I hope you are having a great summer and spent some quality time with your family and friends. Maybe you have an ocean close by or you will visit the beach during your vacation. This post brings you ideas for nice shots from ocean activities with kids which you can use for your own family video. We spent only one hour at the beach but it was enough to capture a few interesting shots. I want to show you how to create an engaging story even if you don’t have a ton of raw material. I share what equipment was the most valuable when we held kids all the time in the water. You will see video editing process in easy-to-follow steps.
Let’s see the video first:
If you want to create similar family video follow this step-by-step guide.
Message to the Audience
I always think a little ahead about my future family video. At first, I ask myself:
Who is the audience?
Obviously our family and friends, but also any other parents or people who want to spend a great time with their families.
What I want to tell the audience?
What is the purpose of the home video?
We wanted to entertain our relatives and friends and save these moments for later. We also wanted to inspire other families and show them how much fun they can have. We wanted to show that even with small babies you catch the waves and introduce “surfing” to them. Even if you have busy hands to hold babies all the time, you can capture all this fun and create a cute family video. So take your kids, camera, surfboards and go! 🙂
Answering these basic questions will help you to create an interesting story. It will bring some ideas what scenes to capture.
Create Story and List of Scenes
You should know what to shoot before you first push the shutter button of your GoPro camera. You might think that it is obvious – action scenes in the ocean. But no, you should think about it like it is a real movie. It never starts with the main action, right? Have a plan ahead – this creates your amazing story!
Before we jumped into the car I already had this simple list of the scenes in my mind:
- Introduction of all heroes, packing stuff, shots from the car
- Action scenes – family coming to the beach, any other ocean activities (spontaneous shots, not much planning ahead here)
- End scene – saying “bye” to the audience
I didn’t write any detailed screenplay but I just kept these planned shots in my head. It is important to not forget this. Sometimes I see some videos where an action starts right away. Then, viewers might be confused. What’s going on? Who is there? That’s why we capture these planned shots which don’t look so exciting at first (like packing the stuff). It helps to build your story.
I needed very little equipment for this family video:
- camera GoPro HERO4 Silver – LCD display helps a lot here; be sure to have your camera already in waterproof housing before your kids run into the ocean
- 360 degrees wrist mount GoPro Strap – great if you need to have free hands and hold your kids; (originally, we used this wrist mount, but later it malfuncioned – here is what happened)
- spare batteries and spare memory card packed in the mini case
Wrist mount is great because you can forget that you have a camera with you. Not bothering you at all. But it is hard to make shots of yourself on the surfboard. It is too close and your hand is too short. I used it mostly for capturing my husband and daughter on their surfboard (few feet from us).
You can make better shots of yourself when you attach adhesive mount on the front end of your surfboard. But be very careful! When I used this last time my adhesive mount with the camera was washed away by the strong wave. This was probably because my cheap surfboard wasn’t adhesive enough. I was glad I had my camera tethered by thin string directly to my wrist. Unfortunately, tethering complicates handling the board, the baby and the ocean waves at the same time. This was the reason why I preferred wrist mount rather than adhesive mount in this video. If you don’t have to hold your kid all the time, the adhesive mount can be a better solution.
Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links like these above. We will earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking these links. Please note that we never recommend any products just because of a tiny referral fee. We recommend only stuff which serves to our personal best satisfaction and it might serve to you as well.
Just a little side note if you are wondering where we got the surfboards for kids – at Walmart for 10 bucks per piece. Expect low quality, but it served its purpose. You get what you pay for.
Most of the shots in our family video were filmed in 1080p resolution (wide mode). I switched to narrow mode only when filming from the car. I expected some action scenes in the ocean so I set the camera to 60 frames per second (fps). This helps to make smoother slow motion later during editing of the video.
Filming of Family Adventure
Let’s see how we captured this family video.
The beginning of every movie starts with some kind of introduction. I started filming with the planned shots mentioned earlier.
At first, I introduced the “heroes” of our story. I set the scene where the whole family takes their shoes on.
Tip: make this shot from the ground so all faces are clearly visible.
(Click on the picture to see the mentioned part of the video)
Following scenes should make the audience a little bit curious what these people are going to do. So I gave a little clue – capturing the detail of cold drink and our surfboard. I found interesting view – I held the camera “attached” to the board while carrying it to the car.
Let the story evolve further – the family goes somewhere by car. Not telling where exactly but slowly reveal more. I gave my audience another clue and made some shots from the car.
Tip: change the camera setting to the narrow mode. Objects will be “closer” and better visible then.
Don’t forget to switch to wide mode again after jumping out of the car. You will need it for the ocean adventure!
We arrived at the destination. I captured preparing our kids before going to the beach.
