Time Flies

It has been almost 4 years since Home Video Studio of Mount Dora has opened. Time has flown by – for you maybe… But since we spend so much of our days looking at your past, time is a relative thing for us.

I thought I’d post the video we recorded during our grand opening back in 2014. We love doing what we do. And we hope you like the fact that we are here.

 

Give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you and find out how we can help you preserve your family memories.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in preserving family memories. For information, call 352-735-8550 or visit http://www.homevideostudio.com/mtd

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Beatles8a.jpg

I love music. But I’ve never been much of a concert-goer. In fact, I’ve never been to an iconic rock and roll concert in my life. But I have seen what they are like from some of the videos I have transferred for my customers.

I recently transferred some footage for a client that was taken at one of the Beatles’ US tour locations in the 60s. It brought me back to the time when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. As a young boy (I would have been nine years old then), I didn’t understand why all the women were screaming. To be honest, I still don’t. Don’t get me wrong… I like the Beatles’ music. I just like it better when the person next to me isn’t screaming or fainting.

The footage I transferred was taken from the stands of a baseball field where the English mop top quartet was playing. It was a bit on the shaky side – probably from all the jumping and jostling taking place in the bleachers. And there was no zoom. The Beatles actually looked the size of beetles.

But the oddest thing was the fact that there was no soundtrack to the film. It was silent. You couldn’t hear them. All you could see was some diminutive figures dressed in suits on a stage in the middle of a baseball field shot from hundreds of yards away. But as my client explained, she couldn’t really hear them live either. The sound systems in the baseball fields back then weren’t designed for a musical performance. They tried to use the field speakers that were present but they just couldn’t do the job. The screams from the female fans drowned out any of the vocals that were being broadcast.

And that didn’t make a difference to the die hard fans that populated the stands… my client among them… They cheered and screamed for all they were worth. I know, because at the very end of the footage, the camera turned to catch her face and her tear streaked cheeks, her glistening eyes and her glowing expression summed up the experience perfectly. What a memory to be captured and preserved forever.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Honoring Thy Parents

lifestories.jpg

The Bible says it is the first commandment with a promise:

“Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12

That’s a great promise, but, even with putting that aside, it is a great way to live one’s life… by bestowing honor on those who had the care of you during your formative years.

One way to honor our parents and grandparents is to let their life stories live on after they have passed. There are cultures who get this. They embrace their ancestral histories. They have oral traditions; stories that continue to be told generation after generation, educating their young of the heritage that is theirs.

We happen to live at a time when what has been called “the greatest generation” will come to an end. Sometime during our lifetime, we will hear that the last WWII soldier is no longer with us. At that time, how many stories will we realize have been lost to us? How many lessons will go unlearned?

Our elders, who have already lived through so much of life, have a great deal to impart if we just take the time to give them the platform. And with today’s technology, their personal history can be recorded and stored for all time.

If you want to honor your parents (and it is still available to do so), do yourself a favor and record them as they talk about their life growing up. Their challenges; their experiences; their observations… Future generations will be thankful.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories and offer a LifeStories service which is a video recording of a family member’s personal history. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Cartoon Memories

DM_03242016_1509.jpg

Boy, make one mention of a childhood cartoon and the memories start flooding in. I was born in the 50s and spent most of my childhood in the 60s. Naturally, cartoons are going to be a major part of my early memories.

Here are some of the familiar catchphrases said by popular cartoon characters of my youth. To reveal the speaker, drag your cursor over the open space to the right of the quote. How many did you remember?

20. “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” – Snagglepuss

19. “Boop boop da boop” – Betty Boop

18. “Oh, Magoo.. you’ve done it again.” – Mr. Magoo

17. “Nothing up my sleeve.” – Bullwinkle the Moose

16. “Yabba Dabba Doo!” – Fred Flintstone

15. “I’m smarter than the av-er-age bear.” – Yogi Bear

14. “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” – Popeye

13. “Here I come to save the day!” – Mighty Mouse

12. “Hokey Smoke.” – Rocket J. Squirrel

11. “You’re dethspicable.” – Daffy Duck

10. “Beep Beep” – The Roadrunner

9. “Oh bother.” – Winnie the Pooh

8. “Silly Wabbit.” – Elmer Fudd

7. “Bing Bing Bing!” – Ricochet Rabbit

6. “Suffern’ succotash!” – Sylvester the Cat

5. “Exit Stage Left” – Snagglepuss.

4. “I tawt I taw a puddy tat.” – Tweety Bird

3. “There’s no need to fear…” – Underdog

2. “What’s up, doc?” – Bugs Bunny

1. “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” – Porky Pig

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Word of the Day: Cacophony

 

noise.jpg

It may come as no surprise to find that our business is not one that allows us to do one thing at a time. We have multiple machines in our studio and usually multiple jobs are running on each of those machines simultaneously. And each one emits sound.

I like to think of it as the soundtrack of your lives. That’s not to say that it is always harmonious. Just this week I was transferring a video of a Mexican wedding to DVD while the machine next to it was transferring a series of karate demonstrations. In the adjacent room was a vinyl record of a school band in concert playing patriotic songs that was being saved to a CD. Orchestral arrangements, strenuous grunts, and marriage vows spoken in Spanish are not often heard at the same time. For us, it was just another day at the office.

