About The Grandpa Tapes
Working for clients is fun and typically pays very well but some projects provide a level of satisfaction that exceed the wildest of incomes. In this case, I’m talking about a tribute DVD I cobbled together for relatives as part of a Christmas Holiday present.
Analog Tape Way Back When
In 1992, I borrowed a VHS camera from my girlfriend’s brother and filmed my grandfather. That girl is now my wife and her brother Don is my brother-in-law.
Almost 17 years later, I rediscovered my VHS recording, digitized it, then while the parents were away on vacation, I went through their house and collected all the photos of my grandfather, Charles Schwartz – my mom’s father.
I scanned in old pictures from the 1930s, wedding pictures from 1961, and even found my very first photos in old scrapbooks from 1970.
With pictures and video in hand, I then created a Vegas project and started assembling the story. This was not a video project that was going to have lots of cuts and fancy effects as the goal was really to capture the feel of the man and what it was like to visit my grandfather on a Sunday afternoon.
Enter Charles Schwartz – 84 Years of Wisdom
At the time I filmed Charles at his home at 518 Mile Square Road in Yonkers, New York, he was 84 years old.
In the resulting hour long DVD we covered all the big topics – from sex, first dates, jobs, goals, dreams, education, global warming, crime, immigration, discrimination, World War 2, guns, capital punishment, prostitution, gangs, and many chapters about various relatives (e.g., my sister, my parents).
I was frustrated at first with the production quality of the video as the VHS is not what I’m now used to with my triple-chip high-end digital cameras.
It was also the first time I really filmed a documentary (without knowing that was what I was doing) and made the mistake of shooting into the setting sun streaming through the window behind my grandfather. Yet on some creative level, this “technique” actually worked (“happy accident”) and there are parts in the tape that are very clear but I digress.
Producing the DVD as Gift to Relatives
Lastly I should mention the DVD Architect part of the project. This allowed me to create a series of menus for the DVD with 62 chapter points. This way, if a relative wants to jump to that section of the footage that pertains to them, they can scroll through the menus and quickly jump to that chapter. This was a lot of work to set up (the chapters) but I think in the end will make it all the more valuable to relatives – especially, down the road.
Funny how the Universe works in that right after I completed this tribute video, I got a couple more client gigs to do similar for their families – what fun!
Watch The Grandpa Tapes Online
Below are two versions of the same video – one on Blip.tv and the other on the Internet Archives – enjoy!
The Grandpa Tapes on Blip.tv
The Grandpa Tapes on Internet Archives
Chapter Start Times
Below is a list of start times with chapter headings listed in the hours:minutes:seconds:frames format. Currently there is no way to add chapter markers to DVD footage hence listing the chapter headings and timeline here to make it easier to fast forward and/or jump to certain spots.
|The Grandpa Tapes Sections:|
|Start Time||Chapter Heading|
|00:00:00.00||Chuck Scott Presents|
|00:00:05.01||The Grandpa Tapes|
|00:01:25.09||The Drive There|
|00:02:14.11||Arriving at the Schwartz Residence|
|00:03:32.18||The Kitchen Table|
|00:04:21.09||About George Washington|
|00:06:10.07||About Cap n Ball Rifles|
|00:07:52.16||German Father and Irish Friend|
|00:10:29.02||Born in 1908|
|00:11:59.15||Early Catholics in Yonkers|
|00:12:58.26||My First Camera|
|00:13:18.27||Dutch in Yonkers|
|00:14:02.14||Route 6 USA and Rails|
|00:17:23.27||Laurie Ann and Carol|
|00:18:13.00||First Started Working|
|00:19:29.14||Back to Work|
|00:25:02.17||Ethnic Neighborhoods and Immigration|
|00:28:30.01||Generations and Guns|
|00:29:35.04||The Subways Rock|
|00:34:31.25||Key to Business Success|
|00:38:00.21||Getting Married and Sex|
|00:40:36.24||Hanging Out and First Car|
|00:41:55.21||Driving and Bricks|
|00:45:04.02||Vintage Tables and Artistic Expressions|
|00:46:45.22||Young People and Dreams|
|00:48:01.07||Vocation and Radio|
|00:52:10.16||Aging and Learning|
|00:54:13.18||Home and Love|
|00:54:49.18||Trouble in World|
|00:55:28.21||Prisons and Death Penalties|
|01:00:10.02||Magazines and Mom|
|01:03:09.08||Important Things in Life|
|01:05:39.18||Hatred and Cops|
|01:07:26.14||Picking on Race|
Note these videos can also be found on the Internet Archives