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How To Make Video Recording Special (Again)

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When I was growing up, you could tell an event was a special occasion because my dad would haul out the giant camcorder, which sat like an insect on long tripod legs or, in a pinch, rested on his shoulder like a great black bird. He has shelves and shelves of tapes of birthday parties, band concerts, ballet recitals, and the annual chaos of Christmas morning, but not too much footage of our family doing regular things like hanging out in the backyard on a summer day eating popsicles we made out of Kool-Aid.

These days, it couldn't be easier to record everyday life; digital cameras, phones, even our computers and tablets can capture video, and I bet we all have more hours of mundane snippets of the kids slurping spaghetti than we do of life's more significant events, like family reunions or kindergarten performances.

But it's precisely because recording video has become so quick and easy that it's also lost some of its specialness. I want to bring that specialness back.

Aside from confining your video recordings to only official "special occasions," how can you give even the most mundane moments a little more emphasis and polish? Editing!      

Raw video is great on its own, but processed video--say, long (and sometimes boring!) clips cut down and set to music--can make a really wonderful something out of a whole lot of nothing. I filmed some footage of my son walking down the street in a ridiculous little dandy outfit, and although the original clip alone is nothing to write home about, once I isolated the best part, applied some filters in iMovie, and added the perfect music, I suddenly had a scene. I just love it.

Here's another short I put together of footage filmed on a regular old rainy day.

And here's my artsy interpretation of my son's first tea party.

Basic video editing software either comes with your computer (iMovie on Macs) or can be downloaded for free (Windows Movie Maker for PCs), and the type of program you work with will determine what effects you can apply and how much control you have over the final product. If you have a smartphone, definitely look into apps that will apply effects as you're shooting. If you love Instagram, for instance, you'll love the vintage look of the Super 8 app (iPhone) or the RetroMoviePlayer (Android). (I like to have a lot of control over my projects, and in a perfect world I'd shoot all my video straight and unaffected and then apply my filters later in software, but I also know that the more control I have the longer I'll spend endlessly tweaking details, so this summer I'm trying to do more processing up front so I have time to make more movies overall.)

Have you done any video editing? Do you have favorite apps, software programs, or tricks for turning regular old video footage into something special? Tell me what you love, and post links to any projects you want to share!

by on Jul. 9, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

hmmm....may have to try this!

by Danya on Jul. 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM

 I wouldn't even know where to start!  I'd love to learn though!

by on Jul. 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Thanks! I haven't done this but need to start.
by Silver Member on Jul. 9, 2012 at 12:15 PM

i took video production in high school but quickly forgot everything i was taught.

by Mandee on Jul. 9, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I have not but my 8yr old has been begging to make youtube videos and I was explaining that alot of them make hours of videos and then have to edit down so i have a feeling I will be learning how to soon!

                            Click The Blinkie To Join Me!!    

by on Jul. 9, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I was thinking the same thing. I'm not good at this stuff. My dad is. He has been asked to do weddings. He has edited videos of my kids births. My sister was the one videoing it though

Quoting Wish2Be:

 I dont think I am tech savy enough to video edit. LOL . These are great though !

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by Sue on Jul. 9, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I've used Windows Movie Maker to make a couple of videos, but its so time consuming that I haven't made anymore. I think I need to finish the last one I started. LOL

by Bronze Member on Jul. 9, 2012 at 2:04 PM

awesome, I like videos those time lapsing ones are great

by Bronze Member on Jul. 9, 2012 at 2:06 PM

you tube :-)

Quoting MamaMandee:

I have not but my 8yr old has been begging to make youtube videos and I was explaining that alot of them make hours of videos and then have to edit down so i have a feeling I will be learning how to soon!

by Kathleen on Jul. 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I am still in the dark ages I think.  The only thing I have that will record video is my digital camera and it will only do up to 15 minutes total of it.  I have no clue how to edit it, in fact I can't even post it to facebook because my internet connection is too slow, lol. 

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