If you're thinking about making a family tree digital video - congratulations on your smart decision! Digital video is the new, fun way of celebrating your family's historical and memorable moments.
Gone are the days of the family albums and even family scrapbooks. Instead, today we have the Internet: YouTube, Facebook and Twitter on our laptops, iPods and Smartphones.
Are you ready to get started? One of the greatest pieces of advice my dad ever gave me was KISS - "Keep It Simple Son". The key to your successful digital video project is keeping it simple. Break your project down into small "bite-sized" chunks.
Are You a Techie?
The first thing to consider in your family tree digital video project is this: how "tech" savvy are you? If you don't know the difference between an MP3 and an MP4, then you need to get a tech helper to assist you - but don't let that stop you! The truth is that for the "techies" this type of project isn't very complicated or difficult.
The following hints will help you to setup an outline of what you want your final digital video project to look like. These steps are necessary whether you have tech helper or not.
Simple Step #1: Gather all your stuff before you do anything else. Get all your photographs, videos, audio recordings and other items such as vital documents, awards, medals, etc. Have all these things ready and available to use for Steps 3 and 4.
[Tip: if you have old video footage in VHS or 8mm film, then you will need to have it converted into a digital video format. Check locally to find someone who can do this for you, since it requires special hardware to do it.]
Simple Step #2: Use Simple Software. If you're going to do this yourself, you better use software that's easy for you to use. The most expensive software that the professionals use is most likely too complicated for your needs - you'll end up wasting a lot of time just learning how to use the software. You need software which is easy for you to learn how to use.
Simple Step #3: Tell a Story. The key to a good digital video project is the story you tell. Don't try to cram all your photos and videos into this project - only pick the ones which help to tell the story of your family.
Simple Step #4: Have a Plan. Once you have a story in mind to tell, then you need to plan out the order and sequence of your photos and videos. Remember to have transitions between chapters (if your project is big enough to require chapters). Use title screens between chapters and learn how to "cut", "swipe" or "fade" between scenes (these are videographer terms - Google for "cut, swipe, fade" to learn more).
Simple Step #5: Use Audio Wisely. If you don't have some type of background audio and voice-overs, your project will be pretty boring and dull! You can use music as a background and record your own voice for the voice-overs.
[Tip: If you ever distribute or sell your video, then you'd better have permission to use the music!]
[Tip: If you don't like your voice, find a friend whose voice you prefer to record the voice-overs and offer to buy their lunch for helping you out.]
The last and most important tip for making your own family tree digital video is this: have fun! If you don't have fun while working on this project - it will show in your video. You are not trying to create the next Oscar award winning film; it doesn't have to be totally professional! Have fun making the video and then your family and friends will have fun viewing your completed project!