scanning & Digitizing Center will offer to send you a unique shipping box, along with identification stickers to identify their ownership and secure their return. Examples of un-digitized media we can convert include old photos and older video formats including VHS, 8mm and Super8mm films. Old photos can sometimes be enhanced while old video mostly remains only as good as the resolution in which it was shot.

Can you embed older videos into the final digital video?

This requires some explanation. Older videos such as VHS, 8mm and Super8mm are not digitized meaning they are not created with bits and bytes (zeros and ones). They are called analog videos. Similar to scanning an old photo, there is a conversion process, but it is time consuming, expensive and the quality remains only as good as when it was taken. (Not HD or hi-resolution as today’s video cameras.) Once digitized, yes, they can become apart of the new video. It is highly recommended, however, that the client give Family Tree Videos a generous “artistic license” to judge how much of the old videos to play. Generally, small snippets can be added while maintaining a high film quality.

Where is my video stored?

Family Tree videos are made with posterity in mind. Our unique VideoVault platform has been designed to house your video(s) indefinitely. Each video is assigned a future retrieval code that can be stored in wills and on sites like YouTube and Ancestry.com for redundancy and future retrieval. In addition, a DVD version is provided and you can host your video on any number of video hosting sites. Once you’ve done that, you can “pin” your video to your family tree on Ancestry.com. (coming)

Who owns the rights to these videos?

The client owns all full and legal rights to all videos produced by Family Tree Videos. Family Tree Videos offers a “10-year refresh” should new formats and standards in video arrive.

{The notion of perpetuity of digital content needs legal advice and Ts & Cs here. Language to add to wills/trusts to communicate the location and access instructions for heirs is also needed.}

How do we prepare for the video shoot?

Please refer to our Video Shoot Guide (downloadable PDF) that will help you plan the day. For example, who do you want to invite to the shoot? The guide will give you tips on what topics you may want to explore, what information you may want to collect, questions to ask, stories to tell, etc. Remember that shoots don’t need a rehearsal. Some of the best moments are those that are unplanned and extemporary. You may have things you want to talk about, but expect the day to take on a life of its own.

The guide helps you in the way you want the story to be told.  Combined with the videographer’s ability to capture visually appealing footage, the end result will a story, a keepsake, you will be proud to own.

The Guide helps you choose wonderfully researched questions about the most common aspects of one’s lifetime, such as Childhood, High School Days, Romance, Parenting, Military, Career and more.

Questions like:

  • How do you define happiness?
  • Describe the things in your life about which you were passionate.
  • What advice do you have for younger people on how to achieve their dreams?
  • Which living person do you most admire?
  • What are your favorite memories as a child?
  • Do you remember your favorite bedtime story or routine? What was it?
  • What do you know about your ancestry?
  • What things are you most curious about?
  • If you could choose to remain a certain age forever, what age would it be?
  • What was the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
  • Did you ever have a secret crush that no one knew about? Can you tell us now?
  • And lastly, there is a section to help remind you of those unique family events, stories or questions you don’t want to forget to include.


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