Or how Sophie and Gemma-Rose made an animated movie.
We gave Andy his birthday presents but before we could clear away all the wrappings, Sophie shouted, “We have something else, Dad!” She was bubbling with excitement.
“We’ve been working on it for a long time,” added Gemma-Rose. “Duncan helped us.”
We were all very curious. We’d noticed the younger girls disappearing into Duncan’s bedroom on numerous occasions during the previous weeks. What had they been doing behind closed doors?
Duncan carried out his laptop and set it up on the coffee table in front of Andy. Everyone gathered around. A few clicks of the mouse and the words, “Introducing a Solo Produced Film, in Association with Short People: Cinderella”, appeared on the screen. Duncan had helped Sophie and Gemma-Rose produce an animated movie of Cinderella. We sat enthralled for the full 5 minutes and 57 seconds.
I guess the movie could be called an extremely low budget production. It certainly is very simple. But it is also extremely effective and laced with a good dollop of Elvis humour. Andy loved it. We all did.
And this is how they did it:
Duncan asked Sophie and Gemma-Rose to draw all the characters of the Cinderella story. He used these for the animation, which he put together using a simple software program on his computer. (I will have to ask him how he did it.) The next step was to record the voices. The girls read out Duncan’s amusing script. Then the two parts were put together, some music and special effects added and voila! One animated movie, a surprise birthday present for Andy.
Duncan’s interest in film making began some years ago when we bought our first camcorder. He hovered around as I took the new equipment out of its box. Together we read the instructions and worked out how to use it. It wasn’t long before: “Mum, can I please borrow your movie camera?”
I never did make it past the basics of camcorder movie making. I learnt how to record action and review it but little else. I didn’t even learn how to render the film, transferring it to the computer for editing and burning onto a disc. All my film cassettes are still sitting in a box waiting to be viewed. I am reminded of the undeveloped photo films of times gone by.
But Duncan was different. He read all the manuals, he experimented and he made movies.
Last year, we discovered Flip video cameras. They are not much bigger than a standard digital camera and simple to use. Once a recording has been made, it can be transferred to the computer via a USB connector.
Then at Christmas, I saw a Kodak version of the Flip camera at an Aldi store at a much cheaper price (about $80). I bought a couple for the older kids as Christmas gifts, thinking that they’d provide loads of fun.
We haven’t actually used the cameras for some time. Like most things, they got put away and forgotten. But now is the right time for a new learning experience. We are buzzing with ideas. Everyone wants to explore the possibilities of the cameras.
“I can film you playing your exam piano pieces,” says Charlotte to Imogen.
“You could sing something together and I’ll film it," I suggest.
“We could make another animated movie,” says Sophie.
“Or record some Shakespeare… or a puppet show… or…”
“And when the videos are ready, we can put them on our blogs and share them with everyone.”
We are thinking about video software programs, uploading movies to Youtube and displaying the link on a blog. We don’t know how to do all that yet. We have lots to learn. But we’ll get there. I can see another family passion developing. It’s going to be lots of fun.
Please share Duncan, Sophie and Gemma-Rose’s Cinderella movie. There are a few seconds near the beginning where there is no speech or sound of any kind. Don’t adjust your controls! Oh and one more thing: unschoolers are good spellers but sometimes a mistake does slip past unnoticed!
If anyone is interested, I could ask Duncan for more detailed instructions on how he made his movie. You could soon be making your own extremely low budget but highly entertaining family video.