Above: Fully customized photomontage with client-selected music and voiceover by son describing important events in his father’s life. (Note: music changed for online viewing copyright compliance)


Photomontages, also known as slide shows, are a popular service we offer at AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com. Most customers choose to memorialize a loved one by creating a video showcasing all their favorite family photos and even video clips from their home movies. Memorial photomontages can be shown at memorial services and are a great way for family and friends to reflect on happy memories while grieving and healing from the loss of a loved one.


The process of creating a memorial photomontage can be as simple or as involved as a client desires. The simplest way simply involves selecting the photos you want to use and then bringing them to us for scanning. Once scanned, we put the images into a project and add transitions, titles and music. For clients who wish to have a chronological order, the process can be more time consuming but is relatively easy to accomplish by numbering the back of the photo according to the order they would like it scanned. For clients who are able to scan or digitize their own photos, and title the image with a number denoting the desired order, we are able to offer a discount since the labor-intensive process of scanning and ordering has already been completed. We understand that planning a memorial service can be chaotic and difficult, so we have been known to make special accommodations for our customers. Working with emailed photos from family who live far away, sitting with clients who want to plan each photo appearing at a special lyric in a song, and adding special closing and opening graphics and messages are examples of the ways in which we have accommodated customers wishing to create a memorial montage unexpectedly and with time constraints. We are here and happy to help you customize and complete a memorial photomontage to commemorate the special person in your life who has passed on, to honor their memory, and to preserve their legacy.   


For samples of our memorial photomontages or to get a quote please call us at 805-377-7333. For more information about Photomontages and for Photomontage Preparation and Self-Scanning Tips please visit our website


Above: A super super simple Memorial Video slideshow.


If you are considering digitizing your home movie memories you may be wondering what is the best method for storing your new digital files. What is the difference between a flash drive and a hard drive? Which should I use for my needs?


A flash drive, also called a USB drive or thumb drive is a small, portable digital file storage device most commonly used to share or transfer files. There are numerous brands of flash drives available in various storage sizes. They are usually the size of your thumb, and most commonly come in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, all the way up to 128GB. You can find flash drives with storage above 128GB but in our experience these thumb drives are less reliable. Thumb drives are very affordable, for example you can buy a name brand 32GB flash drive from an office supply store or on amazon for around 7-15 dollars on average.


External hard drives are larger than thumb drives and also more expensive. They are portable to a degree but have several moving internal parts so there is a possibility of damaging them if they are not transported carefully. Some of our favorite hard drives are made by Western Digital-the 1TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive starts at $50+, or LaCie-the Rugged Mini 1TB External Hard Drive starts at $80+. Hard drives are able to hold more digital files and are well suited for regular use, reading and writing files. They are wonderful for storage of back up files or files you are working with, for editing as an example. USB flash drives on the other hand are not designed for writing and rewriting files repeatedly, and they are slow to work off of. Scott McMacken, blog contributor for Secure Data warns, “USB drives are not built for repetitive write cycles, so you should never edit photos, movies, sounds and other large files directly on your flash drive.” At AllYourMemoriesonDVD.com, we recommend transferring your digital files off a thumb drive and onto your computer’s internal hard drive for the best work flow if you desire to edit your own footage. It is also a good practice to copy your flash drive files to your computer for safe-keeping.


At AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com most customers request flash drives for their video transfer files. Flash drives work well because they are more affordable than hard drives and because they are a convenient portable way to share multiple video files. Flash drives are also pretty durable compared to hard drives. We have experienced issues with hard drives that were not sufficiently padded and packed when shipped to us, and a hard drive will likely break when dropped (as opposed to a flash drive that can survive being dropped and roughly handled). If a customer comes in with a very large quantity of videos, we may recommend a hard drive.


So what will work best for you? James Huenink, author of the article, “External Hard Drive vs. Flash Drive: What’s the Difference?” sums it up nicely: “The flash drive is designed for short-term storage and ease of transport. The technology that makes it inexpensive and portable makes it less reliable for constant use but perfect for transferring large files when a network isn’t feasible. Hard drives are designed to read and write files regularly, so they last longer under constant use. They are also more expensive than flash drives, but they have more capacity. Use these to store files, applications, and other tasks and items you regularly use.” Flash drives are the most cost-effective way we’ve found to accommodate the needs of a vast majority of customers. We welcome our clients to provide their own digital file storage devices if they prefer, or we have some on hand for use in your video transfer project. We will format the drive according to your specifications or with the most widely compatible format. We’re here for you and your video transfer needs – if you have any questions, give us a call at 805-377-7333.


