Nothing else comes as close to bottling reality as the moving image. Maybe it’s because a movie unfolds in a continuous progression, just like life does. And video has both sound and visuals, putting it ahead of photographs, nude sound recordings, and even biographical writing in terms of capturing personality. So when it comes to keeping our loved ones alive, even cheating death in some way, the best option is a memorial video.
Memorial videos are generally played at the funeral during the memorial service. Usually this is a 7-10 minute funeral home slide show that a son or daughter who knows a little about PowerPoint has hastily put together, or it may be organized by the funeral home. For seniors, the slideshow is usually a constant progression through photos of their babies, to school photos, to wedding photos, to photos of the children, to photos with the grandchildren. . And there is nothing wrong with that.
But the passing of a loved one gives us the opportunity to create something memorable. Something that truly reflects the personality and legacy of the deceased. Something to be kept, delivered, and treasured. And with the wonders of modern technology, it has never been truer that “surviving death has never been easier.”
Don’t wait for death
The best commemorative video celebrates a life and introduces the person: in person. How many of us say, after death, “Oh, I wish I had spent more time with them” or “I’m sorry I didn’t record some of their stories.” As human beings, although we know that death will come, we are very good at pretending every day that it will not be today. And we are always right. Until that day when we are not.
So don’t wait for death. Get started with that memorial video before you need it. Get out that video recorder, put it on a stand, and film older members of your family. Capture them talking, laughing, crying. Ask them about the happy times, the challenges, what their hopes are for your family. You don’t need to do anything with it now. Your value will become apparent, and you will use it when the topic passes.
Find out who all those people are
When a person dies, a lot of information accompanies them. So much knowledge is lost. Have you ever had the experience of looking at an old photo album and wondering who all those people are? You know some, but there are many others that seem important, but who are they?
Before it’s too late, spend time with your subject and go through old photos. Get a yellow sticky note pad and write who’s who. Ask about the people, their relationship with the family, what the occasion was and where it took place. Maybe you can scan and upload the images to a photo sharing site and have family members, who may live some distance away, add details.
A life in words and print
Few things are as revealing as old letters. Letters written between siblings or lovers, or to a parent or child, often show a side of a person that you may never have guessed. They can be very personal. They can explain some of the great turning points in life. Intelligence really shines in a letter, even more so than the spoken word.
Encourage family members to keep their letters. And within property limits, include them in your commemorative video. Ask your subject to read them. Films his handwriting. Ask them to talk about the times. Look at the addresses: who lived in those places at the time?
Editing of the commemorative video
The key to a truly meaningful memorial video is the diversity of material it includes. This is where you go beyond your ordinary funeral slideshow. Therefore, you should include pictures from the interview if you have them; It should include home movies, perhaps from a vacation or a special occasion. It must include photographs, of course, it would not be a commemorative video without photographs. But be careful to restore some shine to them – these days it’s easy to touch up a photo with digital editing software. And be sure to include captions on the photos in the “lower third” text.
Did the topic have a favorite author or poet? Ask someone to read a little on camera and include it in your memorial video. Are there important documents: diplomas, discharge papers, immigration documents, a first pay stub? Bring them.
Often after a visit from friends and family. Sit them down and ask them about the deceased; record them on video. Ask them to share their eulogy, if they have written one. What about the ancestors? Do you know anything about them? Where do they come from? Where did they settle? If you know those things, you can include them as narration in the memorial video.
Give them wings
Once you’ve assembled your memorial video, you’ll want to send it out to the world. Once again, today’s technology offers us endless possibilities. First of all, you will want to burn your memorial video to DVD. And make a beautiful box cover using your best images and with important details from life. If you are organized, you will be able to deliver copies at the service. If you have interview material to incorporate, you will follow it later.
It is inevitable that some people have not been able to attend the service. Perhaps there were grandchildren who are in school in another state. So why not upload the memorial video to YouTube or other online video hosting service? You can compress it for an iPod or even a phone.