Thursday, January 6, 2011

Genealogy Videos: Family History in 3 Minutes

 I think I found a way to share family history without people knowing they're learning family history.

(Heads up at work: there's music involved. Also, enlarging the video to full-screen makes it blurry. Blame Blogger.)

video

What do you think?

I love this process. It lets me tell stories with words, pictures and music. In 3 minutes, I shared with you (and my family members who are reading this blog) about my great-great grandparents, and your eyes didn't glaze over nor did you fall asleep at the table.

Genealogy purists will probably get their ahnentafels in a bunch because this piece lacks sources, but you know what? I don't care. My mission is to share about the lives of my ancestors and help others do the same. With this nifty storytelling avenue, I'm well on my way. 

The process of developing a personal genealogy video isn't too hard. You just have to have the patience and confidence to experiment with whatever software program you choose. I used Roxio Creator 2011 (affiliate link). You can also use programs that came with your computer, such as Windows Movie Maker or Mac equivalent.

Once you have that sorted, here are the basic steps to creating a narrative slideshow:

1. Gather photos. Make sure you own them or have permission to use them. Finding pictures on the Internet or someone else's Ancestry tree doesn't count. Allow time for cropping and editing if necessary.

2. Upload and sort. Upload the photos you want to use in your slideshow. All the video programs I've used have a place where you can drag images around the screen and put them in the order of your preference.

3. Add text. Depending on the story you want to tell, you can interject slides between photos or put words directly on the images. Keep the narration simple. Limit the amount of words per slide and use a big font.

4. Add audio if desired. If you choose this option, I recommend making the selection of music "Step 0" in this process. Finding music for this slideshow was the first thing I did. Why? Because once I found the right piece, it set the tone and guided my story. There are plenty of places to get legal music for videos. If you want to get all fancy, you can also use audio clips from your own digital recordings. 

Hopefully this little video gets your own creative gears grinding. Telling the story of my great-great grandparents was a fun process. I fully intend on making another narrative slideshow. In fact, I already have an idea....


[Note part 1: This video is also on You Tube. I tried to upload it here via that site, but Blogger was having a fit. Perhaps their ahnentafels are in a bunch. --Amy]

[Note part 2: Grandpa, if you're reading this, I hope you liked it! --Amy]

43 comments:

  1. Amy! I LOVED IT! I actually teared up when you talked about Emile dieing of a broken heart. The music was absolutely gorgeous in the background. It was WONDERFUL. I hope more and more people start doing this and creating these videos. They really are super easy to create.

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  2. That was fantastic! And thanks for the link to free legal music. I've often felt limited by what was provided with my video-making software.

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  3. So impressed with it's effectiveness, Amy! The music and your simple graphics worked so well together. This may be the way I get my techie talented sister and niece involved - let them do the productions!

    Thanks for sharing this. I watched it on YouTube.

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  4. This is great - and a great idea! I may have to add 'video creation' to my list of things to do. It's probably just as well I've already posted my goals for 2011 or I'd feel the need to add one more. Maybe 2012...

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  5. This is a great example of a way to interest people in genealogy. I can't believe anyone related to this couple could watch without wanting to know more.

    Thanks for the great idea.

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  6. Thanks for the feedback, ladies! I hoped the *public* would find the video interesting. Hopefully my family will, too.

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  7. What a great idea! Just what I needed, something else to do.

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  8. What a great idea, I think I might have to try one of these myself and see if it really is that easy to create. Thanks for the inspiration

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  9. That is WAY cool. I can see hooking in non-genealogist relatives with stuff like that.

    My new computer has all sorts of tools for doing stuff like this. Imma have to figure them out and see what I can put together.

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  10. Awesome job! I hope the family enjoys it too.

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  11. Amy, this is great! I love it! And thank you so much for sharing the steps. I think that each medium (print, blogs, videos,etc) have their own standards and that footnotes are not appropriate in videos. So you did just fine! Keep it going!

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  12. What a great way to share your ancestry! The music was perfect. Excellent job!

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  13. Maybe next time you will narrate the video! hint, hint! :)

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  14. Wow, I'm impressed. I really liked it, simple yet classic. Music was great, nice pictures and the timing was perfect. Very nice Amy. I hope your son likes it!

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  15. Amy, this is wicked awesome! I can't wait to try one of my own...will have to add to my goals for 2011!!! Thanks so much for sharing and I love the photos, text, and music :-))

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  16. I love it!! I have started doing this before, but haven't gotten very far on the project. I love seeing yours complete, it gives me a bit more enthusiasm to finish mine. :) What a great way to share family history and make it interesting!!

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  17. Oh, I used that same software to create a CD of our cruise vacation and never once thought of doing a family history. Thanks so much for dropping a BIG HINT! I can even use some music created by a family member instead of searching for free music. Thanks so much for all the ideas!

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  18. Amy, you did a fantastic job! It's a lovely, lovely video.

