Making Video History | Print |
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Written by Barry Starlin Britt   

“I left the United States on a ship as a teenage boy – drafted in World War II, we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, and as far as that bridge knows, I never came back.”


I had heard his stories many times, but this time as the words slowly rolled off his lips in his South Georgia drawl, I realized he was a story-teller and didn’t even know it.  But better than fiction, he spoke of real-life incidents that were not only true but also shaped his future, which became my present – and yours as well.

His name is William Allen Davenport III.  Locals in the small Georgia town in which he lives know him as Bill or “Mr. Bill” if you hang out with him at the morning breakfast club up the street.  Fortunately, I know him as “Pop,” the endearing name given to him by his grandchildren.  But I get to call him that as well as my father-in-law.

Pop became my second Dad in 1990 when I married his lovely daughter.  In 1996 when my own dad passed away (his endearing name was “Charlie”), Pop told me at Charlie’s funeral “you still have a Dad son.”   And this is where my story begins. Pop’s passion is traveling locally to display his model of the World War II DE35 Escort.  He briefly lived on that ship as a teen and shot down kamikazes in the South Pacific while aboard.  But better than the ship’s model are the numerous stories you hear in Southern dialect, which recall the people, places, thoughts and actions that gave us freedom.

I have some pictures of my dad (Charlie), but whenever I see videos of my daughter, I wish I had more videos of my own dad.  True, I have the videos that play on the best recorder ever – my mind, but those are so difficult to share with my daughter and others.

It was only about nine months ago that I decided to capture Pop’s stories, not only for our family’s sake, but also for generations to come.“What a tragedy it would be not to record these events,” said Pop’s eldest son to me at a recent family gathering.  So I told him we would not only record the stories, but publish them, share them, and network a never-ending chain of blogs, pictures and videos with other veterans and participants in the story to be shared with the world.

Lights, Camera…ACTION!
Now let’s make one thing clear, I’m no videographer.  In my profession, I work with camera men and women and photographers who are pros and masters of their craft.   But I can’t have them follow me around to capture what I see in my eyes as history being made, so I bought some gear.

It’s “in the bag”
Now when you see me at your school, your office, technology conferences or family gatherings I ALWAYS have:

A beige shoulder bag that contains –
• 1 JVC 30x optical zoom Digital Video Camera with charger- $199
• Blank mini DV digital video cassettes - $9.99 for a pack
• Firewire cable - $30
• MacBook computer with iMovie as video editor - $1,000
• Royalty Free Volume of Music - $99
• Bookmark to video publishers - FREE
• Ability to capture history in the making – PRICELESS (thank you MasterCard).

Not in your budget?
Did the $1,000 MacBook scare you?  That particular laptop just benefits me for a number of other reasons.  To capture video on the spot, you only need any sort of digital video camera.  You an always bring the footage back to your home or school computer for editing.

Not a Mac user?
Don’t fret PC people.  Windows Movie Maker works great.  I used it as well prior to my Mac.

In 2006 I had the privilege of going to China for my second time for the Shanghai International Music Festival in the beautiful Century City Park in Pudong.

At that point, I had a vintage (not really, but it was old) JVC camcorder.  (Yes, that’s right techies – a camcorder.  Keep laughing).


I brought the footage back to the U.S., transferred the mini video cassettes to DVD, and published to the web after using AVS Video Converter to convert to MPEG format.


The AVS Video Converter software ( works great for PC use.  Mac’s iMovie has many features, so as a PC user you’ll find benefits in other software such as AVS Converters.  Should you need to convert any DVD’s, AVS does so to these formats: AVI (DivX, XviD, etc.), DV AVI, MP4 (inc. Sony PSP and Apple iPod), WMV, 3GP, 3G2, QuickTime (MOV, QT), SWF, DVD, VOB, VRO,MPG, MPEG 1,2,4, MOD, DAT, VCD, SVCD, ASF, ASX, MJPEG, H.263, H.264, Real Video (RM, RMVB), DVR-MS, MKV, OGM, FLVAVS Converter also allows you to:

Create movie DVD’s or VCD and SVCD from video files of all supported formats and even split your movie into chapters.

Convert video files and DVD to DVD, hard drive, Sony PSP, Apple iPod, Archos, Zen Creative or any other portable media player.  The AVS Audio Converter also supports Memory Stick Video format with thumbnail preview.

Convert video content for DVD/MPEG-4 players (with DivX/XviD support) and handled devices like Sony PSP, Apple iPod, Portable Media Player (PMP), and GSM or

CDMA mobile phones.   You may also transfer video files via Infrared, Bluetooth or a USB cable.

Make Flash SWF, Real Video or WMV movies for your web site. Video converter will help you to convert video to small movie files ready to be streamed across the internet for web publishing.

Convert video to audio tracks and images.  Save audio streams as audio files, extract single frames and save them as image files.

Enhance your movies
This converter offers timeline video editing. Convert video and delete unwanted parts.  You can even split and join video files, rotate, and add titles and credits.   You may also apply more than 50 audio and video effects to your movies.

Batch mode Video Converter
Convert several video files at once.   You can split and even merge and make different file into one DVD.

Don’t let the important moments pass you by without capturing them – at home, in the classroom and abroad for the world to see for generations and civilizations to come.

I’ll do my part as well.  So now when I see Pop starting into a story, I’m sure to have my camera ready as we make video history.

Barry S. Britt is the Executive Producer and Education Coordinator of Soundzabound Royalty Free Music in Atlanta, GA.

An initiative to capture history in the making is not just limited to history class, social studies, western civilization and American History.  It’s for everyone.  With this in mind, making video history may also be applicable to the following subjects and areas of interest:

Example:  Psychological studies and research among test groups videoed in the present, published and archived for those in the past to view and learn from the contents.

Example:  Recording social interaction such as at a concert, political rally or other social gathering in order to demonstrate your research on sociological behaviors.  Making video history will allow future viewers to learn from you or your students findings.

Science and Physics
Example:  Sorry to go there, but the numerous videos that appeared on YouTube which demonstrates what happens when you place mentos into Coca-Cola is a perfect example.  Perhaps you and your students can be creative and explore, research and video other types of experiments.

Language Arts
Example:  Video poetry readings and spoken word enactments created by students themselves.  Herein lies an avenue where the act is only the beginning, and the content of what is being said reflects thoughts and ideas of a present time period or people group.

And the obvious
Computer & Technology Courses
Media Science and Festivals

(Side bar)
Links related to this article:
Video Converter - for real sound effects (for example sounds of World War II Japanese fighter planes and cars from the 1940’s)

Also see:
“Getting Started with Windows Movie Maker”
“Thanks for the Memories” by Marybeth Miller

(Side Bar)
Careful regarding copyrights
 Never publish your videos which contain popular music from an era without the written permission from the copyright holder(s) (even for education).
 Don’t assume that because audio is royalty free that you are allowed to synchronize and publish in your video - especially for broadcast, duplication or archival.
 Read the license carefully, or at least the section which describes permissions and limitations before inserting into your video and more importantly before publishing to the web.











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