Make Videos with Your Grandchildren

Aim at the grandchild’s age

make videosOften I go for walks, play catch and do other outdoor things with my grandchildren. When that is not practical, they really like to make videos with me. I mean that it really strengthens their bonds with me.

They prefer to be a subject of the videos. For instance, I made a video of Oscar going for a walk along the creek. At one point, he jumped onto a duck’s back. The concept is silly. But, to a 4-year-old boy, it is very enjoyable to watch over and over. Click here to watch the video.

Summary of this tutorial in a video

This tutorial page is summarized in the video below. Watch it to help you follow and remember the rest of the tutorial.

What you need to make videos

I will tell you what I use to make videos. If you do not have those things, you may have to search online to use what you have available.

make videosI use a Mac desktop computer. The program I use is ScreenFlow. It is absolutely amazing how many different things I can do with ScreenFlow.

(Get a free trial copy of ScreenFlow to practice on. After going to that web make videos page, click on the Start Your Free Trial button.)

The 2 free programs you may use frequently are GIMP and Apple Keynote. (GIMP is similar to Photoshop only it is free.)

Before using the instructions below, you should go to that GIMP link, download the program and become mildly familiar with it.

One other thing you need to make videos is persistence during the learning process. On this page there may be a handful of challenges that you are uncomfortable with.

Just go for it. Work hard and each challenge will become simple. After you start making videos with your grandchildren, you will be very happy that you took the extra effort to learn the programs.

Step by step instructions to make videos

These are tiny step by step instructions to help you make videos like the “Oscar on a Duck’s Back” video. For those of you who are absolute beginners, there are links to help you with the instructions.

1. Title animating over map

Tmake videoshe video starts with a map of Brandt’s Creek. Then a title animates over the map. To find a map, Google something such as map Brandt’s Creek along with the name of the city. Press Cmd/Shift/4 to take a picture of the map. I selected the screenshot in Desktop, pressed Shift and changed it to a descriptive name ending in .png.

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Open Keynote and click on the plus sign to add a slide. Drag the map from your Finder to the new slide. Size it.

Now you want to make the map lighter. To do this you click on the map in Keynote as you see in the animated GIF to the right. Then click on Animate > Action > Add an Effect > Opacity. Change the opacity to 30%.

Drag the slider down as you see in the animated GIF with the title being added above. This will give you some white space to create your text.  Click the text icon, double-click within the text box and add your title. Press Cmd A to select the title and click B to make bold, text size to make larger and colour icon to change colour. Drag the text so that it is on top of the map.

Then click the animate button, click Build In and scroll down to Orbital. Click it. Turn on your video recorder, make sure it is configured to record the iMac, click the Play button, move your cursor over to the right so that it will not be included in your video and then click again.

(Go to the text animation lesson to learn more about animating your text when you make videos.)

2. Adding Oscar’s face over the title

make videosTo take a picture of Oscar’s face, I right-clicked on the ScreenFlow icon and clicked Configure. I selected the HD Facetime camera as you see in this image. I clicked on Record to start ScreenFlow and got Oscar to sit on my lap and keep changing his facial expressions.

After about a minute I turned the recording off. I scrolled through the various facial expressions and recorded a good one using Cmd/Shift/4. Go to this portion of a GIMP lesson to learn how to erase the background.

After erasing the background and saving the head with a descriptive name, you would want to open Keynote at the last slide. Select one image on that slide and press Cmd A to select all of the images. Press Cmd C to copy them into your clipboard.

Click the Keynote plus sign and Cmd V to paste the images into your new slide. Select the text and click Change > None. Now you can drag the head onto the middle of the text.

Note that when you add an effect, there is an order indicator that tells you in which order the various effects happen. You want the head over the title to appear after the title appears. So, when you select the picture of the head, the order number will be higher than when you select the title.

3. Add images & text

To get images, I went to the city Brandt’s Creek Linear Park web pages and used Cmd/Shift/4 to get some pictures. If you are not sure they are royalty free, you may want to take some pictures with your smartphone and download them into your Mac using these instructions.

When you make videos, you occasionally want to add some text to help the reader understand the whole process. Below are instructions for adding some text on top of a faded picture.

  1. Drag a picture into a new Keynote slide.
  2. Select the picture.
  3. Click Animate > Action > Opacity > 30%.
  4. Drag the scroll bar down to reveal lots of white space.
  5. Click the text icon.
  6. Double-click on “text”.
  7. Type in some text.
  8. Cmd A to select it.
  9. Change boldness, text colour & text size.
  10. Drag the text up to cover the image.
  11. Select the text.
  12. Animate > Build In > Scale Big.
  13. Cmd S to save your slide (frequently).
  14. Making sure ScreenFlow is configured to record iMac, turn on it to record the screen.
  15. Click the Keynote Play button. (Note that you will then have to click twice — to fade the image and to bring in the text.)

To add the other pictures, drag each one onto a new slide. There is no reason  to add any Keynote Effects to them unless you want to zoom in.

For zooming in I use Action > Add an Effect > Scale. I recommend zooming in at 200% for 2 seconds.

4. The Duck Pond

For the water part of the duck pond, I went to and searched for “swimming pool”. I found the image you see here.

I also searched for “swimming duck”. Again, I went to this portion of a GIMP lesson to learn how to erase the background. I used what I’d learned about GIMP to draw a boy sitting on the duck’s back. I named the picture Oscar sitting on duck’s back.png.

