Video Biography Service
In response to many who have asked us over the years if we have a “video” component, we are so pleased to announce that we now offer a video biography service to capture the words and wisdom of you or your loved ones.
A 60-minute video will be prepared and uploaded to a YouTube channel for private sharing or public viewing on our World Biographic channel. Each video features the question asked, your loved one’s responses, background music, and a photo show.
As a non-profit initiative that has made it a priority to make it easy and affordable to write, share and preserve the written legacies of our elders, we have made it a priority in offering our video biography initiative to:
Quickly Finish – Your video biography will be completed within 30 days upon receipt of raw video, photos and a video plan.
Make It Simple – We have created an easy interface between the customer, us and the designer.
Make It Flexible – Interview questions span a lifetime while allowing for flexibility in focusing on a particular time or experience in life.
Make It Affordable – We set our price to cover our costs; nothing more.
We look forward to working with you to capture your voice and your wisdom for generations to come.
Questions – Select up to 25 questions to ask your loved one.
Music – Background music is used to enhance the story, elicit emotion from the viewer, and sometimes to cover up any sounds that are less than desirable. You are welcome to submit your preferred music (without copyright restriction) or we will assign a sound track fitting with the tenor and tone of the interview.
Photos – Up to 50 cherished photos may be included in video epilogue (optional). Photos can be included in the video taped answers but you will need to show precisely where the photos and captions will appear in the video plan.
Captions – Write the captions to your photos in your video plan.
Professional Production – Once the raw video is taken and we have received your video plan, photos and captions (photos are optional), a 60-minute video will be prepared and uploaded to a YouTube channel for private sharing or public viewing. Each video features the question asked, your loved one’s responses, background music, and a photo show to end the video.
Edits – Any number of edits are allowed during production as long as they are noted on the video plan. Post-production edits are allowed at additional cost and time.
Archive – You may elect to archive the video with the Smithsonian Institution’s digital archives for future generations.
Timing -- Videos are completed within thirty days.
Cost -- $3,000 – half is due at registration and is half due when final and uploaded for publishing.
Sample Video – Videos will be generally produced in this format -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7fbm_JouwE
You decide any and all the questions you’d like to ask your loved one. Following are a few favorite questions from our archive of over 2,000 questions that is available to you:
- Where did you grow up?
- What was your childhood like? Did you have chores? How were you disciplined?
- Who were your favorite relatives?
- Did you have a favorite pet?
- What are a few favorite childhood memories?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- Where did you attend college?
- What was your first car or most memorable car?
- What was your favorite job?
- Tell us about your career.
- If you served in the military, please share this experience.
- How did you meet your husband/wife?
- What were the best times? The most difficult times?
- How many children do you have? Tell us about their families.
- Do you have any favorite stories or memories about your children?
- What advice would you give about raising children?
- Tell me about the most important person in your life.
- Who is the person who had the biggest influence on your life-- what lessons did that person teach you?
- Who has been the kindest to you in your life?
- What brings you joy?
- Are there any funny stories your family tells about you that come to mind?
- Are there any important moments from your life that you would like to share?
- What are some important lessons that you learned along the way?
- What are you proudest of? Do you have any regrets?
- How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
- What advice would you give to younger people?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- If this was to be our very last conversation, is there anything you’d want to say to me?
Prepare for the Interview
Questions – Select up to 25 questions that will be asked during the interview.
Share – You may wish to share the questions that will be asked of your loved one to allow for thoughtful reflection. We recommend that answers be kept to no more than 1-3 minutes each.
Background – Remove unnecessary or distracting items.
Focus – The camera will focus on your loved one’s face, hair, and upper body.
Lighting – Ensure you select a well-lit room.
Quiet on the Set – Ensure a quiet location.
Makeup – A natural look is recommended – perhaps a family member who is good with makeup can apply makeup.
Clothes – We recommend clothes that are light in color with no patterns, stripes or floral.
Coughs, Ums, Car Horns, and Flubs – Don’t worry, we can delete anything -- just note them in your video plan.
Interview – Ideally a family member or friend should be behind the camera to ask each question or we can ask the questions. Be sure to give ample time for your loved one to fully answer each question – no interruptions but extemporaneous follow-on questions are of course allowed. Be sure to keep answers to no more than 1-3 minutes each.
Photos (optional) – Please select up to 50 photos that represent your loved one’s life such as photos from childhood, school and academic years, marriage, family and parenthood, holidays and travel, home, and current years. Photos can be scanned or you may elect to take a digital photo of the photo.
Submit Your Video Plan
The video plan allows us to know exactly what questions have been asked in the filming of the video; at exactly what time on-screen text and photos will appear; ordering of photos; precise wording of captions; and any cuts that are to be removed from the video – entire question/answer, a car horn, a cough or really any flub.
Please click here to download the video plan.
We need the following emailed on a zip drive:
1. Video Plan
2. Digital Photos – labeled from 1 to 50
3. Photo Captions – be sure to include all photo captions in your video plan
The total cost is $3,000 for us to film and prepare the documentary. Half is due at registration; half due when final and uploaded for publishing.
“This is a great idea as few communications are written or told down the generations. Without letters and journals, how will my descendants know me or my times?” – Winifred Reese
“What a great idea, to create a tableau of history through the eyes of people who have actually lived it and experienced it. This is what made Ken Burns' Civil War so riveting - it wasn't just the black and white photos (though they help) but rather the diaries and letters - the first hand accounts. And here, you have a chance to both record and create a new kind of history - also first hand.” – Michael Rosenblum
“A fabulous idea. If it's reasonably priced I would participate immediately as a gift to my grandchildren.” – Roger A. Ross
Call -- 202 236 8400
Email -- email@example.com