For the making of my documentary film “Pip”, I mostly used archived footage and photos that I or my husband took of Pip when she was still alive. The footage required us scanning in negatives and transcoding old digital tapes. It also required combing through thousands of digital photos from 2002 – 2018.
If you haven’t seen the film I would recommend you watch it before you continue reading.
This required a lot of time and patience. One thing that really helped a lot is Google Photos facial recognition which also working on pets. I was able to go through a bunch of photos identified as Pip. In that category, there were also some pictures of Brat, our cat Spot’s mom. She was also a tortie, but she had a lot more orange than Pip.
How Did I Make the Documentary?
I started with a slideshow, using an After Effects template from StoryBlocks. I had to modify it a lot to get it the way I wanted it to look but it still was quicker than doing it all from scratch.
Next, I took video of the places Pip was in some of the photos and made a before and after shot for each location. This was to show how all the places in my home, made me remember Pip and miss her even more. I used sad music which I also got from StoryBlocks.
The last part was the hardest. I filmed myself talking about how Pip made me feel. How her life affected mine. The talking wasn’t too hard, it was sad and I rambled a bit. It was the editing that was the hardest. Watching it over and over and over again. I had to cut 30 minutes of footage of me talking down to 10 minutes.
I also needed b-roll to cover some of the cuts. A lot of it was archive footage of Pip, but I also took out my Insta360 One X and filmed some b-roll outside my house to do a POV of Pip walking around the yard like she used to.
I filmed all my talking using my Canon M50. I used a Sennheiser wireless lavalier that I borrowed from Keene State College which I plugged into my Tascam audio recorder. I also borrowed RGB LED lights from KSC. All the equipment I own was purchased from Amazon. The links are below.
I did one visual effect which I have photos of Pip floating around me. I did this in After Effects and I used the tutorial below to make it.
I hope you enjoyed this look into how I made the film “Pip”. I plan on posting for bts posts about future films.