TIPS FOR SHOOTING A DAY IN THE LIFE FILM - xanthe berkeley
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TIPS FOR SHOOTING A DAY IN THE LIFE FILM

TIPS FOR SHOOTING A DAY IN THE LIFE FILM

If you’re planning to shoot a Day In The Life film…

Here are some tips and thoughts about the project, incase you’ve never shot one before.

Think about what’s going to happen in your day… yes, it’s good to be open to spontaneous moments, but the likelihood is, you’ll have a good idea what the order of your day will be and the key moments you’d like to capture.

I like to approach it as a memory gatherer, and focus on the moments and everyday details, that I’d like to remember in years to come.

Ask yourself –

What is special and unique about your life as it is right at this moment?

What details of your day might change over time, to it’s worth documenting them now?

Practical preparations –

  • Make sure your camera batteries are charged and your memory cards are empty. Have your camera ready the night before, so it can be with you first thing in the morning.
  • Don’t obsess about having a tidy house, remember this about capturing the realness of life.
  • Make the people who’ll be with you that day, aware of your mission, get them onside and encourage them to be an active part of the day.
  • Prepare to get yourself in front of the frame as well.
  • Look after yourself – It’s very tiring filming and photographing all day – prep some snacks or even plan your meals… and remember if you need to take a break, give yourself permission to take one. You don’t need to film every minute of the day! Just the key moments throughout the day.
  • Perhaps pick out some music tracks in advance if you can, just so you’ve got some choices in the edit. (Have you heard of Soundstripe?) As you’ll know the type of day you’re going to have, the music could reflect that – is it a lazy cosy day, or are you out and about doing chores or with family?… choose your music accordingly.

  • Vary your shots – include a mix of compositions and angles to make the film more interesting – explore and experiment…. Wide and close ups… time lapses and slow motion… shoot along the floor, from above, through objects – be experimental! Also, you might like to include photos in the finished piece – so shoot those as well. Turn it into a visual feast, so you can’t take your eyes off it when watching it back.
  • Audio – Include snippets of sound if you can. I don’t do this enough but when I do, it’s another layer of emotion. Most cameras have integrated microphones, so get familiar with it or use an external mic if you’ve got one. Beware of background noises or the wind when shooting outside, these can disturb the main source of audio that you’d like to capture.
  • Remind yourself, you don’t have to film every… single… thing you do. It will be too much footage and it’s about looking for key moments and your unique stories.
  • The everyday stuff and details are what change over the years, so include as many as you can.
  • Put yourself in the frame, set your camera up on a tripod or table and film yourself. It’s important you’re part of the story.
  • Do take a break when you need to, but try not to stop shooting before the day is over… it’s really wonderful to have a little something from each part of the day.
  • As you’re likely to edit in chronological order, have an idea in your head of how you’re going to start and end your film and that you’ve got enough during the day to make the film flow. For example, don’t go crazy with multiple scenes in the morning and then only a couple of shots in the evening or nothing to end on. Have a balance of footage throughout the day to tell the whole story.

  • It seems daunting to pull a DITL film together and to be honest – it is! But it’s worth it. Start editing as soon as you can. Let the momentum of shooting carry you into the edit. Obviously you don’t have to edit the same day, but try and do it within a week of shooting, so it feels fresh and interesting to you.
  • I recommend editing it in chronological order to tell the true story of your day.
  • Hopefully you’ve already picked out some music, as that can help with the flow of your film.
  • Sort through your footage to begin with. It’s likely you won’t use everything you’ve shot. Select your favourite clips and start to build your project. You can always go back and add more in, but to bring everything you’ve shot into your edit, may feel overwhelming.
  • Length of film is up to you. Depending on what you’ve shot will determine how long your film is. There’s no optimum length, it’s a personal preference. Just be mindful – Does the story telling carry you through all the way to the end? While watching, is your attention held throughout your film? Try to put yourself in the position of viewer and keep checking that only the necessary elements are in there. Gaining this type of perspective is difficult when you’re creating it all, but I’ve found it to be key in delivering a great finished product.
  • If the film is becoming too long, consider splitting it up into different chapters – e.g. Morning & evening films. That way you can enjoy all the footage in smaller portions.

 

Hopefully some of these tips have been helpful and you’re all set to create your Day In The Life film…

It really is a wonderful film to make! and something you’ll love for years to come.

 

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