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Tribute Videos to Die For: 7 Secrets for Killer Celebration Slide Shows

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 166

Video tributes have come a long way from that seemingly endless cycle of faded photographs projected on the wall that you may have endured at your grandparents' 50th anniversary back in the day.

Modern editing software including Photoshop and Final Cut Pro, and the ability to combine audio and video as well as images and documents - not to mention text elements and music - means that a truly compelling tribute video presentation for your event is well within reach. And here are some ideas for a tribute video to die for.

OK, the title of this article is a joke in pretty bad taste. Anyway, it's not just memorial services that call for a video tribute. Happier occasions like a birthday or an anniversary - or even the graduation of a teenager - also give us opportunities to honor a person with a multimedia presentation. So, what are the 7 secrets to a stunning, eye-popping video tribute?

1. Leave Them Wanting More: In the tribute video game, less is always more. It's much better to have your audience wishing the show had gone longer - than having them climbing the walls or looking for the exits.

How long is long enough for a slide show? Just a shade under ten minutes is best; ten to fifteen minutes tops. Each image should be on screen for an average of no longer than 5 or 6 seconds; and any video clip should be around 20 seconds or less.

2. Let Your Assets Do The Work: The point of the tribute video is to celebrate a life, a couple maybe, a sports team perhaps or even an event - so let your visuals do the work. Make sure the photos and/or the video are in good shape, meaning make sure that you have chosen in-focus images and that your have made any and all proper contrast and saturation adjustments in your photo and video editing program.

There is nothing wrong with fancy transitions and graphic elements but don't let them take over. Let your project assets be the focus of attention. A general rule of thumb: if your audience is noticing the transitions (as opposed to the slides) then you are probably being too heavy handed.

3. Mix It Up: First of all, give thought to all the possible elements to include: photos, video, graphic elements, titles, narrative text, inspirational text, voice over or narration, sampled clips, sounds effects, closing credits (including "thank yous") etc etc. A good tribute video will have variety.

Next, vary the speed and pacing of the elements as they come on: Not every photo has to be 6 seconds. If you have a truly great shot, give it a bit longer - maybe with a slow push in. If you have a series of repetitive images, then speed things along. Think about starting fast, slowing down in the middle, then pick up the pace at the end.

4. Start With A Splash: Most tribute videos are played at an event with a largish audience. What that means is that as you start the celebration slide show not everyone will be paying attention. People will be finishing off conversations, taking a last swig of coffee, checking phone messages or whatever. So you will need to give them a visual and aural cue that things are starting.

Your starting splash may be a simple image of your subject with a title, or it may be a graphic sequence. It may be a clarion song. Or both or all. But either and any way, your first 15 to 20 seconds should serve to call people's eyeballs (and ears) to the screen, and allow them a moment to focus. Nothing essential should happen in that first 20 seconds or so.

5. End With Gratitude: There is no better way to end a tribute video than with a text screen (scrolling text works well) thanking all the people who donated time or images or who otherwise contributed. If you really know what you are doing with the editing software then you can have that information rolling up on one side - while you show an image of the honored guest on the other side. Do you know what I mean?

This last screen(s) is also a chance for a last joke. For example, if you have filmed video encomiums then you could finish by apologizing to everyone for leaving their best work on the cutting room floor - ha ha!

6. Run A Test Screening: In the movies, they test the finished product with focus groups. You should gather a couple of people - especially a couple of close friends or relatives of the subject of the video tribute - and get their comments.

A test screening can be a good way to avoid embarrassing faux pas like too many photos of the first wife, or too few photos of the step children. You get the idea.

7. Master The Technology: No matter how much trouble you have gone to pains-takingly piecing together an intricate portrait of the subject's life that would make Bruegel proud, it will all be for naught if your technology lets your down. Projector? Make sure you have a spare bulb.

Do you plan on running the DVD with the slide show on a laptop computer? Make sure you run the thing from the power and not from its battery. Going to let the "house" worry about the set up? Do a run through and make sure they have the right aspect ratio.

It's a lot to think about.

Most video tributes are passion projects - put together over dozens of hours by an adoring relative. The ideal person for the job is someone who once collected stamps when they were a kid; or someone who is now into scrap booking. Which is to say, you need love and you need patience. And just a little bit of technical daring-do.

If you are pressed for time or lack the technical chops then there is more than one outfit out there who should be able to deliver a professional job of your next tribute video.

Source: EzineArticles
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