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If you’ve been to any kind of event lately, you will undoubtedly have experienced what I like to call The Human Pillar: the barrier of people, all armed with smartphones, jockeying to take photos and video.
I often find myself wondering what people do with all the photos and all the footage. Most frequently, one or two pics might find their way onto social media. Usually, though, the bulk is deleted. I’m certain there is great footage being dumped into cyberspace.
BUT WHAT IF THAT FOOTAGE COULD BE COLLECTED AND EDITED INTO A VIDEO?
Using the You Shoot/We Edit package, your guests can capture candid, fun video that will missed by a hired videographer. Having your friends & family take video means close loved ones will be capturing behind-the-scenes, personal, casually epic moments. It won’t be a top-notch Hollywood production, but it will be a montage of moments and memories that the people closest to you know you will enjoy and you never would have seen otherwise.
If you are wondering whether you can really trust friends & family to shoot all the video, of course you can. Almost everyone you know is armed with a point-and-shoot camera or a smart phone and have already logged dozens of hours shooting fun pictures and videos. You can strategically choose who you’d like to hold the camera, or you can just place them on your chosen tables and let everyone have a go.
The result will be a wholly entertaining video of unique footage from your wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, retirement party, client appreciation event, or whatever event is important to you.
For details and pricing, please visit the Services page.
The story that unfolded for us on Friday night is so unbelievable that I had no choice but to title this post as if I were writing a short story. That is exactly how I will write it, too.
The evening had turned out to be lovely. The air was warmer than it had been in weeks. Every window in the house had been opened that morning, in order to let the winter staleness make way for the freshness of spring.
We were tired, our shoulders heavy with the stress of preparing our house for sale. This was to be our fourth sale, but the first time in a decade of cross-country moves that we were moving within the city. Still, despite our experience with purging and de-cluttering there was still so much to be done. Last minute bathroom sweeps. Wiping away the dust that was moved around the house by the flurry of activity and the spring breeze. Hiding the evidence of our mundane daily routines.
We missed the sun setting – something we enjoy more now that the days are longer. Dinner happened later than normal and bedtime had completely bypassed us. All attention was focussed on presenting our house in the best possible light. We had 4 showings scheduled for the next day – the first day of what we hoped would be a short adventure.
As the last bit of dust was being wiped from the door frames, we were surprised when our doorbell rang. Twice, in quick succession, with a sense of urgency. There was a man on the front porch, standing in the darkness, barely visible in the backlight from the street.
“I’d like to buy your house, please. Tonight. Full price.”
I stumbled over my words, trying to find an appropriate answer.
“Ummm, okay, but we aren’t showing yet. Ummm. Ummm. Call our realtor. Call her. I’ll call her too, okay?” I closed the door.
My husband was already on the phone – first calling his friends to see who was behind the prank, then with our realtor (Bernice Dubon, who truly is the most skilled realtor we have ever worked with), explaining what was happening. The call from the gentleman was incoming as well.
The man sat on our porch for a while, making his own phone calls.
Yes, it was creepy. It was weird. It was so unbelievable that I tried to contain my hope that this house could be sold in less than 7 hours from listing.
My husband opened the front to door to tell the man our realtor said he should contact his realtor. The man took the opportunity to outline the terms of the sale, to let us know he “is not a crazy man”. It was almost as if he wanted to seal the deal right there, on the concrete stoop. After some discussion, the two men shook hands, sealing a promise to stay awake long enough to sign the papers.
We waited. Bernice came over. We waited. We had tea. We waited and danced around conversation, while each of us wondered inwardly if this was really going to happen.
Shortly after 11pm, the doorbell rang once more. This time, a different man – the first gentleman’s realtor – handed us an offer. We sent it back with one revision. Before midnight, we were conditionally sold.
We discovered that the man who first rang our doorbell had already been outbid on a number of houses in our neighbourhood. He was an immigrant with a family who had managed to carve out a great life here in Calgary. They were ready to step up and move into their dream house.
Ringing our bell took a lot of guts and nerve. We will never know if he decided to be bold on his own or if his wife pushed him to do it. We do know his realtor advised him not to do it. But he drove to our house, stepped up on our porch, and pushed that button.
