Home Movie Tips 2: Carousel Films

Part two in this series of “how to” videos by a person who really doesn’t much know what they are doing. The result is something EASY for you to do, too! Woo hoo! And it actually does work…

…or it doesn’t.

Here are two of my own attempts to make a cute Carousel-themed home movie. One of them succeeds pretty well, and the other is terrible.

Look, Father! A Carousel!

Grab the Popped-Corn!

There are a few easy tricks and techniques you can use to suggest silent films of the 1930’s style. Bullet points, anyone?

  • A cherubic child, doing cute, olde timey stuff. Favorite subjects include Carousels, ice cream at the seaside, 4th of July Parades, petting puppy dogs, playing stick-and-hoop, voting for Taft, stuff like that. Avoid Justin Beiber concerts for this style of video. Though we will be muting the sound, so…
  • If you are going on a carousel,you may have to shoot it WHILE YOU HOLD THE KID. Be prepared. It’s not easy. Or you can get a second adult on, but you will need to pay for them. Shooting carousel footage from the sidelines results in a pretty terrible movie, as you will see in our second example.
  • Black and white or sepia tone on all shots and titles. I usually prefer B&W, but try both.
  • Film grain or age effect. These come prepackaged in your computer’s video editing software, probably. Experiment with different ones until you get something convincing. NOTE: I should have used the grain and effect on the dialogue text and the frame well, for consistency.
  • Sound. Mute the sound from the video, and then use something old time-y and cute or dramatic. Here we have incidental music from The Little Rascals short, played by The Beau Hunks. Solo piano works well too, as it mimics the cinema players of the time.
  • Get a bunch of shots, even if they are short ones. Telling a story is key, however basic (We arrive, we look at stuff, we leave.) Try and get shots of your arrival, establishing shots of a location when you get there, and shots of you leaving. A napping child, happily exhausted, is a classic final shot. Shoot each image for longer than you think you need, to make it easier to edit later.
  • You’ll need a silent movie frame for your dialogue. Here’s one I found on a message board, it’s the one I used in the video below. Click the photo below to link to the full-sized version. Basically you put it in your movie as you would a photo, and then put your dialogue on top of the photo as a centered subtitle, in a vintage font. Dialogue should be corny as all get out, of course.

USE ME!

  • No fades or effects on the edits. Use all quick cuts, and make some of them jarring!
  • End credits are useful to tag your film with the people’s names, the date, the place. Who know how long your film will survive? If your grandchildren are able to watch it, they will appreciate having that information.
  • And, of course, my #1 tip- keep it to the length of one short song, if at all possible.

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A Mardi Gras Miracle: Part Two

After the batch of pink babies, I was not sure what to expect in the next package. Booze? Voodoo dolls? Beads? No. MORE WEIRD PLASTIC BABIES. These things are a cottage industry. A visit to the Mardi Gras Imports website reveals that these King Cake Babies are a type of FANCY BEAD. Who knew. Despite that revelation, the website generated more questions than it answered. I like that.

This post is about the contents of the second box: Stella’s box.

NEW!

Amazing- they have seized on the strange appeal of these unholy infants and turned it into a game of Jacks! Or JAX. 10 ‘BABY’ JAX, to be precise. Gotta wonder who is writing the copy for this stuff. The back of the card contains precise, complex instructions for various JAX games with names like “Sweepies.”  Just trying to envision how to play these ancient games made my head spin. Stella will never play with these in their intended fashion. I am cool with that.

It's those weird "no ankles" legs again. I think they tucked their stirrup pants into their Reeboks.

I love these babies- they scream Mardi Gras like a hungry baby screams for mama. Goofy, bizarre plastic trinkets, slathered in lurid (possibly lead-based) paint and ready to get tossed off a float into a drunken crowd by a drunken person in a drunken costume? Sign me up! Hoo Na Nay!

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Stella immediately started rooting around in search of the original King Cake Baby, so she could reunite it with its family. An Heroic Inclination burns within her heart. They wept when they saw each other.

I admit, that photo is as fake and staged as a political rally. The plastic babies do not really have a special relationship. I couldn’t resist, though. I dug up the rest of them for a group photo. Apparently one of the Gold ones- let’s call her Goldie- has gone AWOL. Say cheese!

The King Cake Baby Family Picnic.

They look cute enough- at first. The shiny colors distract one from their eerie forms, unlike the pink mannequin spawn babies. However, upon closer examination, one realizes they do not share the cute little belly-button hole of the little babies.

Seriously?

 Oh no. The hole on these guys blasts brutally though the crown of their round little skulls and explodes out their butts. I am sorry to put it that way, but…

Fancy bead, indeed. Is there a doctor in the house?

I appear to have rendered myself speechless.

It seems that finally, hopefully, I have run out of steam on these babies. That’s fine with me. I am sick of writing about them.

The End.