8 tips to create a beautiful remembrance video.
(and you can do it yourself.)
Experiencing the loss of two family members inside a year was tough. When my partner’s grandmother passed away, I felt a deep empathy for how she and her mother were feeling. She was an important part of their lives and I felt that loss in them. In contrast, the passing of my own grandmother later in the same year, whom I was very close to, was so personal and hollowing. I felt it deeply and still do.
It fell to me In both instances, as the “techy one” in the family, to prepare the remembrance videos from all the family pictures. Initially, I was pretty apprehensive; Everyone will be watching this during the service. How can I make it feel worthy of their life? How professional does it have to be? But it felt like my role in the preparations, so I took it on and I am so glad I did.
It was a bit of a struggle to get started. Getting all the pictures from everyone was more difficult than I expected. I didn’t know what to do once I had the pictures and playing it back during the service was messy and troublesome. Thinking back on both experiences though, it was so helpful to have this task to focus my feelings on. I believe it helped lighten the load and making it ourselves honoured their memories. So, I thought I’d share some tips I learned along the way.
What are remembrance videos or memorial slideshows and how do they fit into the service?
I had no idea what a remembrance video really was. Different funeral companies call them different things: Visual tribute, funeral video, memorial video. These are many ways of expressing the same thing. Essentially it’s a short visual tribute expressing the life of someone you’ve lost. It can include photos, videos and quotes, often set to music.
Typically there are three moments in a funeral or memorial service where the memorial video would play. For my grandmother’s service, it was at the end where the congregation took a moment of their own, to reflect on her life.
My partner’s grandmother’s service played it at the beginning, as a welcome, to help guests reflect and focus their thoughts before the service started.
Other’s we’ve spoken to included the presentation in the service. The pictures played as a backdrop to the eulogy or readings. Some families create multiple video tributes, one for the service and one to play at a life celebration afterwards.
What makes good remembrance videos?
Every life is different and we all have our own ideas on how to remember someone we’ve lost. However, after preparing two remembrance videos myself, sitting through another couple and talking with many others who’ve been through the experience, I’ve learned there are a few things that commonly work well.
Don’t make it too long.
Generally between 20 – 40 pictures works well. However don’t worry if you have less than this, you can play them for a longer duration. I’ve seen video tributes that loop through a second cycle, which worked well played at the beginning of the funeral. Those who entered the chapel later had the opportunity to reflect. There are some suggestions below to help with less pictures too.
Span their life.
It helps to tell a story of the life of your loved one, by arranging pictures in chronological order over their lifetime.
Make it personal.
Don’t feel restricted to photos of the person. You can take pictures of mementos, or include beautiful location pictures of a place they loved. If you don’t have many pictures of them, this can be a great way to build more of a story.
Quotes, poems and art.
Not every slide in the memorial video needs to be a picture of a person or place. I think it’s really nice to include quotes or poems that they liked. Or you can include poems that express how they touched the lives of others. Be careful to keep any text content short and large in size though, or it can be hard to read quickly.
Keep it focused.
It’s ok to include some pictures with other people in them. It can help show the context of their life, however, try to make more of the pictures focus solely on your loved one. It helps keep the focus on them.
Music is a fantastic way to set the tone for remembrance videos and also convey personality. If your loved one had a favourite song, this can be a great way to bring their energy to the slideshow. Or if you wish to convey a personal moment of reflection for fellow mourners, choose a mood music track. Be sure to use a track with a positive note, or uplifting feeling.
The music is a good guide for the duration of the memorial slideshow. Between 3 – 8 minutes, or two songs, is a good length, depending on the timing in the service.
Keep it simple.
Remember the purpose of the memorial slideshow or video tribute. It’s nice to use subtle effects and transitions between pictures to keep it interesting. However, try to avoid tricky animations or effects. They can be distracting and jarring when people are reflecting. Think smooth, slow, easy.
Feel free to be creative.
These are some guides I’ve compiled that commonly work well, but they’re not rules. You know the person best and you should feel free to express their life how you wish. I’ve spoken to families who had live music playing during the slideshow, for a musician member of the family who died. Others have used remembrance videos as a backdrop to a reading, about the life of their loved one.
Feel free to get in touch with us at Eulogise if you’d like some help with creative ideas for your memorial video.
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