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Make a great Father’s Day video

13/06

fatherday
It’s almost Father’s Day so why not surprise your dad with a great video? Paying him a personal visit is of course the best idea to honor him, but if you’re not able to, sending him a video could be a great way to tell him how much he means to you. Here’s some ideas:

Photocompilation
Make a compilation of pictures of great moments you had together. Add them to the Together app ,  fit them in the best order and choose some music to accompany the video. Of course you can also add some nice words and comments – there”s the possibility to add text to any part of your video. Choose the best font and size and write your feelings!

A simple Thank You
Why not keep it simple and just make a short video of yourself, thanking your father? Of course this is easily done with any mobile device, but when you use Together you can add something extra. Why not add a border to your video, to frame your message? You can choose from a lot of lovely frames to mark the occasion.

Kid’s video
If you have children, they’ll have a blast making a video for Granddaddy. Film them singing a song for him – if they’re still young and you can’t always quite make out what they’re singing, you could always add the lyrics to the screen!

Of course, sharing the video with your dad is simple. You can choose to send the video in any way possible; a link through email, upload to facebook – just choose the best way that suits your dad. Happy Fathersday and do let us know if you’ve made any particular great video!

 

It’s spring, so start filming!

18/05

spring
It’s definitely spring now in most areas of the world. Mid-may and nature is blossoming. Have you been filming lately? If not, you should. One of the wonderful things of mobile filming is that you can also catch the everyday stuff and use them in a film much later. For instance, why not film the view from your window every now and then? Or try filming 10 seconds of your route from home to work/school every week. At the end of the year, you’ll have lost of short clips you can add together. If you speed them up, you’ll have a great video showing you how your regular surroundings actually change over time.

But don’t forget, spring is great for catching those glimpses of sunlight through the trees, small ducklings crossing the street and flowers in bloom. It’s amazing to see what nature does, so why not share it with others? Film what you see and share it via Facebook with your friends on the other side of country (or even work). You don’t need special occasions to film, you can do this any time, especially when using a mobile device. There’s no excuse; start filming!

Need help on how to make the best videos? Check out our video tutorial on how to adjust the speed of your videos, for instance, or our tips on framing and composing.

A short history of filmmaking 7 – music and musicals

16/05

musical

Filmmaking as we know it really took off in the 1930s, with the emergence of sound, continuity editing and color (it appeared at the end of the 1930′s, even though the share of black and white movies remained substantial until late 1950s at least). This period is known as the Golden Age of Hollywood, as this American studio dominated the film scene at that time. Actors, writers, directors and technicians were employed full-time by studios making one movie after another and building ad-hoc studio buildings to do all the filming there instead of actually existing locations.

These years, a lot of musicals were made. This was due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, the fact that  movies were able to use sounds meant that studios wanted to expose their audiences to as much sound as possible – and what can do it better than a musical? The second reason was popularity of stage musicals. A lot of movies were adaptations of stage shows, which was easy too as the script and music was already there. The third reason was the large production value of musicals. A lot of dancers, wonderful costumes and sets – the perfect way to show the glamour of the movies and give people something to enjoy in those days when the real world was much less happy and friendly.

So, have you ever thought of making a musical movie? Why not try it out using Together! Here’s what you could do:

- Make your own video clip. Use an existing song, decide on a story for your clip, film it and add the music later on – it’s all very easy to do with the Together app.

- Make a video clip or musical movie in which actors sing? Use lip sync. Play the song and have them lip sync to it during filming. Later on, you will be able to edit this very precisely; when you add the entire song to Together and then edit the images on top of it, it will all work out very well. Think of Dubsmash, which works the same way but with just one short sound file.

- Let people sing live in your movie. If this is what you want, and it’s not too complicated music-wise (for instance someone singing alone or with just a guitar), you can simply film this with your mobile device and use Denoise later on to clear the file from any unwanted background noise. If you’re looking for something more, shooting a full-scale band or multiple singers, you’d rather consider an extra mike to attain the best results.

Enjoy making your own musical movie – after all, it’s been one of the most loved genres for decades!

A short history of filmmaking 6 – more editing

08/05

film editing

Last week, we talked about the origins of film editing. Something that was only briefly mentioned there, was continuity editing. This invention is basically the sort of editing we’ve got used to. It’s present in mainstream Hollywood movies, TV series and commercials. Continuity editing aims to make cuts in the movie almost invisible and does this in a number of ways. Matching of action is one of the main methods used: when the action in one shot moves on into the other, for instance, when you see someone kicking a football in the first shot and then cut to another shot in which you see the football flying over the field. If those two shots are matched together so that the ball flies continuously, it “masks” editing and gives the viewer a smooth view. If, for some reason, those two shots do not match, it will give a sort of uneasy feeling: most viewers will not know what caused it, but they will sense it somehow.

