Planning Your Montage


It takes 2 to 3 weeks to produce your video so please plan accordingly.  All photos, captions, video clips and music must be submitted within this time. This guide will give you instructions to prepare your montage and to get you organized as well as instruct you on how to submit your photos and video footage.

Having a general idea of where you are going with your video before you begin will make the rest of the planning process easier. Before rummaging through old photo albums, you must be clear on the purpose of your video.

A few questions to ask yourself:

1. About how long do you want the video to be? No more than 13 minutes is recommended.  Optimal time is 10 minutes.  This is usually 100 images at 4 seconds each.

2.Do you want your video to include photos of other people besides your family.  We recommend yes because it keeps the guests engaged.  It also makes them feel like part of the family.
3. Would you like your video to be funny, sentimental, or both?
4. Do you want your video to be in chronological order?  (By Age)
5. Are captions necessary for the audience to understand the photos?

Begin Choosing Your Photos

As you select your images, remember that you are telling a story.  The story of your childs life.  This montage will only be a few minutes so pick the images that really depict your child and how their life has unfolded.


1. Do not tape or glue photos together or to sheets of paper.
2. Do not put sticky notes on the FRONT of your photos. Put them on the BACK.
3. Do not write captions on the back of photos.
4. Do not crop photos. If the photos are scanned at 300 dpi or higher, we can use the zoom feature to
get closer.

  1. Go through all photo albums.  Your parents photo albums.  Your friends photo albums.  Their friends photo albums.  You will be amazed at the images people have that you are not aware of.
    2. Choose images of key moments in their life.  Birth, Sports, Special Occasions, or just fun moments.
  1. Put your pictures in chronological order.
  2. Choose other family images that compliment the star of the montage.  Remember to keep the
    focus on the star of the montage at all times.

DO write captions on sticky notes and attach to the BACK of your photos. If you MUST
write directly on the back of a photo, ALWAYS use a scrapbooking wax pencil as it will not bleed through the photo.

Video Duration Guide (Subtract 3 minutes for Basic & Deluxe Packages)

Opening slide is about 20 seconds.
15 photos at 4 seconds plus transition is 1 1/5 minutes long
30 photos at 4 seconds plus transition is 3 minutes long
50 photos at 4 seconds plus transition is 4 1/5 minutes long
70 photos at 4 seconds plus transition is 6 minutes long
100 photos at 4 seconds plus transition is 8 1/5 minutes long
Titles add another 30 seconds each.
Closing slide is about 20 seconds.

Number of Songs Needed
If you are dividing your video into sections and want a different song for each section, you must begin selecting your music.

We recommend 3 songs.  4 songs max.  More than that becomes confusing and your guests are not concentrating on the images, they will be concentrating on the music changes.  We find it to be very distracting.

Hints for Choosing Music

1. The music you select will set the mood of your video. If possible use both sentimental and upbeat songs so your video will inspire laughter and tears.

2. Make your video unique by including favorite songs of the person whom you are creating it for. Are there songs or artists who are especially meaningful? Do you know of lyrics that fit especially well? Or choose songs from the era.

3. If you have a special song that reminds you of your child this is where you would use it.

  1. Pick music people know and can sing or hum along.  When they know the words, they can relate the words to the image thus giving the image more meaning.

5. Go to iTunes to find music.  This is the perfect place to find and hear any song.

6. DO NOT pick obvious music.  Example, “How sweet it is by James Taylor”.  These songs are used in every montage and will take away the uniqueness of your montage.




  1. If you are using videos in your montage, make sure they are good quality.  These are being played

on a larger screen and the quality definitely matters.

  1. If your videos are on a video camera and cannot get them off, we can help you.  We have the

necessary equipment to assist in this process.  Simply inform us of your needs and we will make

an appointment for you to bring your camera in for the extraction of the video.

3. Make sure they are fun clips.

  1. Make sure they focus on the triumphs of the star.  Sports Moments, Good Deeds, Accomplishments.


Adding captions to your video is a great way to make it entertaining and help the audience follow the story being told. You should include no more than 6 words per caption.

To Add Captions to Your Video:

1. Include a Word document or send an email with the photo numbers next to the caption. For example: Picture #005 - Joe proposed at the lighted fountain.

2. Do not write captions on the back of photos or in the filename of digital images - all captions must be submitted together in a Word document or by email.

3. Unless you're using an important quote or poem, keep your captions short and sweet! Six (6) words or less works best.

4. We recommend a sentimental quote to start a new section or at the end of your video. If you need ideas, we can provide suggestions.


You have two options for submitting your photos:

1. You can send your physical photos to us to be scanned ($.50 per photo); or

2. You may scan your own photos or have them scanned at a local photo lab.

If You Are Sending Photos to Us to be Scanned:

  1. Number each photo in the order you would like it to appear. (Place a numbered sticky note on the

BACK of each picture or write the number on the back of the photo with a wax pencil found scrapbooking supplies.) Do not rely on placing the photos in the correct order in the package as they may shift during shipment.

Do not put sticky notes on the front of your photos - as the sticky residue willdamage the photos. Do not tape your photos onto sheets of paper.

