I have some experience making slideshow but most of it is from my college days. Back in the dark ages with slide projectors, dissolve units and cassette tape recorders. I loved the two classes I took. I’ve done a couple of quick slideshows in the past year but so far they have just been put in the photos and the music and let the software make all the decisions on timing and transitions. One of the things that I find most powerful about using a slideshow to tell a story is the merging of images and music. It can make a powerful impact if done right.
I found some good advice on squidoo for making great slideshows. You can read the full article here. But the basics are:
Key #1: Story
have a good story
avoid distracting transitions
Key #2: Timing
time transitions to the music
mix it up if you use zoom effects
sync the speed of the movement with the mood of the music
Key #3: Music
picking the right music for the emotions you want to invoke
The article on squidoo has a nice list of suggested music for the following topics:
Happy/nostalgic – any occasion
Sad/relief – funerals
Romantic – weddings & anniversaries
Intense/fast – Party, just for fun
Key #4: Audience
Always keep your audience in mind as you make your choices. It isn’t as important that you like the show as that your audience will relate to the show.
With today’s technology, putting together a CD with someones favorite songs is fairly simple. My idea is to gather the favorite songs of an ancestor or family member and then make copies to share. It would be fun to add a few short stories about the person. If you know the background of why a particular song was their favorite that would be very fitting to add to the CD. If you have some audio of the person’s voice that would also make a nice addition to the gift.
If you don’t already have these songs, there are lots of sources to download audio files on the internet. Just do a search by song title and/or artist and you will find them. So will be free and others will cost a small amount for each song.
This idea could also be share as mp3 files via an email, link on a website or through dropbox or another file sharing service. A custom CD would also be a perfect to include in a gift basket (see gift idea #41).
If you have the desire and/or the talent writing a song about your family or an ancestor would be a powerful gift to give your loved ones. Music is so amazing in its ability to tell a story, share emotions and connect people. I love music but I’ve never tried to write a song. I hope that one day I will be inspired to take on a project like that.
Below are two videos about a woman who, after searching and finding her great grandmother Emma, is inspired to write a beautiful song about her experience. The first video is only about 5 minutes long and the second one, an episode of BYUtv’s The Generations Project, follows her in more detail on her journey. It ends with her singing the song she wrote to honor Emma.