Bringing Old Treasures to Life

I've gotten some really interesting project requests during the pandemic. A graduation video for a granddaughter whose in-person graduation was canceled. A testimonial video from parents of a private school - thrilled with their distance-learning experience. But perhaps the most unique was a client who had treasured her Grandfather's old home movies but never had the chance to do something with them.

Kristie Miller had recorded the voices of her Uncle, father and other relatives while watching her Grandfather's home movies from the 1920s-1940s together nearly 20 years ago. But she had never put that "soundtrack" with those movie clips together so people could relive that experience.

She hired us to create a true "film" of her Grandfather's movies, complete with a newly recorded introduction (via Zoom), an upgraded soundtrack timed with the digitally-transferred films, and subtitles and captions to give viewers context.

Several family members have already watched it and been thrilled to discover this piece of family history. But the best and most unexpected part for Kristie was hearing the voices of her Dad, Aunt & Uncle again - voices she hadn't heard in a long time - which she told me was quite comforting.

It made me think of my own family's possible pandemic project. When my Dad was serving in Vietnam, he and my Mom traded "audio letters" by recording themselves on tape and mailing them back and forth. I have never heard these tapes and think it would be incredible to get these transferred digitally and create some sort of film out of them, incorporating some of the footage he shot when he was there with their feelings during that time period.

I hope you take this extra time at home to think about your someday projects - including doing something with those old films, audio recordings, or slides in a carousel that are stowed away in your attic or the back of a closet. As Kristie realized, the reward of bringing those memories to life again are truly worth it.

  • For over 20 years, I had been wanting to put my grandfather’s 16 mm home movies from the 1920s to the 1940s in an accessible format to share with my family. I did a project with Debbie in 2011 and was very impressed with her work. This time, she had the images digitized and combined them with a tape recording of my father and uncle narrating the movies in 2001. She was very creative, making many excellent suggestions for enhancing the presentation. It was tremendous fun doing this project with her and my family are thrilled.

    Kristie Miller
    Kristie Miller, Washington, DC