Archive for the ‘Personal History’ Category

Digital Photo Slideshow DVDs – Part 2

October 14, 2010

In Part 1 of this blog on Digital Photo Slideshow Montages I told you all the reasons these slideshows are so convenient, time-saving and economical. In Part 2 I have cut and pasted the packages and price information from my website so you get an idea of exactly how easy & economical these slideshows really are.

They truly do make a great gift for the people in your family who have everything. And with Christmas coming up what better time to do it?!

Or if you’re a person who just has no time to put photos in albums or make your own slideshows, then we can do it all for you so your photos are no longer languishing on your computer, camera or in boxes – and you can show them off to your family and friends (or sit and watch them anytime yourself)!

Here are some of the packages we offer, however, these are merely ideas to get you thinking. The possibilities are endless with digital photo slideshow DVDs.

We specialise in digital slide shows or montages, however, if you need photos scanned we can provide that service too at an additional price.

Optional CD’s are also available for easy printing of your favourite shots. See below for prices.

Life Story Slideshow Montage – “Your Life In Pictures” Package


Have you already scanned many of your family’s photos onto your computer? Are you now wondering what to do with them? Or do you have a lot of recent photos of your life sitting on your digital camera?

Our Digital Photo Slideshow Montages brings life to your digital images. We put your photos to music in a creative slide show and present them in an artistic, professionally-designed cover.

A sad fact is that such life story slide shows are often only put together for funerals, which means the ‘star’ of the show doesn’t get the joy of sharing their life in pictures with their family.

With our “Your Life In Pictures” slideshow montage, you get a chance to put a tribute together of your own or someone else’s life while they/you are still around to enjoy it!

Facebook Photo Slideshow (click here to go directly to our fb fanpage)

How many of us upload our holiday or birthday photos to facebook, but never do anything with those photos after that?

How would you like to have all those photos compiled album by album in a digital slideshow? Well, we can do that for you!

No hassle on your part. As long as you have the photos uploaded, we do the rest. We briefly become each others’ friend on facebook, download the photos for you, put them to music in an impressive slideshow and then send you the DVD in the mail. We also design a professional looking cover that will look as impressive as all your other store-bought DVDs on the shelf.

Could it be any easier?!










Wedding CDs – “Here Comes The Bride” Package

These days it’s common for wedding photographers to give you a CD of your wedding photos, rather than or in addition to prints. How many times have you actually sat down and viewed them all, other than when you were first picking out which ones you wanted printed?

Or have you never got around to looking at them, let alone sharing them with others?

Our professional slideshow montages, with added music, allow you to quickly and easily view your wedding photos on the TV or computer anytime, anywhere, with anyone.

It’s even better than a photo album in that you can sit down with a room full of people and look at the photos together.

And as time goes by, if you want a few moments of nostalgia or someone visits who wasn’t at the wedding, you can just slip the DVD into the machine and easily view your photos. The addition of music provides the bonus of creating a romantic mood. Plus, with the artistic cover design, you’ll never forget what’s on the disk.








Holiday photos – “On The Road Again” Package


Have you been on the trip of a lifetime, but a year later find that your holidays snaps are still on your camera?

Or maybe you just had a great family holiday a month ago, but I’m guessing your photos are also still on the camera. Or maybe you transferred them to your computer then had no time to do anything else?

Why not get them on DVD in a slideshow montage so you can watch them anytime & share them easily with family and friends?


















Babies & Children – “Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid” Package

When your baby is born, digital cameras allow for hundreds if not thousands of photos to be taken over the first days, months and years of your child’s life.

But how many of us actually get around to printing them or presenting them in a way that others can share? The early days are so busy … and things don’t seem to ever really slow down!

Photos may get printed to send to people for Christmas, but do you have an easy, accessible way of viewing your child’s life in pictures?

If not, we have the answer for you. Our photo slideshow montage DVDs allow you to choose the photos you want, put them in order, and we’ll do the rest.