2. Place your photos into Zip-lock bags labeled by their section/song.

3. Your photos will be returned to you when your video is shipped.


  1. Do not rely on placing the photos in the correct order in the package as they may shift during shipment.

2. Do not tape or glue photos together or to sheets of paper.

  1. Do not put sticky notes on the FRONT of your photos - as they will be damaged by the sticky residue.

4. Do not write captions on the back of photos. Use sticky notes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is very important that your photos be numbered and well organized.  Photo sorting can be extremely difficult and time consuming thus raising the cost of the finished project.

If You Are Scanning Your Photos:

  1. Thoroughly clean the scanner with a dry T-shirt or micro fiber cloth every 5 scans. If the scanner is

not cleaned, dust particles and fingerprint smudges will be scanned with the photos. This is especially crucial when using a public scanner at a local photo lab.

  1. Scan each photo and save it in JPG format. Save each picture with a 3-digit number indicating the

order that you would like it to appear in the video (e.g. 001.jpg, 002.jpg). Begin numbering with 00 so the computer will sort the photo in the proper order.

  1. If you want certain photos associated with a particular song, save your digitized photos for each section/song in a separate folder. Number each folder in the correct order for the video.
  1. Important: Set the scanning resolution between 300 – 600 DPI (4X6 or larger at 300 DPI and

photos smaller than 4X6 at 600 DPI). Photos scanned at a low resolution may appear blurry or "digitized" on your computer screen. Before sending your scanned photo files, carefully examine each one at full screen. If the photos are distorted (if they do not look exactly like the original photo), rescan them at a higher resolution. Contact us for assistance with scanning.

  1. Important: Photos that are very small should be scanned at a larger scale. If your scanner has a scale setting, increase the scale to 150%.

6. Do not crop/cut photos. We will use the zoom feature to get closer to the subjects. If You Are Submitting Digital Photos Already on Your Computer

1. Create a new folder for this project on your computer.

2. Copy (DON’T MOVE) the photos into this folder. You can delete it from your computer after your video is completed. (This will save time when you start to burn the CD or start sending through the internet. It will also serve as a reference if we need to ask you about the photos you submitted.)

  1. Once all your digital photos are in the folder, rename each picture with a 3-digit number indicating the order that you would like it to appear in the video (e.g. 001.jpg, 002.jpg). Begin numbering with 00 for the computer to sort the photo in the proper order.
  1. If you want certain photos associated with a particular song, burn your digitized photos for each section/song in a separate folder on the CD-R. Number each folder in the correct order for the video.

If You Are Sending Video Clips: Video clips must already be edited for use “as is,” otherwise, a $60/hour fee will be charged to edit video. We accept video only in these formats: avi, mov, mpeg, or wmv. If we have to convert the video to a usable format, $35/hour will be charged.

Submitting Your Photos, Music and/or Video Clips

1. Priority Mail or Federal Express to us a CD-R or thumb/flash drive of your images, music and/or video. Or you can submit everything via the internet.

2. To Submit Your Digital Materials Via the Internet: (Internet submission will only be accepted through this website because of its capacity and efficiency for us to download) You must request an invite from us prior sending the images or videos in order for them to go to our pre established account.

You can either zip all your photos, music and/or video clips into one file (recommended; less time consuming) or attach each one separately.

How to Zip Your Files

1. Make sure all your files (photos, music, caption list and video) are in the same folder as your digital photos. We recommend this folder have subfolders for each section, music and/or videos.

2. Using Windows XP:
a) Locate the file or folder that you want to compress.

b) Right-click the file or folder, point to Send To, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.

c) A new compressed folder is created. To rename it, right-click the folder, click Rename, and then type the new name. This folder is what you will attach in

3. Using Freeware: (recommended if WinXP compression doesn’t work)

a) We use 7zip which is a free program you can download from Software from this website (CNET) is guaranteed spyware free. Search for 7zip and follow instructions to install.

b) Click on the folder you want to zip, right click the mouse, and highlight 7zip in the drop down menu.

  1. Select “Add to” (your folder name will automatically be listed). 7zip will save

your zipped folder as the same name. The folder will look like a zipper in the middle: . This is the folder you want to

attach in filemail.

How to Use Dropbox

a. Request an invite from us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
c. Once you receive the invite, click on the link and you will be joined to your personal folder.

  1. Begin uploading your images and video to that folder.

e. Send us an email informing us the upload has completed.

Once we receive the images, we will begin work on your montage.  When the montage is complete, we will upload a low res version of the montage for your approval.

Once we have received your approval, we will produce the Hi Res version and mail it out or present it to you at your event.

Mail Your Photos, CDs and Caption List to:

Use UPS or FedEx only.  We are not responsible for any images lost so please send through a source that can be tracked.

The UPS Store.

Att: Pure Energy Entertainment

300 Andover St PMB 333

Peabody, Ma.  01960

Important! Pure Energy cannot accept liability for any images or videos sent.  If you require security, please have copies of all images sent to us and keep your originals.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call Chris Connor at 978 646 9226.

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