Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Video Storybook Tutorial

This post is specifically for Jen :<) She wrote the nicest comment seeking additional instructions concerning my Christmas Video Storybook Idea (scroll down a bit) and I lost the comment somehow! Bad Blogger! I am still learning to navigate my updated Blogger dashboard. It's much easier to use, but I need a redo button...or an undo button. Or maybe a "please clean up my blogging mess" button.

Anyhoo. Jen asked for a link to one of the Video Storybooks. Unfortunately, I can't find a copy to upload. I will do my best to search some more (I have peoples who might have a copy). I'm sure that I have one (or three) in storage. But until I can track one down and I will at least lay it all out the best I can.

1. Decide what video program you want to use. Or better yet, find a person proficient in some sort of video making program and utilize them. I know Windows Movie Maker is easy to use, but there is nothing easier than good ole Power Point. If you have Photo Shop skills you will be able to do all kinds of wonderful things with your storybook. I have some more thoughts on this further down.

2. Pick out a story, book or poem to use. Be sure that it is not too long or too short. Take into account the number of children you have. You can fill in with teens or adults or even have some children play more than one part if you can. I am going to pretend I am turning the following short story (under #4) into a Video StoryBook. It isn't anything I would use for real, but I can use it to explain my methods (hopefully).

3. Go through your story and make a list of characters needed. This story only has a few. Papa, Mamma, Fred & Jessie. If I had more children than that I could use a few of them as Frost Fairies (in the first paragraph) stars & moon (second paragraph), and the Mouse. In fact, those parts would be good for little kids. Then make a list of the children you have available. If you have more characters than parts, recruit teens, adults or double cast. Assign parts. You won't have to worry about any singing or acting skills...they just need to be willing to get a picture taken.

4. Now is the time to sit down with your book and break it up into scenes.
 Remember that each scene will be an individual picture.

What Happened Christmas Eve
by Oliver Herfold

(Scene 1) It was Christmas Eve and the frost fairies were busy getting ready for Christmas Day. First of all they spread the loveliest white snow carpet over the rough, bare ground; then they hung the bushes and trees with icicles that flashed like diamonds in the moonlight. Later on, they planned to draw beautiful frost pictures on the window panes, to surprise the little children in the morning. Picture of little girls dressed as fairies hanging icicles on a Christmas Tree.

(Scene 2) The stars shone brightly and the moon sent floods of light in every nook and corner. How could any one think of sleeping when there was such a glory outside! Picture of stars and moon.

(Scene 3) Jessie and Fred had gone to bed very early so they might be the first to shout "Merry Christmas!" but their eyes would not stay shut."Oh dear! It must be 'most morning," said Fred; "let us creep softly down stairs and maybe we'll catch Santa Claus before he rides off." Picture of Fred and Jessie lying in bed with covers up to their chins looking very excited - If the bed is not doable take a close up on them lying down in sleeping bags.

(Scene 4) Hand in hand they tiptoed to the dining-room and peeped out the big window - surely, surely, that was something climbing up the roof of cousin Nellie's house; it must be old Santa. Fred gave a chuckle of delight; to be sure the reindeer were very queer looking objects, and the sleigh such a funny shape, but the children were satisfied. Two Choices: They can be tiptoeing down a flight of stairs or peering out of a window.

(Scene 5) The old fir tree, whose high branches almost touched the roof, knew all about those shadows, but it was so old no one could ever understand a word of the many tales it told. Picture of an old tree.

(Scene 6) "There's something scratching on the door," whispered Jessie; but it was only a mouse, who had sniffed the delightful odors of the Christmas goodies and was trying his best to find a way into the pantry and test them with his sharp teeth. Picture of a little mouse.

(Scene 7) "Come," said Jessie, "we'll turn to icicles if we stay here much, longer"; so up-stairs they quickly scampered. Picture of the boys scampering back up the stairs.

(Scene 8) Papa had been to town on an errand, so it was quite late when he came home. As he was hunting in his pockets for his key, he heard a pitiful cry, and looking down he saw a big, white cat carrying a tiny kitten in her mouth. "Poor thing," said papa, "you shall come inside till morning." Papa (wearing an overcoat) holding a cat and kitten (this will be trickier,  but it can be done!)

(Scene 9) Santa Claus had been there with the nicest wagon for Fred and a warm, seal-skin cap that lay right in the middle of it. When papa left the room, puss and her kitty were curled up comfortably on the rug singing their sleepy song. Picture of kitty curled up on the rug with a red wagon behind it.
(Scene 10)The sun was shining brightly in the dining-room window when Jessie and Fred made their appearance; then Fred just laughed with delight, for right in the crown of his new cap lay the cutest white kitten, with big, blue eyes and wee pink nose, while standing close by as if to guard her darling from danger, was good old mother puss.
"I never had a live Christmas present before," said Fred, "now I know Santa Claus read the letter I threw up the chimney because I told him to bring me a kitten and here it is." Picture of Fred and Jessie sitting in front of the Christmas Tree.
(Scene 11)Papa smiled and looked at mamma, and then everybody said "Merry Christmas" at once.
Picture of the whole family smiling in front of the Christmas Tree.

Cover and Ending: Don't forget to take a picture of whatever you want at the beginning and the ending of your Storybook. We also used a few pictures for credits (actors, photographer, director, helpers, etc.) and a bloopers section. Everyone always got a big kick out of that.

5. Now that I have my scenes selected I am going to go back and decide on Props and Costume materials for each scene. Make a list of what you need and circulate it. You would be surprised what you will be able to come up with using your church family as a resource. Just a little side note: If you are using a story with animals use solid colored sweats and decorate the face with face paint if you don't have the costumes you need.


6. Set up a photo session. You will need a good camera or someone who has a good camera and won't mind taking pictures for you. I've been blessed to always have a good photographer in our congregations. What you need to do now is just stage every scene. Make adequate notes while everything is happening. And have a good helper (or three). Just start at Scene 1 and go from there.  A word to the wise: You might set up a movie or some other activity in a corner. This process takes longer than a minute and kids get restless.

7. Make your movie. I'm sorry I don't know as much about the technical side of this. I always have someone help me with this...make friends with a Techy. I know I said this before, but having some Photo Shop skills is a blessing. There is also a free photo shop program online called Gimp.  You can take things away, add backgrounds, add picture effects. Just be sure to have your scenes the way you want them before inserting them into your slide or movie. Also, pick out some background music and a narrator. I have read the story and had the sound guy play a CD in the background or (my favorite) we pulled out the big guns and recorded someone reading the story. You are able to add music and sound to the Windows Movie Maker.

8. Make several copies. This might sound a little odd coming from me. After all, I can't seem to find any of my extra copies of the Video Storybooks we have done. But when it counted I knew I had a few on hand. The worst feeling in the world is to have worked so hard on something and then to lose it or have something happen to your computer. One or two years we made extra copies to give to the kids who "stared" in our production.

I hope this helps. Again, don't hesitate to ask any questions. I will try and help the best I can!

3 comments:

Jen D said...

Thank you so much!!! This is wonderful! I can't even tell you just how much I appreciate it! I will let you know how it goes!

Rebekah said...

I hope I helped. I tried to comment on your Pinterest wall and it wouldn't let me do it. I will still search for a finished video. :<)

Anonymous said...

Did you ever find a finished product to share?