You can send festive greetings in lots of different ways, including some by video with this Christmas video greetings card project.
Take a look at the steps in this filmmaking guide for how to make a Christmas video greetings card below.
For this filmmaking project, you’ll need:
– A camera, a smart phone camera or a tablet works really well for this kind of project
– A tripod if you have one
– Access to some video editing software, such as iMovie or Lightworks
– Some festive decorations
– A greenscreen can also come in handy – if you don’t have a real one at home, see our advice on making a homemade greenscreen below.
This filmmaking project is for making Christmas video greetings cards, but you can also use the same steps and techniques to make video cards that celebrate lots of other occasions, events or festivals too.
Make a Christmas Video Greetings Card:
In this filmmaking project, you’ll make a Christmas video greetings card. This is quick and simple, but really effective and much easier to send than a physical card too.
- Plan Your Greeting
First, plan out the greeting part of your Christmas video greetings card.
Think about your message: is this a Christmas video greetings card or for another celebration? Who are you sending it to? How can you capture the mood?
For a Christmas video greetings card, you could include some terrible cracker-style jokes, or a festive poem. Also have a think about some seasonal or festive images. For a winter card, snowy scenes or cosy fireplaces can really help to create lots of festive atmosphere.
Write out a short script and plan what you would like to show. You might find it helpful to use our storyboard template here.
- Time to Shoot!
Once you have your idea planned out, it’s time to shoot your Christmas video greetings card.
Set up your camera on a tripod, or find a place to rest your camera so that it’s nice and steady. Ideally it should face onto a comfortable chair, where you can sit to deliver your message to the camera.
Practice delivering your message a few times so that you feel comfortable saying the words aloud for the camera. Don’t worry if this takes a few tries – allow yourself plenty of practice tries.
If you’re a confident editor, then you can film as many tries (“takes”) as you like too. You can always choose the best one later on when you edit your video. If you’re not too confident with editing, try to rehearse before you shoot – this will make it easier to work with just a few clips.
Once you’re ready, film yourself delivering your personal message, as well as any other content (e.g. your cheesiest Christmas jokes, your poem or perhaps a carol). You don’t need to film it all in one go, you can film it in sections if this is easier. If you film it in different sections, you can also use a few different shot sizes or angles, which will help your video to look a bit more dynamic and visually interesting too.
We recommend shooting a Wide Shot (a shot of your whole body and some of the scenery, such as the edges of a Christmas tree, or the fireplace) and also a Close Up shot that shows just your head and shoulders in the frame.
If you have access to a greenscreen, you can also film yourself in front of the greenscreen, so that you can add a chosen background in later on. If you don’t have a greenscreen, we have an easy way to make one at home – just take a look at the instructions below!
- Grab some Cutaways!
Once you’ve shot your Christmas messages and you’re happy with them, the next stage is to move on to some festive cutaways for your Christmas video greetings card.
Cutaways (sometimes these can also be referred to as ‘pickups’) are detail shots that can be edited in with your other footage to give some story detail, or to add some atmosphere.
Shoot 3-5 cutaways of your Christmas decorations, or other festive imagery. Try to make these look as interesting as possible… how can you show off their shine or sparkle? Can you capture them spinning on a tree? What about including some mince pies and some carrots waiting by the chimney? Try to include some variety and be inventive!
- Time to edit!
Once you’ve shot all your cutaways and your personalised messages, it’s time to cut them altogether into your Christmas video greetings card.
Upload your clips into your editing programme. Choose the best takes of your personalised message and sequence them onto your timeline.
An effect that works really well here is to ‘jump’ between shots whenever you have a natural pause, as well as mixing between the Wide Shot and the Close Up. This can work especially well if you’re telling Christmas Cracker jokes.
Next, layer in some of your cutaway shots. You can use these to break up the message, or you can layer the images over the audio of your messages, so that your voice can still be heard underneath. Choose the option that works best for you.
- Apply some polish
Once you’ve sequenced your message and included your favourite cutaways, it’s time to really polish your Christmas video greetings card up. This stage is all about finessing your edit so it’s really slick and really polished, fit for sending out.
Firstly, add some music. Christmassy tracks work really well and there are plenty of royalty-free Christmassy tracks available online (we’ve made some recommendations below). Make sure to keep the music audible, but low enough it doesn’t overpower your message.
Next, add in some festive sound effects. You might choose to include some sleigh bells, or some ‘magic’ sound effects. If you’re telling jokes, then some comedy drums or canned laughter might add to the feel of your Christmas video greetings card.
Trim your clips really carefully so that there isn’t any ‘dead’ time or awkward pauses. Your Christmas video greetings card should flow nicely, with lots of pace. If there are any stop-start moments, see if you can trim any of your clips so that it all feels nice and smooth.
You might want to include some special effects. You can layer a greenscreen snow overlay over the top of your video, or include some extra sparkle onto your decorations?
Lastly, think about any text or writing you’d like to include. You can add some titles to enhance your message even further. Think about including a Merry Christmas title, or an address to your recipient. Try to choose an animation or a font that suits your Christmas video greetings card and adds to the atmosphere .
- Get Ready to Send!
Once you’ve fine-tuned your Christmas video greetings card, you’re almost ready to send it.
Depending on the programme you’re using to edit your video greetings card, this could be as simple as one or two steps, or it might take a few more.
The first stage is to export your video greetings card, ideally to a video file such as .mp4 or .mov. Once you have your finished video file, you can upload it to YouTube, or to your social media accounts (if you have them), or send via message or by email. The programme you’re using might even have the option to send your finished video file to specific accounts, especially if you’ve made it on a phone or a tablet.
We hope your contacts love watching your Christmas video greetings card! We hope you enjoy making them too!
If you want to work with a greenscreen, but you don’t have one at home, you can make a quick and simple version just with some green paper or card.
Just line a wall behind you with plenty of green paper or card. Make sure it’s bright green (it needs to be a bright green, not a dark green) and all the same colour, or the effect won’t work. Make sure all the paper lines up edge-to-edge without any gaps.
So long as your green wall is well lit and well-covered with the same shade of green, you should be able to remove it using chromakey in an editing programme that has this feature.
Make sure to use copyright free music in your videos. Try not to use anything that’s copyrighted. We like the collection at incompetech.com and the music available in the YouTube Music Library. You can also try Creative Commons. Just make sure to credit the music sources as they’ve asked for.