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Getting started with video

Film or video is a powerful way of telling a story. If you would like to add video entries to your story bank, but have been put off by a lack of experience, never fear. As the examples we’ve linked to below show, a video doesn’t have to be complicated to tell a great story and engage its audience.

You also don’t need to do expensive courses or buy fancy software. There are plenty of how-to guides available online, even video tutorials, plus you can download free software for video editing. If you have Windows XP on your home computer, you will have Microsoft Movie Maker already installed. If you have an Apple computer, it probably came with Apple iMovie. Both of these software packages should have instructions that pop up when you open the program for the first time or accessible from their Help menus.

If neither of these options appeal to you, you can find lots of other options to download from the net, such as Avid Studio and Wax, but always ALWAYS do a quick Google search to find out if they are legitimate. There are many places online where people post warnings and discussions of software and other tools.

To give you an idea of what is possible, here are a few examples of storytelling videos people have made.

This is a simple video of a woman talking about what she knows of her family history.

Family history from African American Registry on Vimeo.

A great example of how a simple video can be really effective in telling a story.

Family History from Custom Home Video on Vimeo.

A man made this video for his parents’ sixtieth birthdays.

Goulfine/Katcher Family History (Trailer) from The Discerning Brute on Vimeo.

Here is a lovely example of telling a personal story via a simple video.

Claire Believes from Rick Koconis Photography on Vimeo.

Here’s a cute animated take aimed at younger family members about why family history might be interesting and relatively easy to research.

July 12th, 2011 by Sarah Jansen
Filed in: For Community, For Family, How to, Recording
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Zahmoo is a story bank for collecting and sharing your family and business stories.


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