Most humans are visual thinkers. Our thoughts are composed of imagery and pictures. And the right combination of images and sound coming from a TV or movie screen can inspire a wide range of emotions that leave indelible memories behind.
In addition to emotional impact, photos, family films and other memorabilia like newspaper clippings, trophies and medals lend your documentary what video pros call "production value." In short, interesting and well-placed visuals make your video more fun to watch. And you DO want your family to watch. This is just as true for your family history video as for any Hollywood film. That's why, after a Family Legacy Video client lets me know what he or she wants to talk about during an interview, I always ask what visuals are available.
It's certainly great to have that interview with grandma and to be able to watch her tell stories about growing up on the family farm. Couple those stories with photos of her riding the old tractor or milking Bessie, mix in music that evokes the country life, and you add visual and emotional components that serve her story and make it even more memorable.
As you plan your interview, make a list of all the visuals you'd like to have in the video. Ask your interview subject what he or she can provide. Reach out to any other family members who may have resources. Collect those visuals and keep them safe. Don't have anyone mail you one-of-a-kind photos. Have copies made for mailing or, if possible, go to where the photos are and videotape them there.
After the interview is over, you're likely to find there are additional visuals you'd like. Remember to be as creative as possible and not to let a lack of family photos get you down. If you don't have a picture of the farm, ask the tourist board for the state where your grandma's farm was located to send you a picture of the countryside. Or find a vintage map showing the farm location, or a modern map that you can shoot and turn black and white or sepia using your editing software. Then, as the music plays, you can pan across the photo or map to set up the story about life on the farm. The possibilities are endless - and fun.
SEE what I mean?