8 Tips for Taking Better Home Movies
Home movies are so much fun! Documenting your family life on video can provide years of entertainment. With a little bit of effort and organizational skills, you can compile videos of your world for all the rest of the world to see.
I learned to love video making at a young age because my dad took lots of home movies. I even have movies of myself as an itty-bitty baby! Proof positive I once weighed a mere 7 pounds.
If you want to learn more about how best to make home movies and vacation videos, read these tips.
Video cameras are so tiny these days that you can follow your kids around for every cute moment and still be unobtrusive, which is the best way to be for realistic home movies. The more you can be like a fly on the wall, the more natural everybody will be on camera and personally, I think those are the most fun.
Of course some people don’t want natural, they want everybody lined up and waving to grandma. That’s fine too. You are the director!
In my opinion, home movie production should be kept as simple as possible. The point is to have fun and capture some memories, not be Cecil B. deMille. With just a bit of know-how, you can keep it simple yet ensure top quality.
Here are my eight best tips for taking great home movies you will enjoy for a lifetime.
Take advantage of natural light. Open up curtains and blinds to make the room brighter. When shooting indoors, it’s best to make it as bright as possible. As the camera operator, stand with your back to the light source. You want the light falling on your subject and behind the camera, otherwise you get a silhouette. If you are outside, keep the sun at your back.
Your shot will look best if you keep the lens zoomed all the way out, on a wide shot. Shooting on a wide shot makes the camera appear more still and also makes it a lot easier to keep in focus. There are many advantages to using the wide angle portion of your zoom lens. Camera shake is virtually eliminated on a wide shot and almost everything will always be in focus. If you zoom in all the way, you will need a tripod to keep the shot steady. On a wide shot, hand holding will appear steady.
Avoid the urge to pan, zoom and tilt the camera like crazy. Constantly moving the camera is the single biggest mistake novices make. There is something irresistible about having a video camera in your hands inspiring you to move it about. Zooming, (in and out movement) panning (horizontal movement) and tilting (up and down movement) should be kept at a minimum.
To pick up sound well, the camera should be about three to six, no more than ten feet away. (To pick up really well, be closer than that.) If you want to hear someone speaking distinctly, it’s best to turn all the extra sounds off. A radio blaring in the background can ruin the sound of your child talking. A music bed would best be added later during editing, not while shooting.
No need to videotape EVERYTHING. I had to laugh at my older brother who videotaped twelve hours worth of his daughter by the time she was 3 months old! Our dad had about twelve hours for all four of us kids from birth to leaving the nest. A time span of about twenty five years!
As cute as his new little girl was, twelve hours in three months is way too much. Watching all of that would get terribly monotonous, sorry Tom. Unless you are going to condense it later by editing, keep it a reasonable length. Even if you are going to edit, I promise you won’t want to wade though that much raw footage. Edit in the camera by using that pause button!
Have the camera handy. The best moments will happen without warning and the quicker you can get your camera rolling the more you will catch. If you are at an event like a birthday party, keep the camera turned on, but on pause, while nothing exciting is going on.
Get up close and personal with the action. If the kids are wrestling on the carpet, get down there with them. Consider taking things from the angle and height of the action. The viewer will get a much more interesting perspective if you get a bit creative with your angles.
If you want a shot where the people look large but you can see an entire building in the background, both the subjects and the camera need to go across the street. Have the people about five feet from the camera and the building across the street much further away. If just the camera operator goes across the street, the people will be tiny and get lost in the picture.
Have fun! 🙂
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips