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As much as I love the challenge of telling a story by creating a film that’s 15 seconds long, it was great to hear news that the ability to share films that are up to 60 seconds, has arrived on Instagram.

This means a little more freedom for film making and the opportunity to get really creative on this platform.

It’s taking a while for me to get used to it… I’ve not shared anything longer 30 seconds so far… just edging myself slowly into it.

I’ve had a lot of questions about it from people taking my online courses and the community on Instagram. So I thought I’d share a little look at how it works and how to know if the update has arrived yet for you. Plus, how to use the multi clips editing feature, which is much more useable now there’s more time to edit clips together.

As mentioned in here, the new function for longer video is rolling out slowly to everyone over the next few weeks. So if it’s not working for you yet, stay patient… it’s coming soon!

Let me know if you’re enjoying the new feature and what stories you’re telling with all this extra time!

P.s For those that have been asking… registration for the next sessions of my online film making courses opens FRIDAY 15TH APRIL.


Written by xanthe

April 14th, 2016 at 2:29 pm


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I don’t have loads of gear – one main camera and one lens… shooting the majority of my films on the Canon 5D3 with 35mm 1.4 lens – I love it.

But I’d heard about the auto focus feature on the 70D and was intrigued. Learning to focus video is one of the biggest challenges people on my online courses face, when they first start shooting video on a DSLR. So if there was a way to help the situation, I wanted to try it. At a Canon Instameet last year, I got my hands on a 70D to shoot video and was instantly impressed.

But was only able to shoot for a couple of hours. So when Canon UK offered the new 80D to try for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.

Now this isn’t loads of time to totally understand all of the features of this camera and I can’t share with you the specifications or all the “tech” stuff, because I didn’t really get into that. Other than this model can shoot 60fps at 1080p, which does interest me!. I just wanted to see how this camera would work in terms of how & what I shoot.

Here are my three favourite features -

Auto focus while in video mode – This is brilliant!. Using the touch screen, you tap where you want the focus and if the subject moves… they stay in focus – this is GENIUS. To be honest, I couldn’t get my head around it at first, my muscle memory is so engrained to manual focus, it felt weird. But then it felt brilliant.

This is great for shooting out and about but it’s also really good for filming yourself. I do a fair amount of talking to camera for my courses and I have a long winded approach to setting the focus. This camera would solve all of that. I guess that’s why this model makes a great vlogging camera.

Which leads my onto my next favourite feature…

The flip out screen – You can have it face forward and see what you’re filming… So good! especially for the old favourite of “hold some flowers in your hand”. All the potential problems of choosing your composition and setting the focus – gone!

As you can see demonstrated here…

And you can see your settings… adjust them… it’s a breeze.

You can also move the screen, so you can view from any angle. Again, this took a little getting used too as I’m so used to a fixed screen. But you can really shoot from the hip or along the floor or overhead and still see what you’re shooting.

And the last amazing feature… which I know is common on most devices but not the Canon 5D3, so I’m not used to it – the wifi capabilities… photos direct to phone and video clips ready to be edited in the palm of my hand. This just blows my mind.

It wouldn’t be a balanced review if I just gushed about this camera…

So the only issue I had was the cropped sensor… I generally shoot with a 35mm but I knew this would feel too cropped, so I borrowed the 24-70mm to get the width I prefer while shooting video. It worked well.

Would I add this camera to my collection? – I genuinely think I would. I enjoyed playing with the camera a great deal but don’t feel a weekend is really enough time to get the most out of it. Oh, I just thought of another thing I loved about it – it’s light, well, not as heavy as the 5D3. I could really see this becoming the kind of camera I would carry around to shoot my everyday and weekend films…

So I’ll be adding it to the top of my wish list. What a shame my birthday has just passed!

If you’ve got any questions… just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.

Note about the collaboration – Canon UK very kindly lent me the camera for the weekend, in exchange for posting some photos or films. I wasn’t asked to do review but as I received a few comments to share my thoughts of this camera, a blog post seemed a good idea. Hope you found it useful.

All photos and films shot on Canon 80D with 24-70mm 4.0 lens, except a couple of sequences and photos where you can see the camera.



Written by xanthe

March 30th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

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I’ve not posted one LATELY blog this year… What? How did that happen? Just been getting on with ‘the doing’ and not talking about it, I guess…

So… thought I’d check in, as I like looking back on the LATELY posts.

