Any tradition can potentially be used to enhance a video montage. How so? There are two essential ingredients: 1. An ongoing tradition (this is more than going to the same vacation destination a couple times, for example) and 2. You have pictures and/or video taken that reveals the tradition, preferably in a fun and entertaining way. If you are still having trouble wrapping your head around the tradition concept, here are some very common examples:
Blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.
Lighting the menorah or standing/sitting next to the Christmas tree.
Going to the beach every summer with the same family members.
Wearing a pretty dress on the first day of school.
Picking out a pumpkin at the local pumpkin patch.
Celebrating the same holiday every year with the same people: New Year’s Eve, Easter, Passover Seder, Sukkot (under the Sukkah), 4th of July, etc.
But it’s the more original traditions that make for the best entertainment! For example, we know of someone who serves a special breakfast in bed to her son every birthday. Now that’s a twist on the usual birthday tradition of blowing out the candles on a birthday cake or even serving mom breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day.
The second component of traditions vis-a-vis montages is that someone must have been savvy enough (or compulsive enough) to either take a photo or capture video footage or both of the tradition over a number of years. How many years? There’s no one set number but let’s just say for the sake of argument at least four to five. (As an extreme example, there’s the story of a father who took a photo of his daughter EVERY SINGLE DAY of her life until she turned 18 years old and then made a collage of all the photos that formed one single photo of her at age 18. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/17/dad-photo-every-day-daughter-18-years_n_5344721.html We gotta give this guy some major props for dedication to such a montage-worthy goal!)
Anyway, the photo or video footage should, if possible, demonstrate the tradition on the face of it. (So, if it’s the blowing out the candles on the cake example, the subject should be in the process of blowing out the candles on the cake at age 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.) Even if the tradition isn’t immediately obvious (let’s say the breakfast in bed tradition), if a stranger can figure out the tradition over the course of a few examples, then that’s fine. If the tradition is really obscure, you can always add a caption to the first photo or video clip to “introduce” it: “Birthday Breakfast in Bed.”
Once you have these two components, then you have the makings of what we like to call: a “Through the Years” themed segment (or more likely, a mini-segment). Let’s take the example of trimming the Christmas tree as a tradition that potentially can be a themed segment. Every year, you put up your tree and have a tree trimming party with the same good friends. If you have either photos of everyone standing by the tree every year (more or less—it doesn’t have to be every single year as long as you have at least 4-5 represented) or video footage of everyone in the process of decorating the tree, well then, there’s your Through the Years mini-segment. (It’s a mini-segment because it’s only one tradition and it doesn’t take up much time. You can always string together a bunch of traditions, such as “Holidays with Family and Friends” or “Winter Fun with Friends,” etc.) Do you have to remember which years are represented or the ages of the montage subject? No, it’s not necessary (though you should try to show the photos/clips in consecutive order) but if you are especially compulsive and do know these details, it couldn’t hurt to add them. The more context clues you can include, the better, for the viewer who is watching the montage, trying to understand what’s going on.
What if you can’t think of any traditions? We recommend that you go through your photo collection. You may be surprised at what you find when you look through them, especially if you define tradition a little more broadly. And what if you have traditions but you don’t have photos or video footage? It’s not too late to start capturing those precious moments! You can even start--a new tradition--when you see your family this year for Hanukkah or Christmas or New Year’s Eve. From Mon-tage-ical LLC to you—we wish you and yours a wonderful, healthy, joyous, “Montageical” holiday season creating new magic and memories with family and friends! See you next year!