Tip: when you film small kids have your camera on their eye level. Go on your knees or bend yourself. It looks much better (click on the picture below).
Following shots move the story to the main part – family comes to the beach. Here I want to show you a few things. Note how I captured heroes from several different sides. One cut shows family coming to me (their faces are visible) while in another shot they are going away from me. I used also different camera angles. The shot starts on the ground (static position) and then I go slowly up with the camera until I see the ocean. The final cut shows the overlook of the beach and finally reveals the main location of this adventure. Let’s look at it:
Short cuts show the same action from several different perspectives. This makes the video more entertaining than one long shot from the same position.
Next, we wanted to show the “main” ocean adventure. Again make sure to have a great variety of shots. Let’s summarize filming tips which will help you to shoot plenty of interesting views:
Tip #1: make several shots of a hero or an action from different sides (for example baby facing you, baby from the back side).
Tip #2: use different camera angles (shots under the water, at the water or ground level, at the hero’s eye level, from above by raising your hand).
Tip #3: alternate static vs. slowly moving camera (for example moving the camera from the bottom to the top or going closer to the object or around it).
Tip #4: film from few feet distance and make closer selfies too. You can alternate these shots in seconds with the help of 360 degrees wrist mount. Just turn the swivel into any desired position.
Tip #5: make sure you have also shots without the heroes (overlook of locations, landscapes etc.)
Tip #6: film short shot (10 seconds), then move on and make another shot from the different angle. You will have a lot less work later during video editing process. More raw footage means more time spent on editing.
Try to get variable shots from one action. But don’t worry if you don’t get a shot from the different angle immediately during one action. Actually, this happens very often because we have only one GoPro camera. Thus we have no chance to film one action from the different angles at the same time. Just wait for another similar action and do the different shot later.
You might want to film every action but take also a few shots where is not much going on (just chilling etc.). These will help to make your video more balanced. Here are some ideas of shots you might want to film too:
- family coming to the water
- the hero is carrying the surfboard
- excited faces of the kids
- preparation phase before an action (for example putting the baby on the board and showing him how to hold it)
- playing in the water
- bobbing on the waves
- going against the wave
- catching the wave and riding it
- the wave coming across the hero
- action without the hero (for example wave going against you, across you etc.)
- kids relaxing on the board
- playing in the sand
- relaxing on the beach
- having a snack
- taking a shower
- landscape overlooks (ocean, beach)
Every story should have some end so don’t forget to film closing scene. Usually, I think about this a little ahead so I don’t end up with open end story. In our case, we did high-fives with our kids, took a shower and then they wave to say goodbye to the sea. Watch this part of the video by clicking on the picture:
Remember – having a great variety of shots is the key. Observing the action from one single angle all the time would be a bit boring for viewers. If you have a plenty of shots to choose from, you can mix it later and create a nice story. That’s why it is so beneficial to have many variations of shots.
I will show you how to put the right shots together, in the appropriate order and make your story interesting to watch. Let’s move to another step (video editing).
Post-processing in GoPro Studio
I edit all my videos in GoPro Studio because it is easy to use, usually sufficient for the family video and it is free. You can download it here.
Do you remember the tip where I advised to do only 10 seconds shots? It pays off greatly in this step. More footage you have the more time you will spend on video editing. I didn’t have much raw footage so it took me only a few hours to finish the video including uploading to Youtube. That’s fast!
Let’s go through every step of video editing process.
Import, Rough Trim and Convert Files
In STEP 1 I imported all the videos to GoPro Studio. Then I changed these settings:
- target files directory
- quality of the output files to high
- removed the fisheye
I viewed all the video files one by one, chose interesting moments and trimmed out the unwanted parts. Finally, I converted trimmed videos. This tutorial shows all these steps.
Create Story in Timeline
Let’s jump to STEP 2 in GoPro Studio. In case you struggle to do any of the following, here is a tutorial of the whole STEP 2.
This is the most crucial part of the whole video post-processing. Here you create your story which hooks your audience.
I dragged converted video files to the timeline but NOT in the original time order. The video compiled from the cuts in the original time order would be confusing and not very engaging. You need to make sure that the story flows smoothly and evolves.
Let me show you a practical example. I created a sequence of the shots of “one action”. At first, my husband adjusted my daughter on the surfboard and showed her how to hold it. In the following cut, they are going against the wave. I cut this shot right at the moment when the wave hit them. Righ after it, I added the different angle shot of the wave splashing the camera as they have seen it from their point of view. Next cut seems like they have just overcome the wave. Then they were bobbing on the other waves. Finally, I add the shot showing how they caught the wave and ride it. This whole action seems like it happened just like you see it, in one single action. But the opposite is true. These shots were taken at different times from several different actions and camera angles. I chose the appropriate shots during post-processing and mixed them together to make one smooth engaging action. Let’s see this example:
Now you can see how great advantage it is having plenty of shots from different angles.
