Monday, January 02, 2006

Video: Don't forget the old folks!

When you are shooting family events it's natural focus on the children. But, please, don't forget the adults... particularly the old folks.

I regret that someone didn't give me that advice when I been shooting video more than 30 years ago. Our generations are the first to be able to capture the personalities of what will be the ancestors of your granchildren. Now that my own grandparents are gone, as is my father, I realize what a precious gift that is.

When I began shooting, my children were just babies. 1/2" portable recorders could only record 20 minutes per reel and it was relatively expensive. (A 20 minute tape cost about $15 in 1968 dollars.) Taping was generally reserved for special events like birthday parties and Christmas. There were plenty of older people at these events; but, the only way you'd know that is by shots of their legs as a child walked past or a fleeting glimpse as the camera panned from one child to another.

Through sheer luck I managed to capture my maternal grandparents; but, I cannot find any footage of my paternal grandparents. That's a great lost for my own grandchildren. Fortunately, my father shot some 8mm films that include images of all of my grandparents; but, it's just not the same as having a video.

But, as recording times became longer, tape became cheaper and I wised up, I determined to deliberately find opportunities to video tape older members of our extended families. As a result, my granddaughters not only see their mommy as a baby; but, they can see my own father and mother and my wife's mother and father playing and interacting with her. They and their children have the opportunity to appreciate the wonderful legacy of our parents and their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my brother-in-law lost the only videotapes he had of his father due to a theft. In making some copies of my own tapes, I ran across one that included his father and gave him a copy. By the time I ran across these tapes his father had died. I'll never forget his reaction as he watched the tape for the first time. "I can hear his voice, I can hear his voice..."

I urge you to make sure that you and your children's children will be able to have that same experience as your own older generations pass away. Don't forget the old folks.


Blogger Hin Man said...

What a wonderful post you have to share with others. I take all your suggestions to heart.

6:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home