FAMILY FILMS

Introduction

I’m excited to share with you this quick and simple DIY version of the creative process used to make Imperfect Joy films. These mini films can be done on your phone with the free Google Photos app. Get creative, have fun, and share your #perfectlyimperfect films!

Preparation

The house is a mess. You haven’t done your hair. You are still in pajamas. Do it anyway. If you want to look back at this time and remember the beautiful moments with your family, capture life as it is. In order to restructure memories, your brain needs to be triggered by authentic moments with cues from the environment, sounds, sights, and emotions. If you do your hair and makeup every day then by all means put on your face, but if you are like me and just put your hair in a clip and call it a day then embrace who you are.

Learning

LIGHT
Often I like to shoot with dramatic, direct sunlight in the home. This works well with a DSLR in manual but cell phones don’t balance the exposure very well. Soft, diffuse light is easier to work with for beginners. Try using a window or going outside on a cloudy day. If you are indoors, turn off all lights so you don’t have mixed color lighting.

COMPOSITION
Film has the unique ability to piece together life from multiple angles that you don’t normally experience. You can pull back to get a sense of the environment, come in closer to capture expressions, and really zoom in to focus on the little details, such as movement and touch.

BODY POSITION
Pull your elbows in close to your body. Grip the phone firmly with both hands. If you have something nearby, use it to prop your elbows up for a steadier shot. To create a panning motion, move through your legs or torso instead of your arms.

Plan Your Story

Storytelling takes a careful balance of watching life unfold naturally and being an essential piece of the creative process to set the environment and actions to be representative of the storyline. For a mini film, you can approach this from two different angles:

CAPTURE LIFE UNFOLDING
Especially for babies and young tots who barely notice there is a camera in their face, just catch them doing their thing. Pick one special moment that you want to remember (walking, playing with siblings, snuggling on the couch, etc).

MAKE A PLAN FIRST
For older kids and teens, involve them in the process. Ask them about things that you love about them and that they enjoy doing. What makes them tick? Dancing? Drawing? Playing family games? Decide together what they will do.

In both scenarios, taking light into consideration is the first thing you need to do. If you are capturing life as it unfolds, prepare the setting to happen near the light source. Put their favorite toy, dad, or sibling near the window so they choose to go over to the place you want them. Little ones catch on quick when we try to force them to do things, so it has to be their choice. If you have older kids that are following a plan, just make sure that whatever they do near the window makes sense with the action. If they wouldn’t normally dribble a soccer ball in the house, don’t do it there because it isn’t true to the memory of what your child does in everyday life. Instead, wait for a cloudy day and bring them outside.

Recording

Take shots of the same scene from different angles and distances. This will make it appear as though you have multiple cameras, and it allows you to tell the story from different perspectives – an outsider, from your eyes, through your kids eyes, and the details of the moment that are easy to miss when you’re distracted by the craziness of life.

Assembling

Watch the video tutorial below for a walk-through using the Google Photos app, available on iOS and Android. It is free and very user friendly with a lot of functionality.

PREMIUM MUSIC (optional)
These mini films are meant to be quick and easy so there is probably a song included in the Google Photos app that should be fine for your project. If you want to use a song that is not included in the app, choose your music AFTER you record video so you can find audio with the emotion and duration that matches your film content. Look for music that is royalty free, meaning that once you purchase the song you can use it forever without giving usage-based payments to the artist. (Please read their licensing agreement.) For free music, try searching the YouTube Audio Library. For subscription-based premium songs, check out Soundstripe or SongFreedom. I usually narrow my search by a rough duration first and then mood or other filters. Keep in mind that if you would like to share it on Instagram your film needs to be less than 60 seconds long.

Save & Share

The films that you create during this time are precious memories that deserve to be remembered for a lifetime. Make sure that you safely store your files on two drives, preferably a local hard drive for quick access (like your computer) and a cloud drive. And last but not least…share on social!

