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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

DVD Slide Show (aka. video or photo montages) by Shoebox Memories for special events


What's the difference between a DVD slide show and a Photo Montage?

Others may have a different take on this, but from our perspective... they are simply two different terms for the same thing. We use them interchangeably.

When would you show off this DVD slide show?

That's really a personal decision and it depends on the particulars of your situation. For illustration purposes, consider a wedding event... Some customers elect to show it to family and friends at the rehearsal dinner. Others choose to show it at the reception during dinner or during the cocktail hour. Some just want to have it running continuously off to the side of the main event as a "decoration."

Can't I just make my own DVD slide show?

Sure you can. If you have the time and expertise to do so, or simply enjoy that sort of technical/artistic work, of course you can. However, we have years of experience and have completed literally hundreds of slide shows for customers big and small. We know what works and what doesn't, and we want to help you avoid any problems.

Secondly, there may be time concerns with doing it yourself. Scanning photos and learning the software to do all that we do may not require a Ph.D., but it will certainly require MANY HOURS of effort. We can help off-load that task from your to-do list and you can concentrate on other things... like getting married, planning your event, or simply life in general.

Why not just create a DVD slide show in PowerPoint?

Many people choose to build their own slide show in PowerPoint, but we don't think that's a very wise decision. For one thing, in order to view your slide show again you'll need to use a computer and the PowerPoint application. That can be very limiting. Secondly, the DVD format is highly universal and portable... meaning that years from now if you want to look at your slide show to reminisce, you'll need nothing more than a DVD player and a TV.

How long is the DVD slide show?

It's entirely up to you and how many pictures you choose to share. Typically our customers include about 100 photos (roughly 8-11 minutes). Some customers prefer a shorter slideshow and only use about 50 photos (roughly 3-6 minutes). The longest slideshow we've ever done included over 600 photos and lasted over 45 minutes! However keep in mind that if the slideshow is too long it might begin to irritate the audience (depending on the situation). We are of course completely flexible to your requests, and every situation is unique.

6 seconds per photo is too long, can we go faster?

Absolutely! If you have lots of photos, going thru the photos too fast is not a good thing, and can be distracting if done poorly. The speed of the music should be relatively similar to the speed of the photos. For example, you should not play slow music and flip the photos quickly - or visa versa. We generally do not recommend less than 3 or 4 seconds per photo. Remember, part of that time includes a transition to the next photo - and that takes a bit of time too.

How many photos can be in the DVD slide show?

The technology permits us to put hundreds of photos on a DVD without any problems. One client had us put together a slideshow of over 400 photos and there was plenty of room to spare. It's entirely up to you how many pictures. However, a typical wedding slide show viewed by guests at a reception is less than 10 minutes (approx 50-100 photos).

What kind of photos can you work with?

We can work with photographic prints up to 8"x10" in size (3x5, 4x6, 5x7 are all just fine). Paper prints must first be scanned, and you can save some money by scanning these photos yourself (if you have a scanner). Digital photos from your digital camera or from a CD-ROM are also acceptable, and there is no need to scan digital photos.

How much photo enhancement do we do? Can we take red-eye out?

The short answer is yes, we can take red-eye out. Generally red-eye distracts from the slideshow, so we do our best to minimize/eliminate it's impact. We also usually adjust contrast, brightness and do some automated clean up of photos which require a little help.

However, we are not claiming to be, nor are we aiming to be, photo restoration experts. We do however want your slideshow to look its best, so we do a little tuning of the photos.

What transitions between photos are used?

Through our experiences, we have found that the best DVD slide shows are the simplest. We typically fade from one photo to the next in the slide show because we feel it is the most elegant transition and honestly, it looks the best. However if you have a special request we can certainly try to work with you to meet your needs.
Can you zoom in on certain photos or pan across a wide panoramic photo? (the Ken Burns Effect)
Yes! We highly recommend our pan, scan, zoom capabilities for your slide shows. The movement of the photo adds considerably more visual appeal to the slide show without detracting from the photos. In fact, they often enhance the photos. While it is entirely up to you, we generally recommend that all photos add this "pan-scan-zoom" feature - it does not add substantially to the cost and is well worth it in our opinion. Our Platinum and Diamond packages include pan, scan, zoom effects in them at no additional charge; our Silver and Gold packages do not include this ability, but you can add that option for a nominal amount per photo.

Can background music be included?

Yes, but you must provide us with the music on CD you wish to include. Shoebox Memories can not provide you with the music. There is no limit to the number of songs we can include, and there is no additional charge for this (ie, we don't charge you "per song" like some others will). Alternatively, we have a limited selection of royalty-free music if you'd prefer to use that instead.
What background music would you recommend?
We have several dvd slide show song suggestions for you... We are constantly compiling a list of music that has worked well for our customers. We don't list every song ever included in an order, just the ones we feel work exceptionally well. The list can be found in our Advice section by clicking here.

How much music should we include? Lots of small clips of songs or just a few songs in their entirety?

It's entirely up to you. Keep in mind that music sets the tone of the slideshow. If you have lots of different kinds of songs and frequently switch between songs, that can get annoying.

We generally recommend trying to use at least a minute of each song if at all possible. Entire songs are fine too. If there are certain songs you definitely would like to have played in their entirety, please make a note of that on your order form.

Can short video clips be included with the slide show?

Yes, you can add one or several short video clips to the DVD slide show. Just include your video clip or tape and fill out the section of the order form for this. If you are submitting a tape or DVD, it must first be converted to a digital file format we can work with (MPG, AVI, MOV, QT or DV). If you are submitting a tape or DVD, the video is not yet in this format and must first be converted. You can do this yourself or we can do this for you at a nominal fee.

I'm having you scan the photos for my order, will I get those scanned photos as JPG files?

Yes, for no additional charge we generally include the JPG files we use for the slideshow on the DVD we create for you. If you put the DVD in a computer with a DVD drive and browse the files (rather than play the DVD) you will find them in a directory.  The path to the JPG files is going to be something similar to:

(where D:\ is the drive letter of your DVD drive)

Please note, that this directory is an approximation... Depending on the specific tools we used to create your DVD it may vary slightly. Keep an eye out for a directory called "Storage" or "Photos" and you should find them there.

If you'd prefer, we can also arrange to put your photos on a USB drive. You can provide one to us, or we can purchase one on your behalf. Be sure to make this request in the "Notes" section of the order form. Contact us with any questions.

Can the slideshow be played on a computer/laptop?

Yes. Shoebox Memories provides you with a DVD which can be played in both a standalone DVD player (like what you might find in a home theater system) as well as a computer's. So if your computer/laptop has a DVD drive, it should play your wedding slideshow. NOTE: Our DVDs will play in virtually all DVD players. Please click here to check your DVD player.

How much time does Shoebox Memories need to prepare the slideshow?

Standard turnaround time is approximately 4-6 weeks, and turnaround is done on a best-effort basis only... meaning a specific turnaround is not guaranteed. If you need the order completed faster, or in a specified turnaround time we may be able to help with a Rush order... but will be subject to availability.

Please note, that during the holiday season (Oct - Dec) we may require more time than normal, and it's strongly recommended to check with us to get an estimate of completion time. Very large orders (>200 photos) may also require additional time. Please ask if you have specific timeline requirements.

While specific requests will vary, it is generally not possible for us to turn around a slideshow order in less than 1 week. ...But it never hurts to ask.

How much will this DVD slide show cost?

Complete pricing information is available on our website, just click here. If you would like us to provide a free quote or have any additional questions, please contact us.

Do I have to get the Diamond Package if I have 200 photos? It offers more than I need.

No. To us, the higher end packages are just guidelines. You can start with either the Silver or Gold package and add on the specific features you want... effectively customizing a package just for you.

None of the packages match the number of photos I have? Is that a problem? What now?

Our two base packages - Silver and Gold both include up to 50 photos. Think of that as a minimum. In other words, if you only have 35 photos to include, we still charge the full base package amount.

However, beyond 50 photos... everything is a la carte. So if you have 65 photos, you would start with a base package (Silver or Gold) and add an extra 15 photos to your project cost.

You are also not limited to only 200 photos (because the Diamond package only includes 200 photos). Again, additional photos are a la carte. You don't even have to use the Diamond package. You could start with the Silver or Gold and add on photos well beyond 200 if you wish.

Can I get additional copies of the DVD?

Yes. Each additional copy is an exact duplicate of the original and includes the same customized DVD case and label. Copies can be ordered when placing the initial order, or within 3 months after the order. The cost of additional copies starts at $20 per copy and is reduced depending on the number of copies ordered. For very large orders, prices can be substantially lower.

I would like to let others (friends/family members) order their own copies of the DVD, and ship it directly to their home. Is this possible?

Yes. If desired, we can set up a special webpage which you can point your friends and family members to. From that page, they can place an order for a copy of your DVD, pay online with a credit card/PayPal and have a copy sent directly to their home. Let us know if you are interested in this free service. The per-copy pricing will vary depending on the specifics of your slideshow order, but is very reasonable. Please also be aware that we keep backups of your order for 3 months, so additional copies must be ordered during these 3 months unless special arrangements are made.

How do I fill out the Pricing Worksheet on the order form?

You don't actually need to complete the pricing worksheet to submit an order. The worksheet is provided to help you give yourself an estimate and a better understanding of the costs involved. If you have questions, contact us and we'll be happy to help you complete the form or provide a quote.

I have a special request for my slideshow. Will you work with me on this?

Absolutely! We strive to meet every request of our customers and want you to be completely satisfied. Our willingness to "bend" and fully customize the slide show for you is what makes working with Shoebox Memories more than just a "business-to-customer" relationship; we prefer to think of you as a new friend we plan to have for years.