Twice, in rapid succession, with a sense of urgency that comes with chasing your dream.
Today, the World Wide Web is 25 years old. Two and a half decades of evolution since computer users were first able to use their phone lines (landline for those who have never had one) to connect remotely to a bulletin board or a newsgroup (an early version of a forum). Life moves much faster now, and for the better. Everything is accessible, searchable, shareable. When the internet began spreading it’s fingers in 1989, people were ready. The lavish excess of the 80s demanded that we have the latest of anything, but we were also on the verge of a recession. The World Wide Web didn’t know it, but it would become a great source of online chatter and rudimentary gaming as people stopped spending time and money outside the home.
My first computer was an IBM PS1 – for those of you who have no idea what that means, let me just say that the memory was smaller than the smallest USB stick is now and I had enough time to cook mac and cheese while it booted up.
So trust that I know what I’m talking about when I say (or actually scream)
LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER NOW.
1) Before the world wide web, we had to buy a whole album, on CD, and had to wait to get home to play it to discover that only 2 of the 15 songs were good.
2) Before the world wide web, we had to spend a whole Saturday or Sunday at the library working on a project for school because the encyclopedia set at home was from the 1970s and where else could we get more current information.
3) Before the world wide web, we had to guess when the bus might come and pray that the shelter wasn’t full so we could have a smoke while we waited.
4) Before the world wide web, we actually had to consult a paper version of the yellow pages and risk great personal injury while extracting the most current version from the top shelf of the closet where the last 4 years of yellow and white (see #5) pages were stored.
5) Before the world wide web, if we wanted to look up a number, we had to consult the enormous phone book called the white pages and discovered there was more than one way to spell Smith (just like we discovered there were so many people that had the same last name we did).
6) Before the world wide web, if we had crappy customer service, we had to suck it up because it was the only cool place to shop with your friends and by the time you got home to call your friends and tell them about it, it was forgotten.
7) Before the world wide web, bullying was done in person and you either defended yourself or walked away from it without fear of the torture spreading to everyone in the universe.
8) Before the world wide web, if you wanted to know the most current local news, you had to turn on the radio and wait for an update.
9) Before the world wide web, if you wanted to steal music, you had to have the tape on your ghettoblaster set to pause/record, wait to hear the song on the radio and hope the DJ didn’t talk over the opening.
10) Before the world wide web, we had to wait. For everything. A phone call. A letter in the mail. Our favourite TV program. In line in the cold for concert tickets. News. Answers.
We are a patient lot, those of us born in the 70s or earlier. We’ve done our share of searching, waiting, and wanting. Should the world wide web ever go dark, we are well-equipped to deal with the crisis, especially since our parents still have a library of yellow pages hanging around.
I don’t see the point of penning letters to your 14-year-old self that you will never see. Writing myself a letter to be read on my 88th birthday seems more plausible. So today, my 44th birthday, I did just that.
TO DANA, ON HER 88TH BIRTHDAY
You are probably looking at this letter and trying desperately to recall why you chose age 88. It’s because you have an odd fondness for double digits and the way they roll off your tongue. Yes, you were always weird that way.
I’m certain that you are reading this letter using whatever is the latest technology. You are frustrated because your fingers don’t work as well as they used to and the swipe motions are a bit more complicated when arthritis has set in. The voice recognition works perfectly, but you refuse to use it because the nosy biddies at the retirement community are listening and are louder than you and that’s what your device will pick up anyways.
I wanted you to know that the year leading up to your 44th birthday was filled with transitions. You walked away from a long-term toxic relationship, which left plenty of room for people who love you and planted a permanent smile on your face. You realized that, yeah, you are a giving, forgiving and social person who spent too many years in self-doubt. When you severed the cord that was choking you, you were free to fly.
And did you ever. You started a new company; you spent more time appreciating your husband and boys. You acknowledged the things that had to change and let it be okay that you were not ready to change everything at once.
At 44, you felt really comfortable with who and where you are. You loved watching The Walking Dead as much as you loved Drop Dead Diva. Your best dishes were chicken schnitzel and chicken pot pie with homemade crust. You readily accepted new people into your circles and you were still a great hugger.
