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DIY Lighting & 6 Mistakes You Can Avoid

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One of the most painful things we see all too often, is a homemade video that looks homemade. If it weren’t for all the distractions of low quality, we’d be able to focus on the informative content! Most people recognize the importance of video for marketing and personal sharing. If you want to allow your message to have its full impact, here are six simple tips for making sure your DIY lighting is helping and not hindering.

First let’s cover some basics.

For a video, you need three essential elements: a video recording device (like your phone), sound, and lighting. If you have an actual camera-great! Set up a tripod or hold it stable to reduce shaking. If you use a smart phone-same thing. Set it on selfie mode, but place it on a stand or brace your arm to reduce the bobbles. If you plan on using the in-camera mic, try to eliminate any background noise. You may also want to get closer to the camera so that your audience can actually hear you. With both camera and sound, you are typically stuck with the quality of your recording device unless you make an additional purchase.

Now onto lighting.

Lighting is the aspect of recording that you do have some control over!

1. One big mistake people often make is with backlighting. The view might be pretty out your window, but the camera can’t pick up the bright scene behind you and the subject in the foreground. Turn on lights, but keep the main light in front of you so that you are highlighted.

(The bright background caused a silhouette. If we were to look from the opposite direction, the outdoor light would nicely illuminate the scene.)

windows, Filming, office, dentist, x-ray, indoor, patient, digital, men, indoor, film, view, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy Productions2. Cameras can struggle adjusting the white balance if there is a mixture of indoor and outdoor lighting. If you can’t adjust your camera, you can help it by using one type of lighting.

(The big windows in the dentist office illuminated the scene, so the harsh overhead lights were turned off.)

shadows, Filming, girls, smile, selfie, camera, indoor, window, digital, contrast, light, sisters, photo, blonde, brunette, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy Productions

3. Whether you use a studio light or an office lamp, adjust the angle and intensity so that you do not create harsh shadows on your face. Be as picky as Goldilocks: not too bright, not too dark. You may have to move things around to have the right amount of light on your face, but it is worth it.

(A window cast strong shadows on the young women’s faces. If they faced the window they would have been evenly lit – and limited the yellow-green indoor lighting.)

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4. Background does affect lighting. Just like windows can be too bright behind the subject, plain white walls are less than ideal. They are flat and boring, and don’t have that sharp look like studio-produced whites.

(Having something in the background – but blurred by the depth of field – creates interest and avoids walls that are either too bright or dull colored.)

Behind the scenes, interview, FAQ, inspector, sound, business, home, yard, house, film, video, job, story, history, tell your story, tell my story, 5. If you are outside, try to find even lighting. Avoid the harsh midday sun or shooting in partial shade (like under a tree where sunlight through the leaves creates a dappled effect).

(The shade from the house provided even lighting so that nothing on screen was too bright or hidden by shadows.)

record, lighting, sound, microphone, reflector, background, filming, interview, director, professional, quality, behind the scenes, camera, home, movers, video, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy Productions6. You can add a pop of light and even out shadows on the subject while filming outside by using a reflector. Don’t have a reflector? Even an automobile sun reflector or white paper can help!

(In the bright sunlight, the reflector filled in the shadows on her face, causing her to look evenly lit and smooth features.)

Now to get started.

Lighting is just one aspect of filming that can make or break your video. Continue learning more about things like where to place your subject in the screen, depth of field, more lighting techniques, and mics for better sound quality. With some new skills and techniques and just a few upgrades, you can avoid simple mistakes and set your DIY videos up for better success!

VLP 2017 Review

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Dear VLP friends and family,

Thank you for joining us throughout 2017! Whether we got to work together or you paused scrolling through your feed to view one of our posts, thank you for your time and support. We have been blessed to connect with so many new friends and clients in addition to our longer-established relationships. Here is a brief review of this past year.

Our Clients

Shots from different projects. 2017, law, lawyers, tax, meeting, taxes, colorado, seminar, speaking, business, conference, workshop, class, finances, health, samples, smiling, couple, employees, businessmen, businesswomen, meeting, video production, tell my story

Each client has a unique story and different video needs. The variety certainly keeps things interesting! Last year a large portion of our services was to realtors and other professions that work with real estate. While that hasn’t changed, this year we have noticed the trend swaying in favor of attorneys and law. Filming at live events has also increased and we’ve attended many speaker workshops, training sessions, and even a few concerts.

