SALT LAKE CITY — When multiple media sources are used together to tell a story that's passed down in a family, it becomes more dynamic and assumes more dimensions than words typed on a page, said Devin Ashby, a FamilySearch project manager, during a presentation on multimedia storytelling at the RootsTech family history conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Thursday.
During the presentation, Ashby asked audience members to share a quick story from their families.
One class member shared a time when a would-be burglar was in her garage. She said she chased him with a broom and yelled, “What do you have that isn’t yours?”
As the burglar ran away, he dropped a couple of things. She then yelled, “What else do you have that isn’t yours?” She said the robber replied sheepishly, “I don’t have nothing of yours, ma’am.”
Ashby emphasized that every family has treasured stories.
He recommended various computer programs to help with multimedia storytelling, most of them available for free. He recommended products based on digital, audio, video and sharing capabilities.
For digital, he recommended Google Photos, Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Snapseed and Picasa. All of them can enhance or arrange photos, he said.
Ashby pointed to Google Photos because of its easy-to-use format that will recognize people's faces, search topics within a group of photos, and quickly put together a video from selected photos.
For audio, he talked about several programs, such as Audacity or Adobe Voice, that can layer different audio tracks and export them into one.
For video, Ashby said Vemory, Windows Media Maker and IMovie are user-friendly ways to incorporate pictures, audio and other media together into one.
For sharing, he said many people enjoy using Dropbox or Google Prime. He also said if a person has a blog, he or she can have posts printed into a book using a service called Shutterfly.
Ashby demonstrated some of what many of these suggested programs could do through a few of the projects he and his family have worked on.
Chris and Melanie Bosselman of Cheyenne, Wyoming, said they didn't realize how easy it would be to make multimedia presentations and that they were impressed with how impactful additional media can be in conveying the personality of a story.
“I have these stories in books from our ancestors, some pioneer stories,” Melanie Bosselman said. “My kids have never been interested, but I bet if I took the pictures and I had the kids narrate them, all of a sudden it would be interesting to them and they would know those stories."