5 Tips: How To Document Historic Moments

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5 Tips: How To Document Historic MomentsIf the whole world is watching or talking about an event, good or bad, you can bet it’s making history, and since you and I are here watching it unfold, why not document it and share OUR perspective?

3 Historic Events

3 Current Historic Events

There are three historic events taking place in our nation and in the world right now:

COVID-19 Pandemic

For months most of the world has been in various degrees of lock-down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Death Of George Floyd

Last week another African American man died at the hands of police. We’re now experiencing a wave of demonstrations across the U.S., some of which have grown violent putting both demonstrators and law enforcement in jeopardy.

U.S. Space Craft Launched

In the middle of these disturbing and difficult circumstances we also experienced a highly positive historic event—an American space craft taking astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time in 9 years. This was a cooperative effort between NASA and SpaceX, a commercial company, which gives us renewed hope that when we work together, great things can happen.

All three of these events have impacted millions of people around the world so why not record them as part of our personal story of the times we live in. Our descendants will enjoy hearing about history from an ancestor who actually lived it!

You could simply write something about it in a journal or make a voice recording, but down the road your kids and future generations will want to see YOU telling your personal perspective on video, so that’s what my husband Charlie and I did.

International Space Station

Here are 5 tips on how to record your “I was there” perspective for your family history when a historic event happens.

Tip #1 Decide WHAT talk about.

Charlie and I decided to talk about all three events I mentioned above because all three are happening at the same time.

Tip #2 Start by telling listeners what date it is.

We’ve been working on getting our old format movie reels, video tapes, and cassettes digitized and it’s amazing how seldom anyone thinks to mention the date, so don’t forget the date!

In fact, give the date as part of your introduction.

Tip #3 Talk about WHAT is happening.

Charlie and I shared a few details about the Space X Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, and followed that with a few facts about the craziness of a global pandemic resulting in stay-at-home orders and shuttered businesses, magnified by the current social justice demonstrations and the ensuing riots that often turn into violence, destruction of property, and looting.

Tip #4 Tell your personal perspective and how this event affected YOU

Your descendants will want to know how this historic event affected your everyday life—like the curfews still in effect right here in our home town of Portland, Oregon. This is where specific details and stories are especially interesting.

Sometimes the whole course of your family’s life can change because of a historic event. Take the time to document it!

Cheering Dragon Crew

Tip #5 In most cases, keep it brief

Even though Charlie and I talked about three historic events, our video was less than 7 minutes long. It included:

• Almost two minutes of video showing the American astronauts entering the International Space Station. 

• A discussion of the length, restrictions, and effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, including a personal story of us (and our cats) having to live and work in our RV for a month.

• The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers and how appalled we were at what happened. We also talked about the demonstrations and violence that have occurred across the country and in our own city where the mayor imposed a curfew still in effect.

This may sound like a lot, but you can say a lot in just a few minutes.

If there’s a personal story that needs to be told, especially if you were involved in the event or deeply affected by it, go ahead and take as much time as you need to tell your story. 

So those are my 5 tips for documenting historic events with video. The little bit of effort it takes to do this will pay off BIG time, especially years from now when your descendants can learn about historical events not only from the history books, but directly from an ancestor of theirs who lived it.

Be sure to download the TRANSCRIPT and CHEAT SHEET for how to set up and record yourself talking about historic events.

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