Dad Memorial Scanfest, part 2: How we used the images

imageMy Dad’s memorial was filled with photos, dear reader. Filled with them. The memorial was a little over a week ago. Here’s what went down. Here’s what we did with the photos I scanned (as described in Part 1). (I’ll write one more post about lessons learned on a personal level)

The basic workflow of the images was: Scanning app → Photoshop where I did some basic color correction. When I scan images, I make them as big as possible, huuuuge file sizes. The scanner gave me the option of saving as TIFFs, so I did that. Before I brought them into MemoryMiner, I did a batch process in Photoshop to reduce the image size to half of what it was before, which left enough pixels for anyone who wanted to print out a high-ish resolution photo (longer dimensions average somewhere above 1200 pixels.) I changed foto format to high resolution JPEGs because I’m planning on eventually distributing the photo library, and I want it all to fit on a single DVD (capacity 4.7 GB)

I imported the half-size jpegs into MemoryMiner, and IDd the people in the photos and assigned them dates and locations. We had a large and thorough collection for my Dad (you can look at photos according to who appears in the picture). That served as the basis to create two different products—a slide show and a printed program with a full-color photo collage on the outside and inside cover of the booklet. (And yes, this was all done using Macs using basic and professional software tools, so procedures would differ on a Wintel PC, even though MemoryMiner works on a PC as well as a Mac.) 

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The slideshow

We opened up Memory Miner and iPhoto and set their windows side by side. In iPhoto, we created a new album for the Dad photos. In MemoryMiner, we clicked the checkbox next to my Dad’s name, to display the photos he was in. Select all photos, drag and drop from MemoryMiner to iPhoto. The next part was tricky, because we needed to move that iPhoto set to my brother’s Mac, so I could continue working on the computer on another project. After a couple of tests, we concluded that my brother would need to rearrange the order of the photos again (gnash!), but he was up to the task.

We had set a time limit of 10 minutes for the slideshow. The final time—12 minutes—was governed by music selections. Bro made a custom iTunes playlist with 4 music selections; it included one song that I’d digitized from vinyl for Dad. There was another song I wanted to digitize from vinyl, but time didn’t allow it. I asked my bro to get it from the iTunes store for 99¢. Bro found the transitions from song to song lacking, so my boyfriend Doc M worked in Audacity to create a special mix of the first three songs (omitting the DRMed iTunes song, which came last in the playlist) to tighten the transitions and lop off some excess to tighten the overall playtime and to fit with the slide selection. My brother did a fine job rearranging the photos to go with the music; there were some great moments there. And the slide show itself was simply wonderful, a real heart-tugger.

The Photo Collages

The second product was two sets of photo collages to be used in the printed program. I built them in Photoshop (I’m an old Photoshop hand, having first used it with version 1.7 for the birth announcement of my niece who’s now a college freshman), and imported each photo as a separate layer in Photoshop. After I got all the photos at the right size and position, I applied effects to each layer to help provide a sense of dimension from one photo juxtaposed with neighboring photos.

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But when it came to which photos to include in the collage, MemoryMiner was the place where I selected the images. I scrolled through all the images, and said, “Yes, that one.” But how did I get from looking at the image I want to opening that file in Photoshop? In MemoryMiner, you can see the image’s file name if you point your mouse over the image and wait a long moment for its file name to appear. But MemoryMiner doesn’t start displaying file names until you point to the second image. So point first to the image next to your desired image, and then to your desired image. Wait. A tooltip appears with name. Got that? Now use your computer’s Find command to find the original to open in Photoshop. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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Once I’d completed the composite, I imported the image to InDesign where I’d laid out the rest of the booklet (we printed the booklet on both fronts and backs of five sheets of legal-sized paper, which, when stapled and folded, made for a 20-page booklet. The front section was the ceremony itself, and the back section had Dad’s obituary and some additional readings and mementos). The booklet was a definite keepsake. Every copy was gone; no leftovers. In fact, we need to reproduce some more so Mom can send them to friends and relatives who weren’t able to attend.

Oh, and the idea I had of reproducing the MemoryMiner library and distributing it among all the cousins who came to Uncle Bill’s memorial? So much to do, so little time. Many who’d driven long distances took off early early early the next day. Not enough time for me to reproduce the photo library onto disk. It looks like I’ll aim for a Christmas Data DVD delivery, instead.

Stay tuned for post-Memorial thoughts about recording stories and the overall lessons of what happens when media maven producer-type is the daughter of the deceased at a family gathering. That’s a post to come.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 23, 2009 in • PersonalPhotographs
2 CommentsPermalink

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Comments

Thank you, Susan, for a wonderful website and the encouragement for all of us to keep sharing and telling their family/ancestor stories!

wink

Bill Smith  on 11/29  at  04:52 PM

Susan, you are definitely on my list.  I laughed and cried—remembering the memorial book we put together for my mother a couple of years ago.  You make all the love and caring that go into such a project look easy. Your dad—- and family—they are the lucky ones to have you making the memories so tangible.

Joan Hill  on 11/30  at  09:31 AM

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