Some of the stories this year have been told to educate social workers helping their clients achieve financial health. Another revealed a family seeking to adopt a child. We were able to help produce videos for several companies who wanted to tell their story on their websites. Getting to hear so many memories as we told their company story is such a privilege.  The music video for 13 Stripes and 50 Stars enabled us to change our pace and head outside, while producing recipe videos for the Palm Restaurants was a flurry of sights and smells.

Shots from different projects. palm, restaurant, lobster, cake, food, recipe, instructions, land title, office, meeting, music video, colorado, sing, singing, red rocks, flag, patriotic, samples, smiling, couple, employees, businessmen, businesswomen, meeting, video production, tell my story

One project has been on our queue since long before Visual Legacy Productions. Years ago, Bryan and Mike Moehring began the journey of telling the story of an unknown hero during the WWII Holocaust. This year a big step forward was made when we were able to film most of the reenactment scenes needed to tell this inspiring story. But like most self-produced films, it must wait on the back shelf again till resources are right to complete the next task.

Surprises in 2017

One can never guess how the year will turn out as you go into it. 2017 brought a lot of change for our family; some of it expected and some of it not! But change isn’t always a bad thing. One of those surprises was when Erika decided she had met the man she wanted to marry. When they decided on a short engagement, wedding preparations overwhelmed Erika’s normal workload. Luckily, she had an amazing boss who allowed her extra time off! The one downside of the marriage? Erika would move to Indiana. But not all change is bad, remember? Even though Erika can no longer work as an employee of Visual Legacy Productions, she is still doing editing as a contracted worker. This shift of positions fits Erika’s schedule great and has allowed Nancy to attend more meetings and events when Bryan needs help. And for those times when Bryan heads to a job by himself, he has invested into equipment-carrying help that doesn’t ask for a paycheck!

We look forward to sharing new stories with you next year. Please remember to follow us on social media and let us know if we can help you tell your story!

Why You Should Upgrade Your Newsletter to a Digital Yearbook

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With hectic schedules pushed to new levels each year, many people are looking for ways to save time and money. It’s no surprise that more people are seeking alternatives like e-cards1 and generic Facebook posts. While over 2 billion Christmas cards were sent through the US mail years ago, that number is down 30%2. But an e-greeting can’t replace the stories and updates that you want to share.

The Good and the Bad

We all certainly remember good and bad newsletters. Some were boring, others like books, and some were too personal or brag-fests. Some newsletters however, we looked forward to each year. Clever writing, simple to read and understand, interesting snapshots, and photos you want to keep. The internet is filled with the do’s and don’ts of newsletter writing, but even still, not everyone is cut out for writing. And besides, we have smartphones full of photos to share. What about those? Instead of printing and mailing dozens of personal letters, there has to be a better way to match the technology and pace of life today.

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What is a Digital Yearbook?

How does one blend the personal touch of a newsletter with the convenience of internet and the abundance of photos taken throughout the year? Make your newsletter digital! I like to call it a Digital Yearbook because it takes snapshots from your year and displays them in a logical but entertaining way. Photos tell your story and need only captions to bring them to life. Like a slideshow, home videos can be integrated as well to share your highlights. The benefit of this style is that it is not only able to be delivered as a link, but saved electronically. Music, transitions, and graphics make your family’s highlights engaging to watch. You don’t even have to make a Digital Yearbook yourself, as professionals can use what you give them to create your story for you. For a sample, click here.hand, hold, ipad, device, , digital, modern, family, social media, Facebook, view, watch, grandma, grandson, Christmas, tree, sitting, share, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy Productions

The holiday season has always been a time of connecting with loved ones. While beautiful cards are a key part of my Christmas décor, photos and newsletters capture more personal interest. They tell the story of the past year. “Look how the kids have grown!” “Wow, he got a promotion!” “What a fascinating vacation!” Not everyone is on social media or shares a brief anecdote of their year. Well-written newsletters provided that. Now, a Digital Yearbook can take your story to the next level.


Three Documentaries that Challenge

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Merchants of Doubt

We came across this documentary because it was made by the same producers as Food, Inc. Knowing the creators, we figured that this documentary challenged society as we know it, but honestly had no idea what it was about. Even reading the back didn’t really give clues as to the content. We figured we’d give it a chance.

documentary, fire, retardants, lies, politics, environment, safe, behind the scenes, graphics, interviews, science, industry, manufacture, doubt, production, challenge, future, visual, legacy, tell your storyImmediately, we were impressed with the graphics that were used and the quality of production. The abundant use of archival footage really brought the past to life and placed the viewer into the setting. While several topics were discussed, they did a good job of not only jumping back and forth as the storyline progressed, but subtly tying it back to the origin.

