In creating a photo or video video or montage of the deceased's life, you need a variety of pictures; typically approximately 35 photos. The photos should cover in chronological order the span of the deceased's life, from infancy to the present. Close up shots are best. Select a song or music that had meaning to the deceased.
Ideally the photo presentation should be approximately be one song length: three to five minutes. Longer than that and you will find people's attention starts to wander.
If you don't want to do it yourself, you can provide the funeral director with your photos and song choice and they will create the video tribute for you. Costs vary. Funeral homes charge typically $350 to $500 to create the slide show for you.
They will also look after the technical side of things as well, if you are holding the service at the funeral home.
Or you might want to check out Animoto.com, where you can make stunning video slideshows from pictures. Your photos and music are melded together in a way that feels somewhat like a MTV video.
This is a video I made for my husband for Valentine's Day. It only took me a few minutes.
Recently my brother passed away, after a two year struggle with cancer. Putting together a photo presentation was a very healing time for all of us - remembering the good times, after what we had just been through the last few weeks in the hospital.
His children, wife, and I went through all of their photo albums selecting pictures for the video tribute for his memorial service. (Be sure to number each picture and put a corresponding number in the spot in the album you removed it from. Otherwise you'll never remember where each photo belongs.) We scanned them and then went through all the digital photos.
Then we went to Animoto.com - You can either upload your pictures manually or send Animoto to fetch them from other sites like your Facebook account, Picasa, or Flickr.
Adding music works the same way: upload your own mp3 or select a track from their growing library of music beds.
Once it has your pictures and music, it analyzes both and puts them together in a great video. And, for an extra measure of fun, send the pics and music through again and again to get other remixes of your slideshow. No two videos are ever the same.
They also have several distribution options. Once the video is complete and you're satisfied with the output, you can easily download it, make a DVD, send it to YouTube, and more.
Thirty-second clips are free, but you will want to opt for the unlimited videos and downloads, to eliminate watermarks. That costs $19.99 month to month or $120 a year. There is also the professional version at $239.00, which allows you to add more than one song. As you can see, it's pretty slick and requires exactly zero technical expertise. Best of all, it took absolutely no time to complete.
Sure, the Animoto service does have some drawbacks. For instance...
If you want to edit your video, Animoto renders a whole new version of it, which means it won't necessarily look like the one you created previously. At the same time, every edited file is saved as a completely new version of your video, so you never lose anything.
For the most part though, Animoto offers a pretty awesome service in our view...
Easy one-click professional quality video creation.
One-click video sharing with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.
One-click posting to YouTube and SmugMug.
Upload your own live video (from your phone, camcorder, etc.)
Includes a large selection of royalty-free pictures and many genres of music (also free to use), so you don't need to source everything of your own if you prefer.
Pro version offers the ability to create High Definition versions of your video.
Compared to professional video-creating software, Animoto offers reduced capabilities and flexibility.
Every remix is different. There is no way to control the transitions between frames or the appearance of your video - it creates a new and unique version of your video each time you make revisions. Sometimes, you end up with something cooler, sometimes you don't. It's best, therefore, to do your best to "try to get it right the first time."
If you like what you see, you have options:
There is a 14 day free trial. Or take the $19.99 month to month option or pay $120 for an entire year.
With Animoto, you get the best of both worlds – ease and beauty. It only takes minutes to make a video, but you'll get so many compliments because it looks like you spent hours making it.