Southsea TV producer creates free tutorial to help people capture precious family history on film

A BISCUIT tin stuffed with black and white photographs of a bygone age inspired TV and film producer Alan Howard’s latest venture.

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Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 6:03 pm

The tin belonged to his mother Iris and in 2016 he decided to use his professional skills to capture precious family memories, as he filmed his mother talking about the people in the photos and her memories.

The documentary-style footage captured Iris talking about various events from her past and her childhood, in previously untold – or forgotten – stories.

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Alan Howard of Video and TV Ltd has launched a new product where he makes videos of people’s families called Talking Family Album. Pictured in his studio in Southsea Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 240821-01)

After Iris died, in 2020, the whole family realised how important Alan’s pet project was, as Iris and her stories now live on forever and her great grandchildren can hear them exactly as she told them.

Alan, from Southsea, said: ‘It started as a personal project. Like many families we had a tin of black and white photos under the bed. Nobody except my mum knew who they were or why they were photos of them.

‘My two daughters were teenagers so they had no interest in our family history then, but I thought that if I filmed these memories, then if and when they ever did want to know, then they could see them.

‘When I turned the camera on, it was fantastic. My mum came up with all these brilliant stories about growing up in Brixton and going to school, where they caretaker would bring in buckets of coal for the roaring open fire and they would drink their milk through actual pieces of straw. It was magical, she really came alive.’

As well as childhood memories, Iris spoke her time being evacuated during the war, as well as other life events like meeting her husband.

Alan, 56, said: ‘It is a lovely thing to have for me and my brothers and sisters. It is so personal. It is wonderful that my great great great children will get to know my mum.’

Alan, who has run production company Video & TV Ltd for 20 years after he left a long career working in television, was so moved by the project, he has created a free tutorial to help people capture these memories.

‘I thought it was such a nice service to offer people but some people were saying that they didn’t have the budget,’ he said.

‘So I set up a free tutorial that anyone can follow, you just need a smart phone, and it helps capture some really personal memories.’

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Story by Kimberley Barber

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