Episode 99 - 23andMe on DNA Genealogy

podcast episode Aug 10, 2015

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors.  David has an assignment for everyone concerning one story in their history.  Listen to hear what it is.  He also shares a fascinating tip about pages of information that likely exist for your immigrant ancestor, held by the government beginning in 1940.  What is this record and how can you get it?  David explains.  He also shares his Tech Tip of the Week and another free database from NEHGS and American Ancestors.
Then, Dr. Kasia Bryc of 23andMe.com visits with Fisher about DNA genealogy.  It can reveal so much information now... but where is it going in the future?  Dr. Bryc will give you some insight.  In the second segment with Dr. Bryc, she answers some of the most common questions about the use of DNA in your research.  23andMe will now be regularly supplying experts to answer your questions in this growing and exciting field!  If you have a question... or a DNA story of discovery... email [email protected], and you could wind up on the show!
Then, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority, talks about salvaging warbly audio and mismatched video from a wedding, found on two different types of tape.  Tom talks about matching up colors from both tapes, and digitally salvaging and blending scenes from each, and how best to use the surviving audio.  He also has a great tip on filling in the gaps of both audio and video to make the story better than it was when the tapes were new!  A lot of what Tom shares may well be of benefit to you as you deal with preserving great memories on old deteriorating videotape.
It's all this week on Extreme Genes- America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 99

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 99

Fisher: Hello Genies! And welcome back to another round of America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. I am hoping you’re finding all sorts of great stories and information in your search for your ancestors, and I’m also hoping that you’re picking up some ideas here on the show on how to break through some of those brick walls in your lines. One method that a lot of people are going to is DNA testing. And I’m excited to tell you that the expert team at industry leader 23andMe.com will now be appearing regularly on the show to answer your DNA questions. So you can hear it direct from the people who know best. And we start this week with Dr. Kasia Bryc in about nine minutes. And if you have a question about DNA testing, you can email me at [email protected] and we’ll run it by the experts at 23andMe. Likewise, if you’re an ordinary person whose made an extraordinary discovery, don’t be shy about it! Let us know about your journey and you could find yourself on the show.

And before we go any further, we want to give a shout out to our latest affiliate, News Talk 92.3 KTAR-FM in Phoenix, Arizona. We are delighted to be a part of the outstanding weekend line up of VP and market manager Scott Southerland, VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch, and news director Paul Ihander. Thanks guys! We are so glad to be on in Phoenix. And it’s time once again to join our good friend in Boston the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors, David Allen Lambert. Other than your Red Sox, David, how’s it going?

David: It’s going good. We’re having a nice summer out here, except for having a hailstorm that was something of biblical proportion, but we’re doing okay. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Those things happen. We had fifty homes in our neighborhood flooded in a big rain torrent the other day as well, so those things happen. What have you got for us today, buddy?

David: Well, you know I always like to think outside the box, and as far as genealogy goes, you think of what fills in to your chart on your genealogy program, some names, and dates, and places. How about stories? So here’s one to chew over. How did you meet your spouse? Well, mine I met on a blind date. But the details of it, it’s not on your marriage record.

Fisher: Right.

David: Not in your marriage notice in the paper.

Fisher: Right.

David: So where do you record it if you don’t have a diary or a letter? But then let’s think beyond us. Do you know the story of how your parents met?

Fisher: Hmm. Yup.

David: I do. My parents met at work. How about yours?

Fisher: Yeah mine met living in Nevada, filing for divorces. [Laughs]

David: Oh! Well, see, there’s a story right there!

Fisher: Yes!

David: And then you go back to your grandparents. One of my grandparents, my maternal grandfather, he was a Marine stationed on a ship. One of the cats on board had kittens, he carried a basket over for one of the gals who was my grandmother’s niece, and he ended up meeting my widowed grandmother and they got married. A few kids later I’m responsible because a cat had kittens. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: So these are great stories, and now in genealogy if you know them, or you can interview the older aunts or uncles to get the stories your parents have passed, get it down. It’s a great element.

Fisher: That’s right.

David: Maybe in your research you can use that as a detective reason. My great grandparents in 1864 lived across the street from each other in Boston as teenagers. I don’t know the story but I can deduce that’s probably how they met.

Fisher: Of course. Perfect. That’s great advice. And you know we can only go back so far, but as long as a few people are still around you might be able to get some of those stories out and down on paper for the future generations.

David: I’d like to think that if a couple of people that are listening just record them, we’ve just created a time capsule, you and I.

Fisher: There you go. Good stuff.

David: Yeah, you know I have another interesting one you may have not thought of, it’s through the Freedom of Information Act. And of course on our Twitter page for Extreme Genes and the Facebook page I’ll have all the links for you so you don’t have to worry about writing them down. But through Freedom of Information you can make a request. If your ancestor was living in America in 1940, male or female, and they were not naturalized, they would have had to fill out information with the INS department.

Fisher: Really?

David: Yeah.

Fisher: Yes I have a grandmother who was still a foreigner in 1940.

David: Well, I can tell you on two of my grandfathers, one I’ve got a 187 page report and the other one 65 pages.

Fisher: Wow!

David: And on my mother who only lived in Canada for the first six months of her life, but they came over illegally.

Fisher: Oh!

David: They tried to deport my mother at 13 and they had a whole interrogation of my 13 year old mother. My eyes welled up with tears reading this. My mother never spoke about this so it must have been so embarrassing for the family.

Fisher: Wow! That’s crazy. And what was in these pages? What did they ask, and what was the response?

David: When they arrived, where they were born, where they’re employed, so once you’re registered until you became a naturalized citizen. You had to supply where you were living, who you were employed by, or if you hadn’t been employed. It’s great stuff. Like I said there are many time capsules they’re under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security now. But these are great records that you can get. So if you have a grandparent or a parent, or a great grandparent that was not a citizen in 1940, this is something you can go after, and I’ll explain all the details on the web links.  

Fisher: You know that had to have been in anticipation of WWII, don’t you think?

David: Absolutely.

Fisher: They saw it coming.

David: Actually the reason this came up was because a good friend, who is one of the Extreme Genes listeners out in Utah, Evette Budwen, she was talking about her grandfather and I said: “Do you realize he has a file?” And so she’s into looking for that, so maybe we’ll get her on the radio and talking about what’s found in her ancestor file.

Fisher: I have never heard that before. That is great stuff. What else do you have?

David: Okay. We have the information back to you from my test drive of Heredis software. I think for $29.99, I'm going to go and invest in this. I love what it does with charts. You're able to move the box charts around, so you're not stuck with what you see, you can move them around. I like the visual appeal to it. And the demo version for Heredis allows you to put 50 people, so you can test drive it like I did. I think you'll be satisfied. And it's on the Mac and the Windows platforms, which is wonderful.

Fisher: Remind us, David, exactly what this does.

David: It is a genealogy software program. Heredis is a genealogy software program just like a lot of the other commercial ones out there. It's not well known, but I like how very easy it is to use. I'm going to show it to a couple of newbies in genealogy. And it's very straightforward where you plug in the information and you print out the charts. So you really don't have to be a computer programmer to understand the nuts and bolts on this one.

Fisher: Okay.

David: And of course our NEHGS free guest user database that I'd like to talk about this week is Alabama deaths from 1908 to 1974. So that's something that we have out and we've released, that in conjunction with FamilySearch.

Fisher: Oh. And that's great because we’ve got a lot of listeners listening in Alabama, so that's good news for you down south.

David: Exactly. Well, Fish, have a wonderful week and don't forget to start writing down those stories.

Fisher: That's right. And we all have to do that to make sure that we don't lose them because they can be lost so darn easily. Thanks so much, David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society in American Ancestors. Talk to you next week!

