Color Me Amazed


Michael Ondrasik is nearing the end of his annual training conference and will  soon be returning home armed with an abundance of new knowledge and experience to add to the tools of his trade. He is continuing to blog daily from the field. To have his blog delivered directly to your email, simply click on the subscribe button from his blog page.

As we are finishing up our week-long training, I continue to be amazed at just how much control we, as photo and video editors, have over the manipulation of images – whether they are still photos or moving videos. Over the past few days we received extensive training in many different features of Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Audition, Lightroom, and Davinci Resolve. The technology available to us has grown to unfathomable levels.

Techniques once reserved for Hollywood and their six figure editing suites can now be easily performed by individuals with a laptop and the proper software. Spielberg’s technique of colorizing a single red dress in a full length black and white movie (Shindler’s List)? I did that this week. Ken Burn’s technique of panning and altering the perspective of a still photo? I did that too. How about that shot of Roy Schneider in Jaws where his image zoomed closer to the camera as the beach background grew smaller when he first saw the shark? I learned how that was done as well and can duplicate it with the equipment I have.

I may never have the need to use many of the techniques we covered this week but knowledge learned is never a bad thing. The more I can learn how to use the tools I have, the more options I can give my customers to meet the needs that they may have.

I am looking forward to returning home and putting into practice much of the learning I received this week. I’ll be in the studio on Monday morning bright and early.  Hope to see you then.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit


Live Long and Prosper


Michael is still at the Advanced Training Seminar for Home Video Studio owners but is continuing to blog from the field on a daily basis. Subscribe to the blog to have it delivered directly to your email.

Yesterday, at our conference, we held our traditional movie/pizza night where studio owners around the world were invited to bring and show a small segment of a video project that they have either worked on recently or are currently working on. It is always a fun event showcasing the degree of talent and creativity that exists within our franchise family.

For my part, I decided to bring a short, personal clip that I used to open a 90th birthday video for my mother-in-law. The family had decided that, as a birthday gift, each member should film a short selfie video telling a small story or recollection that would help celebrate the fun times shared over the years. I assembled the clips, and then added some photos and music to make a special 30 minute video presentation. We presented the movie at a family gathering, gave it as a gift to the birthday girl and she has watched it many times since. It makes her cry each time… happy tears.

The clips ranged from sentimental to funny and came from far and wide as our family is spread across the globe. I received video segments filmed from the deck of a Coast Guard cutter destined for Antarctica, from a desert in Arizona, from the beaches of Hawaii, from the hills of Tennessee and in my case, from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, the familiar setting of her favorite TV show.

As I often say, if you don’t know what to get for the person who has everything, you can never go wrong with a video of memories shared. And because each keepsake we produce is different – specifically tailored for the person to whom it is given – it can never be duplicated; it always delivers an emotional impact; and it will be treasured forever.

For the curious, here’s the clip I made for my mother-in-law that I showed my fellow studio owners last night:

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories (and in the creation of new ones). For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

Away From Home Still Feels Like Home


Michael Ondrasik is attending an annual training seminar and will return to the studio on March 5th. While away, he will continue to post blogs from the field. Subscribe to the blog to have them delivered directly to your email.

One of the best things about conventions are the people who attend them with you. Sure, there are guest speakers, and educational tracts to take but the real learning and benefit in attending is in the associations you form with people who are doing the same thing you are doing.

Home Video Studio is a quarter century old and has studio locations scattered across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Each studio is independently owned and operated by a studio owner and twice a year we gather to learn more about our industry, share insights and observations about what we do and the problems we encounter with the aim of helping each other solve those problems to make ourselves better suited to serve the needs of our customers.

Tonight, I dined with studio owners from the states of Minnesota, Ohio, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and California. The food was good; the company was better. I remember my first year as being a studio owner (a year culminated by being named “Rookie of the Year”). I said it then and I will repeat it now, the people drawn to this business are so passionate about what they do that they decide to make the financial commitment required to open a studio. They are among the most likable, genuine and personable people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

If you ever have the need for the services offered by this franchise, (videotape transfers, film transfers, photo/video keepsakes, 35mm slide transfers, audio transfers, memorial videos, sports scholarship videos, life stories, and more) you can rest assured that you are in good hands. You need not look any further for you won’t find any better.  That, of course, is only my opinion – but it is an informed opinion that caused me to want to join their ranks. You see, preserving your family’s memories is not just a job to us… it is a calling – and an honor.

