How to Make a Legacy Video

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 simply pushing the ‘record’ button on a camera.

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

How to Make a Legacy Video

~ Equipment ~

  • 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 the 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 the 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 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 leave time to make adjustments in case grandma looks a bit flat or night stalkerish.

~ The Interview ~

People like to talk about themselves! 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. Otherwise, if a cushion is too soft, you may find them slowly sinking 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

Know your goals beforehand. This will help you 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 a list of questions to ask your parents or grandparents to learn more about their life story and your family history, visit my post: ‘Legacy Interview Questions’.

~ Editing ~

  • 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 a lot of 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.

  • 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 the legacy Video to a family website and give everyone a copy of the movie file on a flash-drive as a keepsake.

(Questions? Post them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer!)

How to Make a Legacy Video

~ 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 with a parent or grandparent 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.

To learn more about capturing your parent or grandparent’s life story in a Legacy Video, visit us at

Family Tree Video LLC
Legacy Video Production
(312) 402-6406

Susan Saunders
Legacy Video Producer

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Life Story Interview Questions

Legacy Videos

Capturing Life Stories and Family History
in Legacy Videos

~ The Gift of a Lifetime ~

Life Story Interview Questions
Family Tree Video
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Life Story Interview Questions

How to Make a Legacy Video

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