SO many great creative projects have been happening recently -

I’ve been working with Cath Kidston to create some fun content for their social media channels… These gnomes in the garden are super sweet playing hide n seek and the haberdashery ones make me smile.

Plus, I created some fun films for the super lovely people at Sipsmith.

I’m excited to share more from this Boden shoot with Lucy.

And my Easter table setting with Anthropologie has been one of my favourite projects ever.

If you haven’t heard it already… You can find me rambling on the Blogtacular podcast, talking about my creative journey and Instagram love. The rest of the series is pretty awesome, I particularly enjoyed Lisa and Leona being interviewed by Kat. Are you going to Blogtacular this year? It’s shaping up to be another brilliant event!

The Sixty Second photograph is such a wonderful project, I love being part of group creating alongside each other. It’s a challenge for me as there’s so much going on in my life, but that’s the push I need… Personal projects have always been so important to my creative journey, I don’t ever not want to have enough time to focus on them.

Hosted another fabulous colour lovers photo walk in the Brick Lane area… There are more to come and SOMETHING NEW!… as people have been asking for a film making version – So stay tuned or sign up to the mailing list to be first to hear - Sign up here.

It’s been a busy few weeks with my online courses… With the Bloom Forum workshop and Creating Time Capsules running and the beautiful treasures they bring. The first round of MAKE FILMS blew me away, 10 weeks of amazing films full of creativity. The next round has just begun… There’s still time to join in…

At home… Luke’s business grows and grows, with many exciting things in the pipeline. The boys are currently enjoying their Easter break… It’s been a full on term with Ky choosing his GCSEs – what?! How did that happen? Wasn’t he just starting school?. It’s amazing to see how confident he is about what he wants to do next…

Phew! No wonder I’ve felt like I’ve had no time to lie on the sofa…

It’s all good. I’ve been working towards this. There are some really exciting projects and opportunities on the horizon, so I’m keeping the momentum going… putting my feet up can wait.

But, first there’s my birthday tomorrow and then roll on April.






Written by xanthe

March 27th, 2016 at 11:26 pm

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I was shooting in the colourful Notting Hill recently and started thinking about all the colourful places I’d like to visit in the world.

A while ago myself and a couple of friends started a Pinterest board of colourful places we’d like to visit in the world.

A dream list of destinations… hoping it would act as a vision board, but alas not a lot of travel has happened lately.

SO I’m putting together my top five colourful places I’d like to visit, so hopefully I can begin crossing them off sometime soon.

In no particular order -

1. Havana, Cuba. 

Every time I see a photo pop up of Havana in my IG feed, I get all heart eyes and instantly want to jump into the photo.

2. Burano, Venice, Italy.

I mean! Seriously! The streets look amazing. House after house painted in beautiful colours.

3. India

I’d head to Rajasthan first and then wander for a long time.

4. Marrakech, Morocco

Spice markets and ornate doorways…. yes please.

5. Amsterdam tulips fields…

I think I would faint if I ever saw these in real life. Flower sensory overload in the best possible way.

So that’s the top five for now… Now to get crossing them off!

Written by xanthe

March 26th, 2016 at 6:09 pm


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The monthly collaboration The Sixty Second Photograph is so wonderful to be a part of…. beautiful stories by such talented artists. Everyone pushing themselves to try something new to them, each discovering different ways to see and capture the movement in front of them.

This film idea has been in my head for over a year, but I’ve not found the situation to bring it to life. It’s different to what I normally shoot, but that’s the point of The Sixty Second Photograph – trying things out of your comfort zone and experimenting, so it’s the perfect playground to try something like this out.

Experimenting is what this film is about. Playing with light… playing with double exposures… playing with a story that’s about the boys growing up and trying to reach out and hold onto this moment.

I hope you enjoy it.

Please do spend some time over HERE and see the wonderful films on offer this month. I’m so inspired!



Written by xanthe

March 22nd, 2016 at 3:27 pm


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Sharing my love of making films and teaching people from all over the world, is such a gift.

Every online course I run brings new people into my life and I get to encourage them to “SEE” their lives in a new way, by capturing their unique stories on film, to have FOREVER.

I can inspire them to try something new, to push through the barriers that making a film for the first time can bring… and then show them what’s possible if you’re willing to just give it a go… I can show them tips and tricks I wish I’d known, when I first started and then give them the support to learn while they’re making. And finally, I get to watch their stories and discover the details that really matter to them.

MAKE FILMS is a new course for 2016, you can find all the details about the course HERE & HERE. The first session is coming to an end and I’ve so enjoyed pouring so much into this course and watching an amazing collection of films appear each week, it’s been pretty magical.

Most of the films have been shared on Instagram, where a film is only 15 seconds… I’ve been so blown away by the creativity, I’m sharing a handful today – it was SO hard to pick which ones to feature, but I thought these were great examples of some of the weekly projects… I’ve also sprinkled a few testimonials at the end, as people have said some lovely things… and you might be reading this, thinking about joining in the next round and this might inspire you to join us.

All the details for the course starting tomorrow are HERE – registration will remain open till the end of March.

Let’s get on with the films! Maybe grab a cup of tea to enjoy while you’re watching?…

Each week there is a prompt or theme or filming technique to focus on… here are some of the films created…


circleofpines :: karenbhphotos :: locallovely :: sarahljohnstone


Kim Klassen :: Alexis Allen :: KatieJanew :: katherinelightner


AllisonGipson :: BonnieDuBois :: Francescarnyc :: lewesmap


breehester :: tressavent :: celinabailey :: thisisjules


juliabarnickle :: Debram56 :: carojonesphoto :: fionaannal :: electricdaisyflowerfarm


staceypotterphoto :: kellywills :: jsaad24 :: ashleybartner :: instannnnagram


Coldatnight :: nancymoon :: katekenny :: lovelylittlememoirs

AMAZING, right?? I hope you enjoyed watching these special stories…

See all the other films here #makefilmscourse

Now for some very kind words… and me blushing and smiling BIG because people are so very sweet.

“I have LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this course so very much. What a refreshing, beautiful, inspiring course and instructor. It is packed with tips and tricks to take your filming skills to the next level.  Each week offers a chance to grow creatively and gives you motivation to tackle some things you wouldn’t have tried on your own. Xanthe is practical, colorful in every way and insanely good at what she does. Jump in. You will treasure the journey it takes you on” - Kelly Wilis

“Learning more about film was a huge goal of mine in 2016 – and enrolling in this course was easily one of the best things I did to further my learning. I knew within the first week – that this course was something special. Not only is Xanthe full of incredible inspiration – her lessons are chock full of wonderful information – especially for those who are wanting to expand their knowledge in the film/video. (I now have a slight obsessions with #minimovies.) As an instructor – she is available, helpful and insanely supportive. I used to think films were slightly daunting and was overwhelmed with the process – Xanthe’s approach helps you tap into your creative self. In the past 10 weeks – I can safely say I have developed a true love for films and cannot wait to create more in the future.” - Allison Gipson

“I have been a student of Xanthe’s for several years and I absolutely love learning with her.  From the very first class, she gave me tools to understand every aspect of the filmmaking process and (more importantly) inspiration to use in my own films.  Anyone can give you the technical skills needed to make a film, but with Xanthe you have a creative teacher and guide who empowers and inspires beyond just the how-to.  I gasp a little each time I watch her work, and it spurs me on over and over again to create my own time capsules memories.” - Deb Achak 

“Make Films has helped me learn to see in new ways. Xanthe’s creativity, inspiration, and gentle nudges to capture the beauty of our every day lives is a gift that everyone should enjoy. I have learned so much about the importance of treasuring the simplicity of my life, as well as making sure I am a part of the films I have created during the Make Films Course.” - Katiusca Guzman

“I have so loved the Make Films course. I learned so much and was inspired to really see what I could do with video. Each week, I was asked to step out of my comfort zone and to create a film that I might not have considered before. I take a lot of online courses and it is rare that I complete each and every assignment, but for this class I came out with a new video each week. I’m so glad that I did – without doing so I would not have discovered that I have many different kinds of stories to tell. Xanthe is a gifted teacher. Her tutorials are easy to follow and even though I’ve made and edited films before, I learned something new each time. I will take any course that Xanthe offers because she is so warm and encouraging. I loved every second of this class. I might even take it again just to continue to be inspired.” -Bree Hester

