Promos Are Us

July 31, 2020

The video that won for best Company Promo during the recent 2020 Hanley Awards was a web commercial we did for a local businessman to introduce his teaching series for individuals looking for a fast track to a career for themselves.

Jeffrey Chilton has developed a technique and the methods that can be applied by anyone to gain the skills, knowledge and expertise to become proficient in the window washing field and compete for business at a professional level. He has given his permission to allow me to post his video on our site as an example of the work we can produce.

Invertatex, Best Company Promo, 2020 Hanley Awards

The other award we received was for Best Studio Promo. Similar to the Company Promo award, the Studio Promo was a commercial we did in-house to promote one of our many quality services. In this instance, it was for our Life Stories service where we help individuals leave a personal legacy or history behind by recording them telling the story of their lives.  Highly emotional and hugely important, it is something of a passion for us. It is a passion I hope comes across in the video.

Tell Your Story, Best Studio Promo, 2020 Hanley Awards

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotape, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.


July 19,2020

As some of you might be aware, July marks the time of the annual Home Video Studio “Getaway” conference. This would have been the 20th time all HVS owners around the globe travelled to meet, greet, and yes, compete for valuable prizes and bragging rights. Well, the odd events of 2020 kind of put the kibosh on our festivities. We will not be meeting or greeting in the face of the pandemic. But we will always be a competitive bunch.

While our “getaway” has been cancelled, our awards ceremony will continue on… virtually.  The many talented studios who comprise the Home Video Studio family have submitted their projects, of which they are rightfully proud, for consideration in close to 20 different categories. Plus there are a few honorific awards that are passed out every year as well.

We will safely attending from home via a streaming event where nominations will be announced (Friday, July 24) followed by the announcement of the winners in each category (Saturday, July 25). We may even put on formal wear for the occasion… at least from the waist up.

Looking back over the years, we have certainly been blessed in the awards department:

2015: Rookie of the Year; Best Rookie Video

2016: Hanley Marketing Award

2017: Best Company Promo; Dr. Strangelove Award; Best Memorial Video; Best Backlot Video; Social Media Award

2018: Best Studio Promo; Best Editing; Best Memorial Video; Social Media Award; Studio Owner of the Year

2019: Best Photo Keepsake; Best Documentary; Dr. Strangelove Award

We’ll be hearing of the award announcements for 2020 on Saturday and will post the results. Until then, here’s a quick look back at some of our successes.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 3520735-8550 or visit our website.

The Important Memories

I like to think that in my job, like everyone else, I have my good days and my bad days. The difference perhaps is that my good days are really, really good. And it is all because of the people I get to meet and the stories I have an opportunity to hear.

Today, in my studio, I had the pleasure to meet a gentleman in his 80s who had a number of film reels and videotapes he wanted transferred to a digital form. As we were talking, he disclosed that before he retired, he made his living as a professional cameraman. I’m talking high level… He worked on The Fugitive with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, Edward Scissorhands with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, The Untouchables with Sean Connery and Kevin Costner, and many others.

The stories he told… the behind-the-scenes look he provided… fascinated me and, I have to admit, I kept encouraging him to tell me more. He provided me with inside stories about how Hollywood movies are made, what the stars were like, how the unions operated, and what life as a camera technician in those days was like. He also shared professional tips on how to get the shot that was needed… and it wasn’t always a method that was taught in film schools.

But the real reason he came to see me was not to tell me stories or relive his past glory days. It was because his granddaughter had asked him a simple question: “Grandpa, what was my mommy like when she was my age?” And he suddenly realized that he had all this old family footage on 8mm film and videotape that his grandkids had never seen. So he brought it to me to have me turn it into a digital form that could be played on today’s equipment.

He didn’t want to show off his Hollywood credentials, as impressive as they are. He just wanted to share the personal films he took of his family with his family members who had never seen them. I was thrilled to meet and speak with him. But I am more thrilled to be able to help him deliver to his family the memories he most wants to share. And I feel that way about every client who walks through my door. No matter what they did (or do) for a living. I am always happy to hear your stories, but I am happier to be a conduit for you to be able to share them with those you love.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

The New Normal?


As the country inexorably moves towards “reopening,” pundits everywhere are offering their opinions on what our new normal will look like. The bottom line… no one really knows.  It will be dependent upon which way the wind blows (and what may be in that wind as it’s blowing.)

