Our Family Film – Making Our Movie

Do you ever look at pictures and videos you have taken on a day out, ones of a typical day and feel something is missing?
You may have captured the perfect light, the background is stunning and the kids are caught up in the moment perfectly, hey they may even be smiling at the camera with their eyes open (just how often does that happen?) – it’s the perfect shot in every single way only it’s not really a family day out shot or video as someone is stuck behind the camera.  Someone is always missing from the action and here that person is generally me.
Recently I was offered a review opportunity which was just what I had been searching for for a long time yet couldn’t find.  We have a photographer friend who has captured some lovely family shots in the past only the ones we’ve not framed are stuck on my computer never looked at and unloved – that happens with photos and they don’t truly capture the bond of family life.  This is where Our Family Film comes into play.
I received an email from Leon and what he said instantly captured my attention “I am a filmmaker living in London, making what I call “Family Films”. Parents hire me to capture their children’s memorable moments within short video-portraits that can be easily shared with friends and family online.”
This was what I had been searching for and couldn’t find.  I wanted to capture a typical family day on film.  We have so much fun and ours days are filled with laughter and I don’t want to forget these moments when the children are grown and left home (not that they are allowed to leave of course!).
I found Leon very warming and professional throughout our email exchanges and we quickly booked in a call to discuss what we were possibly looking for from our filming day and for him to fill me in on what he would be doing and the preparation process. 
I explained to him that we like to spend lots of time outdoors with the dog letting the kids burn off energy, climbing trees, running around and generally having family fun.  I also introduced an idea I had, something we had been discussing as a family was to take the stabilisers off of Emmy’s bike and I asked Leon if it would be possible to capture this on film.  He was as keen as I was and we began planning our day.
We discussed what to wear, although entirely up to us, he did suggest avoiding bright colours as they don’t work well and take the focus away from the action, to avoid big logos.  We discussed weather and back-up plans and thankfully he wasn’t at all put off by the fact I said we would still head out in the rain with wellies and coats as we always do.
He suggested coming a little early and spending time in the house to put the children at ease – it’s not everyday you will be shadowed by not only a stranger but a camera too and we finally arranged a date.  All in Leon planned to spend around 2-3 hours with us.
Keeping in touch via email to ensure all was ready, working out train times and our filming day arrived without a hitch, that day was today.
I picked Leon up from the station with the children and by the time we arrived at my house 15 minutes later the children were chattering away and I was entirely comfortable chattering away together about families etc.
We spent some time in the house while he got to know the children, Paul and I a little better and grabbed some test shots.  We went about our normal routines and it is actually easier than I envisaged to forget there is a camera around.
Then we headed off to the fields and woods behind my house accompanied by Barney.
Leon hung back and captured the action of our day, led by us – well mainly the children if I’m honest, which is how it usually is.
They explored, played hunt Mickey Mouse in the woods (this is usually where we go on a bear hunt only Harry wanted to bring Mickey), played Pooh Sticks, picked flowers, ran around, bundled the life out of Paul and I on the grass, laughed, joked, met up with their Auntie and cousins on a chance meeting and then we grabbed Emmy’s bike and she tried without stabilisers.  This will take her a while to grasp I think and it is very hard on the grass however she was worried of falling off so grass was best. I am so proud of Emmy for trying and we have it captured on film.
Leon ran around with us, captured the action from all angles, ran around with the kids – so much so that they actually made him dizzy and fall over but that was wonderful to see.  The children were so at ease with him they were happy to get up and close to the camera and pose, yet also happy to forget it was there entirely.  It is strange I have only recently given a magazine interview for a piece coming up in Gurgle Magazine on shy children, talking about how shy Emmy is and the things we do to help encourage and coax her out of her shell, even her teacher commented at her assembly on Friday how shy she is yet how proud she was of Emmy volunteering to take over a line for the class assembly, that is out of character for Emmy and it shocked her teacher as it did me; so to see her talking to someone new, following their lead and taking the lead herself was amazing to see and I swelled with pride today.
All in all Leon spend just over 3 hours with us capturing a typical and fun family day.  He will now put together our own Family Film which will be ready to see in around 3 weeks time and then he is heading back to our home to watch it with us for the first time.  He likes to see the look on the families face when they first see the film and I think this is a wonderful and such a personal touch.
After this we will have our own film on DVD as well as a digital download to keep forever.
I actually can’t wait to see the finished video.  It has been by far one of the best reviews I have been offered as it is just so personal and so much fun.
I will of course be sharing our film with you as soon as I can.  In the meantime please to head over to the website and check out some of the other family films: www.ourfamilyfilm.com and please head over to Facebook to take a look – this is a new page and I would love for you to pop over and say Hello.
What Leon has to say:

“I enjoy documenting people, studying the different characteristics that lie beneath; the different faces and expressions, their body’s actions and reactions.

It is important that I get to know the people I set focus on, because it allows me to understand them so much more, beyond the image. It allows them also to get to know me.  And by doing so, they open up. This is when I capture the perfect truth.

What is the perfect truth?  The perfect truth is what you are most liked and appreciated for, and the very moment it’s acknowledged by others.  I seek and capture these abstract, yet charming qualities within, and present these perfections for all to see.”


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22 thoughts on “Our Family Film – Making Our Movie

  1. This sounds like such a great idea, so the whole family can be in the film. I'm always the one taking photos of my boy so there's none of us all together!

  2. What a great idea, your own personalised family film sounds so cool. Children change so quickly, I wish I had filmed mine more when they were younger.

  3. Sounds great fun, although I suspect everyone would behave in a more relaxed manner if a family member were filming, but of course you don't then see that person on camera! My second son loves to do this though 🙂

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