5 Steps in Making a Funeral Video for a Loved One

Last week we received a phone call for a family preparing for a funeral. It’s already stressful ironing out all the logistics but it’s an additional strain trying to put a video together when you never have done one before.


I shared that we create Celebration of Life Movies (see example at the bottom,) that includes music and narration. We do not provide ‘funeral’ videos since most Funeral Homes now provide this service. This client wanted her ‘funeral’ video to be more customized than the Funeral Home was willing to provide so I walked her through some ideas to consider:

  1. Will you be showing the video before/after the funeral?  If showing before/after, you don’t need to worry about music choice since most people will not hear the video during this time, unless on a professional sound system.
  2. Will you be showing during the funeral?  If yes, consider the size of your audience. If large, keep video under 5 minutes. If more private and family oriented, 5-10 minutes might be appropriate.
  3. What photos to choose?  Choose your favorite photos if showing before/after. If showing during the funeral, you may need to include other photos that help tell the story of the person.
  4. Should the photos be in order?  If video shown before/after, order of pictures is not important because most likely folks will not see the video in its entirety. If shown during the funeral, try to have some order. You’re telling a story and people like to follow the order of events. 
  5. How many photos makes up a 5 minute video? Appx 60-75 pictures

We have found there is an increasing need for Celebration of Life Movies. This do not replace the funeral video but is something typically put together months later and shared with a larger group of family & friends. To view an example, see http://youtu.be/9tyCo0M6jEY.


The “Other” Memories

Written by Guest Blogger, Wendy Reynolds!

What does the word “memories” mean to you? The first image that comes into my mind is of my children. And they are smiling. And waving. And it’s in slow motion. With a slight blur due to the sunshine coming down perfectly from the sky. HA! Hollywood hasn’t shaped our imaginations at all, has it? While most of the memories we care to hang on to are happy ones, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a dose of reality by documenting some of the not-so-happy ones. These are usually the “funny, embarrassing or just plain mean” photos that are often used in the videos shown at your graduation party or rehearsal dinner.

I have a few really good ones saved up to use on my girls. There is one of Brooke screaming like a banshee in her crib because she didn’t want to nap at 9 months old.

The baby cries and calls mum from a bed

Then another one of Brooke sitting on the froggy potty with her dad’s glasses on.

Child on potty

And I could never forget the picture in front of the beautiful poinsettia plants at Gaylord Palms Resort where Brooke has her finger up her nose! Poor, poor Brooke. The embarrassed high school graduate. I’m sure I have some of her sister as well, but those come to my mind quite easily.

These are the photos that make you pause because they tell a story of life, reality and truth. Sure the posed, smiley professional photos are great to hang on the wall and admire, but what can compare to the photo that brings the big belly laugh from grandpa? Or the sheepish grin from across the room at the rehearsal dinner? Or the smiles of understanding from a lifetime of loving (and dealing) with one another?

So, I urge you to include these one-of-a-kind photos! When MovieMe is preparing a beautiful presentation for your next family gathering, throw in the funny ones! Show off the real side of life…the natural, un-posed, raw beauty of what we all go through. The child-rearing years are definitely some of the best (so they tell me). I’m right in the thick of it, so it’s hard to see past it…but I’m beginning to believe that I will wish for it back one day. And the funny photos I leave behind will be my best way to remember these “perfect-because-they’re-mine” memories!

If you would like to follow Wendy personally, click here: www.preventivedoublemastectomy.wordpress.com

Surprisingly Perfect Days with Cherished Memories

By our guest blogger, Wendy Reynolds:

I am so glad I didn’t listen to the initial weather report that Siri provided to me on my drive home last Friday. I asked her what the weather was going to be like on Sunday in St. Augustine. For those of you who prefer Android, live under a rock or are over the age of 60…Siri is the name of the helpful voice inside the iPhone 4S and higher. Thinking she was being helpful, she told me it wasn’t looking so good on Sunday…complete with a temperature of 66 degrees and scattered thunderstorms. Ugh! There is no way I plan to take my kids back to the beach when it’s cold and/or rainy. Much less when it’s both.

