Your usual moviemaking partner or help is not available, you have to make the rescue’s movie on your own! No pressure right?
While you might feel like panicking, don’t give up. In this post, I want to introduce you to the idea of a confident one person movie maker – you. As a rescue movie creative or maybe as a blogger creating a short
What This Post Can Teach You
- Hands-free movie making is something you can do.
- These ideas are for cat rescue workers, cat bloggers, and cat people everywhere.
- You do not need to be an ‘expert’ in anything, just be prepared to grow in confidence and skill.
- You can present in front of a camera, check our ‘filming yourself’ tips.
- All you need a smartphone, a tripod or support of some kind, and a dash of determination to get the job done.
Please note that my post uses Amazon affiliate links.
This post is a 2018 CWA Certificate of Excellence Winner
If you are working alone
You might want to create a feel-good adoption video for your rescue’s next event. You know the movie can help showcase a cute special needs kitten or deserving senior and find them a home.
If you blog. From the cat blogger’s point of view, a really neat product begs for extra exposure as a shareable video, but filming it all by yourself? Presenting or demonstrating in front of the camera sounds intimidating so let’s look at some inspiring ideas.
‘Know the story you want to tell‘.
First tips for movie makers
- Are you spotlighting a rescue’s special needs cat? You will need an introduction, the cat’s story and important adoption details. Does the rescue provide ongoing support? Contact details for potential adopters.
- Do you have a cat product to show? Do you know what the sponsor’s message is? What do you need to include? Remember to refer to the American FTC guidelines for blog posts and video guidance.
- Outline the shots necessary to bring your video to life. Remember this is only a short film and you can practice as much as you want to. No one sees your movie until it is finished.
How To Film Yourself with a SmartPhone
- Practice your position in front of the camera. Is the rescue cat you are showing cute. Are you able to handle the kitten confidently? Shooting a cat product? Can it be seen clearly? Can you add close-ups later?
- Speak clearly but don’t worry about your voice or accent. I believe my voice is terrible but my friends disagree.
- Don’t say ERM or UMM. Plan what you want to say, practice a rough script but try to be natural. After a while what you really want to say settles and you can record with more confidence.
- If you make a mistake keep recording, pause, take a breath and start again. You can edit out the tries that don’t work.
- Be confident. Relax, you can do this.
Plush and Holly’s Challenge
Rather than write abstract hints and tips, let’s work with a real-life case study from our colleague Holly who runs a helpful cat blog for feline parents called Life and Cats. She has a project that will be of great benefit to her readers and one that will be greatly enhanced by video.
I want to film myself grooming Plush for a grooming guide post but I can’t figure out how to do it and still have hands to groom. I don’t have a tripod or phone stand.Holly
For a tutorial movie like this, Holly has many equipment options to choose from. Each of these products will give a different view of the grooming process, so a lot will depend on what Holly wants to film.
- A head strap camera
mountfor front facing shots.
- A chest mounted holder for cat level closeups
- A tripod sited some distance away for wide shots
- A Gorillapod with flexible legs that can be attached at various locations and heights. Flexible and versatile a Gorillapod brand tripod might stretch the budget but it can be an investment as this tripod allows you to position a smartphone almost anywhere.
Which equipment would work best?
After looking at the equipment ggestions, I thought that a tripod would be most useful. It can be positioned for both distance, and downward angled shots as well as close-ups grooming PLush. A tripod gives a professional level of stability which is important to anyone demonstrating techniques for others to follow.
To focus on details Holly can incorporate close up shots later.
Stability does not demand the high-end price tags that you often see on DSLR equipment. You can find a wide selection of budget smartphone tripods on Amazon or sites that are more local to you, if you prefer. Try a basic model then invest in something more expensive if you feel you will use a tripod more.
Try a basic model like the Acuvar 50″/125 cm ($14.95). It is a lightweight tripod that fits most smartphone models and has a wi-fi remote.
With something like this, Holly can start filming when she is in position to demonstrate. Her smartphone can be positioned in landscape or portrait mode. A tripod is on my own shopping list to go with my current single leg monopod.
A Sample Movie Storyboard
For Holly and her cat grooming video, a movie plan or storyboard might look like this.
Holly might add a little more, or change the focus but each movie needs is a starting point, a basic outline to focus on:
- Introduce kitty
Plush. A few words about his story or why he needs grooming.
- Showing close-ups of the grooming tools, add text labels for clarity.
- Grooming Plush (longer shots or a sequence of clips?)
- Several close-up shots to emphasise important points.
- Final summary. Encourage aspiring groomers with a quick review and mention a printable of tips included in the blog post.
Lighting top tip
I know that budget-conscious movie makers will not want to commit to expensive light setups so plan to film in natural or bright light as much as you can. A clear video can be lightened in your movie software, or smartphone movie editing app.
TIP Think from the point of view of your audience.
Your Own Movie Storyboard
Do I need fancy equipment to make a storyboard or plan?
No, you don’t. A pen and paper, or a planner page will work. Anything to help you brainstorm ideas and shots for your own hands-free movie. Keep it simple.
These prompts might help you focus:
- What do you want to to do? Demonstrate a technique or show a product?
- Are you introducing a cat for adoption? Do they love a lap? How will you show their character? Was their rescue dramatic?
- Will a single static presentation tell your story with a few
- Do you need to get outside, up on your feet, show a place or event?
TIP Unless your story is utterly compelling people will not want to sit and watch you talk for very long. Be prepared to break up your presentation with different clips to keep their interest.
Before You Start…
You now have ideas, a focus and some budget equipment tips. You can do this. The work is your own and with a bit of practice, the end result will be something you will be proud to upload online.
Make a start. Even if you prop up your smartphone against a glass or a copy of this season’s blockbuster novel. Give hands-free a try. Take your video up a notch when you put your smartphone down.
What will your next hands-free movie be about?