The word cacophony is defined as a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds. If you think about it, that kind of describes life itself. Which is why, when you drop by our studio, you may be greeted with any number of noises from the past. If you are lucky, it will be the sound of laughing children. But there’s no guarantee. It may also be the bone-jarring rumbling of an ATV slogging through the mud.

What we must remember is that all those sounds represent someone’s past experience and should be respected and honored as such. When heard together, it may be a raucous noise… but it is also a joyful one.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

The Final Cut

editing desk.jpg

I spent most of yesterday at my editing desk. People are learning more and more that digital technology provides almost limitless possibilities in how one’s movies can look or sound.

In the past I have sped footage up, slowed it down, and had it played in reverse. I’ve added soundtracks, suppressed noises, zoomed in closer, or eliminated scenes entirely. I’ve restructured the timing of events, merged scenes together from two different sources, and added subtitles to help with understanding dialogue.

Today’s digital equipment provides editors with a vast array of tools that make it look like they can do just about anything. But it remains a labor intensive process and most editing jobs are still priced out using an hourly rate.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when contracting with a video editor that may help keep your budget in check.

  • Be specific in what you want the final product to be. The more information you provide the editor, the easier it will be for him or her to deliver to your expectations.
  • If possible, provide the time code of the sections that need to be edited. A lot of wasted time (and dollars) can be spent simply trying to find the piece of video that needs to be altered. Knowing ahead of time that it appears fifteen minutes into the hour long video allows the editor to narrow the search.
  • Editors work faster alone. While most will allow their customers to sit with them as they edit, understand that the process will take longer and therefore become more expensive.
  • Recognize the difference between what is available and what is affordable. Some requests, while achievable, can only be accomplished if some extensive man hours are put in. The result may not add a value that matches the cost.
  • Know that some things are simply not possible. A video editor cannot reshoot your original film to refocus, change the angle, or capture something that happened offscreen. What we can do is to insert additional footage or “B” roll to give it that illusion.

There’s an old saying that people “can’t change the past.”  While that remains true on an existential level, we can change how it was recorded and thereby change how it will be remembered.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd

The Story of Yellow Feather

 

littlemarysunshine.jpeg

I don’t know how I ever found the (courage, arrogance, stupidity… insert your favorite word here) but I enrolled in college as a theater major with a concentrate in acting without ever having set foot on a theatrical stage.

My first role as a college freshman was certainly one to remember. I was cast in the Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald musical spoof, Little Mary Sunshine, as the villainous Indian, Yellow Feather. He doesn’t appear at all in the first act until the final seconds but the character is talked about with such impending dread that the audience is expecting to see evil incarnate. Here’s what actually happened (mind you, this all happened opening night of my very first theatrical performance).

  • My first entrance was to be a dramatic onstage leap onto a 3 foot platform where I was to strike a menacing tableau pose as the first act curtain was falling. I somehow made it up on the platform without tripping and struck my pose with my tomahawk held high. The music built to a crescendo… and the audience howled. I discovered that I was holding my tomahawk backwards so the little dinky tip was facing front and the sharp blade was pointed towards my own face.
  • My next scene was a solo dance number to cover for a scene change. As I got into place, the scrim upon which was painted a mountainous background was to fly in behind me. It got hung up on one of the stage lights and in trying to force it free, the backstage crew managed to dislodge the 30 pound Klieg light which came crashing down at my feet, narrowly missing my head. I had the presence of mind to kick the light under the descending scrim but forgot the steps to the dance number. Instead of an Indian war dance it looked more like an uncoordinated Boogaloo.
  • Next, I was to kidnap the female star, Little Mary Sunshine, and tie her to a tree. I got behind the musical beat and didn’t have enough time to complete the task so I handed her the rope and the poor actress was forced to hold it up and “pretend” she was tied to the tree.
  • Then, the hero, Big Jim of the Forest Rangers was to arrive and save the day, after a fierce struggle with me. During that choreographed struggle, I broke the blade of my plastic knife on Big Jim’s wrist. My next move was supposed to be to threaten him with the knife but since I now only held a hilt, I decided to choke him instead. I probably should have first consulted with the actor playing Jim. Surprised, he threw me off so violently I ripped the seam of my buckskin pants, leaving me wearing a pair of yellow leggings and exposing my lucky bikini blue underwear I wore underneath. (This was the fashioned challenged 70s after all.) I finished the fight scene with my thighs held so tightly together I probably looked like I was channeling Jerry Lewis.
  • At the end of the play, to show my conversion from bad guy to good, I was to walk out during the curtain call waving a large patriotic flag as snow gently fell from above. The crew lost control of the snowbox and ended up dumping a carton of shaved styrofoam directly on top of my head.

That was my theatrical debut. But I have to say, it got better. I think back now with the fondest of memories of my time spent in front of the footlights. And I’m very happy that a number of those performances have been preserved in a digital form so I can revisit them from time to time. Even the embarrassing moments.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd. And don’t forget, we’ve extended our end of year sale for one last week. Big discounts can be had on orders placed between now and Jan 13.