Life Story Video

Saving lives through video

Video Memorials and Funeral Slideshows To Go

It’s best to celebrate a life with a life story video while the subject can actively participate.  And there is really no age limit to that.  Even memory loss can often be mitigated; or at least when it comes to Alzheimer’s it is the recent memories that seem to go first and the longer term memories can often still be accessed. In that way, personal and family history can be preserved.

But that is not always possible for the subject to participate.  So, when a loved one passes and the need arises to celebrate their life, we enter the territory of the video memorial and the funeral slideshow. What then are the best software options?

The distinction between the video memorial and the funeral slideshow is really one of scope.

Typically, a video memorial is akin to a tribute video in the sense that you try to gather as much information as possible about the subject – you may interview people who knew them, you might incorporate historic or archive images and video, you would certainly beat the bushes for home movies or home recordings that may have been made about the subject.  You would also bring in other artifacts such as poems, stories, cards, letters and handwriting: Memorial Videos: Surviving Death has Never Been Easier.

A funeral slide show tends to be more straightforward.  A funeral slide show tends to rely very heavily on the photo images but can also include audio, as in the following sample:

A funeral slideshow need not be limited to just pictures, or even audio. Although, there is not usually a lot of time, and often the most that can be achieved is to gather the available photographs and have them thrown into some kind of semi-automatically generated funeral slideshow. And that’s just fine. After all, it’s about the person – it’s not about the slideshow.

But where time or effort or budget permits, it does more honor to the life that has passed to produce a funeral slideshow that is detailed and elegant – even unique. And you should not feel constrained in what you consider as relevant:Funeral Slideshows: 10-Unusual Things to Include.

Funeral slideshows can be so much more than a hum-drum cycle through the old family album. The freedom and options we now have can give the deceased a kind of immortality that was undreamed of only 10 years ago. You may have the skill and patience to create a truly epic tribute to the life now passed. If you don’t – but feel that they deserve it, then there are professionals to help who have made funeral slideshows a specialty.

So, what if you have the time and the technical expertise to create your own memorial video or funeral slideshow. What are your options?

Well, may people choose to use the excellent, and free, image manipulation software offered by major and reputable software publishers. Programs in this category include: Microsoft Photo Story, Google Picasa, Apple iPhoto, Yahoo Flickr and Sun Microsystem’s Open Office Presentation.

All these photo slideshow programs below are promoted by major and reputable software companies. Each will give you the ability to set the time you want each image to appear, select transitions between the photographs, add music, and add wording. One or two will allow you to add narration. Give yourself plenty of time though. While the programs are easy to learn, getting the memorial video slideshow just right requires some fiddling and finessing – it’s the old 80:20 rule. You may spend 20% of your time getting the pictures into position; you may spend another 80% of your time fine tuning!

No matter which slideshow program you choose, there are going to be a number of preliminary steps necessary for each. And they are simple enough: You need to gather the the material you want to include – and that often involves getting in touch with friends or other members of the family to ask what they have. You need to digitize the images – that means you need to get them into your computer using a flatbed scanner and by taking digital photographs of them. You should, if possible, clean the images up with a simple (free) photo editing program like Microsoft Photo Editor or Apple iPhoto. Once the images are safely in your computer, you can now make your funeral tribute.

A death in the family is a difficult time no matter what the circumstance. But try not to use your grief, or the shortness of time, as the reason to make a less than suitable decision. A funeral slideshow or a video memorial can serve as an important capstone to a life, a comfort for those left behind, and a legacy to those who follow.

So investigate your options. Consider the DIY option as well as professional help. If you are considering professional help, ask to see samples. Make sure that you are buying more than a dreary scroll through a handful of muddy and dusty old photos.

And consider that funeral expenses are a cost of the estate and should not come out of the pocket of any one family member.

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2 Responses

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Welcome to the Life Story Video Blog!
This blog features stories about ordinary people and their experiences with life story videos.
Us? We are professional family historians creating custom-made, life story video documentaries!
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