“Make Films is one of the best ecourses I’ve ever done. It’s full of content and guidance, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. I especially loved that we were able to share our movies and learn from each other. Thank you so much Xanthe! You’re an inspiration and amazing teacher! I can’t wait to sign up for one of your other courses.” - Dörte

“When I signed up for Xanthe’s course I wasn’t sure how much would be possible using just my phone camera but decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did. I have loved learning how to look at things differently and have found that it’s made me take time to stop and see the world around me. It’s been so rewarding to see what’s possible and fun to be part of a lovely supportive online community too. Ten weeks flew by – I’ll miss the course but will keep on learning and filming. I love it and am grateful that it opened my eyes and let me see what’s possible, has allowed me to capture special people and moments and has taught me how to make cupcakes dance.” – Juliet Simmons

And finally… Lovely blog posts by Katherine Lightner & Laura Pashby

Thank you!





Written by xanthe

March 21st, 2016 at 7:31 am

Posted in MAKE FILMS


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I love this time of year… with springtime, my birthday and the Easter four day weekend on the horizon.

So when Anthropologie here in UK asked me if I’d like to create a film, sharing how I would lay the table & cook up a special lunch for a family Easter weekend lunch… I jumped at the chance!

Take a look…

Lately I find weekends are full of work, chores and social engagements… well, it’s mostly the boys who do all the socialising! But we’re always out & about doing something, so taking time to hang out at home was pretty lovely.

The boys helped lay the table, although that might have had something to do with chocolate eggs…

The brilliant Clare of Achillea provided colourful blooms in vintage stone jars, to compliment the duck egg blue plates and pink glassware…

I was so excited at how pretty the table looked. I’m totally in love with all the tableware, especially the table cloth and napkins… they will be wonderful for future summer parties!

So if you’re looking for some menu inspiration for your Easter weekend… I decided to keep it really simple… so we could focus on more time sat around the table, rather than slaving over a hot stove.

To start – Butternut squash soup with warmed baguette. 

Then – A simple roast chicken and potatoes… 

and a garden salad, both colourful and delicious. 

Then dessert – Pavlova with fresh berries… please don’t notice that it’s a shop bought pavlova, I would’ve made a real one, but laying the table was way more fun than spending even more time in the kitchen!

Still tasted amazing… especially on the stunning plates by Lou Rota, those colours make me so happy!.

One last highlight… these glasses are beautiful and the boys loved them…

They’ve never used such fancy glassware, it was so cute to watch them enjoying them.

And naturally Luke had some bubbles…

What a lovely day… hope it inspires you to cook up something delicious, lay the table with some prettiness and celebrate springtime finally arriving.

Note about the collaboration – I was commissioned to create the photos & film for the Anthropologie blog – pop over there to see the post – it’s rather lovely! but I was so excited by the photos, film and all the prettiness, I wanted to share it here too… hope you enjoy it!

Written by xanthe

March 20th, 2016 at 6:00 am


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MAKE FILMS is back! The online course starts next week… I’m so excited to offer it again.

You can see all the films made as part of the current course here - #makefilmscourse… literally bursting with creativity. I will do a more detailed post next week sharing some of the films made. They have blown my mind!

Let me tell you more about the course -


With weekly prompts and inspiration, this 10 week course will look at different shooting & editing techniques, and the various stories you can tell through making 15 second films for Instagram or one minute films to share online. MAKE FILMS is packed with tips and tricks of how to make all my favourite films! We’ll focus on making a different type of film each week – see some of the examples below…

Even though the focus will be on mini Instagram films, you can share these films anywhere and make them longer than 15 secs.

This course isn’t just about family or personal films. You can use the films to promote your business or brand e.g. make stop motions of your stationery products or time lapses of your surroundings or mini films of your events. There is so much scope for telling stories through film.

All the details are HERE. The course starts Tues 22nd March. Hope you’ll join us!

Here are some one of the films you can make -







ONE MORE STOP MOTION (Coz I love this one!)



Written by xanthe

March 18th, 2016 at 5:00 pm


with one comment

My favourite film to look back on is the one packed with the everyday details.

As the years seems to whizz by faster and faster… these films are full of reminders of our daily life.

Creating a Day In The Life film gives you the opportunity to notice the details of your routine and the ordinary things… and then capture those mundane things, to make them beautiful.

