We Need to be Producers Not Just Consumers

Heistheway Premiere Pro

We don't own a television. Instead, our family watches select films, documentaries, and videos through a variety of sources. Though what we watch (if and when we do) is mostly educational, after some point it can feel rather unproductive. So I set a goal for us when watching films or short videos.

[featured-image size="featured" single_newwindow="false" alt="Heistheway at the computer learning Adobe Premiere Pro."]March 2014 - Heistheway producing her first film on Adobe Premiere Pro.[/featured-image]

Learn from the Best

I told our children, "Observe the shots.  Watch how they pan.  Is it a close-up or distant shot?  Is it out of focus before focusing on the object?  What is helpful?  What can we learn?"

Then when we watch a video, we watch with a greater focus to learn.

We have been doing this for a long time, but there seemed to be something missing.

Don't misunderstand me -- we don't sit around and watch films a lot. Watching videos is a rare treat in our home because we are very busy doing so many other things.

Be Productive

We're always encouraging our children to be productive. Instead of video games or other time wasters, our children learn to produce things. The older ones (between ages 6-10) knit and crochet winter items for themselves or as gifts. Some of them sew and are still learning how to increase their skills with that.

Some of our children even cook organic food from scratch. This includes baking whole chickens with a cast iron skillet, making crockpot chicken, cooking brown rice the old-fashioned way in a stainless steel stock pot, or chopping vegetables with professional chef knives for soups or a number of dishes.  They even know how to operate our Grainmaker Millto grind grain and make fresh flour for homemade pancakes, muffins, or other treats. They've made homemade pasta and tortilllas using all hand tools and cooking them in skillets. They are very skilled.

There are so many things that they know how to make and produce because we are constantly teaching them and have them involved with us from the time that they are very young. We make homemade sauerkraut, herbal salves and tinctures (glycerites and alcohol-based ones), organic tea combinations for different ailments, kefir, pizza, bread, and so much more.

They watch me knit their wool winter caps, fingerless gloves, scarves, and a few baby socks. They love to knit as well! They've watched me sew and create some of their cloth baby dolls, dresses, skirts, beach clothes, bags and purses, coasters, curtains, baby quilts, gifts and other useful items.

A Exciting Challenge

Sometime in October last year, I told the children in a calm and gentle manner, "You can't watch another video until you produce one yourself."

They know we mean what we say and started recording video footage right away! Our children were very excited to be working on another great project together. It was another thing they looked forward to completing!

We had given them access to an old iPod Touch Gen4 we no longer used. So we had already given them the tools they needed to succeed. Most of the apps were deleted from it, and internet access was disabled. It's primary use was for their taking photographs or video clips.

From Start to Finish

Not only did they create their own story line but also worked together so that every child possible could be involved --- including our 2-year-old! At the time of filming their footage, the ones who filmed or were in it were 10,8,6,4, and 2-years-old. Our sixth child Shiloh was just a couple of months old.

I told Tim about the project and he was excited!  He even stepped it up a notch.

Tim not only encouraged Heistheway (our 10-year-old daughter) to create her film, but also believed she could do it using Adobe Premiere Pro! And she did it all by herself and very well! Heistheway also added a bloopers section which we all enjoyed.

I explain to people that Premiere Pro is the tool many film makers use when editing many major motion films that are seen in theaters. It is so complex that it doesn't have many of the easy drag and drop features like iMovie or other inexpensive programs.

As part of the project, we had Heistheway complete a tutorial hosted by Adobe to learn some of the basics of editing. After she produced that video using Adobe's files, she knew how to edit her own video footage and create the children's video with Adobe Premiere Pro.

You're Not Too Young (or Too Old!)

We are so glad that we continue to encourage our children to be producers of things when they can! They've learned so many things and have a lot of experience and valuable skills while being so young. Instead of thinking thoughts that they're too young or they can't do something, when appropriate we tell them, "We know you can!" and they do! We believe in them, and that encourages them to believe in themselves.

[vimeo id="92152873" height="320" width="574" marginbottom="15"]

This was Heistheway's first experience making her own project and was produced using an iPod Touch 4th-gen and Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

[reminder]Have you been encouraged to be a producer and make things yourself?[/reminder]