Journaling is taking on a new look. Whereas keeping a journal used to require hours of writing or typing, Lifey is inviting people to share their life history verbally.
Lifey is a new company in Provo, Utah, that invites people to record their life history on video for free. Alex Balinski, who also started the Prepare to Serve series on YouTube four and a half years ago, launched Lifey because it fills a void in recording family history.
“Text is great and can be extremely powerful, but how much more powerful would it be if you could actually see it,” Balinski said.
“Text is great and can be extremely powerful, but how much more powerful would it be if you could actually see it.” — Alex Balinski, Lifey founder
“I think there is so much value in recording these really important life experiences and insights. I think a lot of people in Utah want to, but it’s just something that is easy to procrastinate. But if they do it, only those people who are super go-getters do it on video or audio in some format. But those who do it, it’s subpar because they aren’t professional videographers.”
More than a video
One of the problems Balinski encountered when sharing video footage of life stories was having hours of content without any distinction between topics. So Balinski asked his friend to help him develop a code to make the YouTube videos more digestible. The script breaks down the video like a skip button, allowing viewers to jump forward to specific stories.
“Most people wouldn’t sit down for three hours just to watch a video they see a link to on Facebook,” Balinksi said.
Once videos are uploaded to YouTube, Lifey also posts the video on its website where chapters and subheads are posted with the video. By clicking on the chapters and the specific topics in those tabs, it works like when you sift through scenes of a movie on a DVD.
“It makes it a lot more engaging and user friendly because you’ve got the benefits of long-form content and short-form content because you can browse,” Balinski said.
How it works
Balinski is able to provide the service for free because he can minimize the amount of time he spends editing each video, keeping his time to about one to three hours per video. The process is so short because of a foolproof system.
Unlike his Prepare to Serve videos, Balinksi doesn’t sit in the room with people recording their Lifey. Instead, Balinski sets up the camera in the studio, making sure the frame is right, and then he leaves the room. Then the person follows their pre-organized life outline to tell their life stories. They separate the different stories using a simple green light-red light system: they hold up a green paper in front of the camera before they start a new story and then hold up a red paper when they finish that specific story. This repeats until they have gone through their outline.
“I think it’s a lot easier than doing a journal,” Balinski said. “You just have to take a few minutes to fill out 30-40 minutes writing an outline. And then you come in and share bullet point by bullet point. That might take one to three hours depending on much you want to share and then you’re done.”
The outline can be as short or as long as a person wants. People choose major life categories — such as family, career, military service, mission and other major life indicators — and make bullet points for specific stories under each category.
Because Balinski believes recording family history on video is extremely important, Lifey is offering free recordings to anyone that can come in to their Provo office.
“I felt strongly a few times that I should keep it free, so that’s the plan,” Balinski said. “I do hope to make it bring in revenue so we can open up more centers on a scale, but I plan to do that through voluntary donations. We’ll probably have a crowdfunding campaign on a Patreon page.”
Thus far, Lifey has recorded about 25 videos, which are on its site. The office has two studios, so Lifey can record up to six individual videos per day.
To set up an appointment to record your own Lifey, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lifey’s office is located at 363 N. University Avenue, Suite 113 in Provo, Utah. Visit lifey.org for more information.