At Home Video Studio Mount Dora, we certainly altered our operational protocol to reduce the amount of physical interaction needed to take place while the coronavirus threat was so strong. And in many ways, the changes we developed made us more efficient and allowed us to maximize our time management to a higher degree. So, speaking for ourselves, our new normal will be a continuation of the processes we put in place to keep everyone safe while we continued serving the community during this time.

We are in the studio 6 days a week from 9:30am until 5:00pm but we request that our clients call us to schedule an appointment so we can be sure as to manage the traffic flow in and out of our studio.

Simple drop off and pick up of orders can be conducted curbside. More complex transactions will be handled inside our sanitized studio which will be re-sanitized after every visitor. We will be wearing masks during all face to face interactions and ask all to do the same.

We’ve been doing the above for the past month and have been able to operate without a hiccup. We’re thrilled to be able to continue providing the services that allow our customers to preserve and protect their memories from loss or damage and look forward to the time that we can help you with your next project.

The individual pictured above is famous for saying: “What, me worry?” Like him, we have no reason to be worried. We’re getting through this in fine shape.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Safer at Home – Day Nineteen


April 21, 2020

You can tell that the days are blurring together. Two days without updating a post and I didn’t even notice. (So if you’re looking for days seventeen and eighteen, they aren’t there.)

But on day nineteen under our stay at home order, we are looking more closely to what our “new normal” will be when our governor lifts the ban and allows us to once again light up our OPEN sign. Here’s what our plan will look like.

Right now, we are going to the studio at the times when someone has made an appointment just to receive or deliver their order. When the stay at home order has been lifted, we will resume our normal operating hours of 9:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday. But we will continue to encourage our customers to set appointments so we can better control the flow of people in and out of our studio to avoid people arriving at the same time and having to share our space in close proximity.

Right now, we maintain a six feet distance from people and will continue to do so until signs of the virus are no longer present. We are currently wearing masks while dealing with the public and will continue to do so for their safety and ours.

We still have and will use sanitizing products to keep our studio germ free. Please don’t be offended if you see us wiping down doorknobs and surfaces as you leave. It has become a habit for us and we’re doing it for everyone’s safety.

We hope there will come a day when these stringent health precautions will not be as needed but for right now, it just makes common sense to continue to employ them. I read a meme on Facebook the other day that summed it up. Abandoning safe practices now just because we’ve flattened the curve of the spread is like saying, “Look, the parachute has slowed my descent… guess I don’t need it anymore.”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Stay at Home Journal – Day Three


April 5, 2020 – Day Three

It is dawning on me that our approach to life has begun to change – slowly but surely.  My behavior is undeniably altering to the new reality which surrounds us. Today, I found myself, still in my bathrobe, drinking coffee and watching the news shows and before I knew it…the clock read 11:30.  I am going to have to be careful going forward that I don’t fall into slovenly habits during our locked in status.

Today was Palm Sunday and we did attend afternoon services… from the privacy of our living room via a telephone hookup. While it is the best we can do under the circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is a poor substitute for a genuine church family’s full sharing fellowship. But we still give thanks for what we have.

We are finding entertainment interests to help pass the time:

My wife, fond of historical dramas, has found what is for her a new binge-worthy series. It is Outlander – a time-bending show that transports a 20th century English woman back to 1740s Scotland. A bit too violent and graphic for her sensibilities but she’s taken with the characters and is using the show as impetus to do a little research on the Jacobean rebellion of 1745 which is a pivotal event in the narrative of the story.

As for me, I’m much more drawn to pure fiction so I decided to start rereading the Harry Potter series of books, figuring that tomes that large would eat up a substantial portion of the month long stay at home order.  I started three days ago. I’m halfway through book five as of this writing. At this rate, I’ll be done with book eight by Tuesday. I’ll have to find something else to do during the remaining twenty-five days. I’ll keep you posted.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Safer At Home Journal

man in iron mask.jpg

April 4, 2020 – Day Two

I’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook or Internet challenges online. I guess it is a way for people to pass some time as they grow increasingly bored with the self-imposed confinement.

So I decided to come up with a challenge of my own.  The following was posted on my personal facebook page earlier today.

As we continue to obey our stay at home orders, one thing that is sure to increase (other than our waistline) is the amount of TV we will be watching. This leads me to issue a little Internet challenge.

People may not know this but I spent 10 years (1998 – 2008) as “the Christian Critic”. Under the name Michael Elliott, I published reviews of the films of Hollywood and embedded in each review was a biblical parable. I used some element of the film to explain or illustrate a biblical principle. I get that we all want a little entertainment escape from what is happening in the world around us. But, in my view, we always need to embrace the spiritual truths of God that can comfort and embolden us in times of trouble. One doesn’t necessarily preclude the other.