Similarly, I put the other shots together and built the whole story according to the following screenplay:
- introduced our family to the audience
- packed our stuff (including small clues what this story will be about)
- family going somewhere, but where?
- oh, they are going to the beach
- kid first touching the board
- first time going against the wave
- bobbing on the waves
- waiting for the right wave, catching it and riding it, yay! (excited face of the kid in slow motion)
- another wave going against us using the hero’s point of view (kid’s scream makes it even more exciting)
- a wave splashed my daughter’s face (slow motion)
- going out from the water
- building a volcano from the sand
- taking a shower
- waving to say goodbye to the ocean which might look also like saying bye to the audience
Let’s summarize the tips which will help you to create the timeline of shots and build your story.
Tip #1: put together the shots showing one action which are captured from various camera angles. This makes the video more dynamic and interesting.
Tip #2: make sure every single cut is shorter than 10 seconds.
Tip #3: don’t stick to the original time order in which the shots were captured. The final order of the shots in the timeline will be probably different, but this helps the story to flow smoothly. Stick to your screenplay rather than original time order.
Tip #4: don’t put every single action in the video. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit in the story.
Tip #5: make sure you video is not too long. More than 5 minutes could be really painful to watch. Better is something between 2 – 4 minutes.
Final Cuts, Video Editing, Music, Title
After you built the engaging story it is time to do some final touches. Check if some shots need to be cut a little bit more precisely (see the tutorial here).
In the next step, I did slow motion in the scenes showing excited kids and too fast action. For example, riding the wave or the wave splashing my daughter’s face. At first, I split the shot into two parts. Then I let the speed of the first part in original values and slowed down the second part. You can do this in the right column of GoPro Studio.
Then I made most of the shots brighter and more colorful. I played with image controls in the right column of GoPro Studio. I increased exposure of indoor shots (low light). I also increased contrast and saturation of most other shots.
Next, I turned off the sound of almost all the shots. You can do it by clicking the megaphone icon in the bottom right corner of the shot in the timeline. I left the original audio only in the scenes where water made a nice splash sound and my daughter screamed. In other shots, there were some disturbing noises so it was better to switch them off completely.
Then I wanted to choose appropriate music for our family video. I jumped into Youtube free music library and set the search filters – duration to 2:00 – 2:30 which is the length of our video. I quickly found the appropriate song which perfectly fitted our story. If you cannot find anything on Youtube look at the other free music databases here. At first, download chosen song to your PC. Push the button MEDIA in the left column of GoPro Studio. Then drag the music file under the timeline (to the line which says DRAG AUDIO HERE).
I prepared outro screen with direction to our website and add it to the timeline after all other cuts. I set fade out feature to 1.6 seconds.
Similarly, I set fade in of the very first shot in the timeline.
Finally, I created a title of the video (click the button TITLE in the left column). I dragged it under the first shot to the line DRAG TITLE HERE and adjusted the length of it.
If your video is ready now click on the top tab STEP 3. I exported the video for Youtube first in HD (1080p). Then I repeated the export for my video archive in PC but set the highest quality (short tutorial here).
Share it on Youtube
It is time to share your family video with the world on Youtube or other social platforms. After you upload the video, add an informative description under the video. Don’t forget on giving a credit to the artist of music you used in the video.
If you would like to attract the audience to view more of your content, you can invite them to subscribe to your Youtube channel. This tutorial shows how to add a subscribe button to your Youtube video. You can also lead the viewers to your blog or online shop if desired. We use Youtube cards in our videos with a link to our website. We also add the link in the description under the video as well.
Switch on monetizing in the settings if you wish to earn a few dollars. Youtube will place their ads in your video. They will pay you a few cents everytime someone clicks on the ad at the bottom of your video or watch the video ad before your video starts. Just a reminder, don’t click on your ads by yourself, it is against their rules.
I plan to cover Youtube video settings and monetizing in future blog posts. Stay tuned!
GoPro Awards Contest – Win a Prize
You can submit your family video to GoPro Awards website. Add an interesting description of your video too. If GoPro likes it you might win some cash prize or nice discounts. Not only crazy adrenaline freaks win, but families with kids have a chance too. It made my day when GoPro sent us a message that we won with one of our family videos 🙂
At the end of this post, I would summarize that this video was a quickie. Filming took an hour at the ocean and video editing a few hours later that evening. We believe that anybody can make this too. We hope we gave you a good how to guide which you can follow or just take some of the ideas. Please let us know in comments what you think or if you have questions.
So will you take your kids to the beach too? Send us your home video then, we cannot wait for your story!