A memorial video is a special way to honor a loved one who recently passed away. It’s a digital collection of images and video clips that celebrate the life of someone who has died. Often, loved ones will play this video at the funeral or memorial service as a special tribute. The video can also serve as a keepsake that friends and family will treasure for years to come. 

If you’re creating a memorial video for the first time, you might have some questions, such as how do you make a good tribute? And what should a memorial slideshow include? Here are 10 simple tips to help you make a thoughtful video tribute. 

Creating a meaningful memorial video tribute: how-to guide

If you’re wondering how to make a memorial video, the good news is that you have a lot of free rein. There are so many different memorial video ideas and approaches you can take to make a meaningful tribute that reflects the life of your special loved one. 

With that in mind, here’s a handy list of tips to help you design a memorable video to share with your loved ones. 

  1. Pick a tool to use 

Before you begin gathering content or designing your funeral video, it helps to select which program or tool you’ll use to create it. 

If you’re looking for free video-making software, research editing tools like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker that might already be on your computer. You can also look into free video-editing apps on your smartphone, such as Splice, Adobe Premiere Rush, and PicPlayPost. In addition, many subscription-based video-editing apps provide more advanced features if you don’t mind paying a small fee. 

Slideshows are another route you can take when making your memorial video. Check out options like PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides. 

Also, when deciding on the tool, make sure that the location where you plan to play the video can accommodate the format you choose. For instance, the funeral home may only support slideshows, while the church only streams videos. 

  1. Ask others to contribute 

Just because you’ve taken on the responsibility of creating a memorial video doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone. In fact, you might be surprised how eager your loved ones are to contribute. 

Maybe your sister is a whiz at creating slideshows, or your best friend has a collection of photos from your annual ski trips. Give your friends and relatives the opportunity to help create this special tribute. 

  1. Choose your images and video clips 

What should a memorial slideshow include? Tribute videos typically showcase images and video clips of the one who passed away. 

Start gathering the content you’d like to include in the video, and don’t worry about selecting too many — you can always pare down your choices later. 

When searching for images and videos of your loved one, you can include a wide range of content, such as photos and videos of:

  • Childhood memories
  • Close friends and family
  • Education or career accomplishments 
  • Candid moments
  • Vacations
  • Celebrations

Take your time looking through your own photos, family albums, and even social media. Don’t forget to ask close family and friends to contribute their favorite photos as well. 

  1. Think about anything special you’d like to highlight 

Was your dad an avid baseball player? Or was your daughter passionate about volunteering? If so, dedicate a portion of the film highlighting their accomplishments. 

You could add images of them doing what they loved and certificates or awards they earned. This is just one of the many ways you can memorialize their life and achievements in your slideshow. 

  1. Decide what you’d like to say 

You’re probably wondering, what do you say in a memorial video? Well, it all depends. You can include a written memorial tribute in the slideshow, or you can ask your loved ones to record clips of themselves sharing their messages. 

There aren’t any rules around what you say in your video. In fact, you don’t have to say anything at all! If you’d prefer the images and music to speak for themselves, that’s perfectly acceptable. 

  1. Consider including quotes 

Adding in personal quotes or inspirational messaging is another thoughtful memorial video idea. For instance, perhaps your uncle was known for his silly catchphrase he used to cheer everyone up. Or maybe your grandmother always quoted a special line from her favorite book. 

From song lyrics to quotes about saying goodbye, there are all kinds of special messages you could include in your video. 

  1. Create a soundtrack 

The background music is important to consider because it sets the tone for the tribute. What kind of music best suits your memorial video? 

You could choose a peaceful and somber tune or select a song that has significance. For instance, if your brother was in a band, you could play one of his original songs as the soundtrack. Or, if your aunt had a favorite song, selecting that one might be a nice touch.

Read more: Best songs for memorial services and funerals

  1. Design your content

When it comes to the way you design your content, there are countless memorial video ideas. 

You could organize your images in chronological order, starting with childhood photos, or arrange them at random. If you have both video clips and images, you could start with one then share the other, or disperse them equally throughout. As for your quotes, you might add them over the images, or you can use them as transitions. 

Remember, there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, so simply experiment by rearranging your content until it feels right. 

  1. Keep an eye on the time

While you might want to include every single image and video clip, be conscious of the length of your video. 

We suggest keeping it under 10 minutes long. If your video is creeping over that time limit, try removing a few images or speeding up your transitions.

  1. Share your creation 

Once you’ve finalized and saved your memorial video, it’s time to share it with your loved ones. Speak with those making the funeral arrangements to determine the best time and place to play your tribute. You may decide that you’d like to show it during the funeral, at the memorial service, or later during the celebration of life. Alternatively, you could have a private viewing at a later date or preview it online during a video call with your close friends and family members. 

If you want to share it during the service, make sure to find out any size requirements and how they prefer to receive it; typically the venue will want you to bring it to the service on a flash drive or DVD. To share with family and friends, you could upload to Vimeo and email or post the link on social media. Or, you can share it over Google Drive or Dropbox.

How do you make a good tribute?

Just remember the key to making a great memorial video — follow your heart and create meaningful content that reflects the life of your loved one. No matter what approach you take, your video is sure to be a special tribute that your friends and family will love.