Top Tips for Making a Memorial Video

A memorial video is a compilation of photos and videos spliced together with music that showcases your loved one’s spirit and personality. Displaying a memorial video at a service can add a heartfelt touch that your friends and family will appreciate.

There are online professional services available to create these types of videos. Sometimes even the funeral home can create and organize a video. However, creating a video is something you can do yourself and save the cost.

Here are a few tips to assist you with the process:

  1. Tools and Software - With mobile phones, scanners, computers and programs like iMovie (Mac) and Windows Movie Maker (PC), creating a memory video has never been easier. Your first step is to gather images you want to include in the video. If you don’t have a digital photo, you will need to scan the image and save it to your computer. Once you have all the photos you wish to use, you will be ready to edit.

  2. Editing – Usually, iMovie or Windows Movie Maker are programs already installed on your computer, but if they aren’t, there are many free editing programs available online. Add each photo to the editing software’s timeline in the order you wish to have them played back. The most popular arrangement is to start with childhood photos and move through time.

    • Consider the music - If the music has a slow beat or rhythm, you will want to take your time with photos – generally 5-6 seconds and not any longer. If it is a photo with lots of details or people, you can add a few more seconds, but don’t do this for all your photos. If the song is a bit more upbeat, try to time the cut for each photo to the beat.

    • Transitions - Fade in and out or just cut right to the next photo? A typical rule of thumb is to use faded transitions when using slower music. It will provide a smooth and relaxing display of one photo to the next. However, if you have more upbeat music, then you may want to consider not using a transition; again editing to the beat. The use of whimsical transitions such as a barn door, flying star, or other similar transitions are out-of-date and are not recommended.

    • A beginning and an end – A title card in the opening of your video will tell viewers what they are about to watch. Opening with a soft fade into the first image also is an effective introduction. If you decide to use a title card, it is popular to display the person’s name in the beginning and a phrase at the ending (i.e. “In loving memory,” “We will never forget you,” or “you’ve touched our lives”).

      See a good example of the uses of title and overlay graphics in this video:

    • Consider other elements – You have your photos, music, and your intro/outro. What else is there? One element that is very effective is the overlay of words during the video. Word overlays add even more personal touches. Common things to add are places she or he lived or traveled, accomplishments, and special moments with friends and family.

  3. Duration – You may have decades of photos of your loved one that you’d like to include in your memory video, but realistically you can’t include them all. Try to pick the top 60-70 images. Fewer strong images make a more powerful video than many assorted images.

  4. Make it uplifting - Include fun images of your loved one. Maybe you have a photo of them next to a person in a pink gorilla costume (my mom did). Or maybe there are photos of them getting their face smashed into a birthday cake. Fun images allow families and friends to connect with that person’s past memorable moments.

    Here are great examples of fun photos that would be wonderful additions to your videos - it just makes you smile.


  5. Music – Depending on the individual and his/her personality, you will want to choose music accordingly. Was your loved one a light-hearted individual and you wish to make a whimsical video? Then use fun and upbeat music. Maybe that person was someone who was compassionate or thoughtful – you may want to consider softer music. You could also use a combination of both. You will want to group photos together according to the music. For instance, you can start your video with a slideshow of childhood photos and memories with a slower song. Then when you get to sillier images, you can then change the pace of the video with more upbeat music.

  6. File Formats – The most common video file format is a .mp4. You can also use .mpeg or .mov but the final output (file size) can be large. Depending on the locations where you plan to show the video (funeral home, church reception hall, etc.), you should ask in advance what equipment they have and what type of videos they can play. 
Creating a memorial video for a loved one has many benefits. The best part is reminiscing with memories of the past and thinking about the legacy of your loved one.

If you have any additional questions on how to create your own memorial video, please feel free to contact us at (888) 872-0228 for further assistance.