With very little effort on your part you can have a beautiful DVD slide show of your child’s life, accentuated by the music you choose, and be able to be viewed by anyone, anywhere, anytime on TV or computer.

It’s like an audio-visual scrapbook! The perfect way to store your child’s life story in pictures – and the perfect gift for grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on. And guess who will love watching it the most – your child!!


Celebrations – “It’s My Party” Package

Birthdays and anniversaries are an opportunity to celebrate a person’s or a couple’s life. They’re the perfect time to get old photos out and put them together in celebration of a person’s life.

Many people scan photos of the guest/s of honour into a computer, then make them into a Powerpoint presentation. But the older a person gets, the less likely it is that they will know how to run a Powerpoint presentation or even have a computer.

A DVD player is another story. Most older people can put a DVD in and watch it on TV. That’s where our service comes in. Our photo slideshow montages can be viewed on a television or a computer anytime, anywhere. No special program required.

Recent celebrations are even easier to commemorate on a photo slideshow montage DVD, as most are taken on digital cameras.

Just email or send us your digital images, choose some of the person in question’s favourite music, and we’ll do the rest.

Soon you’ll have a gorgeous memento of your special occasion that is easily viewed, has ‘mood’ music and is presented professionally in an artistically-designed cover.

Modeling portfolio – “Hey, Hot Shot” Package

Have you had modeling shots taken and been handed a CD of your images that now sits on a shelf somewhere?

How would you like an artistic slideshow montage of your images, packaged in an artistic professionally-designed DVD case?

So much easier to present to prospective employers and so much more interesting than a bunch of images on a CD!

You choose the music and the photos depending on what type of mood you wish to create and/or portray. Then we do the rest.

We’ll create something spectacular that no prospective employer could ignore!

(Update: As of Nov 14th 2013 please contact me via email at, visit the 15 Minute Power Plays With Your Kids ebook Facebook or Twitter Page or visit the website If you happen to stumble across this post and it’s NOT because I’ve linked to it from my book, pop over and say hi anyway :-). Please  DO NOT go to my previous website at as it has been hacked)


Digital Photo Slideshow DVDs – Part 1

October 13, 2010
I haven’t written a blog for some time, and at the moment I’m working on some other things so I may not get to blog for a little while yet. So I thought I’d cut and paste some info off my website into a blog to let you know of a couple of products I offer other than my personal video biographies – in this case, Digital Photo Slideshow Montages. Sorry if it seems gratuitously salesy. In a way I guess it is. But it also lets you and your friends know about a simple, economical, time-saving way to put your photos together – especially as Christmas approaches and we’re looking for unique gifts to give our family and friends.
Here is Part 1, and I’ll follow it up with the packages I offer in Part 2.
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How many of us in this digital photography age leave our photos
languishing on our camera, never printed, never viewed?

How many of us get given a disk of photos from our wedding, modelling shoot or just from a family member after a celebration and never look at the photos again – let alone share them with others?

Digital photography is a fantastic innovation that allows us many advantages over film. However the one comment I hear often about digital photos is that most people find they rarely get around to printing them or doing anything else with them. Many people plan to make up their own slideshows, yet never get enough time to sit down & create them.

Our Digital Photo Slideshow Montage packages give you the opportunity to have your photos transformed from images stuck on a camera, disk or computer into a professional slide show complete with music and artistic cover.

Why would I pay you to do a DVD slideshow montage when I can just do a Powerpoint slideshow myself?

The advantage DVD has over other media such as Powerpoint presentations on CD are that you can watch your photos on TV, allowing you to share them easily with family and friends. No more huddling around one photo album waiting for someone to turn the page! Or huddling around a computer screen – if you are lucky enough to have a computer nearby.

You can enjoy sitting & watching your ‘album’ together as a family on the TV – great for grandparents or other family members who have trouble seeing small printed photos or computer screens!

But I could still do them myself couldn’t I?

