Improve Your Video Skills For Cat Lovers

Today we are highlighting video skills for cat lovers and bloggers.

OK these work for every single movie making pet lover out there. But, as we are a cat blog, videos of cats are our ‘thing’ right?

So check out our 2017 collection of basic filmmaking skills. This is not just a list of film school skills, we look at everything from the beginner’s perspective.

We encourage you to adopt the attitude of a good film director from the get go. After all even JJ Abrams had to start somewhere!

We have even created a special eBook to give your moving making a boost. Check our ‘How to Make Your Pet an Internet Movie Star’ here.

Our book in packed with tips on how to make a video with photos and music. With this you can how to make a movie at home! [50% of the proceeds helps Place for Cats, our adopted New York foster network].

Video Skills For Cat Lovers – Tips

smartphone-cat-Movie fun
How We Used Our Own Video Skills – Inspiration

If you only have a smartphone – this is more than fine for movie making. We use a combination of iPhone6, and GoPro for these videos! So check up on what skills you need and jump in pet people!

Silver Kitten
Tech Editor of
Video Skills for Cat Lovers

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat

 

Make the Perfect Cat Movie For Christmas

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.

Cats in the Perfect Pet Movie

You don’t need to look perfect…..

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!

Smartphone movie horizontal

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.

Dude, this is the coolest thing ever…..

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.

Harvey the Cat Surrounded by stars
TOP TIP This may be the most important piece of advice we give in this post………..

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.
Dogs in the Perfect Pet Movie

Has she finished with that smartphone yet?

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!

Your goal is fun and laughter for your friends and family. You are going to show the world how amazing your pet is and share smiles by email, on Facebook, your blog, or all of your social media channels.

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?

Merry Christmas Everyone
The Dash Kitten Crew
Team Dash Kitten Graphic

 

 

 

 

PIN ME!

Listen To Your Mobile Device Readers

We listened to our mobile readers recently, and you can see the difference on the blog today! We are using Thankful Thursday with Brian and his family to pass on a lesson we learned as pet bloggers. 

With our move to the new look, and the news-y theme that displays a selection of posts for our readers, we assumed that everyone was happy and would be able to see what we were up to. After all, our theme is well coded, clean and easy to use.  

All was not well however, and we did not find out until a reader spoke up……

It all began with a comment from our buddy Marv.

We listened when he and his mum said: ‘Your slider is not working at the top of the front page. We browse on our iPad each evening and it just doesn’t appear’.

Since his arrival from Persia, Marv has been a regular mobile reader of our blog. He is always welcome, so we valued his input and did some blogger troubleshooting. The WordPress theme was not displaying correctly and we needed to track down what was happening. 

Readers tell you something's wrong? Listen up!Click To Tweet

We looked at our blog’s front page. Could we improve it for those readers who browse on mobile devices?  Here is where the slider issue tripped readers up, and as it happened for Marv, who else might have faced the confusing blank space? A blog needs to make a good and clear impression from the start. This means everyone needs to see you, who you are and what you do.

If someone can’t see your welcome mat, why the heck should they stick around to read anything else, right? As a blogger this taught us a lesson – we need to ensure all our readers can see us.

Cat Parade of Fun

What We Did For Our Mobile Readers

We took action. The Crew wanted to have a post ‘preview’ on the front page, it fits with our current look and style. So we looked at different options in our WordPress theme. We focused on finding something that might be a good alternative to the slider. We have to balance what we love about our blog, with ensuring readers like Marv can actually see us!

  • Several options didn’t work 100% so we kept trying, until……

Thanks to our blog audit by Jill Caren at 2Dogsmedia things that didn’t work before began to work this time around. Odd but we are thankful! We could change our front page at last, and access all of the display options.

So we began to experiment with the range of display options that our theme offers smaller slider, a variety of mosaic options using a number of posts, or a smaller focused selection of posts to display. 

mobile readers

What happened for our Mobile Device Readers?

We knew we would have to make a change to be more accessible for electronic devices like iPads. Even with the limitations of mobile devices they are so popular that, in the end, the slider had to go. It has been replaced with a set of four spotlight posts neatly displayed in a row. We have also put a little red bar ‘stop press’ above this. This lets readers focus in recent news. We hope you like it and that you can see it here.

