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Demo: Move From One Location to Another

Lesson 33 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

Demo: Move From One Location to Another

Lesson 33 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

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Lesson Info

33. Demo: Move From One Location to Another


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Spark That Inspired Me


What Are Family Films?


Gear for Family Films


Camera Settings for Video


Frame Rates & Slow Motion


Picture Profiles & Color Grading


Settings for Audio Capture


Lesson Info

Demo: Move From One Location to Another

We are heading to the park, and this was really, like it all just happened so quickly. And Mom, I was upstairs with Mom, the baby was getting changed, she had woken the baby up and I got footage of the baby being pulled out of the crib which was great, but Dad came up there and then they were kind of getting the baby dressed, and she wanted to read a little bit with the baby on the floor while the baby just had a diaper on, and so we did a little bit of that, and then, we ended up then going downstairs. The things that are in my mind, I know what's coming up, I know that we are going to the park next. I'm hyper aware of the fact that I'm with them right now and the boys are downstairs, they're probably getting ready. I'd really like to get footage of them putting their helmets on, or getting their bikes out of the shed, or um, just prepping to go out. They've got sunglasses on. (laughs) And I missed a lot of that because I'm upstairs with the baby getting ready. And so, that's okay. An...

d I managed to get downstairs in time to see them with their bikes leaving through the gate beside the house, the front, and so I get a little bit of slightly overexposed footage of them (laughs) leaving, because it all happens fast. And so I get a little bit of that, and then that's usable to help me transition to, okay, now we're on bikes, so now we're going outside and all of that. So that's my thought process as I'm thinking through it. Upstairs, we don't see any of this, but she's getting the baby dressed. I get some photos of that. There's nice light in there, and some video footage of it as well. One of the things that she had specifically mentioned when I asked the physical features question about the baby was chubby hands, and chubby feet. And at this moment I'd gotten some of the chubby feet at the kitchen/breakfast scene, but they were reading on the floor, and the baby was like pointing to things in the book, so I got some closeups of his hand, and I was really happy to have a bit of that and her interaction with the baby. Which was really, really sweet. So, then we go to the park. The park is nearby. This is something that I do a lot in my sessions. It's usually we are indoors for a little bit and then we go outdoors. One of the things that was the hardest about this session, and it wasn't something that I had anticipated happening, was that I'm pretty sure they bribed the kids with Pokemon cards at the end of the session. If they were on their best behavior, they would get Pokemon cards at the end of the session, so they kept asking me when I was leaving. (audience laughs) So I'm gonna put this now in my, so every session that you do, you learn something new, you're like, okay, we're gonna do this better for next time. So I think I'm gonna put this now in my client prep, "Please don't bribe your kids with anything "because I don't need them to be on their best behavior." And I mean, I've said that already. Like I said to her, "It's fine, like kids are kids, "it's fine, you're still gonna see love. "You're still gonna see beauty. "I can take this stuff and make it look amazing, "so trust me in that." And you really don't, I said, "Intervene, like please don't hold back "from disciplining them. "I want you to discipline them if it feels necessary, "but don't worry, don't worry about me, "and don't worry about the cameras "if they are acting up or anything. "Just handle it as you normally would, and we'll go on." But the problem I think here was that she was kinda like, "Okay, if you guys are on your best behavior through the," and it was different than like, "Okay, let's get through this photography session." And perhaps 'cause she's a lifestyle photographer maybe this is something that like she's done and I've seen this being done in those kinds of photography sessions where it's like an hour and a half and you're like, "Okay, let's just get through this. "We've got a set of shots that we need to get "and so we'll get through this to the end, "and if you're good through all of that time, "you'll get a lolly, or you'll get something "at the end of it," right? But for what I do, it doesn't work, because I feel like they were kind of just biding their time from the time that I got there. And they asked, (laughs) I remember they asked me, "How long are you gonna be here?" (audience laughs) And I was like, "Um, a few hours. "Like I'm hanging out, you guys. "I'm here, let's be friends." They didn't want to be friends. (audience laughs) They were just wondering when they were gonna get their Pokemon cards, right, and so I'm like, okay. Once I realized that, I was kind of like, "Right, I know what's going on now." And I would say probably five or six more times they asked me when I was leaving. "How much longer are you gonna be here? "When are you leaving?" So, okay, word to the wise. All of my clients in the future, please don't bribe your kids. So yeah, I really just try to say to my clients, "Like just enjoy this day." We're so busy. Our lives are so busy. I know. My kids go to school. It's drop off, it's pick up, I'm working, I pick them up, and then, you know, from the time that I pick them up, we're doing homework, and we're making dinner, and we're doing all the things, and it's like you're so rushed all the time. And then on the weekends, there's all the activities, all the sports and all the stuff, it's like take this moment, take this time, you've got like three or four hours, take this time to really just sit and enjoy your family. Like just soak it all up. This is why you work. This is why you work so hard. Enjoy it, you know. And so, I think that they did, but the kids we're like, "When's it gonna be over? "Let's get our Pokemon cards back." So, yeah. I will, we'll go ahead and go on into this so you can see. I