Category Archives: funeral

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.

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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.

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Keeping Memories Alive

Memories are precious thoughts that we keep in our minds about a particular person or object. A memory is a recollection- or being able to comprehend  and recall a specific event or moment in time. Memories are our history, we are what we have experienced.

These thoughts make up who we love now and whom we once loved.  Recalling or reflecting on a past memory helps keep that particular moment relevant or important. In maintaining your reflections on particular occurrences, you can determine which memories you want to preserve to last a lifetime. Giving yourself constant reminders of certain events from the past will keep that moment alive for the present and future. The best forum to do this is through photographs and video technology.

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Wedding Day Memory idea!

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Memory of a pregnancy..

With the new and upcoming technology, such as turning photographs into video footage, we can simply make any photo or “memory” last forever. So in developing and maintaining healthy relationships, it is imperative to hold onto these precious moments to strengthen and continue our relationships with loved ones.

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Keeping photos around the house and in your phone acts as a constant reminder of happy moments in time you have shared with that particular loved one.  Another great way to keep happy memories in your mind is to hold onto special material things, such as a ticket stub to a baseball game to remember a certain date with your husband.

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Another great idea is to keep your baby’s first picture and his hospital hat and frame both, this will be a constant reminder of when your child was born and the feelings you felt during that beautiful day.

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Adding photos of loved ones to your flowers while you walk down the isle helps you feel the memory of that person more so they can be “present” during your wedding day.

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Going back to a specific place that you once took a picture to reminisce on that memory is always a wonderful idea!

“..in the End, all that really matters isn’t the things you did, but what its effects are today, not the knowledge you have learned, but how you applied it, not the words that were said, but how they made you feel, and most of all, not the moment of occurrence, but how its now just a part of our memory.. Everyday, we make memories.. Let’s paint lives with happy ones..”

Author- Unknown

So now that we have a better understanding of how to keep memories alive we should go out and make great new ones! Keeping the memory of a person alive can be easy as long as you remember. Memories are who we are, dreams are who we want to be. Make sure to capture every SPECIAL moment on film while you still can; so that later you can look back and smile!!

Thank you,

Brittaney Thayer

Celebration of Life Event

If you follow us on Facebook (www.fb.com/MovieMe) you would have seen a few photos posted from the Celebration of Life event we attended and participated in last weekend. We received a phone call three months ago from a man who had just lost his wife to pancreatic cancer a few months earlier. The lead came in from our friends at http://www.NostalgicMedia.com. The client expressed how he wanted to honor his wife’s requests of having more of a Celebration of her Life event than just a funeral. When this gentleman, Bob Harrison, called, he had already written a 60 page memoir, which included her journal notes over the years. He wanted to know if we could merge the memoir with photos, a couple video clips, and music to share at this Celebration of Life event. In order to compare visions, I prepared a sample of what we had discussed. I chose some of the quotes in the memoir, blended it with the right kind of music and had the voice overs done in both male and female. Up until this point, none of my previous clients had included narration. It added a special touch both reliving and retelling all the special stories they had shared together.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I was new to the narration and was grateful to have hired a wonderful actor, Tom Clark – http://www.actorboy.biz to be the male voice, as well as, offer guidance on audio equipment.  After narrowing down the script to follow the photos, we changed the script to read in third person. In a few sections, I read the exact journal quotes of his late wife, Diane Harrison. The ‘movie’ ended up being 30 minutes, which initially seemed too long but the narration told a story. We sprinkled it with video clips, graphic motion clips and frequent song changes all helping to keep it interesting. Bob’s hope was to tell the story about an incredible life lived between two people, who loved each other for 46 years. He did just that…as well as, his sons who contributed to the night’s events with reading a letter written by his mother to his daughter, her granddaughter. And the other son, who performs in NYC with showing the ending to one of his musical plays, Tommy.

Pulling this event all together was no easy feat but if there was someone who paid attention to every single detail, it was Bob. He was very thorough and covered all the bases. He also chose vendors who made the night a success. The venue was held at Country Club of the South. They supported the event with their expertise and experience and recommended  Spectrum Entertainment for the AV equipment needs. The venue was beautiful, both inside and out. It helped that North Georgia was experiencing some perfect Spring weather that evening. Spectrum Entertainment made sure all their equipment was there ahead of time and showed up early to walk through final staging. The “D.J.” for the evening was very kind at making sure sound and lighting was perfect. It was a pleasure to work alongside both these vendors.

The evening started with a reception held in the bar area. We put a short looped ‘movie’ in the bar area of pictures that highlighted their years together with their two boys, now young men. Folks then moved into the dining room to sit down. While some tables waited to go into the buffet line, Bob had placed postcards at the tables. These postcards were found after Diane’s mom had passed away. Her mom had saved all the postcards, since 1964. Bob had them reproduced at Kinko’s so everyone could share and read Diane’s thoughts and see her handwriting. Very nice original touch in sharing memories.

Shortly after dinner, the Narrated ‘Movie’ started. It told the story of when Diane was born and took you through their marriage, their sons, their travels, and time together. This media age has taken us to such a visual level, we almost come to expect a “60 minutes” version type of story telling. I was very nervous before the ‘movie’ began for simple reasons – what if the sound isn’t right or what if the DVD doesn’t work (I had 5 back up copies with me! haha) or just what if… It is one thing to build a ‘movie’ for a client and send them the DVD. It is a whole other feeling when you are sitting in a room with +150 people watching your work. I was very honored to have been a part of this Celebration of Diane’s Life and I can only imagine how proud she would have been of her “Bo.” At the end of the evening, everyone stood up and gave Bob and his sons a standing ovation…you could feel the love bursting at the seams.

Have you attended a Celebration of Life event? If so, what was your experience?

Garage Band for Narration?

I thought I had used all the applications in Apple until the latest movie project required narration. Since I’m not in a band and no longer play instruments, the application sat undiscovered. The movie project is a Memorial, which shares the journey of a beautiful wife and mother, who passed away five months ago. It was at her request to have a celebration party instead of the focus being about a funeral. The husband put together a 60 page memoir, supplementing his notes with her many journals. That in itself was an incredible feat. The next step for him was finding someone who could build this story into the many photos and video clips. We were very grateful he found MovieMe!

As you can imagine, it was very difficult to summarize the moments of their lives down to a handful number of statements and quotes. With the client’s permission, we carefully chose parts of the memoir that not only spoke to the photos/video clips but also, kept a common thread of the loving theme they had in their marriage and family.

I hired http://www.actorboy.biz (Tom Clark) to lay narration on top of photos and video clips. He asked me how we were going to record and I told him “directly into the computer.” After he laughed to himself, he asked me again, “Seriously, how are we going to record?” Catching on, I asked back “how should we record?” He suggested a USB microphone. I bought the Yeti USB mic from Apple, for those of you who are wondering which product we used. And for those of you professionally in this field, I am turning three shades of red right now.

Having done many movies this past year, I was even taken back at how touching it was to have narration on top of photos/video clips and music playing in the background. We used Garage Band, a recording studio application. Thankfully, Tom was patient enough to bring me up to speed with this new application but like everything else Apple does, it was incredibly user-friendly.

The celebration party dinner is next weekend and we hope we have met our client’s expectations and perhaps exceeded them, at best! We look forward to sharing a commercial of the final product in the next couple weeks on http://www.fb.com/MovieMe.