What can you do to ensure your readers get the best from your hard work, your reviews and your blog posts?

  • Make sure your theme (if you use WordPress) is up to date and mobile friendly
  • Blogger is Google based so may not have too many issues.
  • See how many of your readers use mobile devices (Google Analytics can be useful)
  • GA can also tell you which browsers people are using. Check if one browser has issues.
  • Check your site on your own ‘phone and ask friends for their mobile impressions too.
  • Ask readers if they have any issues. 
  • Yeah, we should have done that….. 😉
  • Make your information gathering ‘interactive’ and do a fun survey 

Mobile Users Matter

We are now much more visible to our iPhone users, and our Android and tablet readers. This is a huge relief to us! These readers should find navigating our front page easier, and they will be able to read more, and read it better with no evil broken sliders to get in the way. Thanks to Marv and his mum we have been able to adjust the blog and we hope, improve it. 

The Lesson for You as Mobile Device Users?

Do not be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t work on a blog, or a page. Often it is the blog, but sometimes it might just be your device that needs adjustment. No-one is perfect, device or blogger, so we work to achieve harmony and balance.

At the moment many blogs are having comment issues, so we think some issues and resolutions are beyond our reach, for now. Readers will now, we hope, benefit from our new easy to read front page. Marv has given it the ‘paws up’ of approval, so we hope you can too when you visit us via the front door. Bloggers will be thankful every day they can reach the most important people – you.

Silver Kitten
Tech Editor for Mobile Users
Thankful Thursday

 

 

 

 

 

How to Edit a Cat Movie So It Looks Really Great

Our movie editing post was so well received that we are increasing the chapter on editing to our movie eBook and giving readers a preview here. Read on for plenty of advice and encouragement. Cat lovers now have even more information about the procedure for editing a movie.

You have decided the time is right to try movie editing for the first time. Well done! This is a positive step on your creative journey, so let’s help demystify the important first steps you take as a newbie movie editor. An editor might be just you, or it might be a co-corker on the movie.

Yes You Can!

Taking that first step in the right way is important. Whether you are making a movie of kittens in the garden, or therapy rats at work, or a sponsored post, making sure that these first steps are done properly matters. You set off with a clear purpose and gain confidence as you learn. One of our #DKVideo challenge entries took ‘editing a movie’ as her skill building challenge because she was determined to tame the editing monster – and she did!

Take That First Movie Making Step 

To start movie editing you need to know how to use your editing software. This is, to start with, much more important than a plan and a focus for your movie. Basic video editors are not complicated and Mac and PC work flows are very similar, because they both do the same things on a different operating system. Both Windows and Apple programs will include the following options for you to explore:

  • A timeline where you build your movie
  • The ability to trim and manipulate your video clips
  • Options to add text, filters, colour and/or music
  • The option to add a voice-over (Mac) (PC)
  • The chance to upload to Vimeo, YouTube, a blog, or social media.

Movie Editing with Silver Kitten

TOP TIP Give Yourself Permission to Play

A good editing program will need to be explored, so give yourself time in the movie playground to see what you can do. Allow yourself to make mistakes, push the software as hard as you can. You will discover what works and what doesn’t, and most people can’t break software, even if they try. YouTube, and company web sites, are great for tutorials on specific software programs. You can find some comprehensive PC software recommendations here. A good Mac roundup can be found here.

The Beginner's Guide to Movie Editing....Click To Tweet

Good Movie Editing Means Having a Movie Plan

You can use our storyboard printables to help you plan, or jot notes on a pad, or use a smartphone note-taking app.

Here’s a step-by-step of how we approach editing a movie. You will start in the same way and then develop your own way of working as your skills grow.

  1. Add the shots you really like into your timeline. This will be your main story and focus.
  2. Preview it to see how it looks, then keep editing. Aim to keep your shots shortish (around 3 seconds to start with) for a dynamic feel, but never be afraid to extend a shot if you feel it works for you.
  3. As you edit, stay focused on your plan but don’t overthink your first run-through.
  4. Keep going, keep editing your movie into a rough cut that tells your story.

