Video Biography FAQ
Please see our Glossary for a definition of terms used throughout this site.
How do I prepare my photos for a video biography or tribute video?
The more thought and attention you put into the preparation of the materials, the more rewarding your final presentation will be, as it will become much more personal and meaningful. The preparation process typically involves the selection and ordering of photographs, writing captions to accompany them, determining what text to include in chapter cards, selecting music, and finally, instructions for any custom animations or editing treatments you may want included in your project.
What if I don’t have time to put my photos in order?
If you do not specify an order for your photographs, we will incorporate them in the video in no particular order. While it takes extra time to organize your photographs, it will pay-off as the video will be much more meaningful to you.
Which photos are best for my personal history video?
Choose photographs that are representative of various events and time periods you want to include. Try to avoid similar photographs (for example two different poses or angles of the same subject) and photographs that are out of focus. We can use printed photographs, negatives, slides or a wide range of digital formats.
Can you use photos from a digital camera or photo CD?
Absolutely – just send them along to us on a CD with your other photos.
How do I get the photos to you?
If you live in the Houston area, you can arrange to drop off your photos with us. Otherwise we recommend you use a reliable, traceable courier.
What if my photos need retouching?
Provide us specific instructions for your photos and film. Just note which photo and the correction you would like us to make. For example if you want a photograph cropped a particular way or wish to have some photographic defaults fixed. You can also request extra retouches or photo restoration for an additional fee. Basic color and brightness adjustments are always included.
Can you incorporate other elements in my personal history?
Other items such as plane or transit tickets, maps, postcards, certificates and many other paper items as well as three-dimensional items can be included in your video.
What about selecting music?
The choice of music goes a long way to enhance the ‘mood’ of your presentation. If you do not have any particular songs or style of music you would like to use, our skilled editors will make the most appropriate selections from our diverse music library.
What equipment will you use to create my video?
We digitize your photos with high quality Epson and Nikon Scanners then assemble them on Apple Macintosh computers, using Apple’s Final Cut Pro Non-linear Editing Program and Apple’s Production Studio Suite for Special Effects and Authoring. Your final DVD is also created on Macintosh Computers with Pioneer Superdrives.
What video formats do you accept?
We accept your home movies on VHS, Video8, Hi8, Digital8 and MiniDV. We also accept 8mm and 16mm film. Contact us if your format is not listed here.
Can I play the DVD on a computer?
If your computer is equipped with a DVD drive and you have DVD player software installed, yes you can.
What is your turnaround time?
On average, a typical video biography can take from 6 – 12 weeks upon receipt of your materials and completion of our interviews. If you have old film that needs to be converted or photographs that need restoration, your turnaround time will be a bit longer. We suggest that if you have a specific event that you’re preparing the DVD for, you plan ahead and allow plenty of time prior to the date in case questions or problems with the materials arise. For longer, more elaborate productions, you must also allow adequate time for all the additional elements involved in the project like research, scriptwriting, pre-production planning, on-location interviews and extensive editing.
What is your process for creating a custom DVD presentation?
Once we receive your materials they are digitized and imported into our computers. The video is then assembled in a non-linear editing system. Simultaneously, the necessary graphics (like title and chapter cards) are created in a graphics application. They are then added to the video, along with the music. We then create the final video and also prepare it for DVD creation.
How long will you keep my photos on file?
It is our policy to keep your photos and project information on file for 6 months. That gives you the opportunity to order more copies of your DVD presentation Your final video delivered on a Digital Video Disk (DVD) with a basic navigation menu. Compatible with most consumer DVD players. Your video will be delivered in a keepsake case with labels unique to your own video at minimal cost. If you would prefer, we will not keep your photos on file. Just notify us and we will delete all the files upon completion and delivery of your final DVD.
How and when will I get my originals back?
Your originals will be returned to you with your final DVD.