While I was writing these reviews, I often explained the purpose of them by saying, “Art reflects life; but God created life.” Any art form, by this definition, has to include elements of God’s truths – whether inserted intentionally or unintentionally. It just requires us to look a little deeper and reflect a little more while watching them.

It all started one day as I was watching The Man in the Iron Mask with Leonardo Dicaprio back in 1998. While watching, I suddenly became acutely aware of some parallels between the movie and a teaching I recently gave in our home Bible fellowship. I wrote down my thoughts and vowed that going forward, I would try to find a biblical illustration in every film I watched. As it turns out I was always able to find them – over 1,000 films in a 10 year period. Perhaps it was because I started to actively look for them. So I challenge you to do the same. Enjoy the films you watch… but then also use that time to reflect on God’s Word. Trust me, it’s a win-win.

Here’s the first review I ever wrote back in 1998:

The Man in the Iron Mask – review by Michael Elliott. Dec 6, 1998

Good vs. evil is the classic formula for conflict in movies as well as in life. This time, in The Man in the Iron Mask by writer/director Randall Wallace, those fighting on the side of good are the famous harbingers of justice, heroism, and duty: The Three Musketeers. Albeit they are a bit older, larger around the middle, and more disillusioned with life. Fighting against them, on the side of evil, is the son of the man they once served so faithfullly, Louis XIV, king of France, played by Leonardo Dicaprio.

Caught in the middle of this moral struggle is D’Artagnan played by Gabriel Bryne. D’Artagnan is the one-time “fourth musketeer,” now serving as captain of the guard. For reasons of his own, he has continued to serve king and country despite the less than worthy character of the one occupying the throne.

As France starves under the iron hand of King Louis, our retired Musketeers find themselves inexplicably drawn into the center of the fray. Banding together once more to save France, and perhaps their own souls, they concoct a plan, the success of which hinges upon the rescue and cooperation of the title character, a man imprisoned by Louis and forced to wear a mask welded about his head to ensure his anonymity.

DiCaprio is afforded an opportunity to flex his acting muscles in the dual role of the king and title character. Exploring the polar regions of man’s regions, he succeeds in that he keeps each of his characterizations somewhat one-dimensional. The king is truly evil. The man in the iron mask is truly good. And thus the internal struggle facing all humans can be clearly seen as it is manifested between these two characters.

The internal struggle of man is also embodied in the much more complex personas of The Three Musketeers: Aramis (Jeremy Irons) is seen struggling with the knowledge of past wrongs as he seeks redemption and forgiveness. Athos (John Malkovich) is seen struggling with grief as he seeks revenge. Porthos (Gerard Depardieu) is seen struggling with the pains of growing older while seeking a revitalization of his passion for life.

These struggles, because they are of the personal, internal kind, are perhaps the most intriguing to watch. Depardieu is especially brilliant in his humorous portrayal of a man, once larger then life, now coping with the reality of being merely life-sized.

The main story line which drives the movie is quite reminiscent of the record of Joseph which can be read in Genesis (chapters 39 – 41). Life the man in the iron mask, Joseph was unjustly imprisoned for an extended period of time. He maintained his integrity and decency throughout his wrongful imprisonment. Following his deliverance from prison, he rose to a position of great influence whereby he was able to save an entire nation from certain ruin.

In addition to the story line itself, the characterization of The Three Musketeers is also fodder for a discussion of spiritual truths. At one point, as they attempt to convince D’Artagnan to join their rebellion, Athos makes the point that, ideally, they should have a king worthy of their service.

As Christians, we live that ideal. We serve the one who will be the king of kings (Revelation 17:14). We may not be his “musketeers” but we are his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and he is well worthy of the service we render him.

Later in the movie, the musketeers, facing insurmountable odds, are forced to make a decision that many great men of the Bible have had to make. Is it better to live and betray what is right, or should one be willing to risk everything from one’s beliefs? Their decision will surprise no one. What happens as a result of their decision is quite thrilling and speaks to the benefit of always conducting one’s life by the standard of honor, integrity, valor, and courage. The standard of truth.

