Video Recording Tips and Tricks

Video Recording Tips

Recording home movies can help you capture wonderful moments in your life.  If preserved properly, home movies can be passed on to future generations for years of enjoyment. Below are some tips to help insure your home videos are enjoyable to watch.

Test Run

Take your camera on a test run.  Before the big day or event, use and become familiar with your video camera. Learn where the buttons are and become comfortable using it.  Shoot indoors and outdoors; this way, any issues which can affect the video quality, can be adjusted before hand. If there are still things you do not know about the camera, turn to the manual or search the Internet for tips specific to your model.

Plan beforehand

Try to have an idea of who, what and where you want to record. For example, if your are taping a graduation:

  • Get there early to set up your shot. Try to know from which direction the graduates will be coming from, when they will be entering and where your graduate may be sitting. This way, you can be in the right place at the right time.
  • Try to establish your location and your scenery before hand, by taking shots of the school building or the name of the school.  Record the program cover and anything else of interest which lets the audience know where you are.  Keep the shot for about 5 to 10 seconds before stopping.  It may seem like a long time, but trust me, it will look fit in when you are watching the video or if you want it edited.
  • Real shaky footage can almost never be fixed so practice and get comfortable holding the camera. If you are going to be shooting for long periods or have very shaky hands, plan on using a tripod or monopod.

Of course, some shots are going to be completely spontaneous, which is fine.  Just keep in mind who and what you are shooting for.

Be prepared for the unexpected

Even with all the planning in the world, there are still going to be spontaneous moments, which sometimes make for the best moments.  Although you cannot plan for everything, you can be prepared.  This means having an extra charged battery and blank tape ready to go.  Having your video camera nearby with a charged battery and ready to record at any second, will help capture those unplanned moments.

                     Extras                    

Have an extra battery or two.  Have extra videotapes or memory cards. Extras can usually be bought inexpensively, but the return on investment you will get if you need them, will be priceless.

          Try to keep it bright                     

The more light the better.  If you can, purchase a light to attach to your video camera, it will come in handy.  If not, check the settings for low light conditions on your camera.  If that still does not work, use as many lights inside as you can or try to shoot outside during the day.

 Constantly monitor your surroundings

Audio is a key component to a great video. Be aware of the noise in your location.  Are you standing next to a speaker blaring music while you try to record your daughter’s first words? In such situations, the use of headphones will be helpful.

 Stay focused

It is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget that you are recording. Try to stay focused and keep an eye on what the camera is pointed at.  Is your subject in center and in focus?  There is nothing worse then having video of the ground while your son just got his first homerun.

 Don’t overuse the zoom controls and try not to use the digital zoom

Keep the zooming to a minimal.  Zooming in and out frequently can be very distracting.  It also magnifies any shaking the closer you get. It will also kill your battery quicker.

The digital feature is a gimmick.  Digital zoom magnifies the original image by stretching out the image (pixels).  This usually makes your image blurry and pixilated (you can see a bunch of dots).  The loss of quality is usually not worth it.

 Angles

Try to shoot from different angles.  It will keep things fresh and entertaining for the viewer.  For example, at a sporting event, try to shoot not only from the sidelines but also near the end zones.  There is nothing like your subject scoring a goal right in front of the camera.

 Try not to use any special effects the camera may be capable of

While adding special effects to your video while you are recording live is not recommended, adding them during editing can really add to your project.  If you place special effects while you are recording, there is usually no going back, that effect is there forever and may actually interfere with what you are trying to accomplish.  The same special effect that your camera has, most video editing software can duplicate and can be added and removed as needed.

 Date it sparingly

Try to use the date stamp only at the beginning of a new day.  Do not leave it on for the length of the video as it will give it a home video feel.  You want to try and record clean to have a much better polished video.

 Have Fun and be creative

While recording, enjoy yourself and be creative! Your enthusiasm will reflect on your video.

Have any suggestions for shooting better home videos that you feel are missing or would like to add to the above list? Please let us know, we welcome all your comments.

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