IMG_8148 (1)

Moviemaking with Children: Making things Disappear (The Conjurer)

Lucas likes to perform. He occasionally likes to perform magic tricks, which consist of ‘Daddy, look at this ball… I’m going to make it disappear… Now close your eyes… close your eyes… close your eyes… now open your eyes! As you can imagine the ball has ‘magically’ disappeared. This trick was very cute at first, though I had to watch out for any breakable items that might suffer when the OBJECT ‘magically’ disappeared. Recently I made the decision to burst his bubble and challenge him to make something ‘really’ disappear using the magic of film.

This can be achieved a lot easier than you may think, using a mobile device to replicate the effects used in an 1899 film called ‘The Conjurer’, Moviemaking with Children has never been easier.

This black and white movie applies a simple effect to achieve the illusion that a person has magically disappeared and then reappeared in a different location. Most of the marvel is in the performance and while it was highly innovative at the time, the same effect can be quickly accomplished using something like the iMovie app. All that is needed is a trick, performance, and a simple cut and delete in post-production. As you’ll quickly discover, keeping the camera still is an important component, so a mini tripod like the Joby is advisable, and once you get the creative juices flowing you’ll quickly generate alternative variations to the magic, and might even develop comfort to experiment with some of the special effects available in your moviemaking app.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s our final version, which consists of two magic tricks, a slight tint filter to make it look old, and an upbeat jiggle.

Below is the ‘How to Video’ accompanied with a screen shot of the iMovie app for first time users. This is a great activity to open up endless possibilities for moviemaking with children.

It’s all extremely simple, and the variations are endless. So engage those creative thinking and get making! A competition in in the pipeline so get practicing now.

DadsforCreativity_Image


COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to @dads4creativityor share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

Read More

My Face 1080 hallway (1)

Dads for Creativity: 3 Question interview with LEGO ANIMATOR, Alex Kobbs (Stop-Motion Lego Movies)

DFC

Being a Dad comes with a genuine excuse to buy and play Legos, and I can’t wait to turn this into a moviemaking venture with my boys. Alex Kobbs is an animator and filmmaker, who has racked up millions (and I mean MILLIONS) of hits on YouTube for his stop motion Lego movies. Now it’s unlikely that the average parent will achieve the awesomeness of Alex’s work, which include an array of old-school filmmaking and practical effects, but with mobile devices like the iPhone and specific stop-motion apps available – there’s not really much stopping us having a go, and as Alex points out – we’ll likely engage a variety of creative thinking skills along the way.

How did you get into making videos with Lego?

Lego bricks have always seemed to be a part of my life (thanks to my parents) as I was attracted to the Trains, Space, and Pirate themes that reflected my natural childhood interests. I started animating Brickfilms when I was 12 years old after receiving the Lego Stephen Spielberg Movie Maker Set for my birthday. 

This was a simple system that I could experiment with and learn the fundamentals of animation. At about the same time, Lego® started manufacturing their Star Wars branded line, and I was immediately hooked.

Where do your story ideas come from and how might parents generate ideas with their kids?

I think parents should go with whatever feels natural to both them and their child concerning story creation. As a kid, I loved to make things up in a spontaneous manner, and I’m not sure that structuring the stories in a storyboard-type way with my parents would have worked. Structure was already abundantly prevalent in school, and I used my animations and Lego bricks to escape that. 

I have always had a vivid imagination, and had been acting out my own stories way before I had a digital camera. I can remember one particular instance when I created a story with my Lego bricks over the course of a 3 day period. I remember feeling very disappointed at the end of my imagined adventure because I could never re-tell or share the miniature drama I had brought to life on my bedroom floor. That realization led to my desire to capture the story to enjoy later, and filmmaking is the natural extension of that.

What advice can you offer parents who are looking to make Lego videos with their kids?

The first piece of advice I have for parents trying to create brickfilms with their kids is to allow them to experiment and fail. It’s so easy for us as adults to immediately see what the “right” or “correct” way to do something is because our brains have already developed and we’re drawing on a lifetime of experience. No one wants to see a child founder so our natural instinct is to help them…almost to the point of doing it for them. This may be helpful with other tasks like a golf swing, but creativity is somewhat random and needs room to be spontaneous. Simply forcing or telling the child how to accomplish a task doesn’t allow them to figure out all the nuances associated with that task. This inevitably leads to the “let me do it” line so often repeated by young children…

I think the best way to go about brickfilming with children is to animate along side them at first. So, the parent could animate their own car or character, while the child does their own thing in the same shot. The child will often try to imitate the parent instead of being told what to do. At the end, the comparison is often a sharp contrast and the child will want to replicate and surpass the parent’s efforts. Allowing the child to play “director” also puts them in a position of power and boosts their confidence.