David: Talk to you soon.

Fisher: And coming up next, we will be visiting with Dr. Kasia Bryc from 23andMe.com about the latest in researching your ancestry through DNA. That's in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 99

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Kasia Bryc

Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, its Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And so excited to have 23andMe coming on and as a partner in the show, and part of this of course is to take advantage of their DNA experts who can share so much information with you and with me so we can all kind of learn together some of the things that are happening in the field. And our first expert to have on is Dr. Kasia Bryc. Dr. Bryc, great to have you on the show!

Dr. Bryc: Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Fisher: I am so excited to be learning from you and some of your colleagues about what’s going on in the DNA field right now. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get interested in this, and how’d you wind up at 23andMe?

Dr. Bryc: Well, maybe if we back track a little bit, I’m a population geneticist at 23andMe. So most people don’t know what that means.

Fisher: Right.

Dr. Bryc: Basically my whole life I’ve been interested in understanding human history from using human genetics to learn about how humans have migrated around the planet, how populations are related to each other, how they’re different. So I actually did my PhD using computational methods and statistics to try and really dig into human DNA, and learn from the DNA about our history as humans. I work on the methods and statistics that underlie a lot of the results that we provide for customers about where they are from in the world and how they’re related to each other. So that’s how I’ve been involved with 23andMe and I’ve just really been excited about the interests and the excitement that people have about using DNA, which I think is just a fantastic tool to really dig into your own history.

Fisher: It is. Now tell me about this a little bit. I would imagine digging around with the migration patterns of people this is now where we start to get into the percentages of ethnic background. When we get the final breakout from our saliva test, right?

Dr. Bryc: Exactly. So we have a method we call ancestry composition. What we do is, we compare your DNA to the DNA of people from around the planet, and using that, we have patterns of variation in your DNA compared to these other people. And using that we figure out where different bits of your DNA came from in the world.

Fisher: Now it’s something like looking through a telescope, wouldn’t you compare it that way? Because you’re looking at stars and they all look to be the same distance away but of course they can be billions of miles from each other and we still see the light coming through. It’s kind of challenging though, isn’t it, for the DNA field to actually go through and figure out, “Okay, well, yes, you have this percentage but this is where your people were at this point and this is where they were before that.” You think we’ll ever get to that point where we can start to break it out in that way?

Dr. Bryc: Well, it is really challenging. If we go back to thinking about human history, humans evolved, we think probably in Africa within the last few hundred thousand years. Which, it sounds like a long time, but in evolutionary history terms that’s actually not very long, and so as a result we’re all very, very similar. If you look at genetic variation, the vast majority of genetic variation is shared amongst all populations. And there are only tiny, tiny, tiny differences that sort of differentiate different groups.  We don’t just look at, “Okay, this variant or this mutation is found in this part of the world,” because that wouldn’t be enough signals. We actually look what set a variation, what patterns of variation. A very subtle process to really be able to differentiate that, and yes, it is actually very hard to do and we’re always working to improve the results that we can give by improving our methods, improving the reference data that we use from different parts of the world. And we’re always striving to improve that because what we hear from customers is that they’re always excited to get finer and finer resolution of their ancestry.

Fisher: All right. I find it interesting that you can do a test, and then sometime later you start seeing percentages start to vary, and I would assume that’s because you’ve refined your techniques a little bit more.   

Dr. Bryc: Yes, so we’re constantly working to try and improve the results that we provide and so as a result when we do have an update, you might see some of those numbers change. There are other things that we can do actually which not everyone is completely aware of. One of the steps that we do, the scientific term for it is called “staging.” Basically when you think of your DNA, which hopefully we’ll go into a little bit more, you have two sets of chromosomes that you inherited. One set from your mom and one set from your dad. And in order to really be able to estimate your origins, we really want to figure out which particular variants you inherited from mom and from your dad. And we do that pretty well just from your own DNA using statistical methods. But if you have a parent who’s also genotyped, well then we can actually learn and improve the estimates of what you got from mom and what you got from dad based on having their DNA to compare to as well. And so you’ll see when you have a parent genotyped that your results should actually improve as a result of taking into account their DNA, which is really cool.