I’m sure not much has changed in your personality. You probably still come up with witty one-liners. You probably still laugh your ass off when one of your friends forgets about the Thursday morning yoga class and has beans for dinner on Wednesday night. I am certain that you still encourage your older friends to get off their rockers and walkers and shake their synthetic hips and saggy bottoms when you play Madonna’s Get into the Groove.
And that man sitting by the common room window and flirting with all the ladies? That is your husband. Before you get mad at him, let me remind you that despite his objections, he relented when you wanted to sell the condo and move into the complex. He supported every business venture, every menopausal mood swing, and every dream you chased. He was (and still is) a great father and friend and remains Viagra-free.
So let him flirt. He’ll be waiting for you later when you get home from bingo.
Happy Birthday you crazy broad!
It’s only February 3rd and I am already completely overwhelmed by the number of movies this family will be seeing over the next few months. Looks like we will be heading to Costco to take advantage of the savings offered on the Movie Night packages.
As a tech-loving/Marvel vs DC/action packed movie loving family, we are ridiculously excited about what is coming to screens. My 9-year-old has inherited his parents’ love for the movies and has marked everything in his calendar. In fact, at breakfast this morning, he told me exactly how our weekends are going to play out between now and the end of June. Thank him for this concise list.
February 7, 2014
THE LEGO MOVIE
March 21, 2014
MUPPETS MOST WANTED
April 4, 2014
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
April 11, 2014
May 2, 2014
THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2
June 13, 2014
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
June 27, 2014
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Also worth mentioning, but not on our playlist:
Godzilla (May 16); Maleficent (May 30); Planes: Fire & Rescue (July 18)
Did any of your new year resolutions include getting your photos and videos organized?
Or maybe that was last year, and now that your images are sorted, you are at a loss with what to do with them.
It’s time to start learning HOW TO MAKE MOVIES.
You do not have to be an editing professional to create great video slideshows. Today, there are many easy-to-use on-line programs that are simple drag-and-drop platforms (like Animoto) where you can create slick videos of your images complete with a soundtrack, transitions and layered textures and movements.
If you feel you want to do more,then simply turn to your own computer.All older systems came with video software installed (Windows Movie Maker for PC; iMovie for Mac), and basic video editing software is very affordable (less than $100) for newer systems. Apps are even available for tablets (Magisto).
Great movies starring your own family are always a treasure and a wonderful way to pass the time on a lazy afternoon. Twenty years from now, your children will not be noticing your editing skills, they will be enjoying the memories.
Here are tips to get you started.
KNOW THE MATH
The longest a picture needs to be on a screen is 4 seconds; any longer and the brain starts to wonder. Keep video clips short too: no one wants to watch the kids digging in the snow for 7 minutes and then plugging the hole with fake dynamite and running for cover. Try 15 seconds of digging, then cut to plugging the hole and running for cover.
We’ve got a saying in this house: If you’re going to picky, your going to be hungry. When it comes to creating movies. if you’re not going to be picky; you’re going to be boring. Pick the best photos and video clips, the ones that can tell a story without knowing the history.
LEARN THE LINGO
A transition is how you move from one image to another; a timeline is where all your pieces are laid in order; a track is a fancy way of saying music. If you are stuck – just google how to….
DECIDE YOUR ORDER
Will your movie be a chronological account of events? Will you bundle vacations together? How will you finish your movie?
Your favorite song may not be appropriate for your video. The profanity you forgot about, the subject matter of the song (like Coldplay’s Fix You), the tone of the video all need to be considered before you commit to a track.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE SOFTWARE
Most consumer level editing software is built specifically for people who have never edited before. Your photos and videos will not disappear forever. Play around with the software to test all the different features. That’s why we have the “undo” option.
Need a sample of where to start? Watch my family’s mini film of some 2013 highlights here.
If you need help getting started, want a private lesson on how to use your software, or just want some feedback, just click to send e-mail.
Change is good. Change is healthy. Change is not always easy, but it is always for the better.
