Behind the Scenes

We first started making these Christmas videos back when Jared was working for a local tv show. He put in long hours and used state of the art equipment, but became frustrated by how little creativity was valued in that particular corporate world. Craving artistic expression, we decided to collaborate and allow his talents to benefit our own family.

Ever since then, our main goal has been to make the family video a tradition that the children look back on with fondness. We want it to be fun, not a chore. We ask them for ideas, have them help set up {they helped string nearly all of those cotton balls} and most of all, let the camera roll to capture the spontaneous moments that inevitably end up better than our planned shots.

Using our living room as a studio helps greatly with this. When the kids are fed, rested and happy, we let the cameras roll. The minute they become bored or cranky, they're allowed to take a break for a while {like eating a snack at the kitchen table shoved into a corner of the room!}

They've actually become quite the helpers! They toss snow, move lights, make the baby smile, run the music or push 'record' on the camera.

Much of the time, our scenes are actually shot amid typical family chaos. In the above photo, Jared's doing a lib-dub while the baby clings to his feet and the other children shout and laugh over an episode of Wizards of Waverly place. {There's a reason our videos don't feature live audio!}

Jared is king of the camera, but I love the art direction. I couldn't wait to set a wintery scene with cotton balls and twinkle lights. We used 800 cotton balls strung on thread {though I'm sure fishing line would have worked as well} then taped to the ceiling. I was up until 1:30 a.m. stringing and taping. They were EXTREMELY easy to tangle, and we were terrified that the baby would run through the whole set and tear it down before we'd even begun to film! 

We used a large canvas drop cloth from Home Depot {originally intended for the play teepee I'm making for Christmas} as the backdrop, then dug out every set of twinkle lights we had and stapled them to the ceiling. One or two strands placed right in front of the camera gave it a nice bokeh.

It took one day to set up, two days to film, and three days to edit. While most people were out shopping on Black Friday, we were occupied with costume changes and lighting. I know it's not for everyone, but for our family, it's the perfect tradition and it makes me happy to know that so many love the results.

PS While the cost of hiring Jared to make a video like this {several thousands of dollars} would be cost-prohibitive for most families, he IS a freelance videographer for hire. If your corporation or small business would like a creative video for television or internet, you can contact him at www.jaredfosterfilms.com


Apis Melliflora said...

It's a tradition perfected suited to your family. You and Jared both have artistic vision, fashion sense and retro cool taste. Plus he's got mad camera skills. And the whole family has serious dramatic flair.

Scott and Amme said...

thanks for sharing behind the scenes. My whole family (4 kids, myself and hubby)enjoys watching your videos. My 3 year old in particular thinks they are fabulous! You are all very talented.

Creole Wisdom said...

Your kids will remember this for the rest of their lives. What a special, wonderful tradition. I love it.

I don't even think you realize how happy these videos make people, they are perfect Christmas goodness :)

Keep up the great work!

The Queen Vee said...

Agree with all the above comments, couldn't have said it any better.

Miggy said...

I love this little behind the scenes peek! Thanks for sharing.

LisAway said...

And what a great family tradition it is!! I love that you give them a break as soon as they need it! I think I would worry that we would all be so cranky we'd just want to get it over with. I love your approach for keeping it fun.

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