So, we told my Aunt and Uncle from New Hampshire that we wouldn’t be able to join them in St. Augustine on Sunday, and we would shoot for next Friday instead. I was bummed, so you know how bummed my 5-year-olds must have been. Later that night, I looked at the extended report on the weather channel’s site. Much to my surprise, the LOW was 66 degrees (who cares?) and the chance of rain was 30%. Um…not sure why Siri felt the need to report only the negative stuff, but at this point I decided to ignore her.

What a beautiful day it turned out to be! We spent the morning on the beach and the girls played in the water and built sandcastles. After lunch, they wanted to go in the pool. Siri must have provided the pool water temperature, because even with the sun out, my little munchkins had purple lips and tears in their eyes. They were not happy. Oh no…how am I going to salvage the afternoon? That is when I decided to drive into downtown St. Augustine. I loaded up my girls and my Mom, and off we went on a mini adventure.

We took the bridge into St. Augustine, curved to the right and ended up in the parking lot of Castillo de San Marcos. When the girls saw some neat old building that resembled a castle, they were hooked.

We got out to go exploring, and had a great time! The girls seem to be intrigued with history now (much to their Dad’s pleasure), and it was so enjoyable to share one of my childhood experiences with them. To add to an already perfect trip, we got there right on time to watch (mainly hear) the cannons being fired.

Image 2 Image 3

It was one of those days that just couldn’t have been better! From the weather (sunny, breezy and beautiful – thank you very much!) to the spur of the moment plans that worked out just right…it was simply perfect!

Image 1

We now have plans to go back to St. Augustine as a family. Maybe ride the trolley from landmark to landmark and share the stories of the oldest city in the United States with our sweet girls! I love when they can experience things that we did as children, and of course I will be documenting it all along the way. Sunday was a gentle reminder that sometimes it’s the unexpected and unplanned days that turn out to be the best. Go ahead and take the family for a drive…and cherish the memories you find along the way!

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If you wish to follow Wendy Reynolds personally, click here:


Girls Gone Sentimental

Welcome our guest blogger, Wendy Reynolds!

For my next memory capturing adventure, I’m hoping for a warmer time at the beach. Last month I couldn’t even take my jacket off in Anna Maria Island. This Friday, I am headed to St. Simons Island in Georgia for a little R&R with my cousins! No kids, no men, no cooking, no cleaning, no grocery shopping and plenty of fun to be had. We are attempting to make this an annual thing, and I can’t wait!! It may only be for two nights, but we’ll all take what we can get!

St. Simon's Island, GA

St. Simon’s Island, GA
For more images of St. Simon’s Island go to http://www.patrickanderson.net

For this trip, I’m not worried about packing up any camera equipment. We captured plenty on our phones during our last trip to Savannah. Some of which was deleted the next morning for good reason. What happens in Savannah, stays in Savannah! I’m sure the same will ring true for St. Simons. We have dinner planned at The Rooftop on Friday night…which looks like a beautiful place, and then some dancing at Ziggy’s. As for the rest of the trip, who knows? We’ll have a pool, tiki bar and an ocean at our disposal. Sounds like we can figure something out!

It means so much to me that my cousins and I started doing this. Not only is it something to look forward to each year, but it also keeps us close like sisters. We make fun memories and plenty of inside jokes to carry us to the next trip. We plan things six months in advance just so we can be surprised by how fast life is passing us by. We stay connected because we understand when it’s all said and done, family is always there…no matter what.

In these busy, hectic lives of ours…we are taking a weekend off…together. We will remember these times forever, and cherish the memories made. Some memories will be documented, and others will just have to stay in our hearts for only us to share. I am blessed to have these women in my life, and I hope they know how thankful I am.

Are you capturing your vacation memories on your phone or cameras?

If you would like to follow Wendy personally, click here: www.preventivedoublemastectomy.wordpress.com


Putting Birthday Songs on a CD

The best part of my job is helping people bring their memories to life. The most common way is making a movie using photos, video clips set to favorite music. But it’s always fun when a customer comes up with an idea that I had not considered.

Happy Birthday Songs

Happy Birthday Songs

A client called this morning about a 50th birthday party she is throwing for her girlfriend. During the party, she wants to play her favorite songs. So she is trying to get a playlist from her friend. She will then call me with the playlist and I’m going to burn several copies of the CD that she will hand out as party gift favors. What a neat idea and a great way to relive the memories of the party!

