Technology Archives - Heirloom Films and Storybooks

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Five Things To Get Ready

Five Things To Get Ready

So you think you're ready to make your life story family history film or book, right? Maybe you’ve already started or you’re stuck somewhere in the process. Or maybe you just lay awake at night thinking about it! You just want to get it done! Let's talk about what's involved in being ready to move forward.

You already know that you are getting involved in a project that is both very inspiring and valuable to your descendants. You can see the smiling faces of your future great grandchildren reading your book or watching your film. And you’re also probably figuring out that this labour of love requires an investment of your time, money, and perhaps your creativity too. You can definitely do it yourself but you’ll increase your chances of success if you get some help. Personal historian Cory Bretz talks about the Five Things For Getting Started that will need your attention, time, energy, and decision-making ability.

Why does all this matter? If you don’t get done your life story family history film or book your descendants are very likely to have absolutely no comprehension of who your parents really were. They certainly will not understand anything about your grandparents. Your grandkids and future great grandchildren won’t see any inspiring examples of related family members who lived meaningful lives, with beauty, genius, determination, and vision. All of that will vanish in an instant if you don't get done your book or film. Sorry to be melodramatic but it’s true.

On the plus side, getting done your project and being able to give the next generation a beautiful and educational life story family history film or book will make them proud to be members of your family. You’ll be inspiring them to greater things, giving them values and concepts that embolden them, encourage them, and help them through tough times...forever. You’ll be helping the next generation understand that they come from a long line of amazing people. Just imagine how good it’s going to feel to be part of creating that positive legacy in this world.

Being efficient and effective is the name of the game in getting done your life story family history film or book.

Here's five things that you’ve got to look at as you get started. You don’t have to do them alone but you or somebody else has to do them. Maybe your kids or your siblings will come up with something...or not. But these five things have to be done to inspire the next generation. And who’s the perfect person to do it? The perspective that they need to survive and thrive in the future? Yours. You can do it. And our personal historian Cory Bretz can help.

Here goes. Click to Read Number One: Characters & Genealogy

Also, check out some samples of life story family history films and books to get some ideas for your project. 

Beyond Image Scanning Services

Stories are what make digital photos interesting.

Digital Is Good, But A Warning To The Wise

Kudos to you for investing your money and your time into having your collection of old photos digitized! Having those irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind images stored on a memory stick or portable hard drive along with your old 8mm films, slides, and camcorder videos is the right thing to do….technically speaking.

Because you’re absolutely right that leaving all that family history media in the attic or closet or wherever it’s hiding in it’s original paper or analog format is risking it will be lost, destroyed, or forgotten. Some day some future family member will be thanking you for being so diligent in converting all those old photos, films, slides and old newspaper articles to digital images and video files. Making those things digital means they can be easily stored, copied, and shared with your family members. 

But a warning for the wise…even though converting old photos  and films to digital media is an advantage for many reasons, it doesn’t solve the oldest problem we humans continue to have: passing on our family stories. 

Who Are Those People?

The fact is that whether your descendants inherit a box of musty old paper paper print photographs or a slick modern memory stick loaded with thousands of sequentially numbered high resolution digital images, without some identification and relevant storytelling, those images will be quite meaningless. It’s so sad to stare at a beautiful restored old photo with all it’s antique charms to not know the names of those people, nor anything about their lives or the context of the photos. You don’t want your descendants to inherit digital photos of strangers, do you?

How To Pass On The Stories Along With Those Digital Photos and Films

With modern technology we now have so many awesome tools available to connect those digital images with your story so they will be educational, cherished, and inspiring! The internet has made it possible to put your rare family history photos, slides, and films in a place where you can easily share them. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offer fabulous ways to showcase ancestors with photos, videos, and text story. Ancestry and other genealogy websites provide often free locations to build your family tree and upload your photo and films, along with story text. 

Video Is One of The Most Consumed Media Types

Video is now one of the most consumed media types on the internet and your great grandkids will be looking for the video about their family history. Those old photos, slides, and films are the perfect fodder to assemble an interesting and inspiring video for them to watch 24/7 anywhere in the world. Videos are easy to make using verbal recollections, video interviews, even remote video interviews on platforms like Zoom and Skype. Life story family history films are the perfect vehicle to contain life stories, family history, genealogical data like family trees, profiles of ancestors, old photo collections, 8mm, Super8, and 16mm films, and important things like values, philosophies, religious beliefs, life wisdom, and personal messages and blessings.  Future generations will be searching Google looking for videos about your family, their ancestors. 

Storybooks: Old Technology Still Works Best For Bedtime Stories

Print storybooks offer a simple and non-screen way (no batteries required) to do bedtime stories with little kids, infusing them with family identity, your family’s values, and celebrating their amazing ancestors. The best storybooks are designed so you don’t have to read the whole book in one sitting and sweet, educational conversations are started with the kids. 

Do Something With Your Old Photos, Slide, and 8mm Films!

So while at Heirloom Films and Storybooks we’re happy to digitize your old photo collection for you, for the sake of the next generation of your family we’d love to help you do something with those images and videos so they can in fact be inspiring.  Ask about our life story family history films, print storybooks,  online galleries, family history websites, interactive family trees, and photo collection organization services. 

How To Watch Video on Any Device (Almost)

The Best Format for Your Video on USB Flash Drive  

These days there is so much technology out there. One of the best physical medias for storing, sharing, and watching your finished life story family history film video is the teeny tiny USB Flash Drive or Memory Stick as some call it. Coming in ever larger digital capacities, this little storage device can hold hours of high definition video. And you can get these drives in very plain forms or very original shapes and colours disguised as typical household objects or even food!

The one problem that some folks have is not knowing which type of formatting to use on the USB Flash drive. What does this mean? Over the years several different methods of arranging the data on physical media has evolved. Different devices prefer different formats.  The most common types of media formatting are FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and exFat.  Most computers can read all formats (although Macs can't write to NTFS).

exFat is meant to be compatible between Windows PCs and Macs, and it is, both platforms being able to read and write to media using that format.  But many modern TVs with USB ports on the back still can't read exFat. 

USB Flash Drives that look like food


So which format do you want? What I've figured out with lots of trial and error is this. The USB Flash Drive format that can be played on the most devices (MacBook, Windows, and most TVs) is NTFS. Despite that a Mac can't write to NTSF, a greater number of recent TVs from Samsung, LG, and Sony can successfully read a USB FLash Drive formatted with NTFS. The fact that the Mac can't write to NTSF isn't an issue, unless you're a Mac only video producer and you don't have a Windows computer to make the Flash drive!

There are lots of articles on the web about media formatting because more ands, ifs, or buts about this topic. 

But my advice? When you're working with your videographer or personal historian in the final finishing process of a life story family history film tell them this: Put my final video on NTFS formatted USB Flash Drives.

And of course you'd want to have your video stored online for streaming to any device, but that's a whole other conversation. 

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