Thursday, June 17, 2010

How Historical Footage Adds to Personal Video Biographies

If you have visited this blog before, or our website, then you know that we integrate footage from historical events to put the subject's story into the context of his or her times.

Thanks to sites like the Internet Archive, more and more material is available online. Much of it is in the public domain and free for us to use in our productions.

Here is an example I recently ran across. It was a speech President Richard Nixon made from the Oval Office April 30, 1973 about "what has come to be known as the Watergate affair."

Anyone who was above childhood age at that time will probably have some memory about Watergate. It was certainly the signature event in the mid-1070s in the United States and may shed some light on the culture of that time in a video biography subject's life.

It's great for children and grandchildren to see how their relative's life coincided with events they might have seen only in history books or on television somewhere. Including it in a life story video demonstrates to those descendants the history through which the subject lived.

From a pure production standpoint, it adds another visual element that enlivens the story as it enriches the audience.

Of course, to use historical footage, you have to know history as well as where to look for clips that fit in with the subject's life story. Examples of our work should show that we know how to weave a historical perspective into a personal documentary that will help future viewers see the subject's time in history and, perhaps, his or her part in it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Family Documentary Chapter Video

This chapter of a video biography required editing around the fact that no photos of this couple together exist until after they've been married for more than a year. Ordinarily, we don't include mentions of prior boyfriends but, as you will see, this unique circumstance warranted an exception.

The interviews don't fill the screen because they were shot in 2004 on standard definition equipment. We are updating this story to high-def, which is widescreen rather than the 4:3 aspect ratio that most standard def used to be.

Photos are scanned at a resolution much higher than even high-definition video so we have no trouble filling the frame with them from that standpoint. Some portraits would include only the eyes and nose of the subject if we had them fill the frame horizontally. That's why you see black bars on the sides of some of the photos.