Friday, February 22, 2019

Creating a Memorial Video

My wife received news that the boyfriend of a friend of hers passed away suddenly. He was very young. My wife knows that I'm good with computers and can create videos from photos without any problem. She volunteered to her friend that I would create a video for him and of course I'm happy to help out. Since I was racking my brain, trying to come up with a blog post, I thought this would be a good one. How to create a video memorial. This may be for a funeral, such as this one or the one I created for my mother, or it could be something to show at a family reunion or a birthday party or genealogical society meeting or any other reason you may want to show a video.

The first thing you will need is the selection of photos to use. You can use any number but I believe that about 75-100 is a good number. Too few and they'll cycle through and start over too quickly. Too many and each photo may only be shown once. I know at funerals I've been to that had memorial videos, you'd catch just a glimpse of a photo and you'd like to take another look at it. This way it will eventually get back around to that photo but not so quickly that it becomes redundant and boring. If you figure you want about 4-7 seconds per photo and if you're syncing it with background music, you'll want the video to last 5-8 minutes for one or two songs. A 5 minute video with 6 seconds per picture would come to 50 pictures. An 8 minute video with 5 seconds per picture would come to 96 pictures. In the video I created here, There were just under 100 photos. Each was shown for a little over 7 seconds and the music cycled through three times. This means watching the video once, you see each photo once, you hear the roughly four minute song three times and the video last about twelve minutes.

If the photos you have are physical photos, you'll first need to get them scanned in. If you have your own scanner, you should already know how to scan them. Otherwise, you could have it done at your local department or drug store. Many of them used to have film processing facilities. Nowadays, they have photo printing and possibly scanning facilities. For the video, you do not need a very high resolution scan. For display on a screen, as little as 300 dpi would likely be enough but I'd probably go with 600 dpi. If you have higher resolution scans, you may want to drop the dpi down so they can be displayed quickly on the computer or television. If they're too large, it may take a few seconds to process and display the photo, during which time the screen will probably be black or perhaps saying "loading..." or something to that effect.

Next copy, don't move, the photos to a folder you'll be using to manipulate them. You don't want to be doing this with your original copy. This way if something goes wrong, you'll have the original files to go back to.

Launch Windows Movie Maker. Go to Home/Add Videos and Photos.
Select all of the photos you want to add and click "Open".

You can manually order the photos the way you want if you'd like but to do so with 100 photos, that will be quite a chore. What I did was find a batch files that renames files randomly. This means the order is completely random. To be sure, I ran it twice. You can find this batch file at How to Geek. Place the batch file in the folder containing the copies of your photos and run it. To be sure it's really random, run it twice.

Assuming you want to set the slideshow to music, go to Home/Add Music/Add Music
Browse to the mp3 file of the music file you want to add. If you have a large number of photos and the song isn't more than a few minutes long, you may want to add another song or two. Or add the same song a few times. That's what I did here. You can see the graph showing the waveform of the song below your pictures. Click the first photo after the end of the waveform, then go back to Add Music, but this time click "Add music at the current point..." Then browse to the file and click Open.

Once the display of photos is relatively close to the length of the waveform of the music, it is time to synchronize them. Click on one of the photos, then hold the "ctrl" key and tap the "a" key. This will select all of the photos. Once they are all selected, go to "Project" and click "Fit to Music".

This will set the display time of each photo the same amount of time but have the entire slideshow end at the end of your music. I've found that somewhere between six and eight seconds per photo a good length.

Any shorter and it will seem to go to fast. Any longer and it will seem to stay too long on each photo. Once the timing looks good, it's time to export your video.

Go to Home/Save Movie the select the appropriate selection for what you're trying to do. It's likely you'll want to use "For High Definition Display". This will keep it all at the highest resolution to look its best. If you have a reason to have a smaller file size, select one of the other options, such as "For Computer" or "For email".
Give the video a file name and click Save. It will then process to create your video.
Once complete, it will prompt you with several options. Select "Open file location". This will open the folder where the movie was saved. From here, copy it to your USB drive, post it to YouTube or Vimeo or whatever you'd like to do with it. You're done!

Here is the memorial video I created for my mother. It doesn't have music because the funeral home had the music playing through the speakers completely separate from the video. It really all depends on the location the video will be played. Be sure to speak with them before starting to work on your video.

Also, it is believed that a contributing factor to the death of this young man was over-consumption of energy drinks. If you know someone that drinks multiple of these drinks every day, please encourage them to start phasing them out. They are bad for you, especially when they are consumed too frequently.


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