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Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Lesson 3 of 44

What Are Family Films?

Courtney Holmes

Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

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Lesson Info

3. What Are Family Films?


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1 Class Introduction Duration:09:38
2 The Spark That Inspired Me Duration:13:50
3 What Are Family Films? Duration:06:15
4 Gear for Family Films Duration:11:50
5 Camera Settings for Video Duration:02:56
6 Frame Rates & Slow Motion Duration:20:48
8 Settings for Audio Capture Duration:14:13
9 Exposure for Video Duration:13:21
12 Camera Movements Demo Duration:12:02
14 How to Film a Scene Demo Duration:09:22
15 B-Roll & Use in Storytelling Duration:17:57
16 Jump Cuts & How to Avoid Them Duration:04:30
18 The Importance of Audio Duration:10:45
20 Client Prep Duration:10:49
22 Managing Client Expectations Duration:10:39
23 Uncovering Your Client's Story Duration:17:51
24 Developing a Story on the Fly Duration:07:12
25 Think Ahead as a Storyteller Duration:11:45
26 Student Film Critique Duration:38:56
27 Ideas for Your First Film Duration:06:31
31 Demo: Work the Scene Duration:28:12
32 Demo: Decide What to Shoot Duration:26:06
35 Cull & Edit Photos First Duration:17:09
36 Sourcing Licensed Music Duration:14:57
37 Begin to Edit in Premiere Pro Duration:07:08
38 Editing to The Music Duration:19:54
40 Breaking Down The Final Film Duration:37:38
41 Editing: Color Grading Duration:15:51

Lesson Info

What Are Family Films?

What is a family film? For me, family films differ from what I make for my family, basically. It's a little bit different in the way that I approach it. I'm still Mom when I'm making the ones for my kids, and so it's definitely a different approach. What is a family film? Allison, the other day, when she watched a film of mine that you're going to see next, her response was that it's like walking into a memory, and that's really what I want it to be. I was like, "Yes! I've done it!" That's my goal, that's what I've been wanting to do, is have it be like walking into a memory. I use a documentary approach to have these real moments that are happening within the family, but it's so centered around specific memories that they want to remember forever, and another thing that I've said recently is, I feel like video is like breathing life into a photograph. You know, you have a photograph and that's beautiful and it can tell a story and it's one photograph, and it's static. You add movement...

, you add voices, you add music to that, and it becomes something entirely different. So. (clears throat) This is a family film, some of you have probably seen this one already if you've been following my work. This is a really recent one. This is probably one of my favorite ones to date, and I think a lot of that has to do with how well I knew the client before I went there. I think that it is so much about understanding them beforehand, and talking to them beforehand, and really knowing what matters to them, and what's important to them. So, I'm going to play this one. ("Meant to Be" by Lion's Heart) ♪ In your eyes ♪ ♪ I see a thousand rays ♪ ♪ Coming to life ♪ ♪ Fire and light ♪ Where's Mommy? Boo! (laughs) (baby babbles) ♪ On your lips ♪ ♪ Words fall like melody ♪ ♪ Singing my heart ♪ ♪ Just where we are is enough for me ♪ ♪ Take my hand ♪ ♪ Run away with me ♪ ♪ You and I ♪ ♪ We were meant to be ♪ ♪ Through your heart ♪ ♪ That is the path I'll take ♪ ♪ To understand just who I am ♪ ♪ My love ♪ ♪ Oh, 'cause I understand ♪ ♪ Just who I am ♪ ♪ With you, my love ♪ ♪ Take my hand ♪ Hi! (girl giggles) I found you! All right, looking at a big hand, two big hands. (girl tuts) See, can you see hand? ♪ Take my hand ♪ ♪ Oh, stay with me ♪ ♪ You and I ♪ ♪ We were meant to be ♪ Took a step, by step, by step, through the woods. ♪ Ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ In your eyes ♪ ♪ I see a thousand dreams ♪ ♪ Coming to life ♪ ♪ Fire and light ♪ ♪ Enchanting me ♪ I thought we were past the crying part. (laughs) We might have a long way to go, I think. (audience laughs) I should mention the song earlier, I don't have a slide for it. But the one of my daughter in the kitchen sink was "Always Be" by Holley Maher, licensed through Musicbed. So I want to make sure, because this song is so crucial to the film, I want to make sure that every film you see of mine, I'm going to show you the song I used, where I licensed it through, so that you know where that all happened. And then the artist as well. We always need to give respect to the artists that are creating the music that we are using to give to our clients. That's so important.

Class Description

Portrait photographers capture moments in time for families, parents, and children. But in order to tell the whole story, you need to switch your camera to video mode, and become the storyteller behind the camera. Join Courtney Holmes, family photographer, filmmaker, and founder of FilmingLife Academy as she empowers you to add video to your photography business.

In this class, Courtney takes you on location to a home in Seattle to see how she organizes a family shoot from start to finish. You will learn in a unique way how Courtney works to capture authentic family moments on video and how to stay flexible in a new home environment that you’ve never filmed in before. 

Courtney will teach you:

  • How to change your mindset from photographer to videographer
  • How to add videography to your brand
  • Pricing and marketing tips
  • What to ask in order to capture the best story for your clients
  • The technical skills you’ll need for video
  • Post-processing using Adobe® Premiere Pro®
  • How to choose music, import, organize, create, and polish the final product

Courtney has learned how to make filmmaking into a viable business, and is going to give you the tools to move forward and tell the stories that families will treasure for a lifetime.


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!!!!