Fisher: Well that is interesting. Let me ask you this, most people, are they most interested in their ethnicity? Or matching up with other people, trying to find living family members who might be birth families, you know that type of thing, or making connections trying to break down brick walls in their genealogy?

Dr. Bryc: I think it’s everything. Maybe I can explain a little bit. When we talk about the human genome, we sort of talk about it as this abstract thing, but in fact, your DNA is packaged into various pieces or bundles, right?

Fisher: Right.

Dr. Bryc: You’ve got your twenty three pairs of chromosomes, so twenty two of those are your autosomes, or your non sex chromosomes. And then one pair of those are either an X and a Y if you’re a male, or a two X chromosome if you’re a female. There’s also another bit of DNA called your mitochondrial genome. It’s a little small bit of DNA that gets inherited from mother to child. And actually a lot of your different DNA gets passed down in different ways. So it can get at different pieces of information depending on which piece of DNA you’re looking at. So the Y-chromosome gets passed down from father to son, and your autosomal DNA traces back to all of your recent ancestors. And so by looking at these different pieces of DNA, we can investigate different stories. So we provide a haplogroup to your mitochondrial haplogroup, your Y-chromosome haplogroup as well as all your autosomal DNA.

Fisher: Wow!

Dr. Bryc: And so, using all these different pieces together, you can really start to pull together your story. So you can look at your ancestral origin, but you can also look at who you share DNA with, to try and like you said, break down those brick walls. And so we kind of have a one package deal that really helps you take advantage of all the information that’s in there.

Fisher: So what are you most excited about Kasia? What is the thing that gets you up each morning saying, “I can’t wait to get to work!” Where is all this going?

Dr. Bryc: So I think the most exciting thing for me as a scientist doing the research that I do, is how excited people are to get their results. And I think as more and more people start to recognize the power of their own DNA, more and more people join. And at 23andMe we just hit the one million customer mark. So we have one million genotype customers. And so that means that when you join 23andMe we compare you to all those other customers and find, and pull out, what we call “Your DNA relative.” And that’s just really exciting because the more people that get on board, the more chances that you find someone that’s a close relative that can help you figure out, oh, that missing piece or, oh, that missing linage that you’ve been trying to trace down.  

Fisher: Right. Well it is so powerful.

Dr. Bryc: Exactly! And everyone who is doing this is also excited to help dig into your history and their history together. And that’s just really very powerful.

Fisher: Well it’s interesting to see how people are now able to start mapping their own genetics to see which piece comes from which line. I mean, some people are getting very deep into this stuff.

Dr. Bryc: Oh yeah! So this gets a little tricky right, but it’s so cool! Okay. We think about the genome as one thing, but actually you can think about it as the chromosomes, these long lines that you inherit from your ancestors. And each bit of DNA, it traces back to a particular ancestor. For example, I had a little bit of Ashkenazi ancestry that I was unaware of. So I am Polish, hence my name. I was born in Poland, and my parents were born in Poland and in fact I can trace my family back many generations to the same very small town in south Eastern Poland. And I found out I have a little bit of Ashkenazi ancestry and actually by looking at the DNA, which pieces of the DNA are Ashkenazi, I can actually figure out who I got that from,  whether it was from my mother or my father, but also who I got that from, which grandparents, which great grandparent.  Because each bit of DNA that you inherit, you actually inherited it from a particular ancestor. And by matching up what you inherited from a particular ancestor which is pretty advanced stuff, you can then see what you got from that ancestor. Did you get your Ashkenazi? Did you get your Eastern European? Or maybe did you get your Native American through that ancestor.

Fisher: Wow! Well, and so many ordinary people are starting to map this out, aren’t they?

