Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Video Production Techniques for Capturing The Joy of Family Events

Part 1 – Overview (This will be part 1 of a 5 part series)

Okay, admit it. What do you normally think when someone announces, “It’s time to show Home Movies”? You mentally roll your eyes while giving them a blank stare or at best, a forced smile don’t you? That’s because most home movies are dreadfully boring affairs with no audience appeal outside the immediate family. The joy of these events is often lost in the transition from live experiences to the screen. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Fact is that most people take lots of pictures and make home videos at holiday parties, family gatherings and other special occasions like weddings and birthdays. But how many of them really think about entertainment value, let alone production design or editing techniques and develop a plan to create something truly memorable?

With today’s digital technology, it’s never been easier to capture still images, video footage and audio. However, people tend to present them as a string of random scenes that never get edited together with a cohesive theme that tells a story and engages the audience.

When commercial production companies do high-end multimedia projects, they employ a full range of professional filmmaking techniques using the most advanced digital equipment and software available. But you can create very impressive presentations with far less sophisticated tools – especially if you follow a few simple rules.

First, go into the project with a strong central concept or theme. For instance, if you’re making a family holiday video, come up with an appropriate working title like “The Smith Family Holiday Homecoming” and treat it like a film or TV special. And what do all movies and shows have in common? A script.

For personal video projects featuring non-actors, you probably don’t want to develop a full script with complete dialog, but rather an outline or treatment that will serve as a roadmap for your production. One that tells a cohesive story with a distinct beginning, middle and end.

But before you even begin writing a script or outline, you should plan out the whole project in manageable, logical phases – just like they do for Hollywood films and network TV shows.

The four main phases commonly used for organizing commercial multimedia productions are:

1. Concepting / Script Writing
2. Pre-Production / Planning
3. Production / Filming
4. Post-Production / Editing

All of these phases are crucial for success and it would be beneficial if we discussed each one in more depth. However, that would turn this one blog article into a small book. So I have decided to break the topic up into a series of four additional weekly installments. These will focus on the individual steps we use in the industry for creating feature-length movies, documentaries and television programs – but in a way that applies to personal home videos that almost anyone can create for sharing the joy of family events and other special occasions.

Be sure to check back in about a week for part 2 of this series, which will cover project concepting and scriptwriting.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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