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GoPro founder and Charlie Rose talk about recording family moments

The creator of GoPro, NIck Woodman appeared on Charlie Rose towards the end of September.  I was flicking the remote and caught a piece of the interview in which they discuss recording life’s events for future generations.  Charlie wishes he had recorded his father’s WWII stories, and Nick wonders what it would be like to have hi-definition footage of our parents as kids – and the value of knowing where you come from.  Wow, this is exactly what we do!

Roots: Our Journeys Home

141021133955-cnn-roots-anderson-cooper-michaela-pereira-c1-mainCNN premiers this series tonight.  It features their anchors and hosts as they trace their family history.  Right up our alley!

Here’s a link to their site: CLICK HERE

Sandy’s Video Biography: A Resounding Review

We recently finished the video biography of Sandy.  We filmed him upstate NY in the Catskills. Sandy has had a very interesting life, living in Italy and Scotland during WWII, Rome in the 1960s, and the United States since the mid-1970s.  To view excerpts of his video click on the link below:


We were hired by Audrey (Sandy’s daughter) and Bill (Audrey’s husband).  Bill really was the one who felt that Sandy’s story was important and wanted to record if for their children.  Here’s what Bill had to say about the finished video:

“I was totally thrilled with your work.  First of all you really captured all Sandy’s stories ( and then some) that always captivated me.  Second, you really captured Sandy exactly as he is, in all his glory….entertaining, articulate, old fashioned,  accomplished, worldly and parochial (all at once) and “somewhat” self-absorbed (which we somewhat tolerate and have somewhat accepted about him for a long time). Third, the final product is very impressive, very well produced and very professional.  Finally, I think it does exactly what I had envisioned, which was to inscribe someone I have always thought of as quite a character, his story, and the memories of his life and to create a connection to his life that at this point can best be made through him.  And the medium (in your hands) really proved up to the task. So Bravo! Very well done!”

The work we do means a lot to our clients.  We aim to please.


Math and your Ancestors

Math and Your Ancestors

Going back 10 generations (250 years) every person has 1,024 great-grandparents (512 couples in that generation) who are directly responsible for her/his existence. Wow! Can anyone double check the math? Can you go back, say, 4 generations and name your 30 direct ancestors?


Yes, there’s synergy, overlap, many shared interests between genealogy and biographical videos.  I believe both offer the participants a journey, a quest for a personal-historical ‘truth’.  I recently went to a meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay.  It was a very interesting experience to meet the 20 or so members in attendance who are actively pursuing their family history.  The focus of the meeting was a webinar by Nolan Altman, Vice President of Data Acquisition at JewishGen.  He presented an in-depth look at the JewishGen website and offered several insights into the innovative search features.  It is truly amazing how technology and the web have facilitated the search for one’s roots.  And  JewishGen is free!  They have a youtube promotional video, and here’s the link:


My favorite quotes from the video naturally are a perfect fit for what we do at Heritage Media Group:

“…and satisfy this very human curiosity about where we come from and who we are.”

“…to help us preserve our family history and heritage for future generations”



There’s a little bit of detective work as one prepares to create a video biography of an elder relative.  I’m not going to compare it to the continuous investigation required to trace one’s family tree, but nevertheless there’s a bit of sleuthing to do.  In addition to the boxes of photos and stored-away albums, documents can really help tell your family’s story.  Here’s a helpful list:

Birth and death certificates

Religious records (bar mitzvah, baptism)

Book inscriptions and family bibles

Photograph albums



Diaries and journals

Family histories

Local histories

Newspaper archives

Baby books

Marriage books

Wedding invitations

Funeral books and memorial cards

Identification documents (passport, driver’s license, school ID)

Immigration papers

Naturalization papers

Land and property records

Military records

Directories (phone, alumni lists)

School records


I just saw an ad on television that really caught my attention. Featuring snowboarder Louie Vito, the spot was created using Louie’s home movies. It goes back to his 2nd birthday and shows all the ‘little steps’ along the way that led to his snowboarding passion and success. I found an article in the NY Times about the campaign (for TD Ameritrade) which divulges that not all the ‘home movies’ are actually home movies…nevertheless the ad agency requested and collected old videos, super 8 film, photographs to create the campaign – with Louie, skater J.R. Celski, and others. These spots are edited quite well and demonstrate how effective home movies can be to help tell a powerful story. When our clients have home videos and old films we get excited – these materials make for compelling moments in the videos we produce.
NY Times Article: http://tinyurl.com/lu54u5d
JR Celski ad: http://tinyurl.com/mtygdz9
Louie Vito ad on youtube: http://tinyurl.com/n6wmmu5



I came across a past issue of National Geographic last month while in New York.  Not so old, actually – from 2007.  The cover story is about Memory, but what I really loved was the Editor’s Note.  In this note, NG Editor in Chief Chris Johns writes of his father’s dementia.  It is a powerful essay and here are my favorite lines: “Memory, perishable and enduring, is the brain’s archive…Its loss can be cruel, but remember this: It is through memory that we hold on to those we love.”  I would add that it is also through the stories told and passed down that we remember and hold on to those we love.  Below are links to the Editor’s Note and to the article on Memory.






We love Story Corps and feel a true bond with their mission.  After all, capturing and preserving stories is our business too.  Now trough February 1 the MobileBooth is in Tampa! Call and make a reservation! Here’s a link to their site: http://storycorps.org/



One of the first family video biographies I produced involved the filming of 4 siblings.  What a treat to get differing points-of-view on the events of their lives. Most of our clients hire us to create video biographies of one or both parents – but family is family! In this spirit we open our blog with an homage to siblings.   Here’s to you, brother!  Below is a link to a piece by Frank Bruni/NY Times about ‘The Gift of Siblings” :