CREATING A FESTIVE MEMORY POSTCARD FILM - xanthe berkeley
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CREATING A FESTIVE MEMORY POSTCARD FILM

CREATING A FESTIVE MEMORY POSTCARD FILM

A “Memory Postcard” film is a compilation of one second clips to spark memories of that time.

I named this type of film “Memory Postcards” because each one second clip felt like a snapshot of that particular moment in time, almost like sending a postcard to my brain to tigger a memory.

Memory Postcard films are firm favourites of mine, I usually make these films as an end of year compilation or a monthly roundup. They might not contain the best bits of footage, but they are packed with memories that might be forgotten. Using the left over clips, the selfies, the boomerangs, the random snippets and fav clips. 

Often rough and ready, not slick and beautiful because it’s all about the FEELINGS. That’s why I started making Time Capsule films all those years ago… each clip, each film can transport me back to that moment, memory and feeling.

I know a festive “Memory Postcard” compilation will work just as well. We all know this festive period will be different, after the year we’ve had. Even if it feels like it won’t the same or you’re disappointed with the change of plans or that nothing much is happening, I feel it might be still worth documenting this unique time.

Also, capturing snippets of your days, might help you enjoy the little things in the moment. You might be feeling that you just want to just move through this time, maybe you’re in hurry for the year to end. But what if you gave yourself the opportunity to notice and document your moments to save as memories to look back on. Watching it in years to come will instantly transport you back to 2020. 

You may think, “Why would I want to do that?!” But I think it will be really fascinating to remember what this year has been like and let those feelings wash over you.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR OWN FESTIVE MEMORY POSTCARD FILM.

JUST START – I say this to participants of my online courses all the time. Just begin. Start to capture little snippets here and there. Look for movement, look for details, look for things that tell the story of this time and your life on that day. You don’t have to capture everything you do. Just remind yourself to grab a clip now and again each day. Jump in and get creating. 

USE THE CAMERA YOU HAVE – Some people think they can’t shoot video because they don’t have a good enough camera or the right equipment. But I don’t agree, as most of us have great camera with us everyday. Using your mobile phone is a great way to capture your festive scenes.

The beauty of a mobile device camera is, it’s simple. No worrying about what the correct settings are. You can start simply and focus on what’s the most important part of making films – What’s happening in front of the camera. 

CHOOSE YOUR SHOOTING ORIENTATION – Consider which orientation you’re shooting in. Are you holding the camera in vertical or horizontal? Typically video was only shot in landscape or widescreen. But now video is being shot and viewed on mobile phones, so there’s lots more vertical video being created. Before you begin creating, decide which orientation you’re using, so all your video clips will be shot the same way and work alongside each other, when you edit them together.

IDEAS OF WHAT TO SHOOT – Anything you find yourself doing. Document it!. All you need are a few clips from each day over the festive period. These could be scenes of cooking, eating, lounging, going for a walk, preparing treats, wrapping presents, taking a bath, playing games, getting dressed in something sparkly, pouring a festive cocktail…

Do you have any traditions? These are especially wonderful to capture, because even though you do them each year, there may be slight differences worth noting.

If you’re with children, try and see the magic they see and video those moments – opening presents, pulling crackers and eating treats. You could even ask them some questions and video their answers. Some of my most precious films are with our boys talking to camera.

Remember you only need a few seconds of footage from each scene you’re capturing.

I also like to capture something that gives a sense of the season, so obviously anything that is Christmassy – the pretty lights, the candles, present opening, eating mince pies. Or scenes that show it’s winter – The bare trees on a walk, or wearing hats/gloves or the low bright sunshine on a blue sky day, or the sunset shot out of the window.

EXPERIMENT WITH HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD – Try a variety of shots and angles when shooting video. As video gives the chance to show the action or movement and evoke a feeling. Play with composition, try different angles, like a wide shot or fill the frame with details in a close up. Don’t be tempted to just shoot from eye level all the time, move around and see how you can tell the story of the scene in a different way. Experiment with wide shots, close ups and details. Shooting looking up or down… or shooting along the floor low down, through things, get active and experimental!

DON’T FORGET TO PUT YOURSELF IN YOUR FILM – Think about placing the camera down, hitting record and stepping into the scene sometimes. A time lapse in the kitchen while cooking could be fun, or sitting at the dining table or even on the sofa watching TV.

Grab a few shots from arms length “selfie” style, include the people you’re with or talk to the camera and share how you’re feeling. Even if you don’t like watching yourself today, please include yourself in your video. Be part of your story.

PREPARE TO EDIT – Take time to go through the clips you’ve got… this can be time consuming, but worth dedicating a block of time to go through everything you’d like to include to represent your festive time. Create a folder on your computer or phone, so it’s easy to bring them into your editing program.

Look for a wide variety of shots and compositions, to make it visually interesting to watch. Remember to not just look for the “beautiful” pieces of footage… find memories and moments that make you FEEL something. Try to think what your future self might be interested in seeing in 10 years time.

MUSIC – Once I’ve sorted through my footage, I like to chose the music before I start editing, so I’ve got a rhythm to edit to. Find music that evokes the feeling of your chosen period of time.… Could it be slow and mellow? Maybe sentimental? or would something fast with a strong beat work well. Your music can set the pace for your edit and the sentiment for your film, adding an extra layer of emotion.

My favourite places to find music to edit to are HERE. Or if you’re going to share your film on Instagram, you could use Reels to add a popular music track to a 30 second video. Just edit together your clips and when you upload via Reels, you can add music directly in the app. 

THE EDIT – Once you’ve gathered all the footage, jump into editing…. grab a one second section, then another, and another… and keep going till you’ve included all your favourite clips. Think of the film as a collage. If you want to use clips that are longer than one second long, give yourself permission to do just that! – this is your film. My suggestions are just suggestions!

My favourite apps for editing on a phone are HERE. Or desktop HERE.

I love editing on my phone because I can do it when I’m sat on the sofa, with a movie (I’ve seen before) playing in the background and life is going on around me. But I can keep half an eye on my edit, dragging my one second clips in and before I know it I’ve completed a film.

Don’t over think the sequence of clips… Sometimes I like to mix some shots up, like put a wide next to close up and then back to a wide. Or I like to edit a few similar clips together, like clips from my bike ride might work in harmony together. Or there might be theme or similar clips that work well together. Mostly, I like to put them in random order and just be guided by the music. Follow your instinct and let the clips flow into each other.

CONSIDER INCLUDING AUDIO FROM YOUR CLIPS – The snippets of the sound captured in your video clips can add another layer of emotion. So think about leaving the volume up on some clips. Beware of background noises or the wind when outside, these can disturb the main source of audio.

AND FINALLY… Have fun with it. It doesn’t have to be the perfect film with perfect footage. You don’t have to share with it, just keep it for yourself to watch back next Christmas. The main aim is to create something that tells the story of your festive 2020, to evoke the feelings and the memories to look back on. And to give you something to focus on and be present at this challenging time.

You might surprise yourself… maybe the process of creating it and the finished film is the best gift to give to yourself now and in the future.

All the best with whatever you create!

You can find more FAQs here.


If you’d like more guidance to start shooting and editing video to make your own films – check out my online courses where I share everything you need to get started and inspiration to take you through the whole process and find the love of making films!


 

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