When I was a kid, my parents used to record and show us home movies. You’d sit on the couch, watching yourself or family members in the flickering light of the projector, and feel the warmth of being with the people you love, even if it was only on celluloid.
Now it’s so much easier to create that feeling of a mini-family film using video-creation tools, like Animoto. And it’s possible to not only record your children celebrating milestones, but to frame those memories like a story. Parents can create short videos highlighting meaningful events, like Halloween, for far-away family members, in a way that makes their relatives feel part of it.
For instance, Animoto user Rachel Rooke and her family move a lot. Her husband’s in the military, which means they’re usually far away for holidays like Halloween. So she uses video to bring family members in on important days. She shared, “Video captures not only the visual side of my children, but also their personalities. My mother says, when she watches one of our family videos, she feels like she is right there with us.”
That’s why Rachel shared the video below with her family last Halloween, rather than just a couple snapshots of the costumes — to let them in on the entire trick-or-treating experience.
Style: Spider’s Web
Song: “Little Monkey” by Abbas Premjee
Part of what makes Rachel’s videos so effective is that she has a background in filmmaking, and that’s taught her to focus on planning out her video stories. “In telling a complete story, you need to think about the beginning, the end, and all of the moments in between that will show all of the events that happened. So before I even pull out my camera, I try to think of the things that the kids will be doing as the night unfolds and sort of come up with a shot list in my head.”
A simple shot list lets you know when to pull out your camera and start recording video, and makes sure you aren’t missing important shots at the end of the night. If you’re not sure what moments you ought to be capturing, take a look at our trick-or-treat shot list, so you’ll have all the photos and video clips you’ll need to tell this year’s Halloween story with video:
Song: “Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat” by Wee Bee
Prep: Half of the fun of Halloween is transforming into someone or something else (or watching your kids transform)! Shots: Putting on costumes or make-up, styling hair
Details: Here’s where to focus on the special details of each child’s costume, makeup or hair — anything they (or you) put a little extra effort into. You can also take a moment to capture your home’s Halloween decor, or Halloween treats — maybe take a short clip of hot apple cider brewing on the stove to help your audience imagine themselves in your home. Shots: Costume details, household decorations, candy buckets
Costume: Take a moment to get your little one to pose in costume. Since you can mute video clips in Animoto, just tell your kids exactly how you want them to move (“Make your hands look like claws!” or “Spread out your cape!”) or ask them to act out their character (“Can you show me what a pirate does?”). Then, get rid of the audio later when you’re creating your video in Animoto. Shots: Children acting out their characters or twirling around so you can see their whole outfits
The scene: If you want family members from far away to feel as if they were there with you, capture some video that sets the scene. You can do that by recording your kids heading off down the street to trick-or-treat, candy buckets swinging by their sides. Shots: Kids leaving the house, walking through the neighborhood
Trick or treat: The big moment’s finally come! This is where video clips will let your Halloween story shine. Stand back a little bit so you can get a good shot of your little ones walking up to the door and asking for their candy. One tip — try to get this part of your video done early. The light will be better before it gets too late, and your kids (probably) won’t be cranky or tired yet. Shots: Kids knocking at a door, saying, “Trick or treat!”
Enjoying the candy: What kid doesn’t love to spill out their sugar-filled haul at the end of the night and see exactly how much candy they got? Costumes and trick or treating are fun, but tallying up candy is serious post-trick-or-treat business and definitely deserves a place in any Halloween story. Shots: Dumping out the candy, enjoying a treat or two, trading candy with siblings or friends
The closing shot: Every great movie has to end with a parting shot that lets viewers know you’re wrapping up your story. These shots need not be that dramatic. Try a short clip or image of all the kids together, maybe just before everyone heads out to trick or treat, or at the end of the night with handfuls of candy. Shots: The family (or just kids) together in costume, kids with handfuls of candy, everyone warming up with a hot drink
With a little planning, you can make an ordinary Halloween video into something extraordinary — a visual story that brings friends and family into your trick-or-treating tale and makes them feel like part of the festivities. But, just as my parents’ home movies were for me, your video can also a treasure for both you and your children, giving you a way to glance back at that one Halloween night for years to come. Give it a try this Halloween! Then, reach out in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook by tagging @Animoto to let us know how your video turned out.