These are the little things I notice, the things I want to remember. I’m telling a story for my future self.

And I know I’m going to love what ever details I put in the frame because they are fleeting. I know this to be true by watching back Day In The Life films I’ve made over the years.

Each film is a gift. A gift to my future self.

Last week in the MAKE FILMS course I encouraged people to create a Day In The Life film… even one mini film like these. In my current Bloom Forum course… people are documenting their lives so beautifully… and tomorrow my Creating Time Capsules course starts and the DITL film is one of the best Time Capsules films you can ever make.

These films take effort. I don’t promise it’s quick & easy, but I do promise you will love what ever you create.

Hope these mini ones have inspired you to have a go at creating your own Day In The Life film…

If you’d like any help, inspiration or guidance… consider taking one of my online courses - Creating Time Capsules starts on Friday or MAKE FILMS on 22nd March.

Check out this blog post to hear about both courses.

These films are shot on Canon 5D3, Canon G7x and iPhone 6s



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Currently I have two online courses, both sharing how you can make your own little films -

MAKE FILMS & Creating Time Capsules.

I’ve had a few emails asking the difference between the courses… so let me share some details here.

Both courses are suitable for all levels… from beginners who have never shot any video and want to get started… to people who are already making films confidently, but would like some encouragement and project ideas to continue on the path.

You can use any camera you like on either course – DSLR, mobile or compact… whatever you are familiar with. For the editing software – I share techniques in iMovie, but you can use other editing programs… some of the editing tips can be transferred easily. Additional equipment for MAKE FILMS – tripod & remote (but not essential).

A lot of the course materials cross over on both courses, but they’re delivered in different ways, depending on the film being made. I’ll be covering shooting, editing and sharing lots of film inspiration.

Let’s break down each course…


A Time Capsule film is a memory evoking film. Your unique moments, packaged up in a movie; using a mix of photos or video, for you to share and enjoy… forever.

Creating Time Capsules is a course for those people who want to make regular films of their life and family times… The six week course will guide you through shooting tips, tons of project ideas for inspiration and bite sized tutorials showing you the editing process in iMovie. You’ll also be part of community sharing their films and connecting with each other on Vimeo.

The course schedule recommends creating three films (one every two weeks) – the first will be photo based – stop motion or slideshow. The second film focuses on just video to hone your skills and the final film can combine both mediums.

All the details are HERE. The course starts Friday 6th May.

Some examples of films you could create – One Minute Memories, Random Happenings or Day In The Life films.



MAKE FILMS is a new course for 2016, based on all the films I’ve been sharing on Instagram.

With weekly prompts and inspiration, this 10 week course will look at different shooting & editing techniques, and the various stories you can tell through making 15 second films for Instagram or one minute films to share online. It’s packed with tips and tricks of how to make all my favourite films! We’ll concentrate a different type of film each week, from stop motions, time lapses, slow mo stories, scenes from the weekend films… to simply shooting interesting footage to edit into little films.

Even though the focus will be on mini Instagram films, you can share these films anywhere and make them longer than 15 secs.

There is a schedule – The new project or weekly inspiration will be shared in my online learning space every Tuesday… you then have all week to create your project and share it on a Monday with the course community on Instagram – check out the #makefilmscourse tag to see what’s being made.

This course isn’t just about family or personal films. You can use the films to promote your business or brand e.g. make stop motions of your stationery products or time lapses of your surroundings or mini films of your events. There is so much scope for telling stories through film.

All the details are HERE. The course starts Tues 17th May.

Some examples of films you could create - Stop motions, Time lapses, Scenes From The Weekend films, Slow mo stories & Mini Day In The Life films.

So which course DO I recommend?

Both courses offer a similar outline with what’s available to learn – especially the shooting tips and editing guidance. The project ideas are slightly different as you can see from the examples.

So really it’s a personal preference…

Ask yourself… how much time do you have to devote to creating films? What kind of films would you like to make? How would you like to share them? Do you have something specific you’d like to learn? What stories or content is available for you to capture?

I think by answering these questions the right course will reveal itself to you… Come and join in the fun!

If you’ve got any more questions… leave a comment here or contact me.



Written by xanthe

March 6th, 2016 at 8:00 pm