Every few years I have been asked to make a video to help celebrate a family occasion. Weddings, Bar-Mitzvahs, Birthdays and Anniversaries. Often these videos consist mostly of photos set to music and perhaps some interviews with family members. This year, for my dad's 65th birthday, we decided to kick things up a few notches. Due to my busy work schedule, this was, of course, a last minute project. The weekend before last my brother, wife and I got together with a bright green sheet of fabric and some fun ideas. 80 hours of editing later, mostly late at night, I produced a very unique tribute video to my dad, which we showed a few days ago at a surprise party my mom had secretly been planning for 90 of their closest friends.
The DJ said, "I've seen a lot of videos but this was about the best thing I have ever seen." We didn't do it for praise, we did it for Dad. But I am happy the audience enjoyed what they saw. We showed the 20 minute version at the party, but also made a 40 minute version for home viewing.
Here are a few still frames from the production. Video clips later.
The Before - lots of ad-libbing while trying to visualize the final result. I did have a storyboard and some of the backgrounds made.
The After - a little rough around the edges of the keys. The smaller the foreground elements the better. Still ok for a family video - lots of fun to watch - and as far from photos set to music as possible!
If you have the opportunity to use some of your professional skills to pay tribute to a friend of relative, I encourage you to make the time and do it.
Posted by: Mike Cohen on Feb 26, 2011 at 8:31:54 pm
In the past, here and on the forums, I have discussed the merits of putting one's relatives on videotape. I can think of no greater use for video than in documenting those you wish never to forget.
This past week we buried my last grandparent, my dear Izzy.
While sometimes an annoyance, the video camera surgically attached to my hand at every family gathering, no matter how insignificant, has been my own conduit to the storehouse of precious memories. If I close my eyes, I can certainly envision favorite memories, places, fragments of conversations with people I have loved. But with my eyes open, I have a treasure trove of visions of the past which I shall cherish forever. And when my relatives are prepared, past the point of immediate mourning and sadness, they too can share the magic of visting their best friends who speak no more.
Today I viewed a few minutes of video, shot around the dinner table at Grandma's house 6 years ago, before any of us could have imagined the start of a gradual decline in health we would helplessly witness less than 12 months later. I know not what was going through my mind as I shot this, but rather than the typical wide shots and zooms of family videos, I captured seemingly meaningless images - pouring soda into a glass, Grandpa eating a spoonful of noodle soup, Grandma shaking salt over her matzoh ball soup then asking if the soup needed salt, a closeup of the oil painting on the wall depicting a wise old rabbi who watched over all of us while we grew up. Now the wise rabbi is all that remains of that scene, helping us mourn our losses.
Indeed, the random images are in fact the most poignant of all. I encourage you the reader to do the same every chance you get. For life is fleeting, and any help you can give yourself in capturing meaningful imagery will pay dividends in the future.
Thanks for reading.
Posted by: Mike Cohen on Jun 10, 2008 at 1:49:57 pm
I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.
Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.
Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.
In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.
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I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!