Yes, you probably could, but do you have time? Many people have great intentions of putting together slideshow montages for themselves or family and friends, but in our time-poor world, they often just never get around to it.

Additionally, many people do not have the right computer programs to do all they want to do, or maybe don’t have the skills to do so.

Using your photos we add transitions, special effects, opening and closing titles and music to create a professional photo slide show transferred onto DVD that will last for generations to come.

Digital slideshow montages are a great, unique gift for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles … the list goes on.

For the person who has everything this is one gift you can guarantee they won’t have – and it will be something they will treasure forever!

Here are some of the packages we offer, however, these are merely ideas to get you thinking. The possibilities are endless with digital slideshow montage DVDs.

We specialise in digital slide shows or montages, however, if you need photos scanned we can provide that service too at an additional price.

Optional CD’s are also available for easy printing of your favourite shots.


(Update: As of Nov 14th 2013 please contact me via email at, visit the 15 Minute Power Plays With Your Kids ebook Facebook or Twitter Page or visit the website If you happen to stumble across this post and it’s NOT because I’ve linked to it from my book, pop over and say hi anyway :-). Please  DO NOT go to my previous website at as it has been hacked)

A Living, Speaking History Book

May 3, 2010

Louise - Wedding - 12.6.08Last Friday I had the most wonderful experience of interviewing the oldest living member of my extended family.

A Living History Book!!

Ninety-four year old Keith is my grandfather’s cousin, however, as he left my home town years before I was born and only came back to visit occasionally, I didn’t really know him very well. I had been told what a wonderful memory he had and that he was a great story teller, so driving the 1 1/2 hours to interview him had been on my ‘to-do’ list for some time. Finally a couple of weeks ago, I bit the bullet and called him to make a date.

I arrived at Keith’s retirement home quite flustered after having got myself lost once I got to Bendigo (central Victoria, Australia). So a 90 minute drive had turned into a 2 hour drive. At that point, tired and flustered, knowing I had to get back by a certain time for other commitments, I said to myself – “I’m never doing this again!! This is ridiculous. I have so many other things I should be doing, and after today I’m going to be too tired to do anything”.

Then I took a deep breath, reconnected myself with the reason I was there – my deep commitment to capturing people’s stories and my own family history – and got out of the car to greet my patient interviewee who was standing nearby.

Of course I wanted to get straight into the interview as I knew we had limited time, but I took time to be shown around Keith’s unit, have a quick cuppa, and of course, set up my equipment. Luckily Keith was just as keen to get started, so off we went.

As always, after establishing the basic details of the person – full name, date of birth and where they were born – I started asking questions about Keith’s memories of his father, mother and grandparents. When Keith was born his family had lived in my home town, then had moved away, and had moved back when he was 5 years old. His account of their trip down from Minyip to Navarre via horse, buggy and foot-power was fascinating.

But eventually I got to asking him about his grandfather, who he knew very well – my great great grandfather. As Keith told me about the “jolly” fellow who was my great great grandfather, and then spoke of his great uncles, I was suddenly hit by an amazing feeling – it was like I had opened up a history book and was able to ask it questions.

You see, back in 1988, we had a Bibby reunion, where all the descendants of Thomas and Elizabeth Bibby (who had settled in Navarre from Lancashire) all gathered. They had had 11 children (I think), and so all of us had a different coloured name tag and a name up the top of the name tag of the child we were descended from. In my case it was William.

As I was 15 at the time, my friends and I laughed at being descended from “Willy” and “Peter” and “Arthur”. We had no idea who these people were. They were just names to us. I found it interesting to find that my cousins who I had grown up with in the same town were actually my 4th or 5th cousins. Many people barely know their first cousins and here I was growing up with my 4th and 5th cousins! An interesting quirk of my home town of Navarre is that we are pretty much all related, but some people who I share the same surname with are more distantly related to me than those with different surnames.

