How to Make Moving Photos from Harry Potter

For those of you that read my blog series from my birthday trip to Universal Studios, then you know I did a photo package with the ultimate result being my own moving photos. Based on what I observed and on what I have learned since then as a Youtuber, I am going to go through step by step on how to create moving photos yourself.

Step One: Writing a script

Now, technically, if you’re planning on uploading your video onto Youtube, you should make your thumbnail first. But that has nothing to do with actually making the video, so I’m going to skip over that for now.

Since there is no dialogue in a moving photo, I kept my script simple. I just used phrases to indicate the different scenes, each one of them becoming a moving photo.

Step Two: Filming

The filming part is relatively easy, as long as you get the lighting right. You will need to use a green screen, and the most important thing in working with a green screen is the lighting.

I use three different lights when I do my filming. I am sure there are more professional setups with larger lights, but as I am on a budget, and I do some of my filming remotely, I have two mobile lights, and I also use a floor lamp for my third light. The general principle is that you light the green screen first (my floor lamp). I also use the floor lamp as my backlight. You will need a backlight, a light directly in front of your subject, and a light in front of but slightly to the left of your subject. I film on my Amazon Fire tablet with a tripod. You can also film during day light hours near a window to reduce the number of lights you need, particularly during sunrise or sunset as the lighting is at just the right balance at this time.

Once everything is set up, the filming process is relatively quick–press record, act out the scene, stop recording. This is the easiest part of the process.

Step Three: Editing

Editing is easily the hardest part of making a moving photo. But, moving photo is essentially a video, and I edit my videos using a program called Da Vinci Resolve, which is a free program you can download.

Now, my videos automatically save to Amazon photos, so I download them to my computer and then upload them to Da Vinci and add them to the timeline of the video I am working on. This basically spreads the video out in a sort of film strip where I can few each frame as I scroll over it. You can have more than one video on your timeline.

This is important when using a green screen because you will be merging the two videos. When doing this, the video with the green screen image needs to be on top.

Merging the videos

Da Vinci Editing Effects

For the second video (the background), I use Canva to turn a still image into a video. In the editing tab, you click on the effects menu. In the left column, click on open Fx which will open another menu. Scroll down to Resolve Fx Key. Click on Resolve Fx Key and drag bar down to the clip with the green screen.

Now, below the preview screen there will be a rectangle. Click on the down arrow next to it and click on Open Fx Overlay. This is very important as none of the other steps will work if you do not do so.

Select your clip, and then on the upper right hand side of your screen, click on effects, and the eyedropper with a plus sign, then click on the green screen. There will still be some green in places, so click on those green spots to remove them. If one of your clicks removes part of the image you want it to, in the effects menu on the right, click delete stroke to undo it.

It may be easier to find all of the green and get the clearest picture by switching to black and white view. To do this, scroll down in the right hand column to where it says output. Click the drop down menu and choose Alpha highlight B/W. The part of the image you want to keep should show up white, while everything else is black. If there is grey, then you want to make it black by clicking on it.

While this is a time consuming process, once you know what you are doing, it is not especially difficult. With a little practice and some basic equipment, you’ll be making your own moving photos, just like those in Harry Potter.

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AprilCoxTravel & Freelance
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