It Was a Very Good Year


At the close of every Home Video Studio season, we indulge ourselves a bit and take a look back at many of the projects that we and other studio owners around the country feel best represent the work that was done throughout the year. Then, in an Academy Award style gala event, we go head to head for top honors. This year, three of our submissions were chosen as being the best in the nation within their classification.

Best Documentary

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The Lucy Evelyn: From Ship to Store was a delight to work on. We interviewed ten family members and, using their words, told their story of how, from 1948 through 1972, they owned and operated the most unique gift shop in the world. The Lucy Evelyn was a 166-foot, 3-masted wooden schooner built in 1917. When the family was looking for a solution to keep their retail store from continually flooding during the high tide season of Long Beach Island NJ, they bought The Lucy Evelyn at auction, had it towed and beached it on the shores of Beach Haven. It was refitted, filled with high end merchandise, and it remained as a landmark, gift shop, and tourist attraction for many years. It was a great story to tell with a wonderful family who told it well. We were also blessed to have available a lot of archival footage that we were able to insert into this one hour movie. Best of all, the family now has this section of their family history preserved in a narrative and cinematic form that is sure to become a treasured keepsake to be passed down through future generations.

Best Photo Keepsake


We were honored to have been asked to build a memorial tribute for Canadian country music legend Ronnie Prophet. We worked closely with Glory Anne Prophet, Ronnie’s wife, duet partner, and a Juno-award winning singer in her own right, to somehow capsulize the talent and charisma of a man who was once dubbed “the entertainer’s entertainer.” Once the project had been completed, Glory-Anne stopped by to show us a newspaper clipping that she had found among his archives. In it, an interviewer was commenting on how Ronnie had accomplished nearly everything in his industry: Juno Awards, Gold Records, Male Vocalist of the Year, Hall of Fame inductee… and yet he was still performing. When, the reporter asked, was he going to retire? He replied in his inimitable style, “It has always been my plan to sing at my own funeral.” Thanks to Glory-Anne and the work we did for her, he did just that.

Dr. Strangelove Award for unique video

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When the Mount Dora Boating Center and Marina needed a video centerpiece to introduce their Godfather theme for the upcoming Orlando Boat Show, they reached out to us. Their initial concept would have required building a set, hiring actors, and finding period costumes, all of which would have pushed costs beyond their budget. Our solution was to use a little green screen magic and merely insert one actor into a scene from the original Godfather. They played their film on a repeating loop as they manned their booth all dressed as gangsters inviting Boat Show attendees to “Make Us An Offer We Can’t Refuse.” I’m told it was quite a draw.


While winning awards is always fun, our main reward is the satisfaction we receive from helping our clients and members of our community with their video and media needs. Whether it is preserving memories through digital transfers, creating memorable video gifts, or using digital media to promote a service or product, Home Video Studio of Mount Dora stands ready to help you.

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.


A Day for Dad


A quick check of the calendar tells me that there’s just a little over 2 weeks until Fathers’ Day. There is still plenty of time to prepare that one of a kind video gift that will show dear old dad just how much he means to you.  Here’s a quick reblog of a post that originally appeared at The Art of Manliness that explains how Fathers’ Day came into being.

The History of Father’s Day in the United States

There are two stories of when the first Father’s Day was celebrated. According to some accounts, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington state on June 19, 1910. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of honoring and celebrating her father while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church in 1909. She felt as though mothers were getting all the acclaim while fathers were equally deserving of a day of praise (She would probably be displeased that Mother’s Day still gets the lion’s share of attention).

Sonora’s dad was quite a man. William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War, was left a widower when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He went on to raise the six children by himself on their small farm in Washington. To show her appreciation for all the hard work and love William gave to her and her siblings, Sonora thought there should be a day to pay homage to him and other dads like him. She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day, but due to some bad planning, the celebration in Spokane, Washington was deferred to the third Sunday in June.

The other story of the first Father’s Day in America happened all the way on the other side of the country in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the minister of the local Methodist church that they hold services to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.

While Father’s Day was celebrated locally in several communities across the country, unofficial support to make the celebration a national holiday began almost immediately. William Jennings Bryant was one of its staunchest proponents. In 1924, President Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. But no official action was taken.

In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson, through an executive order, designated the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.

So if you’d like to put something together for your dad on his special day, bring pictures of the two of you down to the studio. We’ll set it to music and give back to you a gift your dad will always remember.

Here’s some ideas for songs you might want to consider:

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

Pomp and Circumstance


It is that time of year to prepare to say congratulations to the young men and women who are on the cusp of one of life’s great achievements – high school graduation. Putting together a photo/video keepsake to recognize and honor their journey is a great idea and I’ve done a number of them over the years. The importance of choosing the appropriate song to accompany pictures of your graduate in various stages of his or her life cannot be emphasized enough and there are a number of great songs to choose from.  Here are some client favorites along with some key lyrics that help explain why they are popular:

The Climb – Miley Cyrus 2009. “Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.”