We may never be called to test our commitment to the truth in such a life or death manner. But the internal struggle of good vs. evil still rages within each of us. Who will be the ones who have the conviction and strength of will to resist that which runs contrary to what is right? Who are the musketeers among us? And who will be the musketeers of tomorrow? Believe it or not, these are questions which one day will be answered. And in that day, we shall learn and live the true meaning of “All for One and One for All.”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Safer at Home

April 2, 2020 – the eve
Our statewide initiative of “safer at home” because of the COVID-19 virus begins at midnight tonight and ends April 30 so I thought I would document our activities for the next 30 days.  We’ll see how long I can keep it up without getting a little buggy. 
bni zoom.jpg
This morning, I “met” with my BNI (Business Networking International) chapter using a Zoom account. It feels good to still be connected to others even while we are preparing to disconnect and operate from home during this time. I have a feeling we will all become teleconferencing experts before this is all over. But meeting with them did give me some ideas as they all began to explain how they were adapting their varied business models during this pandemic.
Kate and I took what might be our last trip (for a while) to the studio today to determine what we might bring back with us that would be helpful.  Other than cleaning supplies, some coffee pods, and an extra roll of toilet paper, we figured that our two stand-alone devices would be the easiest to relocate.  Moving forward, we will have the ability to scan, crop and color correct 35mm slides and be able to capture and transfer 8mm and Super 8 film all from the safety of our home. Those captured files can be converted to a digital format (mp4) that can be stored on a usb drive. So we will obviously be marketing those services during the next month.
We can accept new orders by mail or overnight carrier to our home address. We will process those jobs at our home and ship them directly back to our clients. Call for more information.
Our videotape and audio tape transfer service requires multiple machines that are interconnected therefore we did not opt to bring those home with us. However, if I read the governor’s instructions properly, there is nothing to prevent me from leaving my home, traveling alone in my car to my empty studio that is five minutes away to process videotape/audiotape orders as long as I do not come into contact with anyone else. We are working up a no-contact dropoff/pickup protocol. Call us at 352-735-8550 for more information.
On a personal note, while we are in self-isolation, we’ll be looking for TV watching opportunities. We’ve already blown through Picard season one; discovered and finished the third season of Designated Survivor; finished all episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and there’s no more Downton Abbey on the horizon. I’ll let you know what our next TV guilty pleasure is going to be.
Stay safe. I’ll touch in tomorrow.

The Prophets



In 2019 this lovely lady came into my studio and asked for my help in putting together a tribute video for her late husband’s memorial service. Her name is Glory Anne Prophet. Her husband was Ronnie Prophet, Canadian hall-of-fame country singer and entertainer who passed away the previous year. In assembling this video I came to greatly admire his talent, his humor and his generosity of spirit. Hopefully, some of that was captured in the work that we did.

Glory Anne is an impressive performer in her own right. As Glory Anne Carriere, she started out as a soloist on the Canadian country music scene and won the Juno award as Most Promising Female vocalist in 1978. In 1980 she was chosen as Best Country Music Female vocalist.

She joined Ronnie as his singing partner and together they were named CCMA’s Duo of the Year in 1984. They married two years later.

At the Home Video Studio annual awards event in 2019, Ronnie’s video was nominated for a Hanley Award which it won. In my acceptance speech I said that “Ronnie Prophet had an illustrious career; gold records, Juno awards, Entertainer of the Year, Hall of Fame inductee… it is therefore fitting that now, even after he has left us, he’s still raking in the awards.”

Thank you Glory Anne for giving us the honor of commemorating your husband’s life and legacy.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Mastering the View

Throughout the ages people have used many different ways to try to capture significant events that occurred within their lives. Just when we think we have seen them all, in comes yet another media type that we had forgotten about.
Pictured above is an old viewmaster type reel that was used to produce “stereo pictures” when placed inside a plastic binocular shaped device. As you can see there are 14 small “slides” but, as there are two slides per image (one for each eye), this equates to 7 pictures. When viewed through the viewmaster, the optics gave the illusion of depth resulting in a 3D effect.
Most of us older folks probably remember the commercial versions of this format featuring our favorite Disney characters or famous landmarks. But some people may not know that there were devices that were available that could be used to produce personal pictures in this “viewmaster” format.
I received a box of these the other day and am going through the process of digitally transforming them so they can be seen on a computer or tv. We won’t be able to reproduce the 3D effect (without the use of special glasses) but will be able to turn them into regular photographs so those memories can once again be enjoyed.
No matter what your family used to capture the special moments of your life, I’m sure Home Video Studio can help you recapture them in a way that will allow you to experience those memories all over again.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides (and now personal reel mounts!) For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.