I watch my son’s first year movie when his birthday is coming up, and I cry every. Single. Time. I cry because I see his beautiful sleepy baby face, sucking on his pacifier and being lifted into my husband’s arms, to the sound of lyrics speaking to me about love and the precious moments in life. He will never be a baby again. So, naturally, I ugly cry, every time.
I took a ton of movies of Ben when he was little, first with a handy little video camera and now my Nikon has an amazing little button that switches to motion video in half a second. Not to mention all the movies I take on my iPhone.
Making them into videos set to music is easy, it’s the fine-tuning, shaping, and swearing about bad lighting that really gets ya.
I’m going to tell you how to make easy family movies using free software, and if you are not a crazy perfectionist like I am, it will take you two seconds.
A quick tip: when you are actually taking the video, keep it to short clips.
Stop and start your video a few times. It helps so much with editing, and your audience appreciates not listening to the white noise of the wind for five minutes while we wait for our star to say something.
Step One: Load your files and organize.
Go through and watch the movie clips, and copy the ones you love into a new folder and name it something really easy to find. “Ben’s First Year Movie”, for example. Add images that you love, too, it doesn’t all have to be video.
Step Two: Select all your files and drag them into Movie Maker.
Then you can move around files by dragging and dropping, and you can edit them for length, and apply animations like fading and panning from the menu at the top.
If you need Movie Maker (not by any means the Ferrari of video editing software, but free and pretty straightforward) you can download it here. (not an affiliate)
Step Three: Select an mp3 file from your music folder and drag it into Movie Maker.
Then you’re done! Export it to your computer and you’re all set to burn it to a disc.
I can’t tell you how important family movies can be.
Here is an example of one I whipped up just for this post:
Summer 2013 from Mary Thomas on Vimeo.
My son is fascinated by the idea of himself as a baby and he makes me watch them again and again. Each time we lose a family member, these become so precious, the last glimpse we have of that person smiling and talking to us is priceless. This is also a great reminder to get into those movies with your kids, so that they will have those pre-memory moments to live over and over again with you.
Here is an example of the slideshows I put together for my clients with the still images from their portrait session.
Bollinger Slideshow – Two Happy Lambs Photography from Mary Thomas on Vimeo.
You can see how just watching a video of your images is so powerful, imagine how powerful it would be to watch a video of your newborn portrait session, and to show those to your children as they grow. It’s amazing how easily technology is making it to show our children how much we loved them and what they were like when they were small.
Here is a great article over at Snowing Indoors that talks about tips for filming and editing. So helpful.
This is a great thing to do with all those digital files that never made it onto the walls and are sitting in your computer. You can make a tradition out of watching them, and put them in a beautiful image box on your mantel to remind you.
Also- if you are planning on posting a video to YouTube, you will need the license for the song you are using, and you can get that at sites like http://www.songfreedom.com or http://www.triplescoopmusic.com (also not affiliates)
Mark a date on the calendar to put together some quick two-three minute movies and then order pizza or make popcorn and watch them with your kids. It’s way more fun than cleaning out the garage.