Lately I have received some questions about what equipment I use to put together the videos, so I want to briefly explain my process to you! I am purely self-taught, and there are a lot of things I don’t know about making videos, but hopefully this is helpful to you and maybe inspires you to start making videos of your own!
Taking Videos: Equipment
You can absolutely use the video function on your smart phone, and I do for a lot of my videos. This would be the easiest route if you didn’t want to buy new equipment. If possible, I prefer taking videos with my DSLR (I have a Canon Rebel t2ii), because it’s a higher quality, and I can use manual focus to get artsy about it if I want.
Most recently, Jordan and I decided to invest in a handheld camcorder. We used our Discover card points and bought it as a joint birthday gift. (Note: this is not a sponsored post! Panasonic has no idea who I am.) I used it for the first time in Chicago and thought it was great. It’s not as high quality as my DSLR, but it’s higher quality than my iPhone. We hope to be able to use it to take more home videos of R and future babies throughout the years.
Taking Videos: Tips for Getting the Best Shot
I’ve found that it’s best to try not to move around too much when you are taking videos. If you do scan or pan the scene, do so slowly. Especially for travel collages, when you are only using 2-3 seconds at a time, if those 2-3 seconds are constantly panning, you will make yourself nauseous trying to watch it later. You might feel dumb pointing a video camera at a scene and not moving or panning at all, but you will like it for later when you put your clips together. (At first when I did this Jordan thought I was a nutter, but after watching my videos later he understands the method to my madness.)
Just like it is for pictures, try using different perspectives. For my Chicago video, I took shots pointing up at the sky showing a tall building, I took shots pointing down at R in the stroller. I turned the camera around and took a shot of myself (a video selfie, if you will), I zoomed in close on R crawling on the bed, I zoomed out and showed a full shot of the bean, I bent down and showed just people’s feet in the water of Lake Michigan… you get the idea. This gives a full view of the scene from different angles and keeps it interesting.
Making a Video Collage Using iMovie
I have a Mac laptop at home, and I use iMovie to make my videos. Unfortunately, I can only talk about iMovie because that’s what I have experience with. If you have a Mac and don’t have iMovie, you can buy it as an app for $14.99 and it downloads to your computer. In my opinion it is definitely worth the money! I have found it to be very intuitive, and it’s easy to add music straight from your iTunes library to your video. I’m not sure if you can buy the iMovie app even if you don’t have a Mac, but maybe you can! I believe there is also a version of iMovie for your phone or tablet.
Below is a very brief overview of my process for making my video collages:
Before you do anything else, upload your video clips to your photos by connecting your device to your computer. Then, open iMovie. Any clips that are in your photos should be visible by clicking "photos library."
Start a new movie project in iMovie. Now is the fun part! Once you have located your video clips from Photos, simply drag and drop pieces into the movie project. You can easily choose which sections of the clip to include, and it even tells you how many seconds it is. Typically for travel videos I use 2-4 seconds of a clip at a time. This seems to be the optimal length for viewing. Any shorter and it feels choppy; any longer and I start getting bored. Of course, if there is a specific thing that is happening, feel free to use a longer clip or shorter as you want to!
I wait until I have all my clips mostly in place before I start adding text, transitions, music, or messing with any of the other settings. Adding text is easy. Just click on "titles" at the top and drag and drop your chosen text onto the part of the video where you want it. You can change the font and font size based on what you like.
For audio, it’s easiest to choose a song you have in your iTunes folder. If you are using iMovie, all the songs you have in iTunes are available to drag/drop right onto your movie. If you use a song that is under copyright protection, YouTube will automatically add ads to your video that the copyright holder will monetize. For example, I used a Keith Urban song for my Chicago video, and so there are ads on that video, and I don’t get any money from those.
One trick I like when using music is to “fade in” and “fade out” the song at the beginning and end of the video. It’s easiest to click on this tiny arrow (see below) and drag it out as far as you want the fade to go.
When you are all done with music and text and all your clips are in order, click "File > Share." You can then save it to an external hard drive or upload to YouTube or share on Facebook or wherever you want to! I usually save it first as a "File" and then you can share to YouTube, etc.
Please leave any questions in the comments and I will answer them so others can see.
Happy movie making!