REGIONAL — “No job is too small” said a local woman who is in the business of preserving, one might say even enhancing, faded memories through the wonders of modern technology.
“I believe what we do is called the ‘Ken Burns effect,'” said Wendy Drennan of her company, Simplyremembered.com, “because Burns was the one who actually came up with the idea of the manipulation of photographs.”
Burns, as some will recall, was the documentarian responsible for such hit series on PBS television as “The Civil War” and “Baseball,” both of which relied heavily on contemporary photographs to tell their stories.
Drennan, who began her home-based business nearly four years ago, three years before moving to Lunenburg last September, specializes in assembling family photographs, digitally improving their quality, and transferring them to DVD along with music and other special effects.
“I started doing it for family and friends,” said Drennan. “I got into it after I bought a scanner and other equipment and did my brother’s 25th wedding anniversary. I’ve always been an amateur photographer and have been in computers for about 10 years. I guess I’m sort of a techie. I have no background in graphic design, though. It kind of came naturally, I guess.”
Although Drennan’s specialty is DVD-based photo montages, Simplyremembered.com also prepares photograph-based video presentations and slide shows for different events such as anniversaries, weddings, showers, retirement parties and sporting events.
“Our primary product is video slide shows,” Drennan said. “We also do a lot of birthday milestones, funeral tributes and even pet memorials.”
For anyone wishing to avail themselves of Drennan’s services, the process is simple.
“For example, a person may call us up and say that they are planning their mother’s 80th birthday party,” said Drennan. “After accepting the job, they’ll send out pictures that we can scan and put into the order that they want them in. After that, we’ll ask the customer if they have a musical selection that they want and if they have a particular piece of music in mind, we’ll put it in. For customers who don’t have anything in mind, we have a royalty-free music library that they can select pieces from. After we’ve got the pictures and music pretty much matched together, we’ll put up a preview on our Web site so that the customer can take a look at it. Sometimes they’ll suggest some changes and when it’s all finished, we burn it off on a DVD-ROM. The completed product has a menu and everything. It’s all very nicely done.”
Drennan said that the DVD disc itself can be embossed with a photo or illustration and placed in a slip case that can also be illustrated in some way.
“We generally ask customers to number and order their photographs, but then everybody is different,” said Drennan. “Some people want you to do everything and others don’t. That’s why we preview the production. Sometimes there are those who have very set ideas of what they want and that’s good, too.”
“Definitely, no job is too small,” she insisted. “We offer other services, such as going to small events like a little banquet event or something and videotape. But that’s secondary; it’s not our primary business. We’ll also do digital photography of events if people want that. We try to stay away from the larger events because there are other professionals who really focus on that aspect.”
In addition to video and slide presentations, Simplyremembered.com also provides Web hosting for small businesses and assistance in Web site design.
And in case anyone thinks putting together slide shows or DVDs is simply a matter of pushing buttons and moving a mouse around, think again. To do the job correctly, to assemble a product that is meant to move the viewer either to tears or to laughter, is an art.
“The job is not just plugging in the numbers,” said Drennan of her work. “On average, when I do a show I probably manipulate the photographs in several different ways. I look at them several different times before I present a preview to the customer. There’s a certain look and feel that you want to get that’s based on the subject. Some people, for instance, want the ‘goosebump’ effect while there are others who really want the laughter. That’s where the real challenge comes in; finding out what the customer wants.”
Those interested in checking out Drennan’s services can call her at (508) 498-0911 or visit her on the Internet at www.simplyremembered.com.
“I just love being able to work for myself and to work with people,” said Drennan of the pleasure she takes in her work. “I’ve always been a computer person and I really enjoy seeing the final product. It’s really exciting when the time comes to show it to the customer and they are so blown away by it. That’s what does it for me; being able to get that emotion from the customer.”