Sources for Reference:


Huenink, James. “External Hard Drive vs. Flash Drive: What’s the Difference?” Lifewire. December 03, 2021. < https://www.lifewire.com/external-hard-drive-vs-flash-drive-5208546 >  Reviewed by Jon Fisher. May 11, 2022


McMacken, Scott. “Is a USB Flash Drive More Reliable Than a Hard Drive?” Secure Data. February 13, 2013. < https://www.securedatarecovery.com/blog/is-a-usb-flash-drive-more-reliable-than-a-hard-drive-2#:~:text=Overall%2C%20flash%20drives%20can%20be,to%20avoid%20permanent%20data%20loss> May 12, 2022

Today we thought we would share how we preserve our own family memories. Both our VHS and old 8mm film reels have been preserved using the very same methods we use for our customers. We have chosen to keep hard copies (on DVD) because we enjoy having a collection of family movies we can pull out and share on special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, family reunions, etc. It is nice to have everything in our hands rather than solely storing them with a cloud service we can’t control or on a hard drive. As a backup method, we keep our home movies on a hard drive on our computer dedicated to family movies and family photos. At the end of each year, we transfer the movies and photos to an external hard drive for storage.


Cell phone videos and photos we upload to our computer using iphoto after each family trip or special outing. iphoto has cloud-based capabilities in addition to saving copies of photos on the selected drive in our computer. As our backup, we create beautiful photobooks annually of our “year in review” using companies like Mixbook who keep copies of your projects on their servers for future orders.


As you can see, our preservation method includes the initial digitizing of our family memories (the same process we use for our customers), backups (hard copies and digital files stored on our computers), and back-ups of our back-ups (hard drives for archives or photobooks with cloud storage for our family photos). We hope this article has helped you decide how you would like to back up your own family memories. If you need help preserving your memories on DVD or as digital files, please reach out to us at 805-377-7333. We’re here for you.

According to Wikipedia, “The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage format invented and developed in 1995 and released in late 1996.” DVDs can be used to play media on DVD players, or to simply hold large data files that don’t fit on a CD. DVDs are a widely popular format for sharing and viewing digital media.


Wikipedia describes Blu-ray discs (BD) as “a digital optical disc storage format. It is designed to supersede the DVD format, and capable of storing several hours of high-definition video (HDTV 720p and 1080p). The main application of Blu-ray is as a medium for video material such as feature films and for the physical distribution of video games for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.”  


In an article titled “Are DVDs Dying Out? Will The DVD Disc Become Obsolete?” by Tech Geek Base, Blu-rays are described as “not really a good replacement” for DVDs because, “the Blu-ray disc variety is so confusing (and often incompatible) for the consumer.” Blu-ray discs are also more expensive than DVDs and require the purchase of a blue-ray disc player.


Streaming video services are the main competition for DVD videos. Tech Geek base describes the popularity and convenience of the streaming services: “You don’t put a disc in a player, you simply select the streaming service of choice and immediately start watching.” The drawback of the streaming services is that you don’t own the movies, you are “renting” them through your monthly subscription to the streaming service. Teck Geek Base also points out “every streaming service will have its own exclusive shows and movies to choose from, so users are forced to have multiple subscriptions. Capitalism at its finest.”


Linnea, a commenter on the Teck Geek Base article shared her reasons for sticking with DVDs: “The problem with streaming services is that they might not have the movie/show you want to see available at any given time. Yes, you can buy a digital copy, but the company can take it back without issuing you a refund.

About 5 years ago, I purchased digital copies of all 13 seasons of King of the Hill from Amazon. About a year later, I noticed that Season 11 had become “unavailable.” I called Amazon and they told me that Season 11 had become unavailable due to a “licensing issue.” Apparently when you buy digital copies, you aren’t guaranteed to own them forever. They can be made unavailable due to licensing issues and you’re out of luck: you paid to own it, but it can be taken back at any time, no refunds. Basically digital copies are just rentals of indefinite length. You don’t really own what you bought.

I’ve had people tell me, “Well, this is why you need to download your digital copies and save them to a flash drive.” That doesn’t really work. If you try to download a digital copy of a movie, it downloads into two dozen separate files that won’t play on a video player. Maybe a tech-savvy person could figure out how to make a downloaded digital copy play, but I am not that person. Besides, if I have to download it to a flash drive – a physical piece of hardware – then I might as well just buy a physical copy. What’s the point of a digital copy if it still has to take up physical space in your home? I personally would rather have a DVD collection than a flash drive collection.

So now I buy DVDs again (thinking of upgrading and buying a Blu-ray player too, but that’s a different story). Yeah, DVDs take up physical space, but at least when I buy a physical copy, I *know* it’s mine forever.”


At AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com, we are of the opinion that DVDs are not on the way out- especially for our particular service of digitizing and preserving home movies. Reason one: you don’t need Blu-ray because the original home movie memory was captured in standard definition. In other words, you can’t make your material high definition by saving it on a disc that is capable of holding high definition footage-you will simply be paying more for the disc for no reason. Another reason we believe DVDs are not on the way out is because a majority of our customers ask for DVDs- they are in demand. We have seen an increase in the number of customers requesting flash drives or hard drives because they either want to edit the material themselves on their computer or because their laptops do not contain DVD drives. It is often a matter of preference when it comes to the format you wish to store you home movie memories on: DVD or drive, but DVDs are here to stay!


