Home Movie Titling Sets
In all of my research into home movies, there has been one recurring fact. Throughout the 70 year history of amateur filmmaking there were lots of accessories available to make home movies look more professional - and pretty much no one cared. Here's a great example of this principle. Lots of companies sold different tools for titling home movies. Individual letter decals, gorgeous ceramic alphabets (pictured below), printed title cards (above), even pre-made title sequences already on film! Out of the hundreds of home movies that I've seen, I could probably count on one hand how many actually take a stab at titling.
Rather than criticize the lack of ambition in amateur filmmaking, I think that it teaches a valuable lesson. You just can't critique home movies based on the conventions of professional cinema. While both share the same sorts of tools, the goals of home movies are entirely different. Many home movies capture the family at leisure, and it's okay for that sense of leisure to extend to not messing around too much with editing a home movie.
It would be nice to see more films that are edited, have titles, maybe even a bit of narrative, but all of that work could discourage an amateur and result in fewer films. This problem isn't exclusive to the film era either. How many of us have footage sitting in our camcorders that we won't let anyone watch because we want to edit the footage to make our home movies "just right"?
We've spent all week looking at some of the gadgetry associated with home movies. I find all that stuff tremendous fun, but if fussing over all the details keeps us from making movies then it doesn't matter how slick our cameras and computers are. I hope that you will join me in supporting your local Home Movie Day, and when you get home set your camera on the kitchen table. That way you'll remember to go out on Sunday and take a few minutes of home movies with your friends and family. You'll be glad you did.