    I started on a multi-media project in November, hoping it would be ready by Xmas, but it's taking me longer than I expected. Mine is a "tour" of the neighborhood where my mom grew up with the audio centered on the 2 hour digital recording of two 80-somethings (my mom and her brother) reminiscing (and bickering ) as we drove around.

    Have you gotten any feedback from family? My older relatives seem wedded to paper. I can't get some to view online photos.

    I agree. This is a very, very effective way to share a story, for those willing to experience it. Job well done!

    Regarding citations, if one wanted to, more specifics could be placed at the end as "credits"

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  19. Is lovely. I wonder if you can add a .wav and narrate your story. I have linked .wav to individuals in my dbase but bet there is a way to your slide show since you have the music.

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  20. Jeez, Amy, and I was just getting digital scrapbooking down and you have to go and raise the bar.

    It was wonderful!! I kept thinking how much better something like this would go over at our next family reunion than one of my PowerPoints.

    You had great info in there--I particularly loved the info on the places where your family lived--and I too take pics of post offices, ;-) It was not overwhelmingly data-dense--just some wonderful photos and simple captions. Loved it.

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  21. I. Love. This.

    What a wonderful tribute to your ancestors.

    I'm adding this one to my "how to" favorites.

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  22. Great idea! Anyway we can get people to share their genealogy in an interesting format is a win!

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  23. Fantastic job, Amy! This is perfect to share with family members.

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  24. Super job Amy - you've inspired me!

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  25. I didn't like it - to begin with. And then I loved it. I think I began to love it when I saw the photo of Emile and Emilie on their wedding day. You are SO talented! Thanks for the idea and for sharing the steps.

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  26. What a great idea, not too long, but tells a nice story!!

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  27. Great job! Appreciate the link to the legal music and your pointing out the need to own or have permission to use the photos.

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  28. I loved it! I have done this with garden pictures but never with family history and your link to music I can use is really appreciated.

    I found your comment, "Genealogy purists will probably get their ahnentafels in a bunch because this piece lacks sources, but you know what?" troubling in respect to the fact that you even had to think about making it. The genealogy police have had way too big an impact! I agree with Marian and feel that footnotes would have detracted from the video.

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  29. Amy, this is a FANTASTIC VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!! Great Job!

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  30. Amy, this was just FABULOUS! Thanks for sharing the info and the video. I LOVED IT!

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  31. It sure beats the failure of the sentence they say we say "I walked up the hill and I walked back down the hill"
    Get to them where they live. I need to learn how to embed them. After all our cameras have video capabilities.
    Thanks amy. Your subject this week sounds good too.

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  32. That was absolutely wonderful Amy! Great job! You are very talented and do such a wonderful job with your genealogy. Thank you so much for sharing with us all, it really was marvelous. Perfect music too.

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  33. This was well done. I enjoyed it and I want to make some videos of my family. Thank you for sharing and for telling how you did it.

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  34. Nicely done, Amy! So simple, but very informative - without being overbearing. I wanted to know more about them, and they aren't even my family! Good job!

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  35. Hi Amy, I really enjoyed this post and your blog. So, I've awarded you the Approved Ancestor Award. To see more visit: http://historiansfamily.blogspot.com/. My neice is a budding film maker, so I'm going to show her your project. Cheers, Amanda

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  36. Great idea. I think this is an especially powerful way to share genealogy with the younger generation. Kids have short attention spans and this is more their medium. A way to introduce the younger set (or anyone) to their ancestors in a way that may stick with them -- and encourage them to get involved, if not now, at some future date. "Died of a broken heart" resonated -- as I know that's what did my grandpa in -- less than a year after his wife of over sixty years died.

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  37. Amy, I look forward to viewing your video. (I am on a slow connection at home, but will have access to broadband for a few hours on Thursday.)

    In December I decided to gather all of the family video clips stored on my hard drive and create a DVD movie video. This included an interview with my mother (aged 90) and her sister (aged 88), it included a 7-minute walk-through of the home our children grew up in, and it included all of the little video clips of our grandchildren.

    I decided to add some ancestral stories that I thought might be of interest. I used Windows Movie Maker to join clips and add titles. Then I looked for a program that would allow me to create a DVD that would play on a home DVD Player. We gave a copy of the finished product to each of our children at Christmas.

    Next year I hope to create a new family history DVD. After all, there are lots of ancestral stories.

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  38. Amy, I look forward to viewing your video. (I am on a slow connection at home, but will have access to broadband for a few hours on Thursday.)

    In December I decided to gather all of the family video clips stored on my hard drive and create a DVD movie video. This included an interview with my mother (aged 90) and her sister (aged 88), it included a 7-minute walk-through of the home our children grew up in, and it included all of the little video clips of our grandchildren.

    I decided to add some ancestral stories that I thought might be of interest. I used Windows Movie Maker to join clips and add titles. Then I looked for a program that would allow me to create a DVD that would play on a home DVD Player. We gave a copy of the finished product to each of our children at Christmas.

    Next year I hope to create a new family history DVD. After all, there are lots of ancestral stories.

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  39. This is a wonderful way to share family stories, thank you for the idea.

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  41. What a great idea. I love it.

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