If you have a video camera, chances are you have several hours of video footage that is screaming to be watched and made into a movie. Probably like many of you, I love getting together with my family and watching old home movies. Pictures are wonderful, but there is something about video that brings back the memories much more vividly. Creating a movie from your video footage will be something your family will treasure for years to come. The first thing you need to make your movie is video editing software. Most computers now come with this free software. We have Windows Vista on our computer and it came with the program Movie Maker. It is really basic, but it is all you need if for personal use. If you have never edited a movie on your computer, there are all kinds of online tutorials for the various programs. You can find Movie Maker's here. Other popular video editing software includes Adobe Premier Elements (what I would buy if I didn’t already have Movie Maker), Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Pinnacle and of course if you have a Mac there is iMovie and Final Cut. I am not going to go into the step by step process of how to create a movie, since there are already awesome tutorials online. This is just to give you the basic idea of how to get started.
You can keep your footage "as is" and transfer directly to a dvd, but I like to edit mine to make it more fun to watch and to prevent "motion sickness” from the crazy camera work (like when the person filming forgets the camera is on). Any time my family and I watch our old home videos we all feel like we want to throw up afterwards. There are many times my dad forgot the camera was on and the camera was filming all over the place. Often, we skip watching the home videos because we all associate watching them with feeling sick! We are in a catch 22 - we love watching them but is it worth getting sick?
This year, I tackled my footage one month at a time. I would completely finish and save a month before moving on to the next month. I saved each month as a separate file, too. I started with January '08 and imported all of my video footage from that month and then edited it down to my favorite few minutes. I then imported my favorite pictures from January and mixed them in with the videos on the timeline. Next, I found fun music online that goes along with the photos and then edited the photos and videos to go along with the beat of the music. Then all you have to do is add transitions & effects to the pictures & some text. I don’t like when people go crazy with transitions. I keep it simple and do the “fade in” option. I choose the “ease –in” option on my photo effects.
The hardest part for me is choosing the music that fits with the pictures. I’ve listed some good choices in case you need some ideas.
Baby Songs: One Day Old by Woodie Guthrie, Little Sack of Sugar and Who’s My Pretty Baby by Elizabeth Mitchell, Baby Face by Regis Philbin, You are My Sunshine, I Like to Move It by Reel to Real, My Girl, Apples and Bananas, Bad Day by Daniel Powter (baby’s aren’t always all smiles)
Other fun songs: How Sweet it is by James Taylor, ABC 123 by The Jackson 5, American the Beautiful (great for outdoor vacation photos), We are Family by Sister Sledge, Celebration by Kool and the Gang, Don’t Worry be Happy by Bobby McPherin
I also think it is a nice touch to make a label for the dvd rather than writing on it with marker. Many dvd drives now come with Lightscribe. Ours has this and it is awesome! It burns a black and white image you design right onto the disc. If you have Lightscribe, make sure you purchase the dvds made for Lightscribe. If you don’t have Lightscribe, you can buy disc labels that you peel and stick onto your dvd after you design and print them.
Hopefully I didn’t overwhelm you with all this information! The project really is straightforward and can be accomplished in about 10-15 hours, depending on the amount of footage you have. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. This is a precious keepsake that your family will love watching for years to come!