Family FilmmakersHeather Spohr
I love to watch old home videos because they can be so many things – emotional, amusing, even cringe inducing (hello, Nineties’ fashions). But if we’re being honest, sometimes they can also be a little dull. The many videos of my brother and me milling about as my Dad says, “Wave to the camera, kids,” for example, have not aged well. On the other hand, there are many videos that have aged well, and the most awesome of these, by far, are the “movies” my family wrote, performed, and directed!
My brother and I loved movies when we were kids, so every once in a while (usually on the weekend or a lazy summer’s day) we’d decide to make a movie of our own. Typically we spent the morning writing a “screenplay,” then filmed it in the afternoon with the help of our parents, grandmother, and cousins, all of whom played key supporting roles (my brother and I were the stars, of course).
I love watching these movies today. From the enthusiastic “acting” of my family members to the “plot twists” that could only have been thought up by kids, I smile from start to finish. We did a lot of laughing while making these movies, and watching them again brings back fresh memories of all the fun we had.
Mike and I have already made a few silly movies like this with Annie and her grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and plan to make some more when she is old enough to have fun calling the shots herself. She’s going to love it.
I would definitely recommend other families make movies like this too. It’s not only a terrific opportunity to do a creative project with the whole family, but in the future you will cherish your movie for being something different among from the many videos from vacations and family reunions that you will likely have as well.
The good news is that making these movies is a lot easier than you may think. The easiest way is by “editing in camera.” This is where you film your scenes in order, starting with the first scene and then proceeding on to the next until you reach the end. The drawback to this technique is that once you move on to the next scene you can’t go back and change anything you did earlier, but the key benefit is that when you finish shooting… your movie is done!
The other way to make a movie (and the way Mike and I make ours) is by loading your footage into editing software like iMovie or Windows’ Movie Maker. This software is a lot easier to use than many think, and allows you to add titles, transitions, music, and effects. It’s pretty cool, and editing on these programs can get pretty addicting.
Nowadays the combination of high-definition video cameras and editing software means that you can actually make movies that look an awful lot like the real thing. You shouldn’t worry, though, about how well your movies do (or don’t) turn out. Years from now you and your family members will love and cherish them no matter what!
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