Tips and Tricks

Making a Family Documentary Video

hands together in heart for a family documentary video


The family documentary has been a staple for families across the United States for decades now, and it seems more people are starting to seek solutions for producing family documentaries.  Family documentaries (aka family history documentary, family heritage documentary, etc) are topics that are close to our hearts.  As professional videographers, we focus on the family because we believe every family has a story worth saving.  When you are in the beginning stages to make a family documentary video for your family, we hope the pointers in this post will help you.

The Family Documentary Videos

At its core, family documentaries date as far back as our civilization has been trying to connect ideas, and share stories with other humans.   As filmmakers serving in the personal history video business, we often get requests for producing interviews and fully-editing the shoots into broadcast-quality works.

The Videomaker Magazine has a great resource for some tips in creating a video yourself, but as they mention, “Many people have the desire to share their family’s history, but they don’t have the skills to do it in a video.”  We see this time-and-time again when clients come to us: they’re ready to actually produce their family documentary video, and get the desired result.

Family Documentary Questions

Planning is a major part in producing a family documentary video.  Some of the concerns clients have is that they don’t know the right questions to ask which will evoke the desired responses.  It’s one thing to ask a simple question, and get a simple answer.  It’s another thing to ask the right questions– in the right sequence– which will allow the star of the video to come alive.

The development process for determining the questions to ask the respondent on-camera really comes down to what you’re looking to achieve with the video itself.  There are several different types of directions you could go with your documentary.  Some people prefer videos tailored toward the “family relationships documentary” which will require very different types of questions than a “family secrets documentary”.  Before you begin your family documentary video, it’s advised that you speak with filmmakers that specialize in producing family documentary videos.

Whether it’s a family tree documentary or a family life documentary, you will likely need a variety of options for on-camera talent that will be able to sit down for interviews.  These interviews should be well thought-out beforehand so that everyone’s time is respected and you can produce the greatest quality product from your time and effort.  Hence, the importance of planning is key in delivering the type of family documentary video you really want.

When you’re considering your options for producing your documentary, keep in mind that we provide video services for producing a family documentary which will be worth your time and money.  When other family members are involved, it’s wise to ensure that everyone is on the same page prior to production.  We can help you navigate towards this goal, and deliver a final product that will be treasured for years to come!

47 thoughts on “Making a Family Documentary Video

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