Anyway, I digress. The amazing thing about my interview with Keith on Friday was that he actually had known William (Bill – his grandfather), Peter, Arthur and Bert (my great grandfather who I knew quite well). A shiver went through me as I realised I could ask Keith about all of these people, and he would be able to tell me about who that person was, their personality, funny stories and so on.

Keith was like my time machine!! And a short time earlier I’d been questioning my sanity in using up a whole day to go and interview him! I silently rebuked myself, and was given a very strong reminder of why I do what I do. As well as being fascinating to me – especially Keith’s memories of his friendship with my much-loved and much-missed Pop – in a couple of hours, I captured some of the history of our family for every other member of my family. Keith’s immediate family now have a record of his life. My 4th and 5th cousins now have a verbal recollection given by someone who knew their great great grandfather. And Keith knows that those precious memories are now captured forever.

And guess what? Keith was no longer just a distant relative I hardly knew. He is now someone I know intimately and will not be someone I “wish” I had interviewed before they died. He is now a real, courageous, amazingly gracious man in my eyes, not just an elderly relative who used to visit every time shearing was on.

As I wound the interview up, Keith informed me I’d have to come back because he had at least another 2 hours of things he didn’t get to. And you know what, I’m going to get back there as soon as I can. He’s the last of his generation in our family. He’s willing to be interviewed, he’s interesting, his memory is great – he’s a living history book!!

So if there’s someone in your life who you’ve been meaning to get around to interviewing – or paying for someone else to interview them – it’s time. Get your diary/calendar out and pick a day. You will never have the time. You will always be busy. And you will always have better things you could be doing with your time. But pick a day,  make the time, and you will never regret it!!

Keep Smiling

Louise - Wedding - 12.6.08


Why everyone should record their story on video

April 6, 2010

There are many personal video biographers out there, whether they call themselves by this name or not. I believe it’s the most appropriate description of what I do, however, I only discovered this job description in the last 6 months.

Regardless, all people who value oral history and conduct it via the medium of video have various reasons why they see it as a superior way to capture oral history to other methods – ie. audio only.

These are the reasons I believe people should record their life story – and record it on video/DVD!

1.  Every person has a story!

Whatever you may think, every person’s story is valuable and worth recording – even yours!

2. Recording your story celebrates you life

By recording your story on video, it is a celebration of your life – your successes, your failures, your lessons, your story. With video you have a living colour, animated record of yourself telling your life story. It captures the ‘real’ you in even greater detail than mere audio or written personal histories.

With video, you get the whole box and dice – you, your family & future generations get to see your smile, your laugh, the way you wave your hands around when you talk, and all the little tiny visual things that make  you unique.

3. You’ll hear stories you may never hear otherwise

In my experience, many things come out in personal video biographies that may never be known otherwise. This is not to say that I probe for family secrets or get people to speak about things they don’t want to speak about. Rather, it is merely the fact that I ask questions that other people in the person’s family have never thought to ask – and so they have never heard the answer. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve given the example before, but when I interviewed my Grandad I asked him where he was born, and he told me the exact address and told me where it was – and that a church was now built on it. After he had passed away, I pointed this church out to my young daughter as the location of where my Grandad was born.

Fred & I - 1989

Grandad & I – 1989

My Mum, who was driving the car at the time, asked me in a surprised voice, how I knew that. And I said, “Grandad told me when I interviewed him”. Mum was extremely close to my Grandad, but she would never have known that information if I hadn’t interviewed him.

4. A death is the death of a thousand stories

When people die, many stories die with them. Whether it is a story that only they could tell because they were the only one at a certain place at a certain time, or whether it is just their personal version of something that many others witnessed, it is their story. Everyone has a unique perspective on everything. Capturing this is a way of capturing the personality, values, beliefs and essence of the person being interviewed. Video just enhances this.