Speaking of content, what was Merchants of Doubt actually about? This documentary tackled several big industries and how they deceived and manipulated the public for their own benefit. The big three discussed were tobacco, flame retardants, and finally, climate change. While the producer’s bias is clearly evident, they included some interviews with several opponents…even if it was to place them in a discrediting light. I was honestly amazed at how many interviews they were able to acquire since their opposition should have known who they were.

Suffice it to say that we watched the entire film. I tend to be a cynic and think both sides of the argument can be politically influenced rather than purely scientific. However, while I may not have agreed with everything they did and said, or how they presented the information, it was engaging and enjoyable to watch.


City in the Sky

We love shows that allow us to learn. From History to Science, a well-told story answers questions about topics you may not have even considered. Even if you are not thrilled by planes, airports and the process are something most of us have experienced. This three-part series carries you off to thoroughly explore how the commercial airline industry functions!

documentary, planes, aviation, transportation, city, sky, behind the scenes, graphics, pbs, bbc, industry, bags, pilots, radar, production, challenge, future, visual, legacy, tell your storyPBS and BBC combine their powers to bring viewers like you on a behind the scenes tour of the many aspects of the aviation world. As each episode focuses on a part of the journey, excellent graphics enlighten your understanding of details and statistics. The creators travelled across the globe to show how the industry copes with extremes and talk to people in charge of some of the best procedures and newest innovations. Some of the topics you might expect: transporting baggage, plane maintenance, and control towers. You will also discover unseen, but essential, jobs that keep us flying on time and without incident. The high-quality production and scope of the story leave you with more appreciation and perspective than you may have expected.

You may wonder why this is a “documentary that challenges.” The aviation industry has always faced obstacles from the day man looked into the sky and wanted until fly till now. But the City in the Sky doesn’t wade through the history of flight. Instead, it shows how we function as the global network we know today. It shows how we tackle the immense numbers of cargo and passengers, navigate the bustling highways of the sky, and continue improving for the future. The sky is a city many of us have journeyed through, and thanks to the diligent work of so many, we will continue to visit again and again.


Babies Behind Bars

While searching for documentaries on Netflix, Babies Behind Bars stood out to me from all the other films about prisons. Instead of dealing with hardened criminals and the penal system, this promised to show the struggles of motherhood in an unfriendly environment. I admit I had never thought about the issue of women being sent to prison while pregnant and had no idea what would happen to the babies born there.

Babies Behind Bars seems like it was created on a lower budget than the other two documentaries in this blog. You can tell it was originally made for television because of the built-in cuts for commercial breaks and reprisals of the story. The workers, but especially the inmates, were open about what they saw and felt. This made for a raw and enlightening portrayal of what motherhood behind bars is like.

documentary, prison, pregnant, baby, born, environment, women, behind the scenes, motherhood, interviews, recidivism, industry, policy, Indiana, good behavior, challenge, future, visual, legacy, tell your storyMade in 2011, the filmmakers explored the pioneering program to keep infants with their incarcerated mothers called Wee Ones. Prisoners who met certain requirements had the opportunity to stay with their babies in a special dorm instead of having to give them up just 24 hours after birth. The program had only been around a few years at the time of filming and the jury was still out on whether the prisoners who participated achieved lower recidivism rates (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) and if their children fared better in society. I was able to find an article from just a month ago claiming that women who went through the Wee Ones program do indeed have lower recidivism results: 18% compared to 35%.

This documentary had a lot to do with change. First, this women’s prison in Indiana is the only place where this program has been allowed. A couple people mention in the film that it had been a struggle to get the Wee Ones program approved. Proponents of Wee Ones hope to see the good results bring change to more women’s prisons, but of course the biggest change hoped for in this documentary is the transformation of convicted criminals to healthy mothers and members of society.

2013 Study of Wee Ones:


What to be Aware of this October

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October. Brightly colored leaves that contrast the gray sky. Crisp air and frosty mornings. Building anticipation of costumes and candy. Pumpkin Spice everything. October is special in our memories for many things, but few of us are likely aware of all the awarenesses we ought to be aware of.  😉

coffee, mug, pumpkin spice, latte, video, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy ProductionsAwarenesses are like the beginning descriptions of October; some of them you relate to, some you love, others you hate.  If you live in the south, you may not look forward to crisp air and turning leaves, because it is an unlikely experience. Some people mourn the loss of Summer while others rejoice. Everyone has their own favorite thing, and that is what we tend to focus on. Take a moment to read each awareness as you scroll through this list of causes in October.