I’m sure you’ve heard some variation of the saying. It’s not always easy to accept change that is forced on you, and it can be even more difficult to take the first step toward change. In early November, I was forced to face the change that needed to happen. I was not going to wait until the new year to make a resolution I would never keep. I was not going to put my feet up and “wait and see”. I was going to accept the change, then I was going to acknowledge the change was causing me anxiety, then I was going to embrace the change and share the news. I’ve already taken all those steps, but I wanted to explain more in this post.
Here is the change: Effective immediately, Digital Shoebox will no longer be offering video-to-DVD transfer service.
For the last 7 years, I have taken great care in transferring your precious memories from VHS, Beta, Video-8, Mini-DV, and Hi-8 to DVD. I have been privileged to see your lives unfold before my eyes. I have been privy to your family traditions: the Christmas PJ’s, the hunting trips, the family picnics, the school concerts. I have watched your children grow from sweet babies to awkward teens. I have seen your bad hair days, your teenage antics, your errors in judgement. I have seen your weddings, then your children’s weddings, then your retirement parties. I have seen 1,271 hours of life pass through my edit bay. The amounts to 53 years of unchecked laughter, reckless dancing, trampoline/skateboard/bicycle bloopers, and countless hugs, kisses and tears.
It sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? So why give it up?
The reasons are simple, really.
TIME. Video transfers in real time and renders in double time. That means a two hour tape requires 6 hours to process.
DEMAND. There is still demand for the service, but I am choosing to focus my energy on the demand for my editing skills to create wedding videos, baby’s first year and corporate editing projects.
INTEREST. Truthfully, transferring video does not foster my creative spirit in any way. It feels like a chore, and when I stop loving something, I just need to stop.
DIRECTION. My business life has veered of into a new direction – CHICFLICKS. That company is ready to grow and it needs my love, attention and creative direction in order to soar.
My change is already well under way, but I won’t leave anyone behind. The nice part of having lived in 3 provinces is that I built relationships with others in the industry. I have good people to recommend who will gladly take care of any of your video transfer needs.
Thank you for your continued support. I’m still working away on some fantastic projects, so feel free to check out the Facebook page and see what comes next.
At the height of my movie-going experience, I was going to the movies every weekend. Sometimes, I would have the good fortune to see two movies in a weekend. When I was a film reviewer, I would see at least 3 films a week, some of which never made it past a 1-week run at the theatre.
The movie-going experience has changed immensely over the years. At their very humble beginnings, the Nickelodeon movie theatre was the first type of indoor space dedicated to showing projected motion pictures. These small, independent, simple theaters charged five cents for admission and flourished from about 1905 to 1915. As the movie industry began to flourish, the rush was on to build lavish, enormous, elaborate theatres, also known as movie palaces. The multi- and mega-plexes started to appear in the 1950′s and that is the format we are most familiar with today.
MOVIE FACT YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW: Canada was the first country in the world to have a two-screen theater. The Elgin Theatre in Ottawa became the first venue to offer two film programs on different screens in 1957.
People often complain about the price of going to the movies. For a family of four, like mine, a trip to the theatre sets us back around $100, once you factor in tickets and snacks. With movies coming to DVD faster than ever, it seems hard to justify a trip to the multiplex, when $100 will cover a 1-year subscription to Netflix. But we still love going to the movies and we do. In fact, this weekend, we saw two movies and had snacks for less than $80. For two films. And snacks.
How is this possible?
The independent movie theatre. We have come full circle.
When we lived in BC, we frequently headed to the Hollywood 3 theatre in Surrey, BC, a.k.a the cheap theatre. It was a little run down, and sometimes a seat was broken, but the owner was almost always there and had built a solid reputation as a good samaritan. Here in Calgary, this family goes to Canyon Meadows Cinemas. The movies are second run (meaning they’ve run their course at the major cinemas), and because it is independently owned, the owners can decide what movies to show and for how long. (This Remembrance Day weekend there were 5 family-friendly movies available to choose from).
So if you have a large family, don’t write off the affordability of a night, or afternoon, at the movies. Find a local, independently owned theatre and sit back and enjoy the show.