Share with the hashtags #perfectlyimperfect and #familyfilmmakers

Introduction

I’m excited to share with you this quick and simple DIY version of the creative process used to make Family Stories. These mini films can be done on your phone with the free Google Photos app. Get creative, have fun, and share your #perfectlyimperfect films!

Preparation

The house is a mess. You haven’t done your hair. You are still in pajamas. Do it anyway. If you want to look back at this time and remember the beautiful moments with your family, capture life as it is. In order to restructure memories, your brain needs to be triggered by authentic moments with cues from the environment, sounds, sights, and emotions. If you do your hair and makeup every day then by all means put on your face, but if you are like me and just put your hair in a clip and call it a day then embrace who you are.

Learning

LIGHT
Often I like to shoot with dramatic, direct sunlight in the home. This works well with a DSLR in manual but cell phones don’t balance the exposure very well. Soft, diffuse light is easier to work with for beginners. Try using a window or going outside on a cloudy day. If you are indoors, turn off all lights so you don’t have mixed color lighting.

COMPOSITION
Film has the unique ability to piece together life from multiple angles that you don’t normally experience. You can pull back to get a sense of the environment, come in closer to capture expressions, and really zoom in to focus on the little details, such as movement and touch.

BODY POSITION
Pull your elbows in close to your body. Grip the phone firmly with both hands. If you have something nearby, use it to prop your elbows up for a steadier shot. To create a panning motion, move through your legs or torso instead of your arms.

Plan Your Story

Storytelling takes a careful balance of watching life unfold naturally and being an essential piece of the creative process to set the environment and actions to be representative of the storyline. For a mini film, you can approach this from two different angles:

CAPTURE LIFE UNFOLDING
Especially for babies and young tots who barely notice there is a camera in their face, just catch them doing their thing. Pick one special moment that you want to remember (walking, playing with siblings, snuggling on the couch, etc).

MAKE A PLAN FIRST
For older kids and teens, involve them in the process. Ask them about things that you love about them and that they enjoy doing. What makes them tick? Dancing? Drawing? Playing family games? Decide together what they will do.

In both scenarios, taking light into consideration is the first thing you need to do. If you are capturing life as it unfolds, prepare the setting to happen near the light source. Put their favorite toy, dad, or sibling near the window so they choose to go over to the place you want them. Little ones catch on quick when we try to force them to do things, so it has to be their choice. If you have older kids that are following a plan, just make sure that whatever they do near the window makes sense with the action. If they wouldn’t normally dribble a soccer ball in the house, don’t do it there because it isn’t true to the memory of what your child does in everyday life. Instead, wait for a cloudy day and bring them outside.

Recording

Take shots of the same scene from different angles and distances. This will make it appear as though you have multiple cameras, and it allows you to tell the story from different perspectives – an outsider, from your eyes, through your kids eyes, and the details of the moment that are easy to miss when you’re distracted by the craziness of life.

Assembling

Watch the video tutorial below for a walk-through using the Google Photos app, available on iOS and Android. It is free and very user friendly with a lot of functionality.

PREMIUM MUSIC (optional)
These mini films are meant to be quick and easy so there is probably a song included in the Google Photos app that should be fine for your project. If you want to use a song that is not included in the app, choose your music AFTER you record video so you can find audio with the emotion and duration that matches your film content. Look for music that is royalty free, meaning that once you purchase the song you can use it forever without giving usage-based payments to the artist. (Please read their licensing agreement.) For free music, try searching the YouTube Audio Library. For subscription-based premium songs, check out Soundstripe or SongFreedom. I usually narrow my search by a rough duration first and then mood or other filters. Keep in mind that if you would like to share it on Instagram your film needs to be less than 60 seconds long.

Save & Share

The films that you create during this time are precious memories that deserve to be remembered for a lifetime. Make sure that you safely store your files on two drives, preferably a local hard drive for quick access (like your computer) and a cloud drive. And last but not least…share on social!

Share with the hashtags #perfectlyimperfect and #familystories


Imperfect Joy Films and Photos is available for travel internationally in 2021! Be the first to know when bookings open:

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