Capture Chrismas with your smartphone

Christmas is coming!!!

The reaction on your child's face when opening Christmas presents is one of those  "once in a lifetime" moments you can never really capture on a photo. That's why so many people take to video. Short Holiday videos are the best for those hard to capture moments that you cant go back and shoot again. The best camera for these types of videos is the one one you always have with you. Yes the one in your pocket or the one your reading this on now: Your Smartphone! It can be an iPhone or Android device... it really doesn't matter. 

Kids grow up so fast! And in the rat race of their childhood sometimes you hardly have time to take pictures let alone learning how to make a video. But it's not as time consuming as one thinks. Smartphones and social media have made video sharing easier than ever.... it only takes a few minutes to share a clip with friends and family around the world.

Sharing that moment with parents and grand parents as it's happening can be priceless. Would you like to share a short video with your loved ones in other countries? Besides seeing the kids reactions as they open their gifts is a moment in time you would like to capture forever (even they will appreciate it when they are all grown up). Here is how you make a great short Holiday memory video:

How to make a holiday video of your kids opening their presents on Christmas day.

There are a ton of videos of kids reacting to opening their presents online. ALL of these are single clips often filmed with an upright camera of only this one moment. But this experience should be more than just a VINE moment for a laugh. These are family moments that tell our life story. This should be something to cherish and remember and if you focus on these 5 tips you will be able to create a short clip that captures the mood & atmosphere of this wonderful time together. Lets look at how to make a great Holiday video.


5 Things to consider:

1 - Is the room "video ready"?
2 - Are you talking too much?
3 - How long are your clips?
4 - Have you got everyone involved?
5 - Filmed the decor too?

Tip 1 - Is the room ready?

Could have used a touch more light....

As with any video, the space we film in needs to be camera ready. On movie sets you have hundres of people running around making sure everything is perfect, but don't worry this will only take you a moment. Quickly pop into the room where the presents are going to be opened and make sure there is enough ambient light. 

I know quite often families like to leave the room dark and only have the Christmas tree lights on for ambiance. This is perfectly fine so long as there is light coming from a source that will light up your child's face. Leaving a light on in the next room or brining a lamp into the foreground gives just that little extra help to see your kids face light up as they open their presents - excuse the pun. The scene can be dim - All you need is that little bit of extra glow on the face. 

The other thing you will want to make sure you know, before you start filming, is where you will be placed. Having the right position is vital to getting a memorable shot. Too many parents film from a standing position somewhere in the back of the room. This causes a downward angle with the floor occupying most of the background of your shot. The best angle is to get low. Get in eye-line with your present-opener. The background will be the Christmas tree or  family members now. Also if you have a designated place for yourself you can film relaxed and avoid any shaky camera movements. Sit in a place where you don't need to move to see everyone.

Tip 2 - Are you still talking?

Now this will not apply to everyone... but there are many parents who get carried away with calling out instructions and talking to family while filming. The reason I say this is a problem is because  most people always wish they hadn't been speaking when they watch their video afterwards.

"Open it like this - look at the camera - hello....hellooo.... Nancy look here!!"

OMG is that what i sound like!!!! Oh my I'm so annoying....   It's normal for this to happen. People get caught up in the excitement of the situation. But once it's done, its done. The only way to "un-do" this is by completely muting the track and that is not great either as you do want the reaction sounds of the scene. So, if you are a person who does not like the sound of their own voice, just remember you will be heard yapping on if you don't tone it done. Let the situation be natural.

This does NOT MEAN that you shouldn't speak, just be aware that the microphone is right in-front of you and you will be heard loudest. You should be part of the action, just not all of it.

Is that ME talking the whole time!!!!!

Tip 3 - How long are your clips?

If you want to make your life easier when it comes to compiling a short video edit, get used to filming short clips. I know it's hard when you don't want to miss a moment, but you need to try control the clip length as best as you can. The general rule is to keep your clips between 4-6 seconds, but what do you do when it comes to the actual opening shot? You can't control how long it takes, however you can control when it starts. Make sure you are in-control of the situation. Get ready with your setup, roll camera and call for action...

I promise you it won't be more than 10seconds for them to open up that wrapping. The height of kids' reactions usually last about another 10 to 15 seconds. Once you have this 20-30sec moment it's time to cut the clip. Pick it up again on a different angle and keep the next clips really short. Nobody wants to watch more than one 30second clip in a video. So the structure of your video will look something like this: 

Your final video should be around 30 clips. Only one of them is long!

Tip 4 - Is the whole family involved?

So to quickly recap. Tip 1 says you should be in the best position to film everything from one place. Tip 3 says get a whole bunch of other shots that last 4-6 seconds, but what are these shots of? Answer: Everyone else in the room. A child's reaction is priceless, but it is only part of the fun. Getting the family reactions to the reactions of the children is how you make a story out of your video. So again make sure everyone is gathered around so you can see them all from your shooting spot. The moment you finish the long 20-30second "opening present" clip get a few short clips of everyone else in the room. Keep these clips separate - don't film everyone in one clip that moves around from person to person (its a nightmare to edit and worse to watch). Turn the camera on yourself and give a wave or a wink. Don't forget the pets!

Tip 5 - Filmed the decor too?

Christmas time is when our homes are turned into winter wonderlands (even when you live in the southern hemisphere and its summer outside - traditions reach far I tell you). The lights, the tree, the stockings on the mantlepiece, the reindeer on the roof and loads more.... Get a short close up video clip of as many of these as you can to fill into the video. These clips are here to give the video body and substance. You can even add in a clip or two of what you going to eat. 

For a lovely 1-2minute video you will need about 20 to 30 clips. Remember this should only take you a few seconds here and there to film. If you stick to these principals you will be able to edit this video together with your phone in under 10minutes. There is a link below with a Free Video Tutorial to take you through the 7 steps of editing a video on your phone FAST!!! Share those memories on Whatsapp and instagram as they happen....

BONUS TIP - Don't overthink the edit!

People think of Editing as a complicated process. All you need to know is that you are placing the clips you filmed back to back. If you keep the clips short and controlled you don't even need to touch them - its as simple as. Loading them into an app and exporting them. Don't worry about the order - its a Holiday Montage. Just go for it - the memories last forever. 

Good luck, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Do you want to learn more about filming & video editing?
We demystify all the jargon and technical stuff, so you can just get on with filming & editing a video, even with just your smartphone.
No more searching YouTube & Google for a solution, it all here in one place.
We have taught 100's of people how to edit videos on a smartphone, so let us help you. Signup and get our FREE Video Checklist & Weekly video Tutorials.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}