Luckily, due to the democratization of the new technology, there is almost no downside to allowing a child to make as many films as they want!

Alex’s stop motion work can be found on his YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/kooberz. And a tour of the studio that all Dads will want can be seen in the short documentary below.

Alex had a lot more advice to offer in his interview – check out the full interview here.

If you liked this article, check out another DadsforCreativity 3 Question Interview with award winning educator Jonathan Nalder or see ‘Interactive Storytelling with Legos‘. 


 

FREE FILM for parents and educators

We believe the first stage in counteracting the imbalance of creativity verses content, starts at home. Help us share the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to @dads4creativityor share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

Read More

IMG_6660

From drawing stories, to making movies: Plus 7 simple tips that make it easy

It’s been an absolute joy to write about Lucas and his drawing. Watching himself immerse into the imaginary worlds and stories that manifest on his sheets of paper has really got me to think about creativity and the type of content I want to share. In this article I’m going to explain how parents can capture children’s drawings and turn them into a simple movie using a mobile app like iMovie.

—————————————————————————————————————————

There was no soccer on Saturday morning so I found myself out of my weekly routine. I’d suggested to Lucas that we make one of our father and dad YouTube shows, he declined my offer in favor of drawing, but said after he’s finished we can make a movie. While I waited for the Prince to fit me into his busy schedule I decided to play with Liam (yes on this occasion he was my second choice – second child syndrome is real!). After 15 minutes, Lucas shouted for me to come into the kitchen so he could tell me about the story he’d ‘drawed’. When I arrived I was expecting to see another book stabled together, and another 100 trees wasted, but instead I was pleasantly surprised to see, what looked like, a storyboard sequenced together on the dinning room table. My mind immediately said ‘movie’, so I grabbed my iPhone and, with his permission, began filming 8-second segments of each sheet of paper (or shot). Once I completed the filming, I opened the iMovie app and started to import the short segments into the application. I had no idea how this would turn out, but was intrigued as iMovie has some cool new features. I inserted the clips into the timeline and once they were sequenced together in the right order I asked Lucas to narrate his story – which he did happily. After that was completed (probably the best part), I polished the piece a little more by making sure the images were sequenced correctly to the narration. (made sure the words correlated to the image displayed). After the polishing I added a soundtrack and a filter and hit share on Facebook. I was really surprised and happy with the outcome, the whole activity probably took 5-10 minutes and now we have documented a wonderful moment in Lucas’s development.

I’m hoping some of you might want to replicate the experience so I’ve offered five simple tips to make it an easy process. Please be sure to post on our Facebook page or share in the comments below.

Yes you’re a moviemaker – Don’t over think it:

  1. Avoid vertical phone syndrome by holding the device horizontally. This is a practice you want to get in the habit of doing if the videos will be displayed on a computer or television screen.
  2. Keep it short and sweat. There’s rarely a need to record a segment longer than 8-12 seconds.
  3. It’s a movie, so you need to make sure the images ‘move’. This basically means move into the image so it gets closer or start close and move out. Alternatively you can move across an image, but whatever you choose make sure it’s slow and steady unless you’re going for a specific effect.
  4. Don’t over complicate the narration – simply ask your little one to tell you his or her story. If they pause, mess up, etc.. don’t worry you can edit it out afterwards. It’s better for them to be spontaneous then doing multiple takes.
  5. One of the new and cool features in iMovie is the ability to separate the audio from the video. This allows you to delete the audio so that only your narration will be heard on the final product. If this is too complicated or the feature is not available on your app just make sure the room is quite when you record the images so that you avoid any unwanted sound.
  6. Lengthen or shorten clips in the timeline to help sync the narration with the relevant images. This is probably the most ‘technical’ aspect of the project but will bring about the best results.
  7. Finally, add a soundtrack that provokes a sentimental feeling, but represents the energy and excitement of young children. Avoid anything that is too emotional and corny. It might work for you, but it will probably be too much for others.

 

FREE FILM for parents and educators

We believe the first stage in counteracting the imbalance of creativity verses content, starts at home. Help us share the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone who shares or contributes content* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

Unfortunately, we’re not super sophisticated (or perhaps lack creativity) so in order for us to know that you’ve shared content we need you to tweet to @dads4creativity or share from ourFacebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

*Contributing content includes comments on existing articles.

Read More