The Kid Stays In The Picture

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.

* 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

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5 Responses to The Kid Stays In The Picture

  1. Megan Alton March 8, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Oh man. I totally cried, and that’s not even my baby! So freakin’ tender.

  2. Marissa March 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    I realize not everyone is technically inclined but i have made tons of videos like this for anything from pics to videos to school projects. Windows movie maker is what i used and you can keep dialog and music going like they did and burn it etc too you can add text you can even cut out parts of the song etc. and they windows movie maker also allows you the cheesy switch motions of fade flip blurr etc. and best yet…Totally free easy to save to ur hd and load to facebook or burn to dvd and send out. feel free to email me if youd rather not spend 300 next time. id be happy to walk you through it. Depending on how picky you are making a video can take anywhere from 30 mins to 6 hours. lol.

  3. Amanda March 9, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Marissa is totally dead on, but now I’m thinking since my husband has the video know how, and I do the photo editing, that maybe he could start a side job and charge people $300 for baby videos. That would pay for some good therapy equipment.

    • Daddy Confidential March 9, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      I’m all for DIY, but I also know when I’m outclassed. YourLitteFilm did lots of subtle things, like sync Fox’s actions to the music. And I would never figure out how to take snippets of dialogue and reinsert them over the good footage.

      I could probably edit some passable movies on the computer, but nothing that others would sit for. So let’s see some home movies, girls! C’mon, give us a taste of what you (or your husband) can do :-J

  4. Ginger1 March 16, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Video=great. Music=gay

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