Do you have any other creative ideas you can share with our audience?

Vacation Pictures by Kids – Smaller Points of View

Please welcome Wendy Reynolds, our guest blogger! Show her your enjoyment of the blog by clicking ‘like’ on one of the social media buttons below.

Last week was our COLD trip to the beach. Who knew the high would be in the 60s during the last week of March in FLORIDA?? Certainly not me when I made our reservations back in December. Oh well, we tried to make the best of it. My girls wore their sweatshirts and tennis shoes to play in the sand, and the fact that I haven’t had a pedicure recently never became an issue.

When packing for the trip, I made sure to bring all my camera equipment along. I charged the batteries for my Olympus SLR, my Canon G10 and both my girls’ point and shoot cameras. I even had my back-up batteries charged and brought extra memory cards of various sizes. I don’t know if it was the cold weather, or simply that I love the camera on my iPhone 5…but I never even unzipped my camera bag while I was there. It is so nice to carry something convenient around that happens to have a good camera on it. And the ability to send the pictures to friends and upload them to Facebook within seconds is hard to beat. I think phones are slowly taking the place of cameras that do nothing but…oh my goodness…take pictures!

However, my little photographers were requesting their cameras even before we got there. I may have gotten some great shots with my phone, but nothing evoked the joy I felt when reviewing what was on my girls’ cameras once we got home. I have decided to make this a tradition. I will make sure they are able to document whatever they want to on our vacations, and then I will burn it onto a CD and probably save it on my external hard drive for later enjoyment.

vacation pictures with kids

Vacation through the eyes of a 5-year-old is an amazing thing. From pictures of themselves in the mirror standing on the new bed, to photos of beautiful things in shops we would never buy…I was enamored by the simple beauty they captured. They took pictures of the inside of our cottage, the sandcastles and shells they found, along with pictures of each other making the goofy faces they reserve only for their twin sister. I can also appreciate the world from their height…I never realized how much they have to look up to see everything.  And the simple things they find worthy of capturing make me realize it really is all about the little things. Life sure is beautiful from these smaller points of view.

vacation pictures

What do you do with your pictures taken on vacation? Do your kids take pictures, as well?

If you’d like to follow Wendy personally, click here: www.preventivedoublemastectomy.wordpress.com


Photos in the Digital Age

Saturday was a special day. My stepdaughter, Chandler, was going to Prom with her boyfriend, Alex. He is a really good guy…she has chosen well. Chandler invited me to come hang out while her and her girlfriends were getting their hair and makeup done. Before I said yes, I asked her if this would be a special mommy/daughter time because I didn’t want to interfere. She paused and said “you’re my mommy, too.” I replied, “you are going to make me cry….okay, I’m tearing up now!” How blessed am I? Her mother has given me such a beautiful gift of allowing me to love on her daughter and son without boundaries.

Throughout the afternoon, her friends alternated between hair and makeup taking place in the bathroom. In order to watch comfortably, they put pillows in the bathtub. But, of course!


Each of the girls are simply beautiful without makeup but once they were done, they evolved into these freaks of beauty. Talk about going from 16 to 26 in a flash! As the bathroom got busier, I decided the toilet was going to be the seat in the house. I found Chandler sitting on my lap soon after. It was another fun opportunity to take pictures. Nothing like being 47 and taking close up pictures with a soon to be 17 year old! Auughh…


Now most of our pictures are taken with our iPhone or an HD Camera so there is no need to digitize them. But there are many of us with older photos that need to be scanned. I took a picture from my wedding in 2004, which I had to download and placed it next to a special moment last Saturday. The day of my wedding, Chandler helped me with the buttons on the back of my dress. Saturday, Chandler needed help with the back of her dress. What a role reversal we had taken.


Is there a special photo you can align with a current memory? Juxtapose your memories and be sure to have your older photos scanned into digital images so you can manipulate them with fun software like we did above. Share your pictures with us http://www.facebook.com/MovieMe!

PS~Here’s her date!


For more on how to scan your photos, see our media conversion website http://www.bigstufvideo.com

Need more information on how to organize your photos? http://wp.me/p1lhCI-dr