Video Message from Grandpa for Wedding
May 12, 2010 8:09 PM   Subscribe

My dad is planning to visit my Grandpa this summer to record a video to play at our wedding, because he's too ill to make the journey and won't be able to attend. I've read the StoryCorps DIY interview stuff and other questions on interviewing/oral history, so there's that. But if any of you have done this or can offer tips, I'd love to hear your ideas and experiences. Thanks!
posted by emkelley to Human Relations (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ask Grandpa to tell a story about his wedding, how he met his wife, and give you advice about successful marriage. Lovely idea.
posted by theora55 at 8:12 PM on May 12, 2010

To try to do it in one take is probably folly. Shoot lots of video. The first takes should be about getting the lighting and sound right, and getting Grandpa comfortable with talking on-camera. Then go for it. Keep going as long as Grandpa wants to talk. Maybe do some more takes the next day (in case Grandpa thinks of something else he wants to say, or Dad thinks of another angle). Then edit it all down to a presentation for the wedding.
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:11 PM on May 12, 2010

Get close ups. Too often amateur video is too long shot and it diminishes the intimacy of what you are trying to capture.
posted by A189Nut at 10:41 PM on May 12, 2010

Record everything. Don't do any 'trail runs' or rehearsals without the video running. That way you will not miss any fresh, genuine moments and have to re-record something that then sounds stilted.

Have your dad use questioning strategies like "Tell me about...." "I recall you had a story about a boat ride on your honeymoon - can you tell me about that?

Have him be sure to do follow-up questions: "What was that like? Can you remember the weather that day? Had you known that guy before? Was that when you were working at the plant? What did your mother think of that?"

And it sounds like you may end up with lots more video than you will want to play at the wedding. That's actually a good thing. This may be a prompt for your grandpa to do lots of remembering and sharing that wouldn't otherwise get captured - your dad might as well take advantage of that opportunity and do some other interviewing, too, if your grandpa has the energy.

It can be intense sometimes. Have some water nearby, tissues, etc. Pay attention to the lighting and the sound.

Your dad might want to have some things available to trigger memories or start conversations, especially old family photos. Get your grandpa to ID everyone in the photo, tell what was happening that day, then how it felt, who was there, what the music was, what they did after, etc.

Some places with tips on oral history video interviewing:

Interviewing Mom and Grandma: Oral History Tips
Univ. of Hawaii's Center for Oral History, with many useful links
posted by Miko at 7:04 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

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