Preserve Precious Memories Before It’s Too Late
After losing a loved one, it can be easy to wish that you could have one last conversation with them. Perhaps it would be to ask them that one unanswered question or to hear that story they loved telling. Death can be sudden and we shouldn’t hold it against ourselves over what wasn’t asked, but instead should be taking the opportunity while we have our loved ones around us to preserve their legacy and our time with them.
As a filmmaker who loves documenting moments in my life through pictures and video, I decided to sit down with my grandparents in 2020 and create their ‘life stories’ by asking them many questions about their life. I filmed them answering all of these and then used my editing experience to create what I called their “Legacy Video”. I then built a structure around these questions, bought better equipment, and did the same with my parents. After seeing the impact of these videos and hearing feedback from others, I began offering this as a service for others under my family-focused media production company, Everlasting Studios.
I didn’t realize the impact these videos would have, and how lucky I am to do these for people. To learn so much about the lives of older generations while capturing a life story that can be kept in the family for generations has been a blessing. I also find it fascinating that in the future, we won’t just be looking at written documents or photos of our ancestors, but seeing videos of them at all different ages in increasingly higher resolutions.
Some people take photos to document precious moments, others write things down, and there are those who take videos. I believe all of these are fantastic in their own way since without them we would only have our memories to reflect on the past with, but there is something particularly special in having a video of a loved one; hearing their voice, seeing their smile. It brings back memories that would otherwise be left forgotten.
How is a Legacy Video created?
The first step is figuring out which questions we want to ask from the question bank I provide, your own custom questions are always welcome too. Next, we set up a filming day where I sit down with your loved one(s) and comfortably ask those questions while expanding on points when needed. The final step is to edit the footage into a beautiful video of your loved one telling their life story. Once finalized, you are given a high-resolution file on a USB stick and/or Google Drive private link for easy viewing and sharing. We currently offer Legacy Videos in Vancouver & surrounding, with intentions of making this service available to more areas in Canada.
Some challenges with Legacy Videos can be language and cognitive barriers from different illnesses or old age. There are different solutions to these challenges. For language barriers, it helps if there is a family member who can translate, and in that case, we can create subtitles over the original speaker’s voice. In the case of cognitive barriers, it can get more complex, but in many situations still possible.
Preserving precious moments can be easily left until too late. For those who need an economic option for a Legacy Video, I recommend considering writing up your own questions and video-taping your loved one answering them from your smartphone or camera. Editing with free software like iMovie would be best for Apple users.
How did Everlasting Studios begin?
I was lucky enough to grow up in the early 2000’s with a family that used video cameras for trips, celebrations, and more that we can now look back on. In 2020 I found some old 8mm reels of my Grandparents and I converted them onto USB sticks as digital files to relive some old memories in a very convenient and safe way. After I bought the equipment and went through the learning curve, I started digitizing every different video format we had and then presented all of them to our family at Christmas on their own USBs. That was the first service we provided, and now we offer memorial/engagement/wedding slideshows and Legacy Videos to allow for services that cover your family media preservation needs.
The technology available now is amazing in allowing us to capture precious moments while also preserving old media. It has never been easier to keep these precious memories safe through the security of digital formats while making them simple to share between the family. I use Google Drive to share all my family documents between family, while also copying them onto separate USB sticks as a backup. As I tell my clients, having multiple backups of your files in different locations is key for true preservation.
People might question why a 25-year-old offers these services, and the truth is each one began as something I did for my family out of pure passion and love. If you have any questions about what we do or want tips on improving the way you can preserve/capture important moments, I would love to help! Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.everlastingstudios.ca
Guest Blog by Liam Martyn