I recently had a married couple (full disclosure: MY parents) approach me with the idea of creating a video for their 50th Wedding Anniversary using old printed photos that they have had in memory books for decades…5 decades! They wanted a short retrospective of sorts. And there were a lot of photos to go through.
It was a lot of fun walking down memory lane while perusing through so many images. How to cover the last 50 years in pictures? They have traveled widely, had two children, have two grandchildren…it’s been a full 50 years.
So we came up with the idea of starting the video at the beginning and an image of my mother’s parents, then starting on my parent’s actual wedding day.
My main concern in creating what ended up being an 8 minute long video was how to not get stuck in what most slideshow style retrospectives suffer from…they are boring as dirt to view. Sure the images themselves can conjure up memories and those are enjoyable, but whenever I think of slideshows I have seen at weddings or memorials they all really look the same in terms of photo orientation and so forth.
I feel like there is life in the photo that gets flattened. What is it like to hold a photo in your hands, vs looking at a flat 2D image on a screen?
With motion graphics we have created a way to give a sense of motion to a still image…so I first thought of just scanning in the images in a scanner and then working with them that way. Then I began comparing clarity of scans vs. camera capturing the images (taking pictures of the old pictures with a high quality camera). As I began to snap pictures, foregoing the lengthy and mixed results that can come with scanning, I bemoaned how un-alive the photos were going to look. They just looked better while held in a real person’s hand…like someone was just about to hand you the pic…like we used to before the digital age!
So, I turned my Nikon’s video mode on and just started filming as I went through the sequence of photos. I realized quickly that I was essentially doing what motion graphics are designed to do, but with actual motion instead of pretend motion. I like the feeling of seeing that a photo was and can be a handheld and intimate piece of time. And as always, there is a quality to printed photos that digital imagery will never be able to replicate. There is a warmth and precision there that feels alive.
I would LOVE to do more retrospectives from actual printed stills if anyone ever has a need for it. Anywhoo…here is the quick sample below.