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Finding the Tribute - The Making of a Memorial Video

June 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

Following a fitful night of three hours sleep within a swirling fog of pending decisions, Camille rose from the couch with a single determined thought; she'd somehow honor her husband's life and experiences in some visual way during the not yet planned service. Carl had struggled for almost twelve years with a respiratory disorder that had placed him in a weakened state and often hospitalized during the preceding decade. He passed away the previous afternoon after a week of lapses in and out of consciousness, and though Camille's role of consummate caregiver had come to an end, the empty void carved out by the sudden departure of her life love and companion was devastating.

Her idea of an homage to be shared with friends and family members was not new, in fact, she had discussed such a tribute with Carl on a number of occasions during his struggle when the two of them felt strong and determined enough to discuss end of life planning. And now with only a few days until Carl's funeral service, Camille would need to collect everything from the earliest snapshots, home video stored on VHS tape, and much more recent electronic images located on various digital cameras and hard drives. The task ahead was large, and Camille would require assistance in the midst of everything else she'd need to do in the space of three to four days.

Webster's Dictionary defines a tribute as something given or contributed voluntarily as due or deserved, or a gift or service showing respect. A eulogy is describes as a commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one departed. With the popularization of desktop publishing and inexpensive video editing, tributes have been a part of many memorial and funeral services for nearly three decades, with the majority of presentations containing slide and photo transfers placed chronologically as the honoree's favorite music is embedded underneath the visuals. To heighten the emotional impact of a static image presentation, sweeping pans and zooms are utilized as a way of concentrating the visual impact at the right moment. This effect gained widespread popularity in 1990 when filmmaker Ken Burns used the pan and zoom extensively in his award winning series 'The Civil War', with the namesake applied to the actual effect by media developer Apple(TM).

A website review of a dozen funeral directors in a large metro area shows memorial and tribute videography as a program part, while several software developers offer specialized editing packages customized for the deathcare industry.

But as is the case in any service realm, clients want variety and are usually interested in alternatives to the single, under-the-same roof option. Just as a homeowner employing a yard maintenance crew hires a separate arborist to care for the trees, family members preparing for a service or memorial may prefer the unique perspective of a visual content specialist to handle the visual and music tribute.

Camille did want something unique, and since time was so very limited, she selected a specialized tribute videography service, who's sole mission was tribute and memorial video productions for both funeral service and online presentation. With less than 72 hours until the start of Carl's funeral, Camille was tasked with locating the best images, organizing each in the best fashion, choosing Carl's favorite quotes and bible verses, and making sure - or at least getting help with - all items delivered and safely returned. Tribute videos must tell a compelling story in the form of a highly compressed timeline of the loved one's life, and extra effort is often needed in selecting the best and most appropriate imagery, enhancing when necessary, then carefully sequencing the selected images in response to family members requests.

In the midst of this process there are times when still images are not enough, and often the simple computer-generated moves are insufficient. Specialized video providers have the time and capability to customize every zoom and pan so that individual emphasis in movement is meaningful. The specialty service is also better equipped to offer stock imagery in response to personal interest, which might include nature or special events the decedent enjoyed. Carl loved the ocean, and literally spent hours during each coastal visit mesmerized by the sight and sounds of the waves. He particularly liked sitting near the waves during the twilight hours, and knowing this, her video provider placed transitional footage of evening waves between several groups of photos. Camille loved it, and knew Carl would too. In just over 48 hours her production provider consulted with the family, organized all slides prints and video footage the family offered, produced a 15 minute tribute, and gave the family members an opportunity to review the piece before final presentation at the service. Perhaps the most vital aspect in the process was listening to what Camille and Carl needed, constructing an accurate timeline, carefully placing the quotes and verses in the right places, and making sure the project was satisfactorily complete before the service started.

Imaging is always evolving; not only does the technology and manner of presentation change, but styles and ways of conveying a message constantly modify and re-invent themselves. Specialized tribute videography services typically complete only one project at a time, while continually communicating with the client at such a delicate time in their lives. A tribute presentation is very important, and in accordance with the client's wishes, must be perfectly presented once, or preserved online for additional lifetimes.

Source: EzineArticles
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