Dr. Bryc: They are. And the more people that map out their own DNA, the more that you can leverage their communal expertise, when you compare your DNA to theirs. And you can figure out who might have been your common ancestor and what bit of DNA you got from that common ancestor that you both happen to share. And using that, you can learn about the genetics of your ancestors and maybe that can tell you about their origins.

Fisher: She’s Dr. Kasia Bryc. She is a population geneticist with 23andMe. And Kasia, hang on, can we get you back for another segment? We’re going to talk about some of the most common questions you must get dealing with DNA and DNA research.

Dr. Bryc: Sounds great.

Fisher: We’ll return with more in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 3 Episode 99

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Kasia Bryc

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, its Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, continuing the conversation with 23andMe's Dr. Kasia Bryc. She's a population geneticist. And Dr Bryc, this is exciting stuff to be able to regularly ask you questions on the show that come up concerning DNA, because so many people are into it. What are some of the stories that you’ve actually heard come as a result of the DNA testing done through 23andMe?

Dr Bryc: Yeah, sure. Often we get customers who are really starting with nothing. So we get adoptees who are just trying to find any information about their biological parents. And often at times that can be really hard if you don't have a lot of information to go of those. We have customers like Trisha for example. Trisha had been adopted and she managed to track down a little bit of information actually about her mother and about her parents in general. She figured out her parents were college students. Her dad was a basketball star at a nearby college, but then she kind of got stuck and couldn't find anything else about her father. So she joined 23andMe and lo and behold, a first cousin popped up right there.

Fisher: That's gold.

Dr Bryc: She was able to get in touch with Randy and started chatting with him. And he told Trisha, "I think my uncle Ralph was your dad." The sad part was that his uncle, Trisha's father, had died a few years ago, but he had two kids, a son and a daughter. So Randy put Trisha in touch with her half sister and half brother. She got to meet Charlene. And Charlene said, "You know, I've never had a sister. I've always wanted a sister." As a result, she got to get in touch with her biological family and they spent Christmas together and they spent the holidays together and got to know each other and find out what family traits they shared. For example, painting and interest in the sea and dragon flies. And it was an incredibly lucky connection and it really only could have happened through the DNA.

Fisher: You know I am so amazed by how many happy endings we hear in this stuff. You know, once in a while you hear something that doesn't go well, there's another rejection and those are things people have to be concerned about. When they're discovered something and they have to decide about contact, about what they're capable of handling, what may come about as a result of contact, that type of thing. But for the most part, it seems to be overwhelmingly positive, doesn't it?

Dr Bryc: Yeah. We do very carefully make sure that people consent and opt in, to participate in DNA relatives' ability to get in touch with your genetic relatives. It is a personal choice. It is something that should not be taken lightly, because you don't know what you're going to find. But I think the vast majority of people who have connected with relatives, we've just heard an incredible number of positive stories. We have people like Diane who lost her mother when she was nine years old and as a result kind of lost touch with her mother's side of the family. She spent years looking, trying to get in touch with them, trying to find them. All her aunts, her uncles, and her cousins who were part of her early childhood she just couldn't find as an adult.

Fisher: Wow!

Dr Bryc: And they had kind of given up. She had been looking with the help of her daughter. And they decided to try DNA and found her family. Her daughter actually, I believe, had joined 23andMe and looked and found a close relative match and figured out how they were related, and found her family. I guess it was a first cousin once removed.

Fisher: Well that's pretty close.

Dr Bryc: Yeah and they figured out that they were connected through the grandmother and she found her family through DNA.

Fisher: What a great experience! You know, the living people, those seem to be the stories that touch most, but many of us are just genealogists. We want to prove something and I know, I've had an experience with DNA where I'd found a Bible record of a person of the same name as my ancestor and it gave her birth date. And I believed it to be the person I was looking for and I still do. But as a result of DNA, I found five different people that descended from the same parents and great grandparents that this person did. And so that confirmed to me that I had the right ancestor. So I'm very confident in the line as a result of that DNA. I'm sure you run into a lot of stories like that as well. How do people use DNA to break down the brick walls?

