You’ve seen one Mitzvah montage, you’ve seen ’em all, right? NO WAY, say the pros. We asked three professional video montage producers to share how your kid’s vid can stand out.
Pam Vexler, Spotlight Productions
Trends: The chronological format (instead of grouping by category) is becoming hot because it’s more entertaining for guests. You never know who might show up in the next photo rather than knowing you’ll be in the family section, for example. Selfies are also popular as a contemporary way to fit in a lot of friends. We’ve shown them in “blooper” reel style at the end or highlighted them by making them look like Instagrammed shots! Of course, each montage is custom-designed, but we know many parents love movement added to still pictures. For example, we can make it look like a kid sledding in a photo is actually moving downhill. Pop culture elements are very popular, too. A Mitzvah kid singing in a video can appear to be on the TV show The Voice, or a kid’s game clip could appear to be described by sports commentators on TV. One of my signature features is a mosaic, in which montage photos are duplicated to more than 2,000 tiny photos to make up one large photo of the Mitzvah kid.
Advice for Parents: It’s important to plan ahead and identify your montage pictures early! Professionals have capacity for just a few montages at a time so that they can give dedicated attention to each one. Select your montage provider early and begin the picture selection process soon after. Even the second time around, you may think it’ll be easier, but you’ll be starting all over except for some family photos you selected the first time.
Jack Winch, DreamPost Video Productions
Trends: Concept videos are an emerging trend in montages. We’ve done some exciting ones in themes like James Bond, an MLB team and America’s Got Talent. It’s a way to bring vibrancy to the video presentation and include family members in fun ways. For example, we’ve done a concept montage with parents acting as TV broadcasters interviewing family members about the guest of honor, with siblings acting as field reporters to introduce photo sections. Another way we love to capture and keep attention during a montage is to intersperse short video clips (like 10 seconds or less) in between photos. We can even create a 3D montage that uses the landscape of a building or other element that the montage will be screened on to make a big impact!
Advice for Parents: Although it’s hard, limit yourself to about 150 photos that best tell the story of your teen’s life, family and friends. If the photo is cute but it doesn’t speak to you on an emotional level, it’s probably best to leave it out. Large group shots don’t work well on the big screen, so keep group photos to six people or less in most cases. Remember to limit the number of photos per age of the Mitzvah teen so that one section doesn’t get too lengthy. Your montage producer will find the best ways to bring the photos to life and make an emotional connection with guests!
Ella Szczupak, Blue Orchid Productions
Trends: Ideally, the montage should be between 7 1/2 to 9 minutes long; however, we’re finding most productions averaging 10-12 minutes in length. It’s hard to narrow down the pictures. We love when we can incorporate the theme of the event in to the look and feel of the montage with logos and colors. Parents get excited about our ability to same-day edit. We add clips from the morning’s service to the montage and it gets a huge reaction from guests! It’s a great way to bring the party full circle by showing the significance of the day.
Advice for Parents: While many parents are able to provide almost all images and video digitally these days, a lot of images are from smart phones. Phone pictures aren’t always good enough quality to blow up in a montage, so remember to take a real camera on vacations, to the ball games, school plays, etc. Start going through photos early, and pick the candid shots that put a smile on your face or bring back a great memory. And finally, once you’ve got your pictures selected, let your montage producer be creative and you’ll end up with an amazing keepsake.