  • AIDs Awareness Month (National and declared by President Reagan)
  • Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
  • Bat Appreciation Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Blindness Awareness Month
  • Celiac Disease Awareness Month
  • Co-op Awareness Month
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Dyslexia Awareness Month
  • Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
  • Global ADHD Awareness Month
  • Global Diversity Awareness Month
  • Head Start Awareness Month
  • National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
  • National Critical Illness Awareness Month
  • National Cyber Security Awareness Moth
  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • National Depression Education and Awareness Month
  • National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • National Liver Awareness Month
  • National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month
  • National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
  • National RSV Awareness Month
  • National Sarcastic Awareness Month
  • National Spina Bifida Awareness Month
  • National SIDS Awareness Month
  • Rhett Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Squirrel Awareness Month
  • Workplace Politics Awareness Month

Notice that we would rally behind some causes, ignore others, and hopefully look up more information on still others. The ones that stand out most as we glance over the list are likely ones connected to a personal story. Perhaps a loved-one battled a listed disease, perhaps you’ve dealt first-hand with a condition, or maybe you were reminded of a story about a critter in the attic. The key to turning any of these combinations of letters arranged into meaningful and memorable influencers is their story.

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Awareness Grows Through Story

Without Story there is no passion. Without a connection to our hearts, we gloss over the names of things that mean everything to the person beside us. Stories answer the questions we never thought to ask. Why was it important? How did it make you feel? How did it change the world as you knew it? Your experiences, but also the tale of someone else’s experience, create emotional connections. Those connections make information real and memorable. Stories are the tool that unite us because they make empty phrases relatable images in our hearts and minds.

As we go into this month and the approaching holidays, it is the perfect opportunity to listen to someone’s story. Pay attention to your friends and acquaintances. See what they are passionate about and ask why. Likely there is a story at the base of it. Asking questions and listening to their story will widen your own interest in the topic and deepen your connection to the person. This October, enjoy your Fall favorites, but also raise your awareness and understanding.

Movement Trends in Cinematography

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Have you noticed the cinematography trend of filming with the handheld look? It has become popular for it’s “in the moment” and gritty feel. Slight motion, racking focus, and edgy framing lend to high-paced action and suspense as well as to films that want to feel more real-time and raw. However, just because something is a popular trend doesn’t mean it should be used for everything. Here are some thoughts on movement by professional cinematographers.

Movement from the Masters

Darius Khondji, Se7en

We designed the sequence to combine wide shots with close shots, and gliding steadicam shots with brutal shots – not steadicam, just the operator running with the camera. I held a second camera myself and I occasionally would literally throw myself on the floor with the camera. So we were mixing steadicam shots with locked-off shots and dolly moves, this constant melange helps give the scene its rhythm.

– Darius Khondji

How you film is part of the storyteller’s voice. Usually, a cinematographer would advise picking the tone and sticking with it (framing style, lighting, coloring, etc.) But if we see only fixed shots or every shot has movement, the viewer bores and wears out pretty quickly. Khondji mixed a variety of these elements in order to better communicate the feeling of the scene. It’s rhythm. They didn’t make crazy cuts to be cool, but to draw the viewer into the moment. And it just so happened we like the result and call it “cool.”


Jan De Bont, Speed

I really like handheld and not necessarily in a chase. Even in straight dramatic scenes just with two people talking. It gives you real intensity, just by looking a little rough.

– Jan De Bont

De Bont brings up the artistry of cinematography. It’s about a feeling. The very nature of slight movement lends action to otherwise static and potentially boring scenes. Going handheld with the camera shouldn’t be reserved only for action sequences like chase scenes, but can be used to instill vibrancy where a fixed shot could fall short.

Harris Savides, The Game

Over my career I’ve come to understand that we should not move the camera just for the sake of moving it. Camera movement should always come from telling the story and understanding what that story is. It should not come from asking how do I make it better and more dynamic but from asking do we need to make it better and more dynamic? It’s about conveying information to the audience and then saying “Can we make it better for them.”

– Harris Savides

I think Savides nailed the point of visual storytelling. Cinematography is about finding the best way to visually tell a story. In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing flashier, faster, and bigger equal better. We want the visuals to add to and not detract from the story, but Savides brings up the question of, “Is it really necessary?” The goal isn’t to merely look fabulous, it is to clearly and fully communicate.