5. Your story is your legacy

When it comes down to us, we are basically a collection of stories bound up to make a person. Things happen to us in life, but we are the ones who interpret them and make meaning out of them. We are the ones who tell “our” story of what happened. A person standing next to us may well tell a completely different story. But for us, our story is real. It may not be fact, but to us, it appears to be. Nobody else can ever truly tell your story.

6.  “If those walls could talk”.

How many times have you – particularly genealogists – gazed longingly at an ancestor’s photograph, wishing they could speak? Well, by interviewing your relatives on video it’s just like having a talking photograph – and if genealogy is your passion, you can ask specific questions about people you’re researching and so on.

7.  “If not you, then who?”

If you’re the one who has the video camera, the question is, “If not you, then who?”. If you’re the genealogist in the family, or even if you’re just interested in your Mum or Dad’s story, if you have the video camera you may be the only one who ever asks them to tell their story and record it.

It’s very easy to say that someone else in the family would do it better or has more time etc etc, but when it comes down to it, you are the one. Just get your loved one’s permission, set the camera up and start asking questions – you may be very surprised with what happens after that (and there’s always the option of deleting it if you really hate it – though for an historian that sends shivers through me :-))

Of course, if you don’t have a camera or the time, you could always employ someone like me to do it for you. Contact me & I’m sure I can put you onto someone great in your area.


Now I know I’ve crossed over here into the basic question of “why record your story”, whether on video, audio or written, but I think you get the idea of why I see recording your story on video as the most valuable, desirable method of capturing a person’s story.

Let me know what you think!

(Update: As of Nov 14th 2013 please contact me via email at, visit the 15 Minute Power Plays With Your Kids ebook Facebook or Twitter Page or visit the website If you happen to stumble across this post and it’s NOT because I’ve linked to it from my book, pop over and say hi anyway :-). Please  DO NOT go to my previous website at as it has been hacked)

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Dan Curtis’ Top 5 Personal History Blogs for 2009

February 7, 2010

Well, so much for writing every day. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has a way of catching you unawares sometimes, and this week has been one of them for me. More on that later in a special post re CFS.

In this brief post, I wanted to direct all you oral and personal historians, genealogists and personal video biographers etc to a very useful blog post by Dan Curtis late last year.

Dan is a professional personal historian, and from what I’ve seen so far, also a great blogger.

His blog is titled : The Top Five Personal History Blogs For 2009 which is basically self-descriptive really. The ones I know on the list are fantastic, and the others are on my to-do list!

If you want to learn more about capturing personal history and the work of personal historians, check out these blogs – as well as Dan’s, which he quite modestly left off the list –

Hey, eventually I might even make it on the list. A bit of work to do before that though : )

(Update: As of Nov 14th 2013 please contact me via email at, visit the 15 Minute Power Plays With Your Kids ebook Facebook or Twitter Page or visit the website If you happen to stumble across this post and it’s NOT because I’ve linked to it from my book, pop over and say hi anyway :-). Please  DO NOT go to my previous website at as it has been hacked)

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4 Reasons Video Beats Audio For Oral History

February 2, 2010

When I tell people my business involves interviewing people on video and making it into a DVD life story, most people say “what a fantastic idea!”

They then often speak of someone they have always wanted to interview in their family, but have never got around to doing it – which is actually a major reason I started my business – for those people who want the finished product, but don’t find the time to do it themselves.

Despite this enthusiasm, however, many people have reservations about the use of video as opposed to audio recordings. They either cringe about the idea of themselves being on video, or they express a fear that their intended interviewee won’t want to talk on video. I’ve even found most oral history organisations I’ve looked up on the internet, when discussing oral history interviews, still refer to audio interviews (this may have changed recently).

It’s like there’s an inbuilt fear within most people of being recorded on video. Some have a fear of being recorded full stop, but I find there are many more who fear what they might look like on video, or “what if I say something stupid?” (even if not verbalised, it’s a thought that goes through their head).

Ever since getting my first video camera 10 years ago to go to the Sydney Olympics, I have used it to interview family members and other interesting people. Basically, for a start, I interviewed anyone who said yes. Often the family members I really wanted to interview were the most camera shy – though I have now succeeded in capturing most of those people on camera.