Another simple example of continuity editing is often used in TV soaps. Generally, you will almost always see the person speaking in the frame. When two people talk to each other, shots go from one close-up to another, followed by a medium shot of both people every now and then, to reflect that they’re still in the same room. Usually, they also use over shoulder shots, meaning you see the back and shoulder of one person while watching the opposite person speak. These over shoulder shots make sure that we know that these people are, in fact, together in the same room and this again makes for easier viewing.

This is only a short account on continuity editing. Of course, there is much more to it, but here are the basics. When you are making a short fiction film, for instance, knowing about continuity editing can be very helpful. Now you easily discern why a particular shot is a misfit, and what you can do to make better. The History of Cutting is a wonderful documentary and a great helper if you want to learn about editing techniques and how they have been used in big movies throughout the past 100 years. You can watch the entire movie here:

A short history of filmmaking 5 – editing

30/04

film editing frank capra

Editing is such an important part of cinema, that we’ve almost forgotten that it’s there. Most films and tv-series try to ‘mask’ their edits as well as they can, trying to make the viewing experience as smooth as can be. This is the traditional Hollywood way of editing that was thought up during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The first edits, however, were much more visible. Here’s part one of a blogpost on how they came to be.

As you might remember from earlier blogposts, the first movies did not contain any editing at all. Cameras did not move and the celluloid inside the cameras was just one roll, 8 or 10 minutes long, that was used to film one continuous shot.

The first editing was so-called in-camera editing. You can see this in Melies trick movies, where he stopped the camera and then started filming again. In other films, the camera stopped and then started filming again after being moved to a different spot, for instance. There was no possibility to trim the shot so it had to be perfect. Thankfully nowadays we can trim shots and cut of the start of the beginning if we think it’s not suited to the movie – just look at how easy the Together app makes this when choosing “edit” on any single clip.

Around the mid-1910’s, a different way of editing was invented. It became possible to cut the celluloid and reassemble it again, making it possible to string different shots together, take out the takes that went wrong and create a story while guiding the audience in what to see – and even what to think.

In 1918, Russian director Kuleshov did famous experiment that really established the power of editing. He took a film clip of a Russian actor and intercut this with a clip of a bowl of soup, a child with a teddy bear and an elderly woman in a casket. People who saw the film thought the actor was really good as they saw his hunger, delight and grief. But the shot of the actor was old stock material and he’d never seen any of the items, let alone acted any emotion over them. The act of juxtaposing these shots in a sequence made the relationship.

More on editing techniques next week, hopefully we’ve already made you think about the power of editing. Why not try stringing some “random” clips together to create new meaning, like Kuleshov did? Have fun!

A SHORT HISTORY OF FILMMAKING – PART 4

23/04
Pinky Film Street Crew - by Davidd

Pinky Film Street Crew – by Davidd

Last week we talked about how cameras became mobile. This week, we focus on the development of sound in movies. As you might remember, the first movies had no sound on screen. When they were shown, however, they were accompanied by a pianist who played live and adjusted his music to whatever was shown on the screen. Sometimes there was even a big orchestra present to accompany bigger movie releases.

But there was spoken word as well. Films were often narrated by a live narrator, who would explain the action on screen to audiences. And  there were also intertitles: these are textcards inserted between frames and containing info on dialogue or action. As the cinema art changed and became more and more developed both technically and artistically (more on this to follow in the editing post next week), filmmakers became capable of conveying subtle emotional and narrative nuances with less or no accompanying dialogue or intertitles needed.

Nonetheless, the invention of sound on film was a real revolution. Around 1925, the first shorts with sound were released. One of the first commercially produced sound films was The Jazz Singer (1927) with Al Jolson; it was a musical. These first years, however, it was difficult to properly sync audio and film and attain to sound quality good enough for the audience to discern every word uttered (when the films were shown in theatres).

Early sound cameras and equipment were big and noisy and had to be kept in their own soundproof enclosure (i.e., a blimp). After a while, the boom pole was invented to move the mike with the speakers while keeping it beyond the reach of the camera. Before this, early sound films had to be rather motionless because actors had to speak to a static mike, even though the cameras were able to move around a bit more by that time.

Sound in film has developed pretty much ever since. The technical side of both recording and broadcasting of sound had been re-invented and improved so much; just think of various Dolby noise reduction systems, digital recording and surround sound technology, to name but a few. The great thing is that nowadays we can all profit from these great inventions. What about the great Denoise app pre-packed with Together? Even your mobile device can easily reduce noise without any need for expensive and/or sophisticated software. Have you ever tried Denoise yet? Do give it a go and let us know what you think about it!

Video tutorial – how to splice a video

22/04

Wondering how to splice videos? Here’s a short video tutorial showing you how. Just choose any videos you like. In this example, I chose two separate videos of chicken I made the same day. Choose “splice to movie” in the bottom down corner, give your new video a name, and your chosen clips will turn into a single movie. Of course, you will still be able to edit the clips separately as well.

