Family Chronicles

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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Dave Watterson
Posts: 1736
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:11 pm
Location: Bath, England
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Family Chronicles

Post by Dave Watterson »

In parts of Europe there is a recognised category of films known as "family chronicles". These are the sort of films Pathe, Kodak et al had in mind when they developed the home cinema market ... moving picture records of family occasions: holidays, weddings, parties and get-togethers.

I'll bet that even some of the expert movie makers on the forum have spent part of this holiday shooting Christmas gatherings of friends and families.

Just a thought ... remember to treat them as historical documents ... so add titles with the date, place and occasion ... try to name (perhaps in captions) everyone who appears. In 20, 40 or 50 years you may have forgotten! How many of the people in your old school photos can you still name?!

If you have old cine films of this type - look them out, copy to video and re-edit ... or edit (!) ... and give them a better sound track. Try to think how the next generation will see them. One good trick is to make an occasion of showing them to some of the people who were in them back then, film their comments and anecdotes about the event and splice those in to add interest and an extra dimension.

We spend a lot of time writing about the making of top-flight fiction and documentary films but should not neglect the bread-and-butter material of recording our families and ways of life.

Dave
ned c
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c »

An interesting post. Future historians will have little more than passing interest in our dramas but the family films will be a mine of information. The problem now is that fewer people write letters and keep journals, the written word is fading into texting, telephone calls and e-mails which seldom outlast the moment. Family films/videos/photos/sounds are the archives of the lives of we, the ordinary people. Perhaps this is another area the IAC could help with? An archive of life as we live it, the unedited collections of those little yellow reels and the various and changing video formats updated and protected. This is work that would be well worth a grant. Perhaps someone somewhere is all ready doing this, does anyone know?

ned c
Peter
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:17 am
Location: London
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Post by Peter »

ned c wrote:An interesting post. Future historians will have little more than passing interest in our dramas but the family films will be a mine of information. The problem now is that fewer people write letters and keep journals, the written word is fading into texting, telephone calls and e-mails which seldom outlast the moment.
I'm in fact trying to revive the written word and I write letters to other snail-mailers in other parts of the world. I do keep a journal or daily diary, and I have also written a family "autobiography."

"Future historians will have little more than passing interest in our dramas but the family films will be a mine of information."

I agree with your quote above. So we should have both - family films AND written journals and letters. But the written material may have a better chance of survival because hard drives, DVD's, CD's and the like all fail and have a short life span in comparison, even if copied frequently.
Peter
Pqtrick
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:14 pm
Location: Warwickshire

The Way We Were

Post by Pqtrick »

I must heartily endorse Dave W's post about not to underestimate making family films and videos. This New Years Day here in France we were treated to a round of family films which had been transferred to DVD. No moans no groans please! This is a serious topic. The films had been made dating from the early 1950's some in black and white and others were filmed on: 'neuf-cinque' 9.5mm as we would call them Weddings, Christenings, First Communions and Holidays Galore!

The serious side of this is that they are now really valued and appreciated. They are real family documentaries chronicling grand parents, family relations who are no longer here and family members as youngsters. How they looked, acted and reacted. A real 'The way they were' saved now a future generation. Their style, clothing, hats, cars, homes and surroundings all frozen in time , these flickering images which were looked upon by many as just 'amateur' home made movies.

One of my pleas has been to my UK club is to make these type of film not forgetting how valuable they would be in the future. There seems to be a lack of enthusiasm for attracting some of the thousands of ordinary guys with a camcorder, who just wants to make movie of the kids and family. Lets have a new initiative, make some good family and local interest ones. Dare I say, dig out the old super8 film camera! They may be watched with great interest on 4D doggo-vision in the year 2100.
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