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

The DVA Kid

I always like to know where my customers heard about me or what brought them to my studio. A lot of time people mention a Facebook post or my link from a Google search. Sometimes they were just driving by and noticed my sign on Donnelly St or they clipped out my ad from the Daily Commercial. But yesterday was the first time that a new client simply said, “I saw that western you did.”

Last summer at a convention for Home Video Studio owners, we were challenged to craft, shoot and edit a small movie under 3 minutes using techniques and skills we had developed. The only other limitation was that it needed to be centered around a western theme as the convention was being held in Tucson Arizona.

I teamed up with John Montgomery of Home Video Studio in Newark OH and Peter Galluzzo of Home Video Studio in Apex NC and we decided to make a western commercial for DVA, our cloud-based streaming solution for home videos. Armed with our love of spaghetti westerns and using a western ghost town belonging to the El Conquistador Hilton Hotel, we set out to do just that.

Here are some trivia facts:

  • Shooting this little two and a half minute mini-movie required a day and a half of production (shooting in front of the camera) and more than two days editing the footage we shot.
  • We used a Canon EOS C-100 DSLR as our primary camera and edited on a laptop using Adobe Premiere Pro software.
  • The actress playing the saloon keeper, Stella, is my wife, Kate.
  • The actor playing The DVA Kid is Vernon Walker, a local actor and horse trainer who made himself available for our project as well as other projects that were in development that week. He’s included The DVA Kid as part of his demo reel on IMDb. 
  • The uncredited voiceover at the end of the film belongs to Jay Carneal of Memory Box Archives, Richmond VA.
  • The DVA Kid won for Best Backlot Video at the 2017 Hanley Awards. The trophy is on display at our studio.

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

The Amelia Room


If you’ve been to our studio, you may have noticed that we’ve got nameplates over the doors to each of our rooms. You enter into our lobby and from there can either go into our editing room where our our video work takes place or our showroom where we consult with our clients regarding their projects.

But in the back of the studio is an area we simply call “The Amelia Room.” It’s where we do much of our slide and audio transfers as well as some green screen production work. We took the name from our very first customer, Amelia Yokel, who, as it turns out, is a filmmaker in her own right.

Back in 2014, we took a chance on this business, believing that we could provide a needed service to our community but not really knowing if the community would respond. We gambled and made the considerable financial investment in the equipment and support structure and believed for the best.

The very day I picked up the keys to our chosen location, long before our equipment arrived, I was at the studio wiping down the walls, sweeping up cobwebs, and scrubbing the baseboards in preparation for our opening in a couple of weeks. In my eagerness to let people know we were coming, I had already listed our business information with Google, thinking it would take a while for it to come to the attention of the general public.

So imagine my surprise when a car pulled into our driveway. We had no signage, no furniture, no video equipment, no phones… just me in a t-shirt and shorts holding a dirty rag. And yet, here comes Amelia walking through the door carrying boxes.

She had found some 6000 feet of film that her grandfather, locally renown environmentalist Bernie Yokel,  had taken during his travels around the world.  She wanted to preserve it to a digital form. And despite the fact that there was nothing she could see that indicated that I was a legitimate business as yet, she trusted me and gave me the job. 

I will always remember that leap of faith and be forever grateful to her. She could not have possibly been aware of this but receiving a sizable order before I was even open for business  convinced me that I had made the correct choice and could make Home Video Studio of Mount Dora a viable and successful business in our little home town. Amelia gave me support to follow through on my dream. I figured the least I could do in return was to name a room after her.

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



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

Kiwanis: What’s in a name?

