If someone asked me, “What makes you come alive?”, some answers immediately come to mind. Two of them are my 4-year old twins.
Producing their annual video is one special way I appreciate them. The goal is not only to share their earliest, brightest memories with loved ones, but for Jeremy and Maya to look back decades from now, and get a glimpse of how much love their grandparents, uncles, aunties, and friends poured into them. I make every effort to produce these videos as soon as possible because life is short, precious, and fast; these videos are my personal time capsules to enjoy.
So what’s the process that goes into each annual production?
- Capture, Review, and Select: After each birthday, I review all the video footage I’ve captured with the twins, which requires days, if not weeks. I look in particular for those “right moments” that are not only memorable, but the shot, lighting, audio, and duration of the footage can be consumed in a way that adds value to the annual compilation. Those selected clips are then imported into my video editing software of choice, Final Cut Pro X. From there, I refine each clip, mostly focusing on when to start a scene and when to end it. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry so much about arranging the order of these clips as they are naturally chronological. Each video climaxes and ends with their birthday party.
- Find the Right Song: The most difficult part of the process is selecting the music soundtrack. Finding a song that is not too distracting, too short, too long, too subtle – and most importantly, reflects the desired tone – is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. I spend months listening and finding that “perfect song” where my patience is tested each year. Spotify and YouTube have been my main platforms to exploring music. One of my favorite composers I’ve come across is Thomas Bergersen, and the majority of my video productions are based on the his music’s emotional pulls and cues.
- Edit, Edit and Edit: Once the song is finally selected, I refine the video clips once more to sync certain scene transitions with specific cues in the music. For powerful crescendoes and climaxes, I time the music with vivid imagery of the twins’ happiest moments or perhaps show the vast numbers of loved ones framed in the same shot. These shots are glorified with the emotional soundtrack and the experience is beautiful. I also adjust the audio levels for both music and video clips depending on the desired output. Do I want the viewers to enjoy the music during a particular scene? Turn down or mute the video clip. Do I want the viewers to hear a fun sound byte of dialogue? Lower the music volume. This process can be tedious, but once you have the right clips with the right song, this becomes the most fun part too.
In the end, every JereMaya video reflects the kind of mood I was in at the time of production. Year Three was a bit somber because of my grandma’s passing. But for Year Four, my hope is that you can see, hear, and feel the difference.