Which is Right?

Many young video producers use the handheld look for their films. Some of it is artful. Some of it is irritating. Choosing to have a fixed camera or a steady camera doesn’t make one producer old-fashioned or irrelevant and another one right or better at his craft. Cinematography is an art and art is subjective. It is a tool to reach the goal of finding the best way to visually communicate.


All quotes from



Drones: Unmanned & Unhindered

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A few years back when drones became affordable and usable to the common enthusiast, the limits of filming were suddenly thrown wide open. In spite of the confusion of getting regulations in place, photographers and videographers were eager to take their crafts to another level. We continue to see new innovative ways to utilize the small unmanned machines to gain new perspectives.

Probably the most straight forward use for drone is to capture the outdoor world from above. Landscapes and cityscapes can be seen from views that could only be reached with great expense and effort. What can we actually use these handy aerial tools for? A lot.

Uses for Drone

Real estate videos are one of our most common uses for a drone. Aerial shots give prospective buyers a wider view of the neighborhood and not just the house. Views and location, as well as the architecture of the house, are displayed before the viewer.

Flying above houses, you end up looking down at a lot of roofs. Drones give a great perspective to the condition of shingles and other rooftop appliances. This makes life easier and safer for workers having to make estimates and check on damage in precarious places.

Drones are very mobile and a skilled operator can create shots that mimic cinematography using large and expensive equipment. You can more easily fly through certain spaces than a helicopter. Action can be followed easily without the use of a dolly or jib. Depending on the goals of the scene, drones can be a very handy camera!

Filming action and sports can be a dangerous job! Not only does the drone offer new perspectives, but they can follow the action while staying out of the way. The view from above also offers a great way to analyze team formations during sports events.

Video and photography are all about being in the right spot to tell a story. That story may be aimed at gaining a customer or simply sharing a stunning view. Whatever that is, drones give us the ability to go places that would be humanly impossible. They let us achieve the ideal. And they are also another fun tool to the visual arsenal.

The Office Museum

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Offices tell a lot about the person who works there. The things in an office show the person’s interests and personality. Bryan is a collector-not just of stories. After being in the media/video production world for over 30 years, he has seen not only many impressive technological advancements, but been a part of a host of different projects. Photos, awards, keepsakes, and nick-knacks from around the world join stored equipment and tools. Here is a glimpse into the array of artifacts that make up the Visual Legacy Productions museum.

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The Artifacts

This was Bryan’s first 35mm camera that he used as a boy. It represents the start of his journey. Because of their size, early video cameras were not as easy to store. While it still works, it hasn’t been used in years. Nowadays, we stick to digital instead of film and use Canon.

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Betacam was to VHS what 8 Track tapes were to cassette tapes- big! Betacam, or Betamax, were used to store video projects for only a few years before VHS came on the scene and soon took over. We have no way of viewing the content on these giants anymore, but still…here they are!

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Ahh, the days of Digital Video Camcorders! These little tapes represent a huge jump in portability and storage. They also made recording more readily available! Video recording for personal use suddenly became commonplace. What was a family vacation without dad or mom behind the camcorder?

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Bryan was working on a project in Romania during the revolution against the Soviet Union in December of 1989. Across the country, uprising citizens cut out the communist symbol from the center of their flags. Before Bryan left, his local contact kindly presented him this flag from their town.

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As a child, this piranha from Brazil was one of my favorite items out of all the things my dad brought home. Bryan got the piranha while filming for a ministry in the Amazon. Not only was it fun to show off and scare friends, but it engages the senses of sight, touch, and smell! 😉

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This Styrofoam “rock” was used as a prop in a reenactment filmed in Malta about the apostle Paul, his conversion, and ministry. It was used to stone an innocent man to death. (No one was harmed in the making of the film.)

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Ethiopia has become a special place to Bryan and there are many artifacts that I could show. This pottery shard was collected during a trip to track down the Ark of the Covenant with BASE Institute.

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This is the first Digital Personal Communicator. Cell phones have certainly changed over the years. Bryan has always been quick to adopt advancements in technology.

The Office

I hope you have enjoyed your little tour of our office and the odd things we save. The things we collect tell the stories of who we are. We’d love to hear about the key pieces that make up your office museums! Please share in the comments!


