How to Make a Legacy Video

How to make a Legacy Video by Family Tree Video

Are you wondering how to make a Legacy Video? Recording a parent or grandparent sharing memories is a great way to ensure their stories will be enjoyed for generations to come. But making an heirloom quality Legacy Video involves more than pushing the ‘record’ button on a camera.

As a Legacy Video producer, below are a few of my tips on what you will need and need to know in order to make a Legacy Video.

How to Make a Legacy Video


While you can record your parent or grandparent sharing stories on a smart phone, you will quickly discover its limitations. Below is the equipment I recommend for a high quality Legacy Video.

  • Video

These days it’s easy to find a great consumer video cameras online. As you research which one best suits your needs, be sure to read the reviews. Key information to look for is how long the camera records, how long the battery lasts as well as image and sound quality. Plan for your interview to run 1-3 hours.

  • Audio

While on camera microphones are getting better every day, they still leave much to be deserved. To avoid picking up sounds other than your parent or grandparent’s voice (ie the hum of an HVAC or a neighbor’s lawn mower), you may want to invest in a microphone. I use a lavelier microphone that clips to a subject’s collar.

  • Lighting

Clouds move, trees sway, the earth rotates. The key is to control the light so film the interview in a room where natural light can be blocked by closing curtains or shades. You can either purchase professional lights or try working with your own lamps. Just plan for time to make adjustments in case grandma looks a bit flat or night-stalkerish.

The Interview

People like to talk about themselves so prepare for the interview to run longer than you expect. Below are a few things to think about before and during the interview:

  • The Setting

You may not notice the plant sprouting from grandpa’s head or your own reflection in the mirror until midway through the interview. Be aware of what is behind your subject before you hit the record button. Also, turn off all phones, reschedule the lawn service and consider sending the dog to the kennel.

  • Interviewee

Have your parent or grandparent sit on a comfortable but firm chair or sofa. If a cushion is too soft, you may find them slowly sink out of the frame over the course of the interview.

  • Technique

Ask your parent or grandparent to pause before answering a question. This will prevent the two of you from talking over each other. It will also make editing much easier.

  • Interviewer

Keep control of the interview. Make a list of what you want to cover and don’t be afraid to gently move a parent or grandparent along. Otherwise you may find Dad spending 20 minutes on one story and you running out of time.

  • Questions

For questions to ask your parents or grandparents to learn more about their life story and your family history, visit my post: ’25 Legacy Interview Questions’.

~ Editing ~

You have hours of interview footage. Now what? This is where the real work begins. I estimate 20-25 hours of editing for every hour of interview footage when adding photos, titles, moving stories around, etc.. But you may prefer something much less elaborate.

  • Editing Software

Consumer editing software can be found online for free or for a nominal charge. While these have limitations they may be perfect for your needs. Again, read the reviews. I use Final Cut Pro, a professional editing software with lots of bells and whistles but one that has a steep learning curve.

  • What to Edit Out

As you review the footage you will spot content that can be removed: stories that go off topic, long pauses, interruptions and more. You may even decide to remove your own voice as I do to make the movie even more personal for a family.

  • What to Add In

Bring your parent’s or grandparent’s stories to life by weaving in family photos and other memorabilia. Add titles, chapters, music and more for a truly heirloom quality Legacy Video.


Once your movie is complete, select a special occasion for the big reveal. Upload your legacy Video to a family website and give everyone a copy of the movie file on an heirloom quality flash-drive as a keepsake.

Questions? Post them in the comment section below!

Family Tree Video

Give your parent or grandparent the gift of a lifetime by capturing their life story for your family to know.

Legacy Videos by Family Tree Video

Here at Family Tree Video we produce Legacy Videos, modern-day memoirs that weave a filmed interview together with family photos, documents, maps and other memorabilia. The result is a beautiful “moving portrait” capturing your loved one as they recount their life story, family history and memories – a gift your family will treasure for generations to come.

Your stories are too important to leave to memory. Capture them today for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know.

Family Tree Video LLC
Legacy Video Production
Since 2008

Susan Saunders
(312) 402-6406

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“There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children.
One is roots, and the other, wings.” — H. S. Carter

Legacy Videos

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in Legacy Videos

~ The Gift of a Lifetime ~

How to Make a Legacy Video
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How to Make a Legacy Video

How to Make a Legacy Video

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