Hello and welcome!
Together we are going to create beautiful mini memoir films.
I like to think of them as a chapter in a book, a glimpse into the life of a loved one so those memories and stories can be enjoyed and treasured for many years to come.
Remember all the stories you heard as you were growing up, snippets of fantastic tales that can get so easily lost in time? Well, we are here to stop that from happening!
Below is a step by step guide to help you capture the content I need to create your film, from video interviews, to close up shots and stills of relevant items like photos or personal treasures.
Please don't worry! Remember we are here to create a treasure of your family story, not an Oscar winning film!
I am here to guide and help you as much as I can.
We will already have spoken about the aim of the film. It may be childhood memories, life advice, cherished moments like wedding and the romance beforehand, epic adventures or specific stories that always get told around the dinner table.
Each story and film is unique to you, so they can be based around anything you would like, that is what is so wonderful about them.
We do not need to cram a life in to one 3 minute film, as we can create many different chapters as we would like at any time.
We will have talked about props, these could be photos that trigger the memories, diaries that are reread, teddies that always sit on the windowsill or perhaps that rocking chair that has been handed down the generations. These props will be our guide, the basis of the story, a help to you when filming and our continued visual reference in the final film.
We can have more than one setting but let's for this guide stick with one. Look around you and find the light. Where is it coming from?
cIdeally you want to seat your subject in front of that light, so they are looking at it.
Then, you will need to position your phone (or other camera) no more than 2 metres away with the light source behind it, place the phone horizontally and upright if possible so you may need to use props to hold it steady e.g a coffee table/ books/ walls etc.
Below are examples of the type of angle/ shot we are looking for
This is 'Position 1'
Position 1 is where the majority of the chat will happen, the default shot which will capture the audio of the stories - please do a quick test record to ensure the audio can be heard, if not move the camera a little closer.
Please just use this as a guide, each room is different and space variable, so the idea is to have the widest shot possible which incorporates some of the background setting.
Dont forget to tap your screen on our subject to ensure the focus is set correctly.
If possible have your phone plugged in to power or at least be fully charged.
You are now ready to record, so hit the big red button!
Put the kettle on, share a cuppa and the conversation will flow. Have your questions at the ready to help steer the conversation along with any photos or props that we have planned to use.
Once you have captured enough footage (approx 5 - 10 minutes of talking), then we can move on to capturing other angles and close ups.
The beauty of video if that we can layer audio over other imagery, with stills of photos or other filmed video, this is what creates an interesting video to watch.
We will need to capture close ups (hands, face, laughs, smiles, eyes, touches, holding hands etc), doing activities they enjoy (knitting, reading, playing music/ instrument), drinking a cuppa or enjoying beer or glass of wine together, in the garden, on a walk etc)
This will be a slightly closer shot, perhaps from a different angle but again will be a video so set up and press record.
If any stories happen here great but we would like to have action shots of looking at photos, drinking tea etc. Things that have happened already but we just re create them a little bit, but please don't force it! Whatever is captured will be wonderful.
Now we need to capture the close ups and other bits that will fill the video up.
These can be filmed standing still or you can add some movement in. If you add movement like moving from one side to another please keep your hold as slow and steady as possible. Wobble can be removed a little bit but video can be easily sped up or slowed down in the edit so no need to rush these, steady shots are best!
Please film these shots for at least 5 - 10 seconds.
If you can film and photo everything, the more material we have to work with the better, I have given moving examples of the props but hopefully you can get the idea from the photo stills.
Please excuse the audio in these examples shots!
Things to remember!
It's going to feel weird! But once you forget the camera is there you will be fine!
Don't look at the camera when talking when chatting. If you want something specific recited then this can be done in another shot.
Try to avoid talking over each other, allow time to pause and think if you are asking a question so the audio can be easily spilt.
Theres no rush! Take your time, enjoy the process of walking down memory lane and spending quality time together.
As hard as it may be, try to stay on subject! If you find you have so much more you want to capture we can always do another film together.
Check your sound and video are woking ok before you go for real!
Film the majority of the talk from position 1
Repeat some elements from a second position
Have you taken video of close ups (hands, face, laughs, smiles, eyes, touches, holding hands etc), doing activities they enjoy (knitting, reading, having a cuppa, looking out of window etc)
Have you taken videos panning across the photos/ props you have used throughout?
Have you taken still video of the same items
Have you taken photos of the same items