Dr Bryc: There's two things, exactly like you said. If you're trying to find something about an ancestor, you can really leverage the information like you said across your cousins. You confirmed what you thought, based on looking at all these cousins that also descend from that common ancestor. And so, you can do a similar thing by getting in touch with your DNA relative to try and figure out how you're related and to pinpoint who your common ancestor was. In particular, one of the things that we do at 23andMe is, we provide, so the scientific term is "local ancestry", but what that really means is, we estimate your ancestry along every bit of your DNA. So we do not just give you proportion, you know, 56% whatever ancestry. What we do is, for every bit of your DNA, we actually tell you, "Okay, this bit, this part of this chromosome we estimate that to be British Irish." for example. And so, what you can do and this is kind of a tricky thing, but you can actually look at what DNA you share with your DNA relative and sort of put that together with what the origins geographically of that bit of DNA are and try and figure out, "Okay, if you're trying to hunt down your British Irish ancestor, well then you want to look for people who share and match your DNA at the same place that you have that British Irish ancestry if that makes sense.

Fisher: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Dr Bryc: You can then start to dig in and try and figure out which of your DNA relatives you should try and contact and try and find your British ancestor or your Irish ancestor or in my case, my Ashkenazi ancestor, right?

Fisher: Right. Have you been able to identify who that person was by the way?

Dr Bryc: I have not, but I'm looking. I know it comes from my maternal grandmother's side.

Fisher: Right. And you've got to find people who match that particular segment, right?

Dr Bryc: Yes, exactly. So if you can figure out who else is descended from the person that gave you that bit of DNA, so you look for that match. You can then try and talk with them to figure out who that common ancestor might have been.

Fisher: Right, because they might have information you don't and you can wind up sharing it. And you can also do triangulation, right?

Dr Bryc: Exactly. So by triangulation, you're looking for DNA that you share with someone who you know. Let's say you know you're related to your second cousin through a particular grandparent or great grandparent something like that, then if you now find a new DNA relative who also shares that same bit of DNA with both you and that cousin, then you now know that all three of you are descended from the same common ancestor.

Fisher: Right.

Dr Bryc: And that tells you about how this new person is related to your family tree.

Fisher: And it's exciting and really fun to do. That was actually the method we used to help my friend recently identify her birthmother and her birthfather was this triangulation. And it really can happen very quickly, can't it? I mean it's really is kind of easy to see. If you're a cousin to this person and a cousin to that person and they're cousins to each other, then their common ancestor must be your common ancestor.

Dr Bryc: Exactly.

Fisher: Well, it's an exciting new field and it keeps going. Where's it going in the future by the way Kasia? We just have a little time left.

Dr Bryc: So there's a lot of different ways, but I think as more people understand the power of their DNA and more people join, we're obviously going to be making more and more connections. So we're always trying to improve the ancestry estimates that we provide, but I really think the exciting part is, as people understand just how connected we are and we're trying to get to really grasp how many connections bring us together and how we're all so interconnected, I think it’s going to help people understand just how small the world is. And as we get more and more people who are doing their DNA, I think we're going to get to see a family tree where we can see in just a few generations how we're all really linked to each other.

Fisher: I think we're echoing an awful lot of people right now, including our friend, A.J. Jacobs from the Global Family Reunion who feels very much the same way, I think we all do. Dr. Kasia Bryc, it's been a joy to talk to talk to you. Thanks so much for coming on and we look forward to learning more about DNA in the coming weeks and months.

Dr Bryc: Great! Thanks so much for having me.

Fisher: And coming up next, he's our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, answering your questions on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 4 Episode 99

Host: Scott Fisher with Tom Perry

Fisher: It is preservation time at Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Root Sleuth, with Tom Perry the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. If you have email questions for him you can reach him at [email protected].  Hi Tom, good to see you again.

