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Old January 10th, 2005, 07:22 AM   #1
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Need advice for upcoming Video History Project

My grandfather is a WWII Vet/POW. He has over 4000 personal slides from my dad's family growing up, and some of his military career. 90% of these slides use the old veg. die, and are quickly fading.

He has equally as many stills the majority of which are B&W, and from the 20s-40s.

My first step in this project has already begun. I am using a Nikon 4000ED Slide Scanner w/ attachment to scan all the slides @ 16x. Each scan is about 150 Megs.

The second phase will be to scan all the stills as well-----and my equipment isn't as nice, but it's decent. A HP Scanet 8250......pretty high hardware only resolution------

Once I get these scanned, I want to get a recorded audio documentary, and my thoughs were to use something like a Canon GL1 w/ external mic......and i'm just wanting some input before I make a purchase.

I'll also be eventually using the camera to make a video history as well, with him telling all his stories in person, so my kids can get to know my grandfather more then through the stories with which I know my <edit>great</edit> grandfather, whom I've never met.

Any recommendations, or insight is greatly appreciated. I honestly don't know much more then I want a 3CCD Camera, and one that works fairly well in darker surroundings, as the added light in most rooms of his house is still somewhat dark........and I do know from reseach that the Canon seems to do better then the Sony VX Line in darker shoots-------

Thanks, and sorry for the long post,
Chris
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Old January 10th, 2005, 10:34 AM   #2
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Chris, this sound like a wonderful project. You're to be praised for creating a repository for your kids. I predict that *you'll* find it as valuable (possibly more so) as you get older.

Sounds like you've got the technical side of things well in hand.

(The GL2 is a fine camera for the kind of shots you'll be getting. You'll want to price a lavalier mic kit for the times when it's just you and your granddad--i.e., no soundman & when you don't want to have a boom hovering over his head.)

My advice is more on the people side:

1. Shoot a simple test with your granddad to accustom him to the tedium of A/V setup &c. Make a note of anything that makes him comfortable--sometimes older folks have an outfit they're proud of, or a favorite chair or room.

2. Use natural light whenever you can; it can be a great complement to older features. If you have to mix sources (sun & incandescent, e.g.) try to favor one as a key light.

3. If you'll shoot your granddad more than once, try to get into the habit of doing it privately, with just the two of you. Footage taken at family events & parties can be distracting to the tone of the assembled piece. It also helps get cleaner audio.

4. Re: audio: I would just let the tape run, if breaks between takes are brief. Folks say things off the cuff that you may miss & many reminiscences & observations aren't as good on repetition--if they even remember what they said!

Last, just be aware of the brevity of time & life: interview your granddad sooner rather than later. I learned this lesson the hard way when my mom's mother died (at 99!) partway through a similar process. I missed so much of her loquacity and spark ...

Good luck & have fun. You probably already know how much the old timers love to tell stories! Don't forget to post about your results here.

JS
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Old January 10th, 2005, 12:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply John, and more so for the advice.

I've already talked in passing with my grandmother about how I wanted to do this, and one of my biggest things was not being bothered. My grandfather can't hear very well, but he's fine when the person count is low----

I guess I'm going to go after a GL1 or 2 whichever I can find now.....and go from there.

I'll make some more posts about it once I have moved into Phase II. I hope I can get phase I (the scanning) done very soon......

I'm already researching the microphone too......my wife iisn't happy at the notion of holding a boom mic------but then again she'd rather me do it on our old low-end-consumer video camera too.

But anyway---I'm probably going to start a blog once I get going....

chris
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Old January 11th, 2005, 12:57 AM   #4
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Chris -

Shoot the video of your Grandpa first. He's most important, the photos and slides will last.

I shot a life history with my Grandpa and 3 months later he died. We got 2 hours of video and stories my parents had never heard. It was wonderful and I will never forget it (gettin' misty... sorry).

Here is a short clip I made to advertise my Video Bio packages. He was thrilled to be a part of it: www.pixel-mesh.com/media/video/videobio.mp4

I learned a great deal about him during that time, and a lot about the production too.

Please bear with me as the list is long and may be repetitious:

1) Shoot alone. Don't have ANYONE there. I mean anyone. On the second shoot I had my Mom and Uncle there. They wanted to be a part and watch silently. They were far from quiet and kept interrupting to "help." They don't help. He will appreciate your time together.

2) The camera will make him nervous. I know for the first time we shot he kept looking at the cam. and stopping mid story. That's ok but kinda funky when you can make, and hold eye contact with him via the TV on a different day.

3) Make sure it's quiet.

4) Turn OFF the Tally Lamp. That red blinking could be very distracting.

5) Start recording before you say you are. Better yet, start recording and dont stop. Say you have stopped if you want. All the greatest stuff is said just after you stop recording, so don't stop.

6) Bring LOTS of tape and batteries.

7) They will get tired - fast. Respect that. Stop, take breaks, come back a different day. Dont push it.

8) It might be a nice touch to have him describe what the photo's are. They could spark a great memory that they run with - then you can overlay the photos in post.

9) Keep your master tapes SAFE. You don't get another chance.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:30 AM   #5
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Dang Aaron,

I almost got teared up watching your clip........

Very very powerful, and that was very well done.

Thank you very much for sharing the clip & your advice.

what equipment did you use btw?
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Old January 11th, 2005, 07:49 AM   #6
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Re: Need advice for upcoming Video History Project

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Fonke : ........and I do know from reseach that the Canon seems to do better then the Sony VX Line in darker shoots-------


Chris -->>>

I think you have this backwards. I am actually selling my GL2 because it DOESN'T do as well as the Sony VX/PD170 line of cameras.
They are rated at 1 LUX where the GL2 is rated at 6 LUX minumum illumination.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 08:24 AM   #7
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Re: Re: Need advice for upcoming Video History Project

<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Toogood : <<<-- Originally posted by Chris Fonke : ........and I do know from reseach that the Canon seems to do better then the Sony VX Line in darker shoots-------


Chris -->>>

I think you have this backwards. I am actually selling my GL2 because it DOESN'T do as well as the Sony VX/PD170 line of cameras.
They are rated at 1 LUX where the GL2 is rated at 6 LUX minumum illumination. -->>>

Thank you for the information. Off to research again. dang.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 09:00 AM   #8
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I shot that with a Canon XL1s, my JTL Ready Light Kit (3 soft boxes) and the on board mic.

Thanks for the kind words.
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