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Make a Graduation Video

A childhood memories video makes a perfect graduation gift

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Make a Graduation Video

Film reel

Photo courtesy of Pam Roth, Stock.Xchng
Graduation isn't just about pomp and diplomas, it's a major life passage. And few things evoke that passage of time better than a video of childhood memories, from babyhood to the present. A graduation video makes a perfect gift for your now-grown child, and graduation party guests will love watching it too. Here's how to use your Apple laptop and family photo album to make one.

  • Plan It: Before you start picking out photos for a video slide show, give some thought to the end product. You may adore watching hours of footage of your child, but if the DVD will be viewed at a graduation party, you'll probably want to limit the length to 5 or 10 minutes. At 4 to 5 seconds per image - any shorter and your viewers will get queasy - you'll be using 12 to 15 images per minute. And winnowing down 18 or 21 years of photographs to less than 100 images will be a major challenge. So before you open the family album and get swept up in a blissful, emotional reverie that makes choosing impossible, figure out a rough plan: 4 or 5 photos, for example, from each year, plus an assortment of images of the child with every family member, or a list of milestones and important events or activities that you want represented. Download or scan your images onto your laptop and place them in an iPhoto album.

  • Pick Music: Give some thought to the music you'd like to hear on the soundtrack. Classical music or soft jazz is always nice, but you may prefer evocative music from a movie soundtrack, or songs such as Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," Katy Perry's "Firework" or Nickelback's "Photograph." (Or check out this list of top graduation songs for 2012 from About.com's guide to pop music.) Download your choice(s) from iTunes or a similar music sales site.

  • Scan & Download: The funny thing about these projects is that choosing the photos and music takes much, much longer than any technological video wizardry. So, you're almost done. Open iDVD and launch a new project. (Need help? Click here for an iDVD tutorial that walks you through the process.) Pick your theme, drop in the album of photos, add your music, and hit the "preview" button to see how it looks. Then insert a blank DVD and burn it - actually, burn several. Grandparents will want copies too.

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