Sources we consulted to write this article:







Family history videos, biography videos, or even autobiography videos do not have to be complicated to make or record.


Interviews with mom and dad or interviews with your grandparents make wonderful videos for sharing with family. They are especially meaningful for preserving family history and sharing with generations to come. Family history videos, biography videos, or even autobiography videos do not have to be complicated to make or record. You can simply set up a smart phone on a tripod, have a list of prepared questions to ask, make sure your family member is comfortably seated within the frame of your camera, and hit record.

The best advice we can offer for a professional looking product is:

1) make sure there is good lighting,

2) your subject is close enough to the microphone to be heard clearly(do a quick test by recording a snippet and play it back to check sound quality), and

3) be mindful of the background image and noises (place something meaningful within the video frame-family photos on the wall, grandma’s piano, mom’s garden, etc. and make sure you are filming in an area that is quiet and free from distractions).

If all the filming and recording is not something you want to attempt yourself, we can record your loved one with our professional cameras, lighting, and audio equipment. We can also edit your recorded material, whether you decide to film it yourself or if you hire us to film and edit the project. We are happy to help you realize your vision for your family history video project.



Interviews with mom and dad or interviews with your grandparents make wonderful videos for sharing with family. They are especially meaningful for preserving family history and sharing with generations to come. Family history videos, biography videos, or even autobiography videos do not have to be complicated to make or record. You can simply set up a smart phone on a tripod, have a list of prepared questions to ask, make sure your family member is comfortably seated within the frame of your camera, and hit record.


Some extras you might want to consider adding to your video are:

        • family photos to illustrate the people and places your loved one is speaking about
        • titles, a dedication screen, or illustrations of family trees
        • include mementos, special objects, or heirlooms for your family member to speak about
        • include a reflection section for your loved one to share about life lessons they want to pass on, messages they want to share with future family members, and what they hope others will remember about them
        • include a section about the culture and history of their lifetime (for example: notable inventions, historical events that may have affected their life, pop culture including entertainment, radio/television programs, music, price of common items, etc)

For more information please visit our “Family History Video” page. You can watch a video of a sample autobiography video shoot by visiting this link: https://vimeo.com/55584937


We have included videos below of a community seminar where we had guest speakers from AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com share about home video preservation and family history video creation tips. Enjoy and let us know what you think!






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At AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com we get asked this question a lot! And our answer is: it depends on your needs.


DVDs are for me!

Are you interested in getting rid of your bulky VHS or 8mm film collection but still want to watch your family videos all the way through? A DVD might be the best option for you.  As long as you have a DVD player or a disk drive you will be able to play our DVDs. For a lot of older customers, we find a DVD works best especially if they are not comfortable with newer technology or they don’t want to fuss with computers, compatibility issues, or software. Also DVDs are easy to mail and share with friends and family.

We find that we tend to watch family memories on DVD more often than files we have saved as backups on an archived hard drive. Another bit of advice: if you decide to preserve your memories on DVD it is a good idea to have an extra copy made in case your first copy gets scratched, lost, or otherwise damaged. Keep your extra copy in a safe and separate location for fire, flood, etc.



There are a few good reasons to select the option of transferring your home movie memories to a hard drive or flash drive.


1) If you would like to edit your videos yourself you will want to get a flash drive. That way you can easily place the digital file into your editing program. It is best to have an editing program in mind before requesting a digital transfer to flash drive or hard drive because the editing program may only work with a certain kind of file. To save time and money, you can specify the file type you would like to receive when you drop off your videos for transfer.


2) If you would like to upload your video to YouTube or other video hosting site, or you would like to email your video file, a flash drive is a good option for you. Just keep in mind it can take a while to load large video files as attachments in email, and many video hosting sites (or free file sharing programs like DropBox) have weekly file size limits. If you have lots of videos to share you may want to consider ordering extra flash drives to mail to relatives and friends.


3) Hard drives are portable, easier to copy than DVDs, and pretty easy to use. Their size makes them a great space saver, and you can usually plug them into any computer with a USB port to access to your files(as long as the hard drive is formatted for the type of device: PC/Mac/or both). With a hard drive or a flash drive you can plug it into your computer, open it, and drag and drop your file onto the desktop (or desired internal drive, folder, etc.) and you will have made a copy of the file. Hard drives are pretty easy to use: you plug it in to your computer, double click the drive to open it, and select the file you want to view (as long as you have a video player installed on your computer your video file should start to play).


There is a third option, and it is one that we use for our own family memories: transfer to DVD and hard drive. We like to have back ups of our family memories so we archive our digital videos each year on a hard drive. We also keep DVDs on hand for sharing memories at special occasions or for watching when movie time comes and we feel a bit nostalgic. If you are anything like us you may like to keep a backup of your backup for your most precious memories in a separate location or in a cloud file storage system. 


AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com was invited to speak to the community about preserving home movie memories. In this segment, we answer questions about the different options for digitizing and storing your family videos including: DVD, Data DVD, Thumb drive, hard drives, and cloud storage.