When you have a rough story in the timeline, take a look.

  • Does it stick to your plan?
  • Does it tell your story?
  • Is your rough outline is shaping up in a way you are happy with? If so, move on to the next stage.
  • If not, give your storyboard some further thought. Maybe take a break before you return to the editing screen.

Movie Editing Tips and Tricks for Directors

Beginner Movie Editing Tips – Stage 2

You have a rough cut of your work-in-progress. It’s looking good and the story is shaping up. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Now is the time to review your remaining unused footage and see how these shots fit in with your plan. Look for your close-ups and distance shots to add visual variety and focus interest.  Decide where you will add your extra footage to enhance your story.

Play your movie and review. If you are happy that it sticks to your plan and reflects your intentions get ready to take the final step. It helps to step away and clear your head before jumping in to the last stage so take a walk, surf Instagram, have lunch.

Want to #edit your #movies? Let us help!Click To Tweet

Adding Polish To Your ‘Final Cut’ – Stage 3

The final stage is giving your work a professional finish, even if you don’t aspire to serious stuff. A kitten movie to delight and entertain may be one minute long, with cute text and backed with a bouncy soundtrack: a sponsored post may include a purchased soundtrack, sophisticated text effects, and last a little longer to present a product well.  You can make both!

  • An effective video for a sponsor can make a big impact. Our tutorial for the Pioneer Pets Clamshell filter is short, informative and functional. The company found it helpful, and it now appears on the Pioneer Pet website.

A few ways to add movie editing polish:

  • Consider adding transitions. Restrict yourself to just a few, and you will see how effective a soft fade, or page curl across the screen can be, used just once to make a point.
  • Adjust colour if anything looks dark or over bright
  • Speed up or slow down a segment of film – often a ‘tortoise and hare’ symbol.
  • Add text. For FB movies remember many people have the sound off,
  • But for other places, think music! Think copyright too. Look for royalty free music like Incompetech who work under a Creative Commons licence, Audio Jungle (paid). YouTube has a royalty free library, and AdWeek have a list of recommended sites here.

PRO TIP for Sponsored Post Newbies

Ensure you add the American FTC statement front and centre to a video for a sponsored post. This is very important if you are reviewing a product or device, especially if your market includes the USA. This disclaimer is a legal requirement that you should see on every blog where an item or service was provided to a writer/blogger as remuneration (payment).

OK that’s all there is to it! Now go and practice, and edit and practice some more, and then make a movie.

We aim to make a very basic how to start making movies post in the near future – does that pique the interest of our readers? Let us know!

Silver Kitten
Movie Tutorial Author
and Inspirer

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat

A Blog Backup Could Save Your Neck!

Guys, let us tell you how a blog backup saved our furs yesterday. It’s been a little drama. We super relieved to say that thanks to the fact our WordPress blog backed up two days previously, we ARE here for Brian and his family’s  Thankful Thursday with little damage done!

Thankful Thursday

Blog BackUp Rescue

Mum accidentally deleted something. All of a sudden the images disappeared from the blog. They were in the media folder but ‘puff’ then went from the front page.  The silence was deafening!!!

Thankfully the whole website had been backed up two days previously and we are thankful we only had to recreate one blog post, our Pet Wellness round up!

We Are So Glad Updraft Plus Did A Blog BackUp

We have the free WordPress plug-in of Updraft Plus which saves to our Dropbox folder. This means that we have one worry less as a previous backup can be retrieved very quickly.

You can find the backup we use via the Plug-Ins page in WordPress. If you go for the paid premium service you get a lot more (for bigger sites this is a must). As Mum is challenged on a coding and complicated level, we can assure you the set up was not hard.

Silver bum day picture

OH MY CAT!! We are soooooo lucky!!

Blog Backup  Narrow Squeek

So if you don’t yet back up your blog, you should! Our regular backup saved our furs and we lost very little.

Did you back up this week? If you don’t know how, find out NOW!

Silver Kitten
Blog Backup Reporter

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat