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Frequently Asked Questions  
    I am nervous about talking; how will I come across?  
    What should I talk about?  
    Do I need to learn 'lines' for the camera?  
    Our living room is small; how much space is needed?  
    Why is additional lighting necessary?  
    How many visits will be needed?  
    How many people will be in the crew?  
    How long will a DVD or Blu Ray video disc last?  
    I am nervous about talking; how will I come across?  
Most people are nervous initially but it rarely shows on camera and after a few minutes, when engrossed in describing an event or explaining a photograph etc, the nervousness disappears. We understand the problem and do our best to put people at ease; it is not uncommon, especially after seeing a replay of the first few clips, for nervousness to turn rapidly into enthusiasm!

What should I talk about?


Anything you want to! We have an extensive list of potential topics, covering most aspects of life, to help you decide what you want to talk about. Whilst actually telling a story, however, additional points/tracks/subjects may come to mind and we encourage 'going with the flow' rather than keeping to the letter of a particular plan.

    Do I need to learn 'lines’ for the camera?  
No, not unless you particularly want to. The aim is to record you speaking naturally and, unless you are a trained actor, the use of written or memorised lines is very difficult and doesn't usually look or sound natural. There would be a lot of lines to learn too! For example, try describing one of your family photographs: With the photo to hand, this is quite easy - but then imagine memorising the words and repeating them! Much harder and not worth it. The only exception can be at the begining of the video; where someone is going to introduce themselves it is usually best to decide beforehand on the first few words to use. Whilst recording, don't worry about forgetting what to say, changing your mind about how to describe something or making mistakes - these things happen all the time. Just relax and, if you want to, say it again. It's quite usual to record some clips more than once and remember - the mistakes, along with 'um's and 'err's will be edited out of the final product!
    Our living room is quite small; how much space is needed?  
Ideally we need space for two cameras and three lights (which means five tripods), a monitor, a few black boxes and some microphones (plus people of course!). This may sound quite a lot but the apparatus is surprisingly compact and we have managed to work well in some very small spaces.
    Why is additional lighting necessary?  
To improve the quality of the picture. Although some modern cameras can operate in very dim lighting conditions the results from properly illuminated scenes are far better.
    Who owns copyright of the final product?  
      You will own the copyright.  
    How many visits will be necessary?  
It is possible to record all the necessary clips in a single one-day session. Experience shows, however, that after the first session most people are keen to record more stories so we normally schedule two visits.
    How many people will be in the crew?  
      At least two.  
    How long will a DVD or Blu Ray video disc last?  

Digital recordings can be made to survive indefinitely without degradation of picture or sound quality. This is not the case for the DVD or Blu Ray discs themselves, however, and to ensure indefinite survival recordings will need periodic transfer to other storage media. (The recording on a video disc is in digital form and copies will perfectly replicate the original, not degraded by the copying process as happens, for example, when copying conventional film.)

Some of the latest video discs are said to last up to 100 years but this claim needs to be interpreted with caution. Provided the blanks from which they are made are properly manufactured under the strictest quality control, the equipment used to transfer data to them operates flawlessly and they are stored in ideal archival environmental conditions, some modern DVD or Blu Ray discs might last a century or so. Even then, however, the timescale is only an estimate as it is not possible to prove the point in less than 100 years!

Unfortunately, many video discs are made under less rigorous conditions and industry-wide sub-contracting and badge-engineering practices make it impossible to know if a particular batch of blank video discs, including those sold under well-known brand labels, are likely to have the highest longevity potential. Also, normal domestic storage practices are often far from ideal and, all told, video discs can fail after much shorter periods. Typical video disc life expectancy is possibly a decade or two but in extreme circumstances it can literally be just a day or so. The uncertainty in the life expectancy of data held on such discs has lead the United States Government to fund a Digital Data Preservation Program at its National Institute for Standards and Technology — to study the problem. (See for example Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: A Guide for Librarians and Archivists.)

Your Stories supplies its customers with at least four copies of the video disc(s), two for use and two for archiving. To ensure that video recordings lasts indefinately we recommend the following for the archived copies:


Storage: Store each video disc in a separate opaque box (ie not translucent), away from bright light, in cool and dry conditions. Avoid plastic or paper sleeves, sudden changes in temperature or humidity, finger prints or other marks/dirt on either side. If possible store each disc in a different location.

During first 10 years: Play both archive copies at least every 2 years. In the event of either recording having degraded to the extent that it will not play on a properly functioning player have a duplicate made from the other archive copy. (As said above, the recording on a video disc is in digital form and duplicates will be perfect copies of the original, not degraded by the copying process as happens, for example, when copying conventional film.)

After 10 years: Transfer both archive discs to new discs, DVD or Blu Ray, or whatever media happens to be in use then!

In subsequent decades: review the recordings and copy/transfer them, as above, at a timescale extended to accommomdate the doubtless increased lifespan of the recording medium then in use.

In summary: keep more than one copy, store in cool dry pace, play regularly, periodically copy to new media and preferably keep a log of what you have done.

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