Over the last three years of making (and sharing) June in June, I’ve had many questions about how we film and edit these yearly movies of our daughter. It’s surprisingly easy to create a really fun and halfway decent finished product if you have just a few tools and tips, with the end result being something you’ll treasure forever. Today I’m sharing our best practices, if you’d like to try it yourself!
TIPS FOR FILMING:
— Pick one month where you commit to having your cameras more readily at hand and filming multiple clips a day. The idea of capturing everything all year is daunting and overwhelming to me, but one month I can do! Even though kids change so much month-to-month, when we’re looking back from the vantage point of an eighteenth birthday, I think 18 mini movies will be enough for us :)
–We shoot almost all of our clips with my iPhone. (I have a 7 Plus – John has a 5S, so we don’t use his too often, ha!) The quality it produces is pretty incredible. We also have a GoPro, which we’ve used for underwater and action shots in a few movies! Very important: don’t forget to shoot horizontally!!
— Always film slightly longer than you think you need to – you never know when an extra half second will help you time something with the music, and it’s always better to have more footage rather than less.
— To help with editing, aim for variety in all ways! Film some scenes where your child is aware of, and interacting with, the camera, and some where he or she is not. Film multiple versions or angles of the same scene (like I did to create the opening montage of June watering flowers in Volume 3), as well as multiple versions of the same action over several days (like the opening sidewalk montage in Volume 2!). Film up close to your subjects and film from a distance. Film your subjects walking past the camera and towards the camera and away from the camera. Film them sitting and reading and film them running/walking/swinging/dancing/jumping.
— Just like with photos, try to shoot in good light – but don’t let “bad” light discourage you. Some of the sweetest moments happen in the evening or in the bathtub in a windowless bathroom :)
— Make sure to get both parents in front of the camera, as well as any siblings, family members, or friends that are particularly important to their life right now. Same goes for places you frequent, favorite activities, everyday routines, and funny habits or mannerisms — anything that’s a marker of their life at this age.
TIPS FOR EDITING:
— I edit in iMovie, a program included with Macs. Since I’m far from a professional, keeping the editing simple and classic results in the most polished product. I don’t use a theme and generally don’t use transitions between clips (I did in Volume 1, so you can see what a “fade to black” transition between each clip looks like there, if you’d like!). I almost always use the “expand” title for text.
— We use Amazon Prime for phone photo backup. At the end of the month I download all of the videos from our back-up to my computer, delete any I definitely won’t use, then load the rest into iMovie. I usually use at least a piece of about 2/3 of the clips from the month (but that means about 1/3 end up on the cutting room floor).
— I purchase my song choice from iTunes, which easily loads into iMovie. Song choice is critical! I am on the hunt year-round for possible June in June songs, and store any possibilities in a note on my phone. If you’re stuck, try perusing Spotify playlists that fit with the feeling you’re trying to capture – they’re always a treasure trove of new-to-me songs and artists!
— I like to include a clip at some point where I can hear laughter or talking, since their voices change so much. Cue all the mamas sobbing in the corner.
— Switch things up! Here’s where you’re grateful for the variety of clips you captured! :) Mix close up and pulled back shots and quick switches with a few longer shots (like at :44 in Volume 3) to give the viewer a chance to breathe.
— Don’t leave a clip on the cutting room floor because something is out of place. This is meant to capture your real life — don’t stress about your messy house in the background or your hair looking weird. The sweetest and most memorable moments are not fancy – some of my favorites in Volume 2 include June eating oatmeal in our bathroom and her ridiculous camping bedhead.
— Three minutes is my max finished length – I usually shoot for between 2:00 and 2:30. This year’s was 2:45.
Most of all, remember this video is for you. Childhood passes all too quickly, and these yearly videos are my favorite way to capture all those things we’re so likely to forget: the length of their hair, their baby chub, the way they walk and run, their smile, the way they hold a spoon, the outfits they wear on repeat… all those things that, years later, will make you say, “Oh wow, I almost forgot about that…”
Happy filming, friends! If you have any questions I haven’t covered, drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!
P.S. For those of you who have asked… YES, we will be making movies for Shep, too! Stay tuned for Sheptember Volume 1 in 2019 :)