So why do I believe video/dvd recording of oral history is superior to audio recordings?

1. You get to see the person’s face, as well as hear their voice – and it’s not only their face, it’s their gestures, seeing them laugh, getting to see all the little visual quirks that make them them. Audio captures some of this, but video just makes it so much richer.

2. It’s easier & more likely to be accessed – Give a family a DVD of their grandmother’s life story and they can immediately stick it in the DVD player or computer and watch it. Give them a CD or mp3 and I bet you they don’t sit down immediately and listen to it. And if they do, I bet they don’t just sit there and close their eyes to concentrate on every word. As there is no visual, it’s much easier for people to think they can listen and do housework, read the paper and so on at the same time. In the process, they miss half the story. In my experience DVDs get watched till the end and are much more likely to be brought out for family and friends to have “a quick look”.

3. DVD/Video holds the viewers attention – This is a continuation of the above in many ways. Having both visual and audio stimulus, a DVD life story/personal video biography is much more likely to hold the viewers attention. There are many studies to show that certain people are more audio- orientated, others are more visual and some are more kinesthetic (hands on). DVDs provide for both the auditory and the visual-dominated people, thus making it more likely that the interview will grab and hold their attention.

4. It really feels like the person is in the room with you – When my Grandad died, many family members wanted copies of the interviews I’d done with him. Back then, with Video 8 and no hard drive, I had to play the interviews into the TV and record them in real time. When I was setting this up, there was a room full of mourning relatives, so I apologised to them if it was upsetting them to see Grandad on the screen. I asked would they like me to turn the screen off once I set it up, but most said to just leave it on and they’d see how they went with it. When I walked in 10 minutes later, I found the whole room virtually silent, glued to the TV. One of them said, with a sense of wonder and excitement in their voice “It’s like he’s actually here in the room with us”. And the rest agreed. That is something audio just can’t quite capture.

So, yes, video cameras are slightly more intrusive to the interviewee than a mini audio recorder. But over the years I’ve stuck to my guns and been able to persuade even the most reluctant family members – the ones I never thought would do it – to be interviewed on video. And now I have that captured forever for all the family & generations to come.

What I find is once it’s been agreed upon, the set up’s been done (as quickly and with as little fuss as possible!), as soon as we get into conversation, the person very quickly forgets about the camera. As I tell all my interviewees, it’s just like sitting down for a cuppa and having a chat – just with a video going in the background (and maybe a light or two ; )

One trick I used with my Dad was to just ask him to do 10 questions with me – for my daughter (his only grandchild at the time – a little emotional blackmail!). I truly was only going to do 10 questions, but after 45 minutes I had to change the tape. I apologised to Dad, saying it had gone a bit longer than planned. And you know what he said? “Oh, it’s ok. I probably wouldn’t be able to get to sleep now anyway”. In other words, he had found he was quite enjoying the experience!!

So in my opinion it’s worth recording oral history on video rather than just audio. It may take some extra convincing on your part, but the final product is superior. And with computers these days you can always extract the audio separately and put it on a separate CD if you want an audio version to listen to in the car. You can’t create visuals though if you haven’t recorded them in the first place!

Of course if the interviewee is absolutely adamant they will not be videoed, but are happy to be audio recorded, absolutely still do it. Oral life stories are still amazing and incredibly valuable. I’m just saying, if at all possible, opt for video first and purely oral recordings as a last resort.

I plan to write some tips and hints in my coming blogs, but if you have any questions, please let me know.

(Update: As of Nov 14th 2013 please contact me via email at, visit the 15 Minute Power Plays With Your Kids ebook Facebook or Twitter Page or visit the website If you happen to stumble across this post and it’s NOT because I’ve linked to it from my book, pop over and say hi anyway :-). Please  DO NOT go to my previous website at as it has been hacked)

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