Say goodbye to humdrum photo PowerPoint presentations. Now you can easily make your own funeral tribute video that has a real wow factor.
Animoto.com makes video slideshows from pictures. It is ideal for funeral or memorial service tribute videos with music.
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.
The funeral home wanted to charge us $500 for a powerpoint presentation.
Instead, 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 most of us will probably want to opt for the unlimited videos and downloads, which costs $30/year or the professional version at $249.00 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 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 - Animoto 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 two options:
Upgrade to either a $30/year package which allows full length video creation (the free trial limits you to videos 30 seconds in length and under), or...
Opt for the "pro" version - the full-year $249 option.
Since the branded versions look a bit "amateurish" to me, the "pro" version was my preferred option. It runs for as long as 20 minutes, high definition quality and over 2000 songs to choose from. If you're not as picky as me, the $30/year represents fantastic value.