Video tutorial – how to adjust video speed

20/04

Adjusting the speed of your video in Together is easy; just take a look at this video tutorial and you’ll know what to do. In short, just pick any video clip, select ‘playback speed’ and then choose to slow down (up to x0.5) or speed up (up to x16). The Together app will show you the results in real time so you can adjust the speed on-the-fly.

And, if you’re not happy with the chosen speed after all, you can always readjust it, even after saving. In this example, we slowed down our video first and then reverted back to normal. Adjust and readjust your videos anytime to fit your needs and make the best video there can be!

A SHORT HISTORY OF FILMMAKING – PART 3

18/04

movie camera

So, where were we? We’ve told you about Melies and his films full of tricks. Back then, there was no editing yet – and certainly no way to move the camera around. However, editing would be coming in fashion very soon (soon enough for Melies to use, even). That’s a story for the next week, though, as this week we’d like to tell you some more about the non-moving camera.

flipbook

It’s 2015 at the moment and mobile devices are used for everything and anything. Together, our video app, is used to take movies and pictures and even edit on the go, using nothing more than just a small and lightweight mobile device. Back when the first cameras were made, though, there was nothing mobile about it. The biggest reason for this was the mass of the filming material. As you may or may not know, movies are shot, generally, at the rate of 24 frames per second; it takes 24 “pictures” to make up one second of film as they are shown quick, one after another. If this is difficult to grasp, just try to make a flipbook, drawing a series of slightly changing pictures and then flipping through it to imitate movement: that’s basically how filming works.

Anyway, celluloid film containing 24 tiny frames per each second and rolled up to fit in the camera, weighs a ton. And not only the material weighed a lot; back at the beginning of the 20th century, there were no lightweight yet durable plastic materials for cameras either. So, the cameras holding weighty celluloid were quite heavy themselves as they were made out of steel mostly. When the first sound films emerged (more on that to follow), moving the cameras became even more difficult. They had to be built inside a box because the cameras themselves made so much noise while pulling the celluloid through the system, that they could be heard on set. So again, there was no way to move the camera around.

It was obvious that having a more mobile camera would benefit cinematic development. Soon, movie pioneers tried out different materials to make cameras easier to handle. The celluloid became smaller and more lightweight (8 and 16 mm film was used for home filming instead of the bigger cinematic 35 mm) and cameras got smaller. Believe it or not, already back in 1910 there was a Polish inventor, Kazimierz Prószyński, who invented a handheld camera, named the Aeroscope.

Home use of film became more regular after WW II, when 8mm and 16mm cameras and projectors entered the regular households. With the introduction of TV, professional cameras became even more flexible as there was much more need to switch frames due to the live nature of a big portion of (early) TV broadcasts. With the need for more camera movement becoming increasingly bigger, filmmakers developed rigging systems to move their camera on and eventually Garret Brown came up with the Steadycam system which allowed a cinematographer to walk around freely with a heavy camera.

Garrett Brown

The introduction of video was the next big step in developing smaller cameras. The video material was lightweight and partly based on plastic, which became a bigger component of cameras as well. As storage systems evolved from the video tape towards digital, cameras became smaller and more lightweight with every new release. When even the last stabilizing issues were fixed, and picture quality became less dependent on the size of the lens, filming really became a household pastime. Now that most people have access to a mobile device and are able to use cloud services (Together offers it as well), nothing can prevent us from making the most of mobile moviemaking we can!

A SHORT HISTORY OF FILMMAKING – PART 2

09/04

magic

Time to tell you some more about how we got from celluloid to the Together app in just over 125 years! Last time I told you about the first movies which were mostly short ‘documentaries’ showing everyday life in just one shot. Soon other subjects entered the movie tents, more amusement-type shots of vaudeville dancers, acrobats, and magicians.

The French George Melies, a former illusionist and magician, was one of the first people to add ‘special effects’ to his movies. He incorporated his tricks in his movies and thought up easy trickery that is still used in filmmaking today. The easiest and best known one is the disappearance trick; put your camera in a steady position, film a bit, stop the camera, remove one thing and start filming again. This way you can make something disappear without having anything to edit even. Don’t forget that, back then, editing wasn’t even possible. The movie camera had one ‘reel’ of film, usually about 10 minutes long, and there was no possibility yet to cut and paste different elements.
Look closely at this Melies movie and you’ll see what he did:

Making Melies-like trickery movies is great fun, especially with kids. No editing is needed and you can see the results almost instantly. It’s the best family fun you can have indoors on a rainy day. When trying out these sort of movies, make sure to keep your mobile device steady; use a tripod, for instance, or have someone with a real steady hand do the filming. The less the camera moves, the better the effect.

Have fun!

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