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: We have an email from Ryan. He says: "My wife and I were married in 2001 and didn't have a professional videographer at our wedding, our one regret. So our wedding video is made up of two videos shot by friends and family. One is on a Hi8 tape." Boy, there's a phrase I haven't heard in a long time! "And it’s fine and converting it to a new format wouldn't be a big deal. The other, though, is a VHS-C tape, and the problem is that the audio on the tape is warbly. If I remember correctly the camera it was used on would shoot video and audio fine the first time a tape was used, but if it was recorded over, the audio portion of it got warbly. We're looking to digitize our wedding videos to help preserve them, but I thought it would be great if the warbly audio might be corrected during the process.” What do you think?

Tom: Okay. You have a lot of different issues here that we're gonna talk about. Let's talk about the video, and then we'll talk about the audio. And one thing you mentioned is really, really true and people need to be careful of this. If you re-use a tape, a lot of things can happen bad. Tapes are so inexpensive, there's no real reason to actually re-use a tape. And now everything is digital so people don't even use tapes. But just make sure you format stuff properly if you're using a hard drive camera. Okay, let's do the video part of it first and then we'll get to the audio. Since you shot stuff with two different cameras, obviously a good Hi8 which is really, really nice. And then a VHC which is pretty much bottom of the barrel. Your colors are going to be different. So hopefully you laid down color bars at the beginning of both tapes. Because if you did, you can take these two segments, go into Final Cuts Pro, there's two settings, one's called a Wafer Mono, one's called a Vectorscope, and they'll allow you to adjust the colors 'til the color bars are exactly the same. Once you have the color bars on your monitor looking exactly the same, when you run your tape they'll look like they were shot with the same camera, pretty much.

Fisher: Oh, wow.

Tom: Okay. So that will help you a lot on the video part. You want to be really careful with that. If you don't have color bars on your camera, what I would do is take 'em, put 'em in, Final Cuts Pro is the thing, then you can go into color correction and just find a scene that's very similar, the lighting's the same, hopefully the people are the same, the clothing's the same, and kind of use that as your base reference. Then in Final Cuts Pro adjust the color 'til they're both almost the same. You're gonna have to kinda do a little bit of give and take, because you might not be able to get the VHS-C as clear and crisp as the Hi8. You might have to bring down the quality of your video8 just a little bit to be able to get to the highest point on your VHS-C. Which in the long run will actually be better. Give up a little bit to get something that's gonna be more consistent. Then once you have that done then you want to run it all with those color correction filters on it, and then you've got a video that's at least presentable. Then on the audio what you want to do is find wherever the audio's the strongest on the Hi8 and use that. And where you need to cut to stuff on the VHS-C hopefully you'll be able to just take out little segments of that and maybe use that video where you still have the Hi8 audio running. So if the scenes are similar like different things going on where the audio doesn't have to follow the video exactly, pop in those other pieces of video and don't worry about the audio, because it's like what we call “B-Roll” in the industry.

Fisher: Right. Sure.

Tom: If there's some stuff that's very, very specific that you have to have because it's very unique, make sure you get that all lined out, do the best you can. Even if you have photos of your wedding, sometimes you can drop in photos to cover up some bad video. And then lay down your audio as I mentioned on your Hi8 through the entire track. And then on another track lay down your VHS-C video and your audio. And then in the next segment I'll tell you how you can kinda piece the two together.

Fisher: All right. Boy, interesting stuff and hopefully a solution for Ryan. We will continue in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 99

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right, final segment, Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Root Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. And we're talking about this email sent from Ryan about his wedding tape, a VHS-C tape. This specific part of the email, Tom, where he said that the audio on the tape got warbly because he remembered that when they used to shoot it, if a tape had been previously used and then they recorded over it, that caused the audio problem. He wants to be able to restore some of that. Is there some software for this?

