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Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...

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Bill Thomas
Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 15, 2018 at 12:03:05 am

Hi all,

We are a small production company and have been doing video and editing for 30 years and (similar to other posts I've read here) we feel like dinosaurs! We try to stay current with pro equipment, but even our Panasonic HPX500 feels like a relic!
No longer can we get the "$1000 per finished minute" videos. People just don't want to pay that anymore, what with young people these days and their inexpensive, high-quality equipment charging next to nothing. (Notice I DIDN'T say '"young whippersnappers).

We have reinvented ourselves a few times in the past years, but it's still tough making clients part with their money when their "nephew just bought a new DSLR".

But we are leaning now towards doing simple business or personal legacy-type videos. Maybe a 1 to 2 hour interview with 10 to 20 photos and some nice editing. Trying to stay away from b-roll and other stuff that takes more time, thus trying to keep the pricing down.

We are more interested in the business end of it since there are more avenues for us since we have an online business magazine.

My main question is if anyone is still doing this - profitably - or if people just don't care about spending a few bucks for their parent, grandparent, CEO, etc.? When I say a few bucks I'm talking $500 to $2000 or higher.

In doing a lot of research of other companies like this, it seems that there are not a lot of them, and a fair amount that I have found still have SD or 720p video samples on their website! Is this a sign that maybe THEY gave up years ago??

I understand video has taken over the world and everyone with a camera could do something like this. But I can't see someone holding their iPhone for 2 hours while grandma talks! Or interviewing a CEO with a cheap DSLR and an on-camera mic!

Am I way off base here in thinking this could be profitable? Do people even care about having a video of their parents or grandparents to keep for future viewing?

Please, any insight would be greatly appreciated!!


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Greg Ball
Re: Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 16, 2018 at 2:15:53 pm


I've thought about this myself. The challenge is finding the clients. For a while I had someone (an older gentleman who had been a producer in the 1970's) who could line up wealthy seniors, but he passed away. If you can figure out a way to get clients, I'd love to hear about it. I don't know where you're located. Is it a good market?

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

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Todd Terry
Re: Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 16, 2018 at 3:03:39 pm

The only "legacy" type work we've done has been, sadly, for funerals... and we've only done that a couple of times.

A couple of times we've gotten that urgent call "Uncle Joe just died and his funeral is Tuesday, we've got all these pictures and videos and were wondering...."

We did take those jobs, and the clients payed plenty (and rush/overtime rates), and on the spot. I've thought myself "Hmmm that seems like an underserved market there..." and would probably be relatively easy to hook up with one or more funeral homes... but it's not really the type of work I'm interested in pursuing.

I'll note that recently our GM went to a funeral that included a video... video clips and a photo montage... the usual. He said it just went on and on and on... waaaay too long. He might have been exaggerating, but said it felt like about 20 minutes to him. At any rate, he said it seemed that everyone there was ready for it to be over long before it was.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 16, 2018 at 9:43:02 pm

So you're saying, the deceased's life flashed before YOUR eyes? ☺

Aside from the funeral montage bit, a potential market I can imagine is to set up in a parlor on a nursing home or veteran's care center and do oral history interviews of the residents who are willing, for their families, or for a local historical society or even library. The concept would be to do a sort of residency/retainer situation. Billing could happen thru the facility.

It's time-consuming work, but the results can be gratifying. The folks often enjoy reminiscing to a fresh audience as well. Everything from favorite recipes and family jokes, to singing songs they liked, and their reactions to key historic events and trends over the years, as well as the more conventional stuff.

It doesn't require a lot of resources; some flattering, soft lighting, that's not hard on their eyes. A good shotgun boom or lav. A 4K camera on a wide shot where you can extract medium and close shots in post, when needed. Lots of storage. Really the hardest part is having a good interviewer to talk the subject thru an hour or so, for however many sessions they want/need. Montages or adding b-roll of scanned photos would be an extra up-charge.

Families who have an elder in care could be interested in preserving their loved one's best lore for their future generations, before memory loss takes it away.

I know from personal experience that this could be considered quite valuable to some people.

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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 16, 2018 at 4:00:03 pm

Hi Bill,

My experience is similar to what Greg and Todd said. I've done them. It's a very sporadic source of work in my area. I've done more actual recordings of funeral services and even streamed one than legacy videos. Way more, in fact.

I've done two, "sort of." One legacy video I've done was for a local celebrity (professional athlete whose name you'd recognize) whose father died. The funeral home called me saying he wanted a memorial video where his dad's friends reminisced about their times together. So, I interviewed about a dozen friends in a side room at the funeral home after the memorial service.

The "sort of" legacy video was an actual memorial service held several months after another local celebrity died. The family arranged a special legacy-memorial service and several hundred people attended. I did a multicam job of the event, but it was a number of friends, family members, and former co-workers individually giving their "speeches" regarding the guy. They set up an endowment, erected a memorial, funded scholarship etc.

These kinds of jobs aren't really something I feel I can target in my area. Like Greg said, getting clients is the problem. It's like doing weddings for family members of corporate clients. I do 'em when I can get 'em. Getting them is unpredictable, at least for me.


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John Wiedenheft
Re: Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 23, 2018 at 2:25:09 pm

I'm actually interviewing an elderly couple next weekend at the request of their adult children. This was more of a one-off for us, it's not something we typically see or handle.

Interesting question on this: The client—the daughter of the couple—is asking for a confidentiality agreement from me to make sure anything I tape/store is kept confidential. Have any of you come across this? How did you handle it?


KSMQ Public Television

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Mark Suszko
Re: Anybody doing Family or Business Legacy videos? Comments please...
on Mar 23, 2018 at 3:22:21 pm

NDA's are not a big thing for interview or event recordings, long as it's not something criminal. They were typical when I did deposition work, and I have signed a few since then. You just have to realize that nothing from the project will be usable for your reel, is all. But the reference that you're secure and reliable can be worth the trade-off.

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