A shout out to the Golden Triangle Kiwanis Club who graciously invited me to be a guest speaker at one of their breakfast meetings last month. I spoke on how digital technology can help us preserve our memories and build a legacy for our families. (And on a side note: the photo infused thank you card was a nice touch. Class move there Kiwanis.)
The Kiwanis are an international, coeducational organization dedicated to serving the needs of children within their local communities through fundraising and participating in local service projects.
The original motto for the Kiwanis was “We Trade.” It was changed by a vote of its members in 1920 to become “We Build,” which stood as its motto for the next 80 years. Recently, a new motto was voted in to better reflect the goals of the organization. “Serving the Children of the World” is its current motto and it is what the Kiwanis are all about.
Oddly enough, the word Kiwanis comes from the Ojibwe language and, according to Wikipedia, can be loosely translated to mean “I fool around.” Whether that is true or not, based on the camaraderie exhibited at the meeting I attended, the members there do know how to entertain themselves while, at the same time making a pretty significant impact in the lives of some local kids.
If anyone is looking for volunteer opportunities to help make this world a better place for our children, the Kiwanis Club may provide you with the perfect platform. Search out a local chapter near you.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. And we are available for speaking engagements. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

I’ll Be Your Huckleberry


It is amazing what will spark a memory.  I was transferring a client’s film today and the Christmas scene that appeared on the screen was of a young boy who had just received an inflatable punching bag in the image of Huckleberry Hound.

I had one of those. And I certainly remember Hanna-Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound being a favorite cartoon when I was growing up.  But my memory played a trick on me.  I would have sworn that the Huckleberry Hound Show that I watched as a youngster consisted of three segments: Huckleberry himself; Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo (whose segment eventually became more popular than those of the titular star); and (I thought) Quick Draw McGraw with his sidekick “bing bing bing” Ricochet Rabbit.

But I was wrong. Quick Draw had his own show. The third segment for Huck, as he is familiarly known to his young fans, involved a pair of mice, Pixie and Dixie, and the object of their abuse, the cat Mr. Jinx. Just goes to show how memories can tend to distort and blend together over time.

A few trivia tidbits about this cartoon from my past:

Huckleberry Hound debuted in 1958 and featured a slow moving, slow talking blue dog who held a multitude of jobs and always seemed to succeed due to either luck or an obstinate persistence.

Huck was voiced by Daws Butler who also provided the voices for Wally Gator, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, and Snagglepuss.

Daws Butler fashioned the voice of Yogi Bear after Art Carney’s portrayal of Ed Norton in The Honeymooners. And, despite the similarities, he always denied using Andy Griffith as the inspiration for the voice of Huckleberry. (And as it turns out, Huckleberry arrived on the scene a few years before Andy Griffith became a household name.)

It was the first animated program to be honored with an Emmy Award (1961).

Edit:  Yet another memory failure. I have been reminded that Ricochet Rabbit was not the sidekick of QuickDraw McGraw.  He was the star of his own show. Quick Draw’s sidekick was Baba Louey – which I should have remembered on my own as that was also the nickname given to my baby sister.

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

What’s Your Resolution?


What’s your New Years’ resolution?

The old year is quickly departing. Here comes 2018!

For whatever reason, people seem driven to resolve to make a change in their lives at the break of a new year.  Most of the time, our New Years’ resolutions are destined to fail within the first week or two. 

If you really want to make a change in your life, the folks over at TED Talks have some pretty unique ideas that may have more of an impact on your life than the usual “lose weight, exercise more” resolutions we’ve all tried and failed at. Take a look:

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

Countdown to Christmas XII

santa clock.jpg
Twas the day before Christmas, and at HVS
Our machines have stopped whirring and we are at rest
The disks we created were received with great joy.
Our clients are happy – each girl and each boy.
For their tapes, films and slides from times long since past;
We transferred them all so that now they will last.
And as families all gather around their TVs
We smile knowing they’re watching our DVDs.
To our clients we say with our hearts filled with cheer,
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. And don’t forget about our end of year sale! It kicks off Tuesday Dec 26 and runs through Saturday Dec 30. Biggest discounts of the year! For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit