I recently gave my Grandma an amazing gift for her 90th birthday; I took photos from throughout her life and using a combination of Google PhotoScan, PicStitch, iMovie, and iTunes, I made a slideshow featuring friends and family. It only cost me some time, but the look on my grandma’s face when we showed it to her was priceless.
Turning 90 is a feat in and of itself, but my grandma’s story is so much more than that. She was born in Poland in 1928 as the oldest of four children. My great-grandmother made sure all four of her children survived the Holocaust, and after the war, she met my grandfather in a displaced persons camp in Germany. They got married, immigrated to the United States with nothing, and started a chicken farm and a family. She raised three children, has four grandchildren and now one great-grandchild. One of her brothers is still alive and lives near her. It’s a life that anyone would be proud of, but for someone who spent their teenage years wondering if she’d live to see the next day, it’s remarkable.
So we thought a slideshow would be a nice way for her to celebrate and to show her how loved she is by immediate family, cousins, nieces, nephews, and family friends. My parents and I spent a lot of time scanning photos we had using Google PhotoScan, which is a miraculous program if you’re looking to capture clean scans of photos. It removed glare and allowed us to crop photos and get clean shots. Family and friends sent us what they had, and in cases where we had multiple photos or a montage, I used PicStitch to put together collages. Then I dropped all the photos into iMovie and began creating the slideshow.
I had forgotten how dead-easy iMovie is to use. It took no time to add the photos, I looped the Beatles “In My Life”, and we were off. The biggest snag I hit was in the lyrics, specifically “some are dead and some are living”, which somehow managed to ALWAYS fall on a dead person. Or a dead person next to a living person. Once we got past the morbid joking portion, it was fairly easy to mix up the photos and make a fun slideshow with a mix of older photos and new ones. I did all of this on my iPhone 8+, and the only time we used a computer was to load the finished product onto my dad’s MacBook because it already had an HDMI connection.
Last Sunday was her party, and we showed her the slideshow on a flat screen; she was shocked, touched, and quite emotional. She had no idea you could do that with photos, and she was amazed and shocked that we were able to digitize photos as old as ones she had of their wedding in Germany in 1947! And because even the cable box is a bit of a mystery to Grandma, I had a photo book printed of all the photos from the slideshow.
So with a few free apps and some family and friends, we were able to put together a slideshow of Grandma’s remarkable life. It’s a reminder that while smartphones can be fun, they can also be powerful tools to bring together families in all sorts of new and surprising ways!