Family Matters – Our Story Our Legacy

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Working in the business of storytelling allows us to learn about a multitude of different businesses and lives. We believe that every one has a story. Yet in the process of helping people tell theirs, we could easily forget to tell our own. We could not continue to let time slip past us since capturing family legacies is a core value. Therefore, we decided to bring along a camera and microphone to our cross-country family gathering.

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Grandparents’ Interview

Gathering the Family

Our priority interview was for the grandparents. We set up our equipment on the garden patio and brought out tea and cookies for the small table. If it weren’t for the whir of the neighbor’s lawn mower, it would have been a quintessential teatime chat. Still, the interview moved along easily as they told about growing up with very different backgrounds and their romantic first meeting. The intimate setting allowed for stories to be brought up that I had never heard before during previous family gatherings. Even though I have spent a considerable amount of time with them, after the interview I felt as though I knew them even more.

One afternoon while everyone was around, we set up for group interviews. All the siblings gathered and I only needed to prompt them with a few questions. Someone would answer with a story that would spark several new memories. It was fascinating to see how some events only one sibling could recall, while others were held dear by everyone.

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Interview with Grandchildren

Grandchildren also shared their favorite memories from massive meals to adventures with Pop Pop, and Nana’s piano. The in-laws who had married into the family also got a chance to share their hearts. One of the benefits of group interviews is that those family members with less to say still were able to participate without having pressure to perform. While several people were nervous to be on camera, they never said they regretted taking the step to share. I’ll take that as a good sign!

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Interview with the Siblings

What I Found

Family interviews are not only a time to record go-to stories and histories, they are also a way to recognize the lessons you have learned. Gratefulness emerges as the good results of where we are today trace back to the roots of yesterday’s difficult decisions. We enjoy regaling with humorous anecdotes, but our “Story” is the over-all picture. If you had asked me our family story before the interviews I would have recited a general timeline of events. Now I would share a list of themes: the beauty of family, the bonds of love, and the power of grace.

I called this blog “Family Matters” because it illustrates so well the progression of recording our family legacy. It begins with telling stories of everyday adventures. The diverse ways they grew up, the complications of blending two families, and the crazy and memorable mishaps all give way to a single theme that echoes through each of our hearts. Family matters.

Legacy Letters — Deposit into the Future

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When I first came across the concept of “legacy letters” or “ethical wills,” I thought they were a novel idea. Then I realized the concept has been around for thousands of years. In fact, the desire to pass on abstract treasures seems to be as natural as passing on our physical valuables.

What is a Legacy Letter?

Four Generations Family Heritage Visual Legacy Productions / tellmystory.usA last will and testament passes on material inheritance to beneficiaries. In the event that they never get the chance, many people want to make sure they can leave behind wisdom for their loved ones. Legacy letters enable us to record our life lessons, share our values, and give our blessings. These ethical wills pass on the things that we want loved ones to know; not just to inform them about us, but also to benefit the recipient. Parents of young children may want to explain what they believe, their hopes for each child, and information they wouldn’t want them to grow up without. When writing to older family members, thanks, regrets, and forgiveness may want to be shared. A legacy letter is peace of mind that what needs to be said won’t go unsaid.

type, typewriter, text, write, introduce, introduction, name, beginning, story, video, tell your story, Visual Legacy ProductionsHow to Write your Own.

Because an ethical will is not a legal document, there is not a single way they must be written. Some are formally structured, others are stories. They can be for an audience of one or a message to a community. Here are several points that legacy letters usually include.


silhouette, dusk, sunset, sunrise, arms, girl, woman, expression, express, nature, valley, outdoors, belief, faith, values, story, video, tell your story, Visual Legacy ProductionsWho are you and who are you writing to? What are your intentions and what is the context? (If you add things over time, you may want to include the triggers that got you writing.)


What is your story? What are life lessons you’ve learned? Any special memories?

steeple, church, snow, nature, valley, winter, outdoors, community, belief, faith, values, story, video, tell your story, Visual Legacy ProductionsExpressions

Do you need to ask for forgiveness or do you have regrets? What are you grateful for? Is there something you are proud of?


What are your values? What are your spiritual beliefs? How did you get through the hard times?


This is an expression of your love. What are you dreams for the/their future? Any final things you want them to know?


Not everyone wants to write such a letter even if they know how. There are businesses that help people with the task or do the work for them. There are others who would rather speak out their values, show photos and videos with the stories, and capture authentic emotion. Video legacy letters can expand the impact of their message. Both mother and father can speak to their child. Through technology, a loved one’s voice can be played again and again. Through legacy letters, the values of our stories don’t end with us, but can be deposited into the future.