If you are a proud cat parent, making the perfect pet movie at Christmas might be on your wish list! Let us guide you towards making a short holiday movie on your smartphone. It’s all easy steps, we promise.
We will suggest what you can do, and point out some of the pitfalls of mobile film making. There are tips for beginner creatives, and plenty for those new to movies! No matter what your skill level, read on. We believe everyone can make the perfect pet movie for Christmas – including you.
The Perfect Pet Movie – Your Equipment
Why a smartphone? Because they are what many people will have in their hands on a regular basis. If you have a DSLR or even a cool little video camera, then go for it. We aim to get everyone making movies for the holidays, make a cat movie, a dog movie, an animal movie. The world is your creative oyster.
TOP TIP The best smartphone for filmmakers is the one you have.
Let’s get this worry out of the way fast. Don’t stress about having the latest model telephone. The smartphone you have, if it has the capacity to make simple movies, is enough.
We use an iPhone, but you may be using an Android. The Apple App store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android) have a selection of software options to help you make movies. If you know how to use your device, you are halfway way to making a movie. Use this as a chance to learn more about your versatile smartphone too!
Setting the Pet Movie Scene
If you want to add a holiday vibe to your pet movie you need to be prepared.
Planning ahead means you will be ready to start filming when you need to. Know how to turn on your movie app quickly. TIP: A good way to do this is to make sure it’s on your front screen at the bottom. You know exactly where it is and can tap the app quickly to open it.
Have a few cute props, decorations or wrapping paper, or a festive location picked out that will look good on film. If you have a patient pet, be ready with an outfit for them to wear – but don’t force your pet into something that worries them. Pet distress comes over in a movie – loud and clear.
TOP TIP Tell your story in broad stokes.
You don’t want to be spending valuable Christmas relaxation time sweating over a one minute movie while hidden in the kitchen. It would be no fun lurking with the vegetables, or having dad suggest edits over your shoulder.
What you kind of movie you want to make?
- Informal family fun with cat toys, pet treats galore, unwrapping pet gifts.
- A specific theme. Pets around the Crib: my pet & her gifts: Cats in the snow (“No way Mum……“)
- A movie expressing how much you love your cat, rat, hamster, dog…..
- Dogs going crazy with snowflakes, Kong toys.
- Christmas disasters with my pet(s).
TOP TIP Keep it simple and use good light.
You are sharing moments of your home at Christmas. Celebrating your love for your pet, and the holidays. You are not aiming to win an Oscar® for best movie.
- This means – keep it low stress, and low key.
Smartphone Movie Software Tips
You will find plenty of short filmmaking apps to download to make your first movie. Some are free, but the better featured apps are usually ones you pay for. Here’s some of the apps we have on our iPhone:
- iMovie – Standard with all recent iPhones (so it maybe already on yours)
- Musemage – Has option to incorporate blue screen! Filters. Image stabilisation. Plenty of great features. Currently free.
- Videoshop – (Apple/Google Play/Windows) Has a wide range of features to keep a newbie happy.
- Spark Video Apple (Note: the recent update only works with OS10) Graphics, movies & web page creation.
We are not Android experts but advise that you look for apps with 5 star reviews. Google Play will help you narrow down your choice of filmmaking apps for Android. You can also ask friends for recommendations.
One of the most informative things you can do is look at the low score reviews. People usually have one issue that really bugs them and they have complaining down to a fine art. If this is the only thing that bugs them and its not a big thing for you, move on.
On the ‘up’ side, Apple has begun to allow developers to respond. This ability means buyers will get helpful answers to frustrated feedback so you can see that issues are being noted.
Get to know how your movie app works
Making a short film with a smartphone with no preparation is a recipe for disaster. Movie making on your device has undergone a huge development and software now does so much more than it did even two years ago. The sophistication of your device and its apps is keeping pace with smartphones themselves. The range of options in every app means you can’t just pick one up and use it – you need to practice a little!
