Tips for planning & organizing your materials for a
Photo Movie - Slide Show - Video Movie - Combination

Download a PDF file of these tips

These Planning & Organizing Tips tell you, step by step, how to get your photos and other materials ready for us to create an awesome, one-of-a-kind DVD/video keepsake for you. We also have a FREE animated presentation of these Tips in two formats: CD-ROM to run on your computer -- and Super Video CD (runs on most newer DVD players).

Or just give us your materials, and we'll do the rest!
If you have questions at any time, call Linda or Dave at 508-881-7213

- Please allow at least 3 weeks for delivery of your finished production -

Planning & Organizing Tips:

First, some definitions:

A Photo Movie is a DVD/video production up to 2 hours long, assembled from your photos and other mementos, then enhanced with music, titles, and motion effects such as panning and zooming.
A Slide Show is a more basic presentation of your still photos on DVD, with music and title slides.
A Video Movie is assembled from your best home video segments.
In a Combination package, we combine your photos and video segments into a single DVD/video movie.

As you begin planning, think through the purpose of your production -- whom you're honoring or what the occasion is. That will help you choose your materials.

Your custom movie can start from any or all of these:

  • Color photos and black & white photos up to 8.5 x 11 inches
  • 35mm slides, film negatives, and transparencies up to 4 x 9 inches
  • Flat artwork such as drawings, invitations, announcements, news clippings, and other documents
  • Other small mementos such as ribbons, pins, buttons, and medals
  • Home videos from your MiniDV, VHS, Super VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, and Hi-8 tapes
  • Narration or dedication in your own voice, recorded on cassette or audio CD
  • Music from your CDs, cassettes, and LP/45 records; or from our instrumental library
  • We can also arrange to transfer your 8mm or Super 8mm home-movie film, for inclusion in your movie, for cost plus a small handling fee. Call us with the size and number of reels and we'll price it for you; also, please allow an extra two weeks for delivery of your finished production.

Consider how you want your movie to be organized:

  • In chronological order -- for example, going from the oldest to the youngest family member, perhaps to trace your family history?
  • Or do you want to arrange it by different subjects, such as spotlighting each family member's growth and achievements through the years?
  • Either way, grouping your items by category or "chapter" will facilitate adding appropriate titles and music later. Chapters will also correspond to DVD menus that allow you to select favorite parts of your movie.

If you're including favorite segments from your home videos, watch your tapes to note which segments to leave in or which to take out. Please include a brief description of each segment to be included or removed, and its approximate location on your tape.

To determine how long your finished production will be, use these guidelines:

  • In a Photo Movie, with panning and zooming, each photo stays on screen for about 10 seconds; therefore, 100 photos will run about 15 minutes.
  • In a Slide Show, each photo stays on screen for about 5 seconds; 200 photos will run 15 minutes.*
  • For a Video Movie or Combination package, add up the minutes of your various video segments.
  • A finished production up to two hours long will fit on one DVD (or one high-quality VHS tape).

* Please note: If this will be a Slide Show, any title or caption will go on a separate slide. Chapters are only relevant if you have multiple Slide Shows on one DVD. Also, Slide Shows are not available on VHS tape.


If you're including both home video segments and photos, your photos can appear at specific points if you provide very clear instructions; otherwise, they will be placed before or after your video segments.

Choosing and numbering your photos and other flat artwork:
Note: If you can provide high-resolution (300 dpi) photos on CD-ROM, you'll get a big discount! See our price list.

  • The goal is to ensure that your photos and mementos will appear in the order you desire.
  • If they are already well organized in albums and scrapbooks, there's no need to remove them. Your movie can easily follow the same order. You can also use sticky notes to select and reorder your choices.
  • If you have loose photos, group them by chapter and then number them sequentially. Avoid using pens, markers, or felt tips, as these can damage your photos. Sticky notes, numbered in pencil and affixed to the back of each item, work well.
  • To include a "Morph"in your production -- for example, to see a baby transform into a teenager -- choose up to four close-ups at different ages, in similar poses.
  • For any Deluxe package, choose a photo to be printed on the custom-designed outer labels, and one "Special Feature."

Music adds a lot of enjoyment:

  • Consider the types of music you'd like to include, and select it from your own music library. CDs are best because of their high quality, but cassettes and LP/45 records also work fine.
  • You can also choose from our library of instrumental music.
  • If you'd like, select specific songs and list the order in which you'd like them to be played.

Finishing up:
Note: Please see our price list for Special Features, FREE Bonus Features, and additional services.

  • If you have a wide-screen TV, we can create your DVD in wide-screen format! This can include your photos, as well as wide-screen video clips.
  • Prepare an outline sheet that includes your titles, captions, and any special instructions.
  • Select a main title for your movie, which will go on the outer label of your finished production, and at the beginning of the show. You can also have a title for each chapter, if you'd like, and unlimited captions throughout your movie.
  • Be sure to double-check the names and spellings so there will be no "typos" in your movie.

Call us at 508-881-7213 if you have questions or need help as you go along.

When you're ready, we'll set up an appointment to go over your materials and ideas with you. You can bring us your items if you're within the local area, or we'll arrange to have you ship them to us. We look forward to working with you!