My Wish – Rascal Flatts 2006. “My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to…”

I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack 2000. “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance.  Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’…”

Graduation (Friends Forever) – Vitamin C 1999. “And so we talked all night about the rest of our lives. Where we’re gonna be when we turn twenty five. I keep thinking times will never change. Keep on thinking things will always be the same.”

Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield 2004. “Staring at the blank page before you. Open up the dirty window. Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find. Reaching for something in the distance. So close you can almost taste it. Release your inhibitions”

Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson 2004. “I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly. I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky. And I’ll make a wish, Take a chance, Make a change, And breakaway.”

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day 1997. “So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why, It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time, It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right, I hope you had the time of your life.”

These are just a few of the songs clients have used to tell the story of their graduate’s life. There are many others and I’m sure there’s one that would be perfect for the graduate in your family.

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

Be Mine



Flowers? You don’t need no stinkin’ flowers. This Valentine’s Day, if you want to wow your significant other with a gift he or she will truly treasure, bring me 30 pictures of the two of you together along with your favorite song, and I will deliver back to you a photo video keepsake – a customized DVD presentation that will remind you both of the special relationship you share.

Let’s face it. Flowers wilt and die. Chocolates are eaten and are soon forgotten. But memories are meant to last forever. And with our Valentine’s Day Special we can make that happen for you. #Memoriesmatter.

With thirty pictures, one song, and $74.99, you’ll be able to give your sweetheart the greatest gift ever… the memories of the times you’ve spent together and the knowledge of how special they are to you… because you spent the time and effort towards putting together this keepsake. This discounted package includes an archival quality, fully authored DVD enclosed in a case with a customized case wrap and comes conveniently packaged in a gift bag.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This offer is for lovers only so call today to place your order. 352-735-8550 or visit

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. But we are also in the business of creating new ones. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit


Countdown to Christmas VII

#It’s just six days till Christmas… I hope my true love gives to me…

A special video portrait.#

Looking for that one-of-a-kind gift for someone special? Our Face to Face video portraits will be sure to delight your loved ones and be the standout present at any holiday gathering.

Here is all it takes:

  • Select a series of photos featuring the same individual.
  • Headshots or annual school photos work the best
  • Organize them in chronological order
  • Choose a song
  • Bring everything to us

We will deliver back to you a “photo/video” where the subject will seem to grow into his older self in a matter of seconds. Instead of cutting from picture to picture, each photograph will morph into the next one.

We’ve made these for various occasions:

  • Graduations
  • Birthdays (sweet sixteens especially)
  • Engagement parties
  • Anniversaries
  • Celebrations of life

Whatever the occasion, a Face to Face is a special way to commemorate the passage of time and a loved one’s journey through it.

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

Countdown to Christmas IV

#It’s just nine days till Christmas… I hope my true love gives to me…

A perfect photo keepsake…#

I can’t explain it. There’s no logical reason. It doesn’t even make sense. Take a photo that you’ve seen every day… maybe it is framed and sitting on your dresser and you pass by it every morning for twenty years without giving it a second thought. But if you set that same picture in motion and put it to music along with other photos, suddenly these familiar pictures will take on such a new life that it is like seeing them again for the first time.

A photo video keepsake uses photographs, video clips and music and, through the magic of video editing, is able to tell a story that touches the heart, triggers the mind, and enriches the soul. It is quite unlike any other media experience I know.

If you are planning to gift someone with a photo video keepsake here are some tips to remember:

  1. Cull through the photos. Eliminate the duplicates. And remember that something a little too short is far better than something way too long.
  2. Strike a balance between posed shots and candid shots.  Remember we want to tell a story that resonates. Too many photos of people behaving like mannequins won’t tell much of a story.
  3. Figure on approximately 10 photos per minute so a 100 picture photo keepsake would run about 10 minutes long.
  4. Audio is in some ways more important than the photos. Spend some time picking the perfect songs to accompany your pictures.
  5. Songs will typically run between 2.5 to 4 minutes so for a 100 photo keepsake, you would need between 3 and 4 songs to use as a soundtrack.
  6. As a rule, landscape oriented pictures work better than portrait oriented pictures – although any editor should be able to work with portrait photos as well as landscape.
  7. Spend extra time deciding how to open and how to close the keepsake. The first image and last image sets the tone for all that comes after or before and is what people tend to remember.
  8. Title slides can be effective as can narration if they are planned and properly done.
  9. Don’t forget humor. These keepsakes tend to become emotional and humor can go a long way towards releasing emotional tension in a positive way.
  10. Don’t tackle the project alone. It may seem that it should be easy but it can quickly drain your time and your resources and cause unwanted stress. Besides, professionals have a few tricks up their sleeves that will help enhance your project to the enjoyment of all.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories, including creating photo video keepsakes that bring both joy and tears to those who choose to trust us with telling their family members’ stories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit