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Where to Learn about Digital Rights Management (as it relates to personal use)

Digital Rights Management

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and will give you no thoughts or opinions on this topic; however, I will give you information that I have found so that you can make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to risk using the music that is not public domain or creative commons.

Now, that’s out of the way, so here we go.

Copyright laws cover all creations whether books, videos, music, photos, etc. For the purpose of this post, I will only be talking about music.

I have researched DRM, Copyright Infringement, and Fair Use. So, the best I can do is give you an overview and links for you to review. The risk, of course, is greater when you show your video on YouTube or in another public venue ) or you sell the video. Even if your video is “private” on YouTube, you may be found guilty of copyright infringement. Your risk is decreased if the video has a low distribution and is not shown in a public place or in a way that the music can be copied to bootleg. 

Although you are always advised to give credit, you need to know that you are not protected by that if the owner decides to pursue a copyright infringement claim.

So, the questions you need to answer is this: how broadly will your video be shared and in what venue? How much risk am I wiling to take?

I have used popular music in some videos I have made because I was sure the audience would be extremely limited. I have also used popular music by altering it in way that it could not be counterfeited. by splitting it with different audio or just using a short piece. I know my videos are not being shown on YouTube. If they were, I would use creative commons music with attribution.


Copyright – the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 70 years after his or her death.

The following types of works are protected by copyright:

  1. literary works
  2. musical works, including any accompanying words
  3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works

Creative Commons – a set of various licenses that allow people to share their copyrighted work to be copied, edited, built upon, etc., while retaining the copyright to the original work (sometimes requiring an attribute).

Digital Rights Management – a set of technologies that enable the control of what the person can do with the intellectual property of others.

Fair Use – reasonable and limited use of copyrighted material so as not to infringe upon copyright(usually related to education or critiques)

Public Domain – the status of a literary work or an invention whose copyright or patent has expired or that never had such protection.

A work is in the public domain if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it does not meet the requirements for copyright protection.

The Public Domain includes:

  • Works published in the U.S. prior to 1923
  • Works whose copyright has expired or was not renewed
  • Works which do not qualify for copyright protection
  • Works created by U.S. Government employees in the scope of their employment. 

Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. It is highly recommended that you give proper attribution, however.

We, at Make Photo Memories, have access to many Creative Commons pieces of music, as well as approved YouTube music, and will be glad to create a unique soundtrack for your video.  Just know that these music scores will not be “popular music.”  We are providing a service to you and will be glad to abide by your wishes, but if you want to use popular music (copyrighted music), we will ask you to sign a letter of agreement stating that you understand it is your responsibility to research and seek legal advice as needed regarding the use of copyrighted music.

How to Tell a Compelling Story with Photo Videos

How to Tell a Compelling Story

1. Have a clear central message

Begin your creation by identifying a clear message that you want to convey to your audience. As you work through the story, you will build up to and around the central theme.

    • Identify your message.
    • Determine who your audience is and if the message will connect with them.
    • Choose an emotional entry point. Stories can create emotional “sticky memories” by tapping into emotions. This is an emotional entry point and they can happen throughout the video. Decide how your first “sticky memory” will look. You will probably have more than one – maybe many.  For some videos, the very first image, or title page, will create the moment; for others, it may be introduced later.  Maybe it isn’t an image at all. Maybe it is a quote.
    • Keep it simple. Too many details can derail the story line and the message you want to convey.

2. Have a clear structure

Stories generally have movement and photo stories are the same. There is a usual structure that all stories follow:


The purpose of the hook is to make a promise to the viewer that the story will be significant enough to be worth their time. Another way to look at it is as an opener or attention getter. A hook can be a question, a quote, or an image – or any two of the three. In many ways, the hook is often the first emotional entry point.


The body is where the story unfolds and the majority of your images and video clips will reside. In the case of the photo video, it is actually considered a photo essay. It is a series of images that tell a story. It focuses on visuals instead of words. Here is where the fun begins!
    •  Decide the order of your video. Will it be chronological, event-based, or a new creative way to tell the story and connect with your audience? It is really your choice.  For example, perhaps you want to show the joys of living in a family by showing a collection of get-togethers. Or, perhaps you want something a little more powerful and thought provoking.  This is your creative time to shine!
    • Although the goal is primarily to tell the story without words, you can ON OCCASSION, add a caption or intersperse quotes. 
    • A word of caution: if you simply state a chronological order without introducing a creative element, you will tell a story, but may lose some audience interest.
    • One way to move through chronology is to use transition pages in your video. A single page can convey the message that the viewers are moving to another part. Transition pages can really be fun.

      Think about transitions in your story like chapters in a book. Transition pages are a great way to suddenly change the flow and introduce new topics, or sometimes give a bit of additional information. Not all stories need transitions, but it can greatly enhance the video. For example, this video was created by the parents, to surprise the bride and groom at their reception. It showed them growing up and growing together into a couple. 

    • As you develop the body of the photo video, think about elements that would create emotional entry points throughout. Audio overlays bring in another element and while the audio flows, images can be viewed.  An example of this is a video I did of my father. My niece interviewed him for a school project and he told great stories about growing up. I used his voice telling the stories and old photos to illustrate the growing up period. It is a very effective way to communicate.

Another example is baby sounds that you captured. You can play the baby sounds while showing multiple photos.

Audio can be pulled from a video which then can be used elsewhere. Have fun with this!


The ending of your video is basically your conclusion. It let’s your viewers know that the video is over. It is also an opportunity to revisit your hook. You can show it again or end by referring to it in some way such as restating the quote or interesting fact.

      • Resolve any questions or conflicts may may have arisen during the video.
      • End in away that ensures your audience thinks about the video long after it is over (another hook and another emotional entry point or sticky memory).
      •  The ending can also be a reflection of what was shared.


After the video is designed in your storyboard, it is a good time to do personal reflection on the story you are telling. Doing the reflection from the storyboard prevents rework on the video itself. Not to say you won’t want to change a few things up, but personal reflection will help you clarify you goals.

      • Is this relevant?
      • Was the message clear and compelling?
      • Did I build in emotional entry points?
      • Did I design it for the intended audience?
      • Do the majority of my images stand alone, without commentary?
      • Will this video activate “sticky memories”?

If you answer yes to these three questions, you will have a great, compelling story!

How to Share Photo Videos with Others

how to share photo videos with others

How to Share Your Photo Videos

Think for a minute about these statistics: 

In a single minute, we send out 277,000 tweets; share 2,460,000 pieces of content on Facebook; post 216,000 new photos on Instagram; and upload 72 hours of new video on YouTube.


We live in a day and age where we can share our everyday life in a matter of a few seconds – and according to the statistics we do!. We like the connections sharing creates. We like to create videos to capture the important moments in our lives and we take photos for the same reason. It is fun and rewarding to share our life with others.

HOWEVER, the ultimate reward is when we can pull the best photos and videos together, tell a story – AND share that video story with family and friends!

See, when you share a single photo it is only capturing a shutter-speed moment in time. It doesn’t tell a story or convey more than the image itself.  BUT, when you put other images, video clips and music with it, a story begins to emerge!

That’s when magic happens

But, you might be thinking – a picture is easy to share and I have no idea how to create a great video – let alone share it!

Well, if you have been following Make Photo Memories, you know that it is possible to create a nice photo video story and to share it with others – in a safe and secure way. 

How to Share Your Photo Videos with Others

In my mind, the best part about creating photo videos is the opportunity to share them with others.  It is really much easier to do than you might think.

Sharing the Photo Video on a Device

One way to share your photo video is to copy it onto a device and give the device to someone so they can play it on their TV or computer. Devices to use:

      • Flash drive (thumb drive)
      • DVD
      • Blu-Ray disc
  1. A flash drive is very inexpensive and easy to use – just plug and play. Your recipient will need a computer with a USB port. Newer televisions also have USB ports. If you want to share with multiple people, you can go to Amazon and purchase a 20 pack of 4 GB drives for under $50.
  2. A DVD is another easy way to share. You copy the video onto a DVD and share it with your recipients to play on the computer or on a DVD player. To do this, you will need a DVD writer (common on most desktop computers. You might need to purchase an external writer if you have a laptop). And you need some blank, writable DVDs.
  3. The last way is the most costly, and that is creating the video as a Blu-Ray. To do this, you would need a Blu-Ray writer and Blu-Ray discs.

Sharing the Photo Video Online

 Many people are hesitant to share their videos online because they are concerned with privacy.  That is a good concern to have and while all online sharing options give you privacy options, for some, you MUST remember to make it private. Here, I will introduce you to three common sharing methods:

  1. YouTube is a great free platform and you can make your video public, private or unlisted. YouTube is very easy to use, even for a novice. and there are a ton of “how to” videos out there (on YouTube, of course). You must set up a free YouTube account to post videos. Here are the options:
    • Public is just what you think it is. Anyone can find and watch the video. This is NOT the recommended way to share your personal photo videos because of privacy issues.
    • Unlisted simply means the video will not show up in a search or in subscriber feeds, BUT anyone with the link can see it and share it. 
    • Private means you have total control over who sees your video. The only way to access it is if you have been given a link AND it is not shareable by others. The URL cannot be shared by others either.  This is our recommended way to share online.

2. Dropbox, a cloud storage service, is another fast and easy way to share photo videos with others. You give them a link and viewing privileges and they can access the video. The downside of Dropbox is that there is a size limit for the free version which may or may not be enough to hold your video. If you have multiple videos, at some point you will have to purchase more space. You can sign up and get the intro storage amount, but if you gets friends to sign up, you will get extra space for free.

3. Facebook is well known for photo and video sharing. When you share with Facebook friends, friends of your friends will be able to see and view your video. If you use Only Me, your video will be shared to your Facebook timeline, but it will only be viewable to you. That isn’t very helpful. What you can do, is remove the Share button so no one can share your video with others. In this current crazy world, I would not advise anything personal on FB, especially if images of children are included.  We do NOT recommend using Facebook to share personal photo videos due to privacy issues.


When you create (render) the video for sharing via flash drive or online, you will want to determine the best file type. Generally, I save my videos in multiple formats to give me options in how to share them. These are the formats I generally use:


SUMMARY: When you pick your video creation software, make sure it renders at least MP4 which seems to be the most universal (Windows, Mac, mobile devices).