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Graduation DVD

Graduation is the perfect time to create a personal DVD for your grad using photos and home videos. DVD’s can be played on your TV or computer during the graduation party and then kept as a beautiful and timeless keepsake after. Once the first DVD is created, copies are very inexpensive to create so you can keep a copy for yourself and give copies to grandparents or other close family members.

The simplest and easiest DVDs contain photos only. The photos must be digital so printed, non-digital photos must be scanned first. You can scan them yourself if you have a computer and a scanner. Just make sure you pick good quality photos and that you scan them at the highest resolution and biggest size possible. The higher the resolution, the bigger the size and the better the quality. Scanning photos yourself is labor intensive so make sure you leave yourself lots of time to do this especially if you have a lot of photos.

When you save your scanned photos to your computer save them in a special folder (or folders) so you know where to find them and give them descriptive names. Include the date the photo was taken in yyyy-mm-dd format at the beginning of the file name (an example of a filename would be “1993-05-17 Johns 1st birthday”). This will allow you to sort them by date later if you want to.

If you don’t have a scanner or if you don’t have the time or patience to manually scan the photos yourself check with your local photo processing store or camera retailer to see if they offer this service. Stores like Best Buy or online photo processors usually have photo scanning services.

Personalized DVDs can also include clips from home movies. These must be in a digital format as well. So if you have movies on VHS or something older you will need to get them copied to DVD. You can do this yourself on your home computer if you have the proper software and hardware (go to Best Buy and talk to them about what you need) or look for a professional service to do it for you. 

Some Internet companies like  iMemories offer a range of photo scanning, video conversion or DVD creation services you can choose from. Through iMemories you can have your photos scanned to a digital format, you can have your home movies copied to DVD, and you can create your own personalized DVD using your photos and/or home movies.

iMemories - Preserve Your Memories on DVD

There are other businesses (some may be in or near your town or city) that will take your photos and videos and work with you hand in hand to create a personalized DVD for you. Look in your yellow pages under “DVD Biography” or check out advertisers on GraduationParty.com’s website for DVD Biography providers in your area. 

If you use a professional service (either locally or over the Internet) make sure they are reputable, especially if you plan to send them photos for scanning. Make sure they have a process in place for tracking your photos and getting them back to you safely. If you are using an Internet service one option would be to have all your photos scanned locally so you can send the Internet company a CD (or CDs) of your photos. Keep a backup copy for yourself. Then if the CD(s) are lost or misplaced you have an extra copy.

Instead of using a professional service another option is to create the DVD yourself on your home computer. Once again you must have all your photos (and home movies if you’re using these) in digital form.  

To create the DVD yourself you will need a computer with a DVD burner and DVD making software. For software there are a number of different options so go to your local computer software store to see what they have to offer. Make sure you bring your computer specs with you so they can help you select the right DVD making software. The “specs” include your brand of computer (eg: Gateway, HP, Sony, MAC, etc), your computer’s operating system and the version it is running (eg: Windows XT 2002, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, etc), the amount of memory your computer has, etc. Macs usually have DVD making software already installed.

Each DVD making software product has its own features and level of difficulty and prices vary widely. So consider your skill level and budget before buying something. If installing new software and using new computer programs is not your thing then recruit your grad or a friend to do it.

Most DVDs include background music you select yourself. Use graduation inspired songs or your grad’s favorite songs. If you use a professional service they may need you to provide an original version of the song – on a purchased CD or a purchased download from a reputable company like iTunes. Examples of graduation-themed songs can be found at  www.graduationparty.com/graduation-party-toasts.htm.

The following DVD was created on a home computer using Microsoft’s Photo Story software with Sonic DVD Plug-In. Photo Story 3 can be downloaded for free from Microsoft’s website if you have a “genuine” version of Windows (click here for details). The Sonic DVD Plug-In is required if you want to burn a DVD to play on your TV and can be purchased from Microsoft’s website for approximately $20. You don’t need the Sonic DVD Plug-In if you want to play your photo story on your computer.

2 comments to Graduation DVD

  • Eftikasa

    i enjoyed this topic

    and wateched the you tube video



  • newdvdcreations

    Great post, this is a topic near and dear to me. I have been making personalized DVD’s for friends and family for about 10 years now. This is a really great idea for a graduation and many other occasions as well. I have decided to try and monetize my hobby since becoming disabled. The disc’s I make are just as good and just as professional looking as those made from those “reputable” companies you mention in the post. I hope that people who read your post will not avoid people like me trying to get started in this type of business because I am not yet “reputable”. I certainly understand the concerns, but I am really an honest and decent person just trying to find a way to survive some very difficult times.

    Bottom line, great post, and really nice blog you have. I will tell some of my friends about your blog when they have graduation parties to start planning. At my age, that is a good number of people.

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