don't think you'll ever see them onscreen asking me that question. Eight, that's impressive. And the thing is they were pretty, apart from sometimes throwing things at each other, they were pretty well behaved. Like they weren't, they were great kids. They are great kids, you know? And parents do it with the best intentions. She didn't realize that that was gonna be what ended up happening. So I'm shooting this, trying to connect the two. It doesn't work from a wide angle point of view, so I'm getting in closer. Then she goes over and she's doing something to help with the bikes. The footage isn't great 'cause I'm walking. I think there might be a moment of connection here. There's not. It looks like it's too small for you. This is my bike. I know that's your bike. Well, I'll get Daddy to fix it. I'm waiting to see what happens with Dad. Dad's not here yet. Oh there's still an orange in my pouch! I completely left an orange in here. (baby babbling) He finds and orange in his basket that's been there for I don't know how long, and starts eating it. So, Dad first comes out with a big bike, and she's like, "No, we're walking." I start shooting from this position 'cause they tell me they're gonna go out to the left, but unfortunately the little boy came out and went right, and so it didn't work for what I was hoping to do, but I was anticipating, that's why I placed myself in that position. Look both ways. Okay, go. There was a lot of these moments where I'm like walking and just, hoping. See, I'm not doing a very good job. My knees should be bent more here, but the road is going up and then down, it's not level. Very, very hard. But I'm thinking maybe I'll use this Grand Avenue Park sign to say where we are, and then a little bit of them kind of walking through behind it. We get here. It kind of wasn't what I expected when we had talked about it. I thought there might be more to do. I didn't really expect like all the naval base stuff below. But. Have a kiss? Have a hug? No cuddle? Oscar. Do you think there's ever been an avalanche here? No. Probably not an avalanche of snow, but I bet they've had a rock slide or two. I'm waiting. I was waiting at that moment. The reason I shot that was I was waiting and hoping that he would turn his head towards his parents, 'cause I had just gotten footage of the parents, and I was hoping that I would get that head turn. I've got my indie filter on here too, and I think it's too dark, but I didn't change it. I can say this now, hindsight, you know? But this sun was hard. Very harsh. So I'm looking for something I can stand behind to give myself some foreground. I like the leaves, and I just, I don't know how long we're going to be here. I don't actually know what's happening next, I mis-focus. I'm kind of just trying to give myself as many options as possible, shooting around what it is that they're doing. We don't see this in the behind the scenes, but you'll see it in my footage later, that they saw an eagle, and they were seeing things and talking about things, so I switched to 24, and, they saw an eagle and Dad pointed it out, and he was like, "Oh look, there's an eagle," and then I got footage of the eagle flying past, and then there was still that audio of him saying, "He's just starting to get white on his head." And so, there's um, that nice interaction and the boys are like looking, there's a shot from where I'm standing behind and they're all looking towards the direction of the eagle. I don't think, it was definitely not the same moment, but I have them all looking that way which looks like they're looking at the eagle. I put them all together. It's a story that, it was a different moment but it works together. And so I think that what you'll see about all of this is so much of it is shooting a lot, probably a lot more maybe than you would for photos, anticipating moments, waiting for them while you're already shooting, shooting through moments, anticipating, moving a lot, but it's the edit. It's like it's figuring out how you're then gonna take all of that and put it together. And so I think that's really where the gold is for this so I'm really excited to get into that. Next. So, we'll take some questions if we have any. In storytelling you want to be authentic, and not ruin a scene. You want it to remain what would happen naturally, but would you cut out a scene completely if it just, like that scene there, if that just didn't work? The family obviously knows that they were there and it wasn't in the film. Would you keep it or just get rid of it? That's a really, really good question. Hmm. Yes, I am not averse to cutting a scene entirely. It depends on what it is and where it fell within the session. So, if there was, let's say for example, if they had gone and played in the playroom and I shot some of that and it just didn't fit, or it wasn't relevant, or the moments weren't as strong, then I would probably not include it, and I would be okay with that. In this instance, I couldn't not in, I don't think I could not include that because it was the end of their session, so that's my ending and there is enough usable footage that it works, so, and there's a sweet moment of the little baby pointing to like out and he's looking at something, and that's what we'll end with. But yes, it is not uncommon for scenes to happen that I don't include, especially if I'm there for a really long time. Yeah, yeah. Or, if like of that scene I might like only include one clip of it, you know? A short. I noticed that a lot of the exterior of the client's home was shown. Have you ever had clients ask you for privacy reasons not to have that, because I know for a lot of my clients, like they've asked me to take it down off the internet like if their house numbers are showing, so then I just did a re-edit and used a different establishing shot, for example. Mm-hmm. I am pretty aware of house numbers. I think I shot, earlier I shot some clips that had them really visible, but there was also a car in one of them and I wasn't going to use it. But yeah, I don't have, I haven't ever had a client say that, but I have friends who would feel the same. I wouldn't have any issues, and if the majority of my clients felt that way then I would be really, really strategic about how I shot it so that there weren't any numbers shown. Like it wouldn't necessarily be a wide angle of the house on its own. In fact, what I'm going to use to open this film after watching it and seeing