Tom: Yeah, there is, in fact. Going right back to the Adobe Suites. Adobe makes a program which you use called Adobe Addition.

Fisher: Right. We do the show on this.

Tom: Adobe Addition's really neat. One of the coolest things about the newest version is you can do a visual, where, growing up doing music videos, most of my life, doing everything by ear. With Adobe Addition, different sounds are basically different colors. And so it helps you to see okay, the yellow part's a bad part, the purple part's a bad part. I need to bring that down. Bring this up. So the first thing I would do is take that audio and go into Adobe Audition and sit there and kinda play with it and manipulate it. Spend a couple of hours on it and see what you can do, because sometimes the warbly stuff you can fix, but sometimes it's so bad you can't. So first try that. If you're not happy with it or you don't have the time to do that, go ahead and put it on a disk and send it to us, or even email us the AIFF file and then we can play around with it and see what we can do as well. Next step, let's say that you go in it and it is so bad there's nothing you can do about it. There's a couple of things you can do. One thing is, if you're looking at the video, sit down there and look at the VHS and have an audio recorder set up with you and your wife and narrate it. You say "Oh, hey, this is so and so. This is, you know, this is grandma da, da, da. She was talking to us about da, da, da."

And you just kind of recreate it, so to speak, in your own voices. You know, it's neat to be able to hear “Aunt Martha” or “Grandma Genrich,” but if you can't get that, you want to do this. Now sometimes if you can kinda clean up the warbly audio so it's kinda audible and it doesn't sound really, really bad, you can use that as kind of a base in the recording and you're still narrating over the top of it. So you're going to hear pieces of Aunt Martha's voice while you're narrating, and say "Oh yeah, this was Aunt Martha. She was ya, da, da, da, da." You can add music. You can do all kinds of stuff. But it really makes it really personal when you go in and add narration. And just be real careful when you do that, when you add your narration, always put it on a new audio track. Never mix your audio tracks together. 'Cause you're gonna be going into it, then you're gonna get some great idea and wanna go back to something fast, "oh no... I mixed those audio tracks. I'm going to have to start all over again." So there's enough room on any kind of a computer that you can add several tracks of audio. So every take you do, don't erase the other one. Add a new one, add a new one, add a new one. Because just like when working in the studio, sometimes, you know, this part of a segment is better than this part of a segment, and you piece the things together and get something that's really, really quality. I have never seen a TV programme where anything was one take.

Fisher: No.

Tom: You know it's usually multiple, multiple takes.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And so do the same thing yourself. Don't say: "Oh, I screwed up. Let me start all over again." Yeah, start all over again, but then go to audio track two or three or four or five, and keep each one individual, so then you can go and pull the gems out. And one thing that will help you a lot when you're doing this audio tracking is the first time you go through it, have a legal pad with you or your laptop computer and take notes. "Oh yeah, this is grandma da, da, da, da, da," and write how long each segment is and then practice it to see how it's going to be. And practice on tape. Put all the pieces together and you'll be surprised that it might actually come out better than what you thought you wanted in the original.

Fisher: And of course, you can get people to actually record you and put this together if you don't feel you have the skills to put this together.

Tom: Oh, absolutely. If you're near one of our studios, stop in, we can take care of you. If not, there are audio studios all across America, every little and big town.

Fisher: Alright. And thanks so much for the email, Ryan. If you have a question for Tom Perry, you can [email protected] Thanks so much, Tom.

Tom: Thank you.

Fisher: That is a wrap for this week. Thanks once again to Dr. Kasia Bryc of 23andMe.com. It is so great to have regular DNA experts on the show now. And if you have questions, of course, you can email me at [email protected]. If you missed any part of the show, of course the podcast be up later this week at ExtremeGenes.com. And on iTunes and on iHeartRadio’s Talk Channel. And you can download our free Extreme Genes app for iPhone and Android. Take care. Thanks for listening and remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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