Oh man. Our son’s latest obsession is himself. Every morning he demands we watch his baby videos on the computer. I dutifully play all of the loose clips, but the footage is very raw and lacking narrative. It’s worse than Sundance.
Sometimes you manage to upload your 18 second clips for the benefit of grandparents and friends. But the intention to cobble those clips into actual movies usually meets one of two fates:
1. The footage lives on your hard drive, where it languishes until you get a new computer, at which point it mysteriously disappears during file transfer. After hours of troubleshooting and futile calls to tech support, you resolve to back your shit up… from now on.
2. You diligently watch the iMovie tutorial, amazed at how easily Apple facilitates your digital dreams. Then you hit a wall when your footage is sideways and you can’t rotate it. Two hours later you figure out how to rotate, but now you can’t lay down music without stripping away the dialogue. You resign to live without dialogue.
Over the weekend I rediscovered a video my wife executive produced when Fox was a year old. Jackpot. How had I overlooked this? She found this company, YourLittleFilm, that takes all of your shaky-cam footage and spins it into cinematic gold. Behold:
It works like this: you contact these dudes in L.A. and make arrangements to submit your footage. You then convey as much or as little artistic input as you like – music, theme, text, etc. Finally they show you a few rough cuts which they tweak to your specifications.
The price for our video was $300, which covers one song-length film. Prices go up from there for multiple songs. No word on how they charge for medleys. Or, for that matter, “Riders on the Storm,” which clocks in at 7:10.
My favorite thing about YourLittleFilm is that like Chinese food, they’re not at all cheesy. Their editing employs lots of tricks that would’ve taken me ages to dream up, let alone implement. And did you notice how they didn’t use gimmicky transitions, like spiral cuts or blurry dream sequence waves? I’m sure they’ll do that if you ask, but their default mode is “slick.”
Reactions from the grandparents were fairly
orgasmic enthusiastic. (My mom was really into the song.*) I personally can barely watch the video without misting up with longing for those elusive first months when every twitch and coo seemed like a milestone. In fact, I’d better start bugging my wife now to produce a sequel. I think I even know a good song we can use…
Start to finish takes about two weeks. So get your act together for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Earth Day, or whatever. You can burn DVDs for any in-laws that are befuddled by Facebook. www.yourlittlefilm.com
* It’s a duet with Akon, from Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album. I’m guessing they cleaned up some some stuff he’d been working on when he died. I was so distraught by the prospect of never again hearing a good new song from Michael that I jumped on “Hold My Hand.” Granted, MJ hadn’t recorded anything great for over a decade. Anyone sorely missing Michael should rediscover these standout tracks from his early years: “Ain’t No Sunshine“ and “Never Can Say Goodbye“