it is the footage of the house in the background and the flowers in front of it, and so it's still showing the outside of the home, but without being really literal. I mean, and also, you could just start it from, with an opening, like a reveal slide clip from the bedroom. You don't have to show the outside of the house. I don't always like showing the outside of the house, 'cause I don't like my films to be that predicable that every single film has that outside of the house as the beginning, you know? And for some families, the outside of the house is not important to them. Like it's not, I've had a few families where they're planning on leaving soon. There's no real significance to the front of the house so we don't include it. I know that in advance. So I think yeah, it's valid, and just know your clients and know, and just try to be more strategic if you want to shoot the outside of the house, or just figure out a way to open the film without the front of the house being shown. We have a question online. This is from Rachel who asks: "How do you handle rainy days "if you're doing outside shoots like this? "Do you reschedule, do you just scrap that idea "to be outside?" It depends on what the family says in their questionnaire as to, 'cause I'll usually talk to them about what they would like to do, if they would like to go to an outdoor location, like as part of their session, or if they would just want to stay home. If they're planning on just staying home, I don't worry about rain at all. I don't reschedule about rain. So I will just play it by ear. Some clients, if I know their house really well and it's already really dark, and it's a really rainy day, then I might chat to them and say, "What do you think about maybe doing this "on a different day?" But it's really up to them, and it just, it varies client to client. There has been one, I know we haven't seen it, but where we got stuck in the rain, and we had to hide under a tree. Like we had to get shelter under a tree, and it was actually really pretty. I like rain in footage. Like, I like wind, too. So I just have to be careful about my gear, but it's weather-sealed, so I'll shoot through. If the clients are happy to go ahead, I'll go ahead, you know. I like the clouds, I like rainy days, they're good. I love rainy days like on windowpanes where the rain is coming, it's beautiful, so. One more question from Craig who says, this was when you were shooting outside in their backyard in the garden. "Are you rolling a lot just to be able to catch audio "that you might be able to use for B-roll?" Am I rolling? Let me see. "Are you rolling the whole time "to be able to catch audio that you can later use "over B-roll?" Not in that scene, I wasn't, not for that reason. I was probably rolling a lot because I wanted to get a lot of different angles of what the little boy was doing so it was more just to give myself some options to use in the edit. Yeah. Can you, I like that question. Would you use audio over B-roll? Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. A lot of times too, if I'm introducing a scene with B-roll, and the next clip that I'll use has audio, so let's say the first clip is gonna have B-roll, and the next clip is gonna have audio, then I'll unlink the audio and drag it out underneath the B-roll so that when we open into that room with that B-roll we have the audio coming through first with the B-roll, over the B-roll, and sometimes too, you know, if it's a detail shot of something like the trampoline where we're just seeing feet like jumping and things like that, but there's laughter, and I want, I can include that audio underneath it to just bring sort of more of that hearing is believing type thing to it. So, yeah, it takes extra work, obviously, 'cause you then need to really listen to figure out where the audio is in the clips that you want to use. Like it's a lot of extra work to do that, but it does make a difference. Still question about the raining. So filming outside, and where to some particular protection for your gear, especially the mic on the top, because you know we have a lot of raining here in the winter, so. Yeah, you do. I'm lucky, 'cause I live in Australia. (audience laughs) We have beautiful weather all the time. Um, yeah, I mean, oh, I'm the worst person to ask about gear stuff and protecting gear. I'm not good at it. I take a lot of risks. There was one session I was doing, it was a year in the life session, and we went and we climbed down a side of a cliff to this like, it's called Jellybean Pools, and I was like shoulder-deep in the water with them with my camera over my head, so. (laughs) (audience laughs) Yeah, yeah, you should protect your gear, and I'll leave that answer at that, but I just am like, "How long have I been out here "in the rain with my microphone?" And then I just am aware of that, and I just try to be careful with it. Yeah. Don't be me. (audience laughs) Have you ever shot families with older kids or teenagers, and if you have, how does that go? Good question. I have shot them, I have photographed them. I haven't filmed a family with older kids yet. I want to. I've had people who've asked, and I've had, I remember after I taught at the Baby Summit, there was someone who came up specifically with teenage girls, and she really wanted to capture their time together over Christmas where they go camping, and I would have loved that. It didn't work out timing-wise, but you know, yes, I'm not averse to it, it's just that most of the people that contact me have younger kids. I think that it's just as important to capture that age as it is the younger kids, and when I'm photographing older kids, I love seeing them and their connection usually with their parents, it's just so interesting to me. So yeah, I'm not adverse to it, as I said. If I was going to prep a client for that I probably would encourage a tech-free day, which might be a challenge, so, you know, I would probably encourage them to have a few ideas of things that they might want to do together as a family, like "What are some things "you love doing together? "Board games?" Just to try and help them have an idea of the things that they would want to do together with the teens, but yeah, I would like to.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Shot List Worksheet Template
Shot List Worksheet Example
Ideas for Your First Film
Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Adam Nicholls

