Home Video Tips

Home video is tough to do well. We know we want to hold on to those special memories, and we have done enough filming to know how to use our equipment and what we want to achieve, but elevating home footage from beginner level to something a little more professional is hard! 

Check out the checklist below to improve your filming techniques.

Fledgling Filmmaker

So you’re trying – woo hoo!! You’ll be surprised at how far a little effort can go. A big hindrance to filming is the anxiety one will either miss their holiday because they’re seeing it through a lens, or one has to haul the camera everywhere. Rubbish! Each year, I choose to film my kids about 4/5 days, and for the other 360ish days, relax. But on those few days, have fun and embrace it.

Creative tips

  • Choose events to film. Whether that be a sports day, or a day at the beach, choose fun.
  • Filmmaking is about story-telling, and an old adage is “show, don’t tell”. So a big secret to filming is getting better linking shots, which help the story unfold.
  • So on your adventure, think like Sherlock Holmes, looking for clues. If you are visiting somewhere, get a wide, medium, and close shot; this often just means to film outside for 3 secs, film a person walking in (like your kids), and a close up of the door opening (and closing, for when you leave). Boom – it’s easy.
  • Continue your Sherlock thinking throughout the day, getting a variety of shots. Think landmarks, hotel signs, atmosphere, cutaways, extreme close-ups, street signs.
  • Once you’re settled into your core subject, release your inner Morgan Freeman and narrate. Speak softly – the camera microphone is inches from your face. Make wisecracks – often others won’t hear you, but your editor will, which permits a whole layer of comedy to your film. So describe where you are and contextualize events, “this is Freya’s first time on a beach… let’s hope she doesn’t drown.”

Technical tips

  • When zooming, it’s very difficult for anyone to keep the frame steady. Lean against a tree, use both hands or a banister, but steady that frame!
  • Avoid long pans around the room, unless it’s to juxtapose dad napping while everyone else is making supper. Otherwise, let the editor bring the clips together.