Every funeral is a celebration of life. And one of the best ways to celebrate that life is by surrounding the funeral with memories of how that life was lived. One way to do this is by incorporating a memorial video into your ceremony or the events before or after it. A memorial video is filled with home movies and pictures of your loved one throughout their life, showing just how loved that loved one was. So, how can you put one together, and how can you show it at a funeral? While some funeral homes may be able to help with video services, here are a few steps to take if you want to create one yourself.
1. Check with your funeral home to ensure they have the right equipment to show videos.
Many funeral homes have projectors or televisions that can show slideshows and videos. But it’s best not to assume that your funeral home will have what you need. You don’t want the day of the funeral to arrive, and you have your video ready to go but nothing to show it on. Always check with your funeral director to be sure that there will be something available on the day for your video. If not, you’ll have to supply your own projector or TV, depending on how you want to present the video. Remember that your video may have to be in a certain format, like on a DVD or thumb drive, depending on what the funeral home has available.
2. Collect videos from relatives and friends of your loved one.
After going through your own supply of home videos, ask your family and your loved one’s friends if they have any that they can contribute. Keep in mind that when you cut together the memorial video, you can also incorporate still images. Ask if they have any photos they’d be able to share as well, especially if they are pictures of your loved one during very significant moments, like a wedding or the birth of their children.
3. Convert VHS tapes to digital.
If your family and friends are sending you over old VHS tapes filled with home movies, you’re going to have some trouble creating a memorial video. But don’t worry, you can still convert those VHS tapes into useable clips. To do the conversion yourself, you’ll need a VCR, a USB-to-composite video converter, a computer with a USB port, and several hours. To get started, download the converter’s software on your computer. Then, connect the VCR to the computer using the USB video converter. Make sure the tape is rewound to where you want to start the conversion. Press play on your VCR and hit record on your computer. The recordings will have to play in real-time, so be prepared to sit back and watch those memories play out.
If you’re not particularly tech-savvy or don’t have the proper equipment to convert the videos yourself, several companies offer this service. You’ll have to ship your VHS tapes out to them, and the conversions can take a few weeks or more to process. Be sure that you have enough time before the funeral for the companies to fulfill your request and ship a DVD or USB back to you or send you a digital download.
4. Cut together the memorial video.
To create a memorial video, you’ll want to use an application that allows you to put together videos, pictures, and audio. You could invest in software known for putting clips together with other features, like graphics and text, such as Final Cut Pro. But there are also free applications available for more straightforward use, like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. These free apps tend to be easier to learn, so you’ll be able to create something that’s not too complicated but still beautiful.
If you think you’re not the best fit to make this video, consider asking a friend or family member if they can help you. But if you’re short on time and don’t have much available help, you can also hire a contractor to make the memorial video for you. Plenty of video editors would be happy to create a professional-looking tribute for you.
Certain services are built for the exact purpose of creating a memorial video for you, like Tribute. With Tribute, you can invite your family and friends to contribute photos and videos directly on the platform. Then, you’ll have that inventory available for you to build out the memorial. Although it’s a more expensive option, you can also use Tribute’s concierge service to make the video. Another bonus to the service is that the video will be available for digital download, allowing friends and family to keep it as a memento of their loved one forever.
5. Decide when you’d like to show the video.
Memorial videos can be played at several times. If you have a memorial video with sound, you’ll likely want to play it during the funeral itself, where everyone’s full attention is on it. Be sure to include time in the ceremony for the memorial to play. However, if you don’t have any sound, you can also set up a projector to have the video shown during a memorial ceremony or visitation after the funeral. That way, those precious home movies and memories can surround family and friends as they reminisce about their loved one.
6. Send out the video after the funeral.
If you collected emails of your funeral guests in your guest book, and if you saved your video as a digital download, you could also consider sending it out after the ceremony. Memorial videos often get shelved after a funeral, but by distributing them to family and friends, they will always have those beloved memories to watch when they’re missing their loved one.
A memorial video is a tribute to your loved one, filled with memories and moments that you’ll never forget. When you put together this memorial, you’re allowing all of your funeral guests to take part in reminiscing with you. Seeing a loved one smiling and laughing at their funeral is a gift that can bring joy to a difficult day. No matter how you create one and whether you use the help of a professional or not, the most important thing is that your video shows the spirit of your loved one.