Worth a watch! Courtney provides a clear and organised class, she is also very passionate about what she does which is always nice to see. She has a great back story which is fantastic. This course is good for beginners who have some knowledge in photography and want to learn more about video. I would recommend that people do not refer this class to the bible of filmmaking as I feel you can expand further on what Courtney teaches. Some useful tips for beginners but some methods I personally feel can be taught differently. I feel a gimbal is a useful bit of kit if used correctly. You can still use a gimbal when in manual mode providing you follow the basics rules! Obviously if Courtney prefers not to use a gimbal then that's also fine but I wouldn't discourage students from exploring useful filmmaking tools. Slow motion can be achieved with 50/60fps however I feel other frame rates should have been discussed like 120fps. I liked that Courtney engaged with the students as it gets them involved and will help them remember what they have learned during the class. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your knowledge

a Creativelive Student

Courtney's work is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I feel lucky that she has chosen to share her process and that this class is available! After watching all the videos and trying my hand at this video thing, I am feeling really encouraged and inspired to do more- both personally and professionally. I appreciate the way that she breaks things down in the video and that she shares her thought process. A really great course!


Courtney’s course completes me! I have storytelling “holes” in my film previously, but this course helped fill those holes to create a flow and a film with emotion. Not only is the course wonderful (and well worth every penny) but Courtney is wonderful as well! I had such an amazing experience at Creative Live!!!!

Student Work