This is a fun project with amazing results, and it’s easier to do than you think!
First you need to decide what kind of film you want to make. It could be an action film you shoot with your kids. It could be a stop motion film where you use small items to tell a story. It could be a compilation of videos you’ve taken this year to create an Annual Family Video. Pick one and start!
Making Your Movie
Option 1 – Filming with kids
Come up with an idea for your movie – storming the castle, pirates looking for treasure, a detective solving the mystery of the missing tea set – and present it to your cast
Let them help you round out the story – try to establish the whole story before you begin filming or the storming of the castle could go on for days (just sayin’).
Set your scenes – discuss what will happen in each scene and how long it should be – this is when you arrive on the beach and talk about your plan. End of scene. Next you storm up to the castle. End of scene. Next comes the battle. I will film for 3 minutes then we will cut while I change position and film 3 more minutes.
Offer to work as the filming crew so all of the cast can be in the movie. Let them make sets and costumes. If you’re lucky this could take a few days!
On filming day it’s OK to film more than you think you need. Editing video is easy these days. You can stop the action and switch positions to continue filming too. These dynamic changes will make your video more interesting.
Try to stick to your story – your finished video will be more entertaining to watch. You will probably need to edit this video.
Option 2 – Make a stop-action movie
A stop-action movie is a really a series of pictures. Set up a small figure and take a picture of it. Move it slightly and take another picture. Move it again and take a third picture. When you put the pictures together in a movie format it looks like your figure is moving on its own.
Kids love making these movies! My kids had elaborate sets and multiple figures involved in their movies.
Determine your story line before you begin “filming”. Keep it simple for your first few movies, it can take lots of patience to move your figures and take all the pictures for a few minutes of video.
Check out the Stop Motion Studio app to make these videos more easily.
Option 3 – Combine your videos to make a longer video like an Annual Family Video
Check out the app 1 Second Per Day – it combines 1 second video clips to make a longer movie. Note that you don’t need 1 second from every day, you can add in video from other days, you can include photos, and you can change your time to 2 or 3 second clips.
If you want to combine longer video clips there is great photo editing software to help. I like to use iMovie and Cyberlink Powerdirector. In most video editing software, you upload the clips you would like to combine. Add each clip to the movie you’re creating and trim it as you need to. Once all your clips have been added, in the order you want, the software will combine them into one big video.
It’s a good idea to decide on the scope of your video before you begin. Have a designated starting and ending point – January to December, or, getting on the plane to go for our trip to getting on the plane to come home.
Edit each of your smaller videos so they tell the story in a small, tight clip. Once you put a bunch of videos together your movie can get long quickly.
Editing your Movie
There are lots of great options for video editing software. I use both iMovie and Cyberlink Powerdirector when I make videos.
Use your video editing software to add a title page to your movie. Add a page to the end with your movie credits. Be sure to add the date your movie was created.
Add transitions, music, text overlay, sound effects, whatever your software offers to make your video more interesting.
Sharing Your Movie
Throw a movie viewing party and invite the cast and crew to the movie premiere. Serve popcorn and be prepared to watch the movie more than once. Probably more than twice!
You can upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo to share it with friends and family. You can make sure it’s kept private in your settings.
My kids loved making movies when they were little. They’re still thrilled when they find them, and everyone sits together to enjoy “Storming the Castle” for the 2000th viewing! Have fun making a family treasure!