A few weeks ago I posted my first video. And mentioned that I was super excited about it.
The super excited part was a little bit of an understatement.
To put it in perspective…Ben was away on a business trip and when I finally exported the finished video at 11:30pm, I called him and made him watch it right that second. And then I couldn’t sleep. And then the next day I went to yoga and did a handstand (okay, it was a wall handstand – but it was still a first) and tried to share my joyful energy with everyone in the room through my mind.
This is why I love learning new things.
There are a lot of parallels between photo and video, but the truth is that they are very different mediums. Some of the technical elements are very similar, like exposure and composition, but there is a larger storytelling element to video that isn’t always present in a single photo. Because I wasn’t exactly sure where to start when it comes to making an interesting video, I turned to my local library for some help, and picked up a copy of How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, which was very appropriately named.
The secret I learned from the book was that the key to an interesting video was storyboarding. Yes, it’s the same thing that you see the animators doing when you visit the studios at Disney World. A good story has four things: a beginning, a middle, an end, and a hero. The hero is your subject, and a storyboard can be just three simple frames to tell your audience the story of your hero. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does work better if you know ahead of time what story you are trying to tell. It’s also helpful if you are intentional about how you show the beginning, middle and end. So much of a story is in the details, not just movement or action, and although it may seem counterintuitive, focusing on details, rather than the full scene, can create a more dynamic story.
Because I pre-visualized the beginning, middle, and end, and came up with a list of shots that I wanted to film to make the story come to life, it made my job of compiling the video much easier (not that it was easy – I have so much respect for videographers after doing this. That one minute video took me an entire day to make. Granted, I was learning something new, which adds some time, but still – there is so much more that goes into the process of making the video after you’ve got the footage than there is after you’ve done a photo shoot). But what I didn’t expect was that learning how to make an interesting video had an impact on what I photographed. By thinking in terms of the big-picture story, I photographed details and moments differently than I would have before. I looked for things that would bring the whole day or the whole session into focus and give meaning to the message I wanted to convey.
Did the video ultimately turn out perfect? I’m sure it’s not. But it doesn’t stop me from loving it, because I learned so much from trying out a new medium. And I had fun. Of course I want to do more, but maybe not yet in a professional capacity – I love photo and still have so many ideas to run with in that medium. But I like experimenting, and I definitely want to use video to share things here in this space. I’m most looking forward to trying it out when we travel next month to California…so stay tuned for a look into our adventures!