As a parent of two very creative boys, I am always on the hunt for interesting and affordable art lessons. I have a painter (aged 8) and an illustrator/animator (aged 9) so finding classes that can interest them both is always a challenge. The painter has very little interest in anything technical; the animator refuses to pick up a paintbrush (despite my efforts to show him how Disney cells are created and probably because he saw this video).
When I finally do find something great, I have to share it and I have to be involved. I was a final signature away from owning my own 4Cats franchise, but other commitments got in my way, and then we moved from Ontario. Fortunately, there are 4Cats studios all over Canada – one of my favourites is right here in Calgary’s Inglewood.
I recently had the good fortune to meet Janet Pliszka-Hughes, an extraordinary photographer and the owner of Visual Hues Photography. Janet, and her co-photographer Amy Braithwaite are an amazing team. Their efforts and skill brought out the best in me, and I am proud to share my headshot with the world.
From that photo shoot emerged a great working relationship. At the time, ChicFlicks was just starting to emerge, and I was already having discussions with prospective clients about how I could fulfill their video needs. Janet was one of those discussions. After months of work and planning, an amazing video shoot, and a great deal of careful editing, I am thrilled to finally be able to share another artistic program I am excited about.
The Kids Photography Academy (KPA) is a series of online classes that teaches kids the art, science and fun of photography. I was thrilled when Janet hired ChicFlicks to not only shoot the KickStarter video, but also as the contracted videographer for all the lessons. From what I have learned during the shoots, I can tell you with complete honesty that these lessons are going to be great fun for any child. KPA has already started issuing challenges to kids over on their Facebook page, and my children are delighted to grab the camera and run outside to capture an appropriate image (bad mommy has yet to upload them all).
The really nice thing about the online courses that KPA is offering is the freedom to complete the lessons on your own terms. I know in my household, the boys will be gung-ho at the start and once the initial excitement wears off, I can park the lessons until a day comes when the kids are complaining about being bored. The first round of lessons should be ready by December, just in time to gift them to friends and to gift your own mini-photographer with a camera.
If you are interested, visit the Kickstarter page where a pledge of $35 will earn you the first three FUNdamentals video lessons.
I recently received a call from a high school friend who wanted a video for her brother’s birthday. It was the first birthday he would be celebrating without both parents and she wanted to present a one-of-a-kind tribute to her family.
As the photos stared coming in, I saw the family story emerge, and even though I’ve known the woman (who I’ll call Diana) for almost 30 years, I was experiencing the history of her life between high school and adulthood. It’s the most gratifying part of my job – being able to see what other people cannot see within their own circles, seeing the love, the closeness, the laughter that is continuous in every family’s history despite the arguments or the geography or the expansions.
What hit me right here was the audio clip Diana sent of a message her father left on her voicemail, wishing her a happy birthday in the unique style he reserved for his children. Since no child was named in the message, we are using it to open the video for her brother’s birthday.
And that is the message I want you to hear – but from your own grandparents/parents/cherished family members. My grandparents died long before smartphone video made recording life a commonplace habit. We have no video or audio recordings of the people who helped raise me, who entertained me every Shabbat (Friday) after school. I have memories of watching the Price is Right with my grandfather and watching The Overcooking of Steak with my grandmother (not a skilled cook, but I loved her!). But it would be so nice to be able to to hear their voices, or to see a video clip of me and my grandfather yelling out prices at the contestants on TV.
After my grandmother passed and I started cleaning out her condo, I came across some surprising photos that were atypical of the woman I knew. I also found photos that instantly threw me back to when I was 10 years old and hanging out in my grandparent’s variety store.
We now have the technology to preserve those voices, places and actions forever. Even if your relative is camera shy, capture that. I recently had the opportunity to record my children baking with their grandmother, and I know it’s a video they will cherish forever. There are many clips of their grandparents and lately I find myself stepping in front of the camera knowing that one day, they will watch these videos. When that day comes, it won’t matter how my hair looked or what I weighed or if I was in my pj’s . It will only matter that they can see and hear their mom.
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Video editing and custom slideshows for your wedding, small business, birthday and anniversary. Serving Calgary, Airdrie, and Okotoks, Alberta.