The room where you interview should be well lit, the radio and TV off, the phone off the hook, little noisy kids out to a friend’s house. Ask if anyone wants something to drink. Have a list of questions ready and inform your subject(s) ahead of time about some of the things they will be asked. If you are both taping and interviewing, keep your voice moderate so you won’t appear to be shouting on the tape – in this case it is preferable to have another relative asking most of the questions. Be sure to start by stating the date, who you are and who you are interviewing. Then have your subject tell their date and place of birth, names of parents and siblings. From there you are free to chat away. You may need a time-out for battery or tape changes, or to switch to a different camera angle for variety. Keep the panning and zooming to a minimum.
When you are finished, you may edit your tape if you think it’s necessary and if that is something you know how to do. I would advise taking the tape in to a camera shop to have it made into a DVD which is a sturdier way to store the interview. You don’t want to cry because the tape got old or tangled up or the cassette broken. Wait for a sale – I got mine done for $26.00 at Wolf Camera.
The best thing about videotaping is that you capture the whole essence of your loved one who will then be able to speak to great-great-grandchildren they will never know. It is a beautiful way for their memory to be alive forever.