Look at our list of basic skills. These are all you need to make a basic movie, but the more you use an app the more confident you will become. Remember that developers realise that not everyone is a tech nerd. They prepare how-to’s on YouTube like the one below for MuseMage, or operating tips and videos on their web pages. Use these – learn the basics.
Key Skills for Your Pet Movie
- Load film into your app
- Edit/Trim your video
- Adjust your volume (remember that noisy TV in the background last year?)
- Add a little text (optional)
- Add music (optional) and remember © Copyright. Apps may include holiday tunes for you.
Fun Musical Tip: Jingle Bells
According to the Medford Historical Society, the song was inspired by the town’s popular sleigh races during the 19th century. “Jingle Bells” was originally copyrighted with the name “One Horse Open Sleigh” on September 16, 1857. … The song has since passed into the public domain.
So if you sing, play or croak Jingle Bells in your video you are all good!
A reminder. If you have people who are not big on social media make sure you share a link via email. Or when you visit family who are not online, remember to sit down and show them with their own personal movie premiere! This kind of share might bring a real touch of magic to someone’s day.
Social Media Sharing Tips
If you are a big Facebook fan, remember you can upload your movie direct to FB. Your video will be shorter than the time recommended in our quote but, the larger the file size the longer it will take to upload. The quality might also be affected.
“Keep in mind that videos must be less than 45 minutes long and smaller than 1.75 GB. The longer your video is, the larger its file size will be. This may affect the quality of the video – Quora“
Sharing and watching videos on Twitter is not done on such a generous scale, but might be a good fit for your movie. Twitter welcomes videos of a couple minutes in length and this might increase soon to match their increased 280 character tweet limit. Uploading a video is done via the Twitter app.
If you are a big Instagram fan you are challenged to tell your story in under a minute. This might be perfect for a one-off quickie event, a cute kitten story or sharing a positive rescue or feral report.
“Increasing video length to a minute took quite a bit of effort. ……. Instagram surprised its users by increasing the 15-second limit of its videos to… 60 seconds, a full four times longer than before – engadget.com“
OK You Have Video!
What the heck do you do? Now you edit. We covered editing for newbies in more depth here.
You know what kind of movie you decided to make. Now you keep your focus. Your movie is a simple one. Your aim is a simple one – so stay on course. Tell your story.
Review the video you have saved. There will be good stuff and bad stuff. Don’t cringe at a wobbly shot, or groan that something ‘didn’t work’. Christmas joy can be captured with a wobble and a squeak and people will laugh with you not AT you.
The K.I.S.S. acronym is the only one you need to remember. Keep It Simple Silly.
This is why practising your movie making app is important to your success. Capturing that magical moment means you need to handle iMovie, MageMuse or whatever with some familiarity.
Bloggers Sponsored Post Tips
For blogging movie makers. If you have a sponsored post it might go down perfectly wherever your social media following is strong. Just remember that sponsored posts must have an FTC disclosure statement clearly displayed. BlogPaws have a series of posts that will help. On IG this might be hashtags, on Facebook or Twitter #Ad or #sponsored are clear indicators. Whatever it is, it must be clear and unequivocal.
This applies to all of your social media outlets. Leaving off a formal disclosure when you receive recompense for an item shows a lack of respect to your fellow movie makers, bloggers and anyone working in social media for a living. It also makes you look bad in the eyes of your readers.
Things to Remember
- Be honest and recognise that your time might be limited.
- Learn to operate your movie app. Confidence = success.
- Keep it short and simple.
- Keep calm and don’t stress.
- Realise your movie may be less than perfect
- Remember this doesn’t matter. People will love seeing your Christmas celebrations.
Now you have all you need to launch yourself at a Christmas pet video. You have time to get some practice in, edit a few trial movies then share your magical movies of the most wonderful time of the year! We have copies of our beginners movie making ebook for sale, and 50% of the funds raised goes to help Place For Cats.
We have to put up our Christmas tree soon. Another movie opportunity for Mum and a lot of fun for us cats. What starring roles will your fur family take?