Video business a calling for Riverwoods man
Dan Gelfond owns Keepsake Family Tree Video. He runs the videography company out of his home studio. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Keepsake Family Tree Video
•On the web: www.DanTheVideoMan.com
•Contact: (847) 940-9999
•Fact: Gelfond once gathered 20 interviews from Chicago-area Holocaust survivors for a Steven Speilberg project
Source: Dan Gelfond
Updated: December 12, 2012 8:12AM
DEERFIELD — To Dan Gelfond, a video isn’t simply a series of moving photos; it’s living history. Owner of the Riverwoods-based Keepsake Family Tree Video, Gelfond said he specializes in capturing life’s moments — from lively weddings, to an intimate one-on-one interview with an aging loved-one. Those interviews are what he calls legacy videos.
“It’s irreplaceable, it’s the only way to truly preserve someone’s story in their own words, their own accent, their own face,” Gelfond said. “You’re literally capturing them telling their own story, and it’s amazing what you’ll hear.”
Gelfond said the legacy videos are beneficial to younger generations who aren’t likely to sit down and read a written memoir by a grandparent or great-grandparent. He said the legacy videos bring out some stories no one has heard before.
“I hear people all the time saying, ‘oh I never knew my mother or father did that or lived through that,’ because no one has asked them about grade school in 50 years,” Gelfond said. “So they get to relive their life.”
While video is Gelfond’s calling in life, it didn’t start out that way. Gelfond said, after doing a radio stint in Elmhurst during his college years, he became an options trader because that’s what all his friends were doing. He said it was an ad for a family tree video that got the video ball rolling for him.
“I opened up Entrepreneur Magazine and I saw an ad for family tree video, and it was strictly making video montages,” Gelfond said. “I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world; it brought me to tears. I just thought they were phenomenal.”
So, Gelfond said he bought the business and never looked back. That was in 1998.
“I literally just started making montages,” Gelfond said. “From there I expanded to filming everything; weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, corporate videos and transferring tapes.”
The tape-transfer jobs alone, Gelfond said, keep him pretty busy.
“Everyone has old home movies and they’re fading every minute they sit there,” Gelfond said. They are at risk of fire and flood and just fading away, so we do tons of business just transferring that stuff to DVD, so people can make a second set, protect it, it’s easier to watch, they can fast-forward it quickly.”
Gelfond said he even travels the world with groups, documenting a vacation for all the trip-goers.
“Photograph and video the whole trip and then give a memento to the people that went on the trip,” Gelfond said.
He also makes real estate videos, allowing realtors to show off their properties and give tours of their homes.
Gelfond, a Niles North High School graduate, said he’s preparing to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary to his high school sweetheart.