Watch the animated GIF below.  You will see how I changed the “swimming pool” water above so that the duck could appear to be diving under the water. Follow these steps:

  1. Drag the swimming pool water image onto a new Keynote slide.
  2. Click Cmd/Shift/4.
  3. Click on the lower third of the image on the left side and drag your cursor to the lower right-hand corner.
  4. Open the desktop folder and you will see the most recent image as something beginning with the words Screen Shot.
  5. Select it and change the name to something such as Lower water.png.
  6. Drag Lower water.png to the lower part of water slide. Size it to fit the entire width of the slide and try to make sure the patterns in the water match up.
  7. Drag Oscar sitting on duck’s back.png onto the slide. Size it.
  8. Click on Lower water.png  to select it.
  9. Click Format > Arrange > Front to bring the lower water in front of everything else on the screen.
  10. Select Oscar sitting on duck’s back.png and click on Format > Arrange if you are not in that panel yet.
  11. In the Rotate section, change the angle to 45 and click Tab. You are ready to go to the section below this animated GIF.

  1. After the duck is at 45 degrees, click Animate > Action > Add an Effect > Move.
  2. A straight red line will have been added to your screen. At the very right-hand and is a tiny red square. The red square indicates the point at which the duck will end up.
  3. Drag and drop the tiny red square below and in front of the duck so that the tail is beneath the water.
  4. Click Preview to see if you like it.

Add the two sections above to your ScreenFlow timeline.

Drag the swimming pool water image onto a new  Keynote slide. Add text such as And Oscar lived happily ever after under the water on top of the water image. Give it an Orbital build in effect.

5. Recording your video

Sometimes you may record one Keynote screen and add the video clip to your timeline. It can be a bit faster if you can create all of your Keynote slides in the order they will appear in your video. Then, starting at the top, record all of the slides and then edit the long video clip.

6. Adding voice when you make videos

make videosI like to write the script and save it as a Pages file before I start making the Keynote slides. After your script writing is finished, click on the ScreenFlow icon and click on Configure. Make sure the Record checkbox is checked to record either with your personal microphone or else with the Built-In Microphone.

Start reading you script. Whenever you make videos, try to add enthusiasm to your voice if possible. If you stumble over a word, simply say “repeat” and read it again. Read until you get to the end of your script.

Then, when you listen to the entire script, delete each part from just before the garbled word to after the word “repeat”.

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I often leave approximately one second between voice clips to give the viewer time to absorb the message. Sometimes the video clip will be too long or too short to abide by that one second rule.

In that case, you may want to go to the Timeline page and learn how make a freeze frame to make a clip longer. Alternately, just after the freeze frame explanation on the Timeline page, you will learn how to make a video frame shorter.

7. Adding music as you make videos

When you make videos, realize that they are not complete without the appropriate music. The last step before uploading your video is adding music to it. Let me tell you about 3 online sources of music I’ve used.

  1. YouTube. They have tens of thousands of music clips you may use for free if you use it exclusively for YouTube videos. Go to their Audio Library. Indicate the type of music you want and listen to the samples you get. When you find the one you want, download it into your Downloads folder. Drag and drop it from your Downloads folder into your timeline.
  2. Uppbeat. You may download up to 10 different free songs per month. Go to Uppbeat for instructions on how to use.
  3. Stock Media Library. Stock Media Library is a library of over half a million audio clips, video clips and still images. As you can learn in this video, you can easily find the audio, video and images to create the mood you want.                  When you buy ScreenFlow 10+, you have the option of buying Stock Media Library with it. Presently it costs a little over $5 a month for unlimited audio clips, video clips and still images.

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As you can see from the animated GIF above, you can search from a subject in which you are interested. The subject was money and a money video was added to the timeline. Then the scrubber was moved to the beginning of the money video so that a song about money could be added to the video. Learn more about the Stock Media Library.

Very important: You can lose your audience if your music drowns out the spoken word. To solve that problem, learn how ScreenFlow deals with audio ducking.

How to make the video below


To make the video above, you have to drag and drop images onto Keynote. You may get some of he images by going to a free image website such as However, you will make most of them yourself using GIMP.

The first animation in your video will be making the map fainter. Then the title on top of it will show up better.

make videosMaking the map lighter: As this animation shows, click the map to select it. Then
Animate > Action > Add an Effect > Opacity.

Change the duration to, say, 3 seconds.

Change the opacity to, say, 30%.

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Then you can add your title over the map.



This animated GIF represents my 4 grandchildren frolicking in the swimming pool. I made the bodies using GIMP. (See the GIMP cartoon drawing lesson.)

Interesting points:

  • Each kid has the same body. I just changed the bathing suit.
  • Each body has two sets of legs — squatting & standing. They were saved as 2 PNG files and used for all 4 bodies.
  • For each new kid I erased the head and added a new one. The new one had been saved as a PNG file.
  • I went online and found a picture of some splashing water. Using Cmd/shift/4 I isolated the splash and removed lots of background using GIMP.
  • The angle of the diving person was changed. The standing person was saved as as PNG files as someone at 45 degrees and 135 degrees as the were heading towards the water. To change the angles with GIMP, each one two steps:
          • Click on the picture of the person and then File > New. Make sure the length and width are both the same as the longer dimension. Cmd C and then Cmd V to copy & paste the picture of the person onto the new square.
    • In GIMP, click on Tools > Transform Tools > Rotate.  For the first picture, enter the angle as -45. For the second picture, enter the angle as -135. In each case click on the Rotate button and then click on the Rectangle Select Tool so that you can manipulate the new image.



A PNG file is  a type of file that allows an object